You’re not alone if you’ve noticed your Google reviews disappearing. A lot of business owners are reporting issues with missing hard-earned reviews lately. But what’s causing the lost reviews, and how can you get your reviews back? This guide explores some possible explanations for why this is happening and offers a few tips on how to get your reviews reinstated.
I was preparing to leave for the day when I noticed a strange notification on my Google Business profile. My reviews had disappeared. All of them. I had worked hard to get those reviews, and now they were gone.
I wasn’t sure what could have caused this, but I started digging around to see if I could figure it out. After some research, I discovered that this was a problem many other business owners faced. There’s even a term for it now – “review geddon.”
So, if you’re wondering why your Google reviews have disappeared, here is a list of possible explanations.
Google Reviews Disappearing? Here’s Why
Getting Google my business reviews (now Google business profile) is an essential SEO strategy. The search engines favor local businesses with positive reviews, and the more reviews you have, the better. Therefore, it can be frustrating when those hard-earned reviews suddenly disappear.
When Google removes reviews, it’s usually for one of these reasons:
Another possibility is that your business has been penalized by Google for violating its terms of service. This could happen if you’ve been paying for reviews or if you’ve been using other shady tactics to boost your ratings. If this is the case, you’ll need to take steps to clean up your act before your reviews will start appearing again.
Here are 20 reasons your hard-earned reviews disappear.
1) Review Spam Algorithm
Google’s spam algorithm is constantly evolving and improving at identifying fake or spammy reviews. If your reviews are being removed because of possible spam, there is not much you can do except to ensure that your reviews are coming from real customers and do not violate any of Google’s policies.
Get more reviews from your happiest customers. The more positive reviews you have, the less likely a few fake ones will take them down.
2) Google Glitch
Sometimes, Google reviews disappear simply because of a glitch in the system. If this is the case, your reviews should eventually come back on their own. In the meantime, you can try contacting Google customer support to see if they can speed up the process.
In addition, Google has a quality filter to remove fake or unhelpful reviews. If your reviews are being filtered, it’s likely because Google thinks they might not be legitimate. There’s not much you can do about this except to make sure that your reviews are coming from real customers and are as helpful as possible.
3) Too Many Reviews, Too Fast
If you’ve suddenly received a large influx of reviews, Google’s spam filter may have flagged your reviews as suspicious. This can happen if you offer incentives for customers to leave reviews or if you have a lot of fake reviews. Google business profile reviews must be organic and come from customers who have had a real experience with your business.
If your reviews are being removed because of this, you’ll need to take steps to slow down the flow of reviews and make sure that they are coming from real customers. You can do this by removing any incentives you’re offering for reviews and making it clear to customers that they should not leave reviews if they have not had a real experience with your business.
4) Suspended Google Business Profile
Another possibility is that the Google search engine has suspended your Google business profile. This can happen if you’ve violated any of Google’s policies or your business information is inaccurate. If your business profile has been suspended, you’ll need to contact Google customer support to have it reinstated.
5) Reputation Management Company
If you’re working with a reputation management company, they may be responsible for your reviews disappearing.
Some reputation management companies use black hat tactics to artificially inflate a business’s ratings, which can penalize the business by the Google search engine.
If you suspect your reputation management company is up to no good, you can cancel your contract and report it to Google.
6) User Deleted Review
Sometimes, the user who left the review may delete it themselves. This could be for several reasons, such as if they mistakenly left the review on the wrong business or if they changed their mind about the review. There’s not much you can do in this situation except to reach out to the customer and see if they’ll leave another review.
7) Restricted Content
It’s possible that your reviews are being removed because they contain restricted content. This includes profanity, defamatory statements, and confidential information. If your reviews contain any of this content, they will be removed by Google.
Samples of restricted content:
- defamatory statements
- confidential information
- illegal drugs
- endangered animal products
To avoid having your reviews removed, for this reason, ensure that you’re only asking customers willing to leave a positive review. You should also ask them to avoid including any restricted content in their review.
8) Off-Topic Reviews
Another reason your Google reviews might disappear is if they’re off-topic. This means the review is about something other than your business, such as a personal experience or a general comment about Google. Google will remove off-topic reviews.
9) A Hacked Account
If your Google account has been hacked, the hacker may be responsible for your reviews disappearing. They may be deleting your reviews or posting fake reviews to damage your business’s reputation. They may be posting terrorist or derogatory content, and Google will remove these online reviews.
Use a strong password and enable two-factor authentication to prevent your account from being hacked. You should also regularly check your account to see any suspicious activities.
10) Sexually Explicit Content
Google will remove any reviews that contain sexually explicit content. This includes nude images, sexual threats, and descriptions of sexual acts. Google deletes reviews with sexually explicit content to maintain a family-friendly environment.
11) Physical Location of Review
You can’t write reviews from your business location or the same IP address that manages your Google business profile.
The same IP address associated with your business must be in a different location than where you’re writing the Googe review. For example, if you have a store in New York but you’re writing the review from Los Angeles, it won’t work.
Google will remove these reviews. Furthermore, If you write fake reviews for your business from different locations, you’re more likely to get caught and penalized by Google.
Honest reviews from customers who visit your business are likelier to stick around.
12) Incentivized Business Reviews
You can’t offer incentives in exchange for reviews. This includes giving customers discounts, coupons, or free products in exchange for a review. Google will remove these reviews.
Paid reviews are also not allowed. You can’t pay someone to write a positive review for your small business. Google will remove these reviews. If google finds that you’re paying for reviews, they may also penalize your business in the search results.
13) Incomplete Account
If the reviewer’s account is incomplete, their review may be removed. This includes if they don’t have a profile photo or haven’t verified their email address. The reviewer may also be using a fake name. To avoid having your reviews removed, make sure you’re only asking customers who have complete accounts.
Empty accounts are also more likely to be removed. This is because they’re often created for the sole purpose of leaving a review and don’t provide any other information about the reviewer. To avoid having your reviews removed, make sure you’re only asking customers who have complete accounts.
14) Duplicate Business Reviews
If you have multiple reviews from the same person, Google may remove them. This is because Google only allows one review per person. To avoid removing your reviews, be sure you’re only asking customers who haven’t left a review yet.
15) Employee Reviews
Employees can’t leave reviews for their small businesses. Google will remove these reviews. It’s a conflict of interest, as they’re biased towards their own company.
To avoid removing your business reviews, ensure you’re not asking employees to leave reviews.
16) Manipulated Ratings
Some companies have been known to manipulate their ratings by creating fake positive reviews or asking customers to leave positive reviews. Google is cracking down on this kind of activity and is increasingly removing fake reviews from its platform. If you suspect your reviews are being faked, you can report them to Google.
17) Inconsistent NAP Information
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. Your NAP information must be consistent across all platforms for your business to be considered legitimate by Google. If your NAP information is incorrect or missing on just one platform, it can trigger a review removal. Make sure that your NAP information is accurate and up-to-date on all platforms, including your website, Google My Business listing, and social media profiles.
18) Violation of Google’s Business Reviews Policies
Google has a set of policies that businesses must follow to maintain their reviews. Some of the most common violations include:
- Asking customers for reviews in exchange for discounts or coupons
- Posting reviews from family members or friends
- Posting fake positive reviews
- Soliciting negative reviews from competitors
Your reviews will likely be removed if you’ve violated any of these policies. To avoid this, ensure that you’re only asking customers who are happy with their experience to leave a review and that you’re not offering any incentives in exchange for reviews.
19) Offensive Language
If a review contains offensive language, it may be removed. This includes swear words, sexual references, and discriminatory remarks.
20) Legal Dispute
The review may be removed if there’s a legal dispute between you and the reviewer. This includes if the reviewer is making false claims about your business or if they’re violating your copyright.
How To Get Back Google Business Reviews
If your reviews were removed and you think it was done unfairly, you can appeal to Google. Your online reputation is important, so it’s worth taking the time to appeal your case.
To start the appeals process, you’ll need to sign in to your Google account and fill out this form. You’ll need to provide as much information as possible, including links to your reviews and evidence that they’re real. Once you’ve submitted the form, Google will review your case and decide.
It can take a few weeks for Google to review your appeal and decide on your missing reviews. In the meantime, you can reach out to the customers who left the reviews and ask them to post their reviews again.
To prevent your reviews from being removed in the future, make sure that you’re following all of Google’s guidelines. This includes avoiding offering incentives, not asking employees to leave reviews, watching for inappropriate content and possible spam, and only asking customers with complete accounts. Additionally, you should regularly check your account to see if there are any suspicious activities.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ll know that Google has been cracking down on fake reviews lately. They’re using advanced algorithms to identify and remove fake reviews, and it’s possible that some of your legitimate reviews are getting caught in the crossfire.
To regain deleted reviews, you’ll need to appeal to Google and provide evidence that your reviews are real. This can be a time-consuming process review process, but it’s worth it to maintain your online reputation.
To prevent your review content from being removed in the future, ensure you’re following all of Google’s guidelines.