So, you’re about to update your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) when you notice something odd – you have reviews missing. Even worse, these reviews all came from satisfied customers.
We can presume what came next was a frustrated, “What the heck?”
We know how frustrating it is to have your Google reviews removed without warning, especially when they’re positive. You’ve worked so hard to earn them, and just like that, they’re nowhere to be found.
Don’t worry. You’re not the only one. Hundreds of other businesses have been there. Like you, they turned to Google and typed “Why did Google delete my reviews?” to get answers.
While the most common reason is that Google’s spam detection algorithm has flagged certain reviews, which inevitably led the search engine to remove them, there could be multiple factors at play.
And, now that you’re here, you can get a better understanding of all that could’ve had an impact.
But before we can get into the why’s of Google erasing your reviews, let’s talk about the importance of online reviews first.
Businesses such as yourself can benefit greatly from gaining customer reviews and displaying them on your website, social channels, and of course, third-party review sites.
Let’s keep it real. Not everyone will believe everything you say about your company. No matter how much money you’ve invested to promote your name, consumers will be skeptical since they know you’re just being biased like all the other brands out there.
This is never the case for personal recommendations and word of mouth. People tend to trust reviews since they come from actual customers who have experienced the product or service themselves.
In fact, 84% of customers explained that online reviews played a crucial role in their purchasing decisions. 68% of them would form an opinion of a product or service after reading one to six reviews about it.
Reviews can help your target audience view you as a reputable brand. Knowing that your products and/or services have made people happy or solved their problems will no doubt increase their trust in you.
And, the more they trust you, the more likely they’ll buy from you in the future.
One way to discover how your business is doing is by analyzing the reviews left by your customers. By going through them, you’ll be able to identify valuable insights such as what your audience truly wants, which of your offerings are performing well, and which ones need improvement.
Having this knowledge will make it easier for you to create a more positive experience for consumers as you focus on fulfilling their desires – thus, getting prospects to convert and existing customers to come back.
Not many know that online reviews can actually help them rank well in local search.
That’s because Google wants to offer nothing but the best for its users, which in this case would be businesses with commendable reviews.
Positive reviews of your company across various third-party websites will tell Google that you have a good reputation. Realizing this, it will favor you over your competitors by ranking you high.
This gives you the opportunity to get discovered easily by your target audience, which is definitely a goal you’d want to accomplish.
Online reviews serve as a platform for consumers to express whatever’s on their mind. At the same time, they allow you to communicate with your customers openly and honestly.
You get to reinforce positive reviews with your sincerest gratitude and respond to bad ones professionally and genuinely.
Acknowledging their comments and taking the time to reply will give your customers a reason to remain loyal, as they see you as a brand that really cares. Especially if you know how to handle negative feedback with grace, you’ll attract new customers and retain old ones with ease.
With these incredible benefits online reviews bring to your business, it’s easy to get annoyed after learning that Google had them removed.
Again, there’s a massive chance that such reviews are going against specific guidelines, considering that these guidelines were created to prevent inappropriate content.
And so, to end the mystery once and for all, we’ve listed down all the possible reasons as to why Google decided to delete some reviews from your customers.
It goes without saying that reviews should reflect a real-life experience from actual customers. They should be 100% unique and shouldn’t be found on other platforms. Otherwise, Google will flag them for removal.
Any review that has a phone number or URL is usually tagged as spam, so it’s best to ask your customers not to include them when they’re writing a review.
Reviews that have inappropriate content, profanity, or offensive language are immediately removed. The same goes for reviews that are deemed derogatory or dangerous, such as those that harass or intimidate others.
If Google deletes a review and the customer tries to add the same review the second time around, it will only meet the same fate again.
Google knows all – at least it seems that way nowadays. In fact, Google will note if your location isn’t verified. That’s why the set-up stage is so important!
Additionally, getting reviews on other sites can improve your online authority and let Google know that you’re legit! It all comes full circle, playing a role in keeping your reviews intact.
Conflict of interest is another reason that could explain the disappearance of your reviews. These are reviews that were left by anyone in your company, even if they did purchase your products and/or services.
Google has gotten so smart that it now can detect a user’s IP address. Once it knows that someone has left a review from inside your store, it will more than likely remove it. This is especially true if several customers are leaving reviews from the same IP.
As with a review that was written from your store, any review that was posted somewhere extremely far is bound for removal.
If you happen to ship products or serve clients in different parts of the country or world, make sure to let Google know of those places so it won’t flag reviews coming from them.
Imagine if you come across a business that has zero reviews in almost a year, and it suddenly receives 30 reviews in just a single night. Sounds impossible, right? Google would say so, thus removing such reviews.
If, for some reason, your Google Business Profile was suspended and then reinstated, expect a few of your reviews to disappear. Fortunately, you can get them back by submitting a support ticket for assistance.
Fake profiles don’t typically display names, images, or other details. And so, if your business gets dozens of reviews from empty accounts, Google will suspect that either they originate from bots, you paid for them, or you were desperate enough to create them.
Customers are only allowed to review a business based on their personal experiences. If they share a review that retells the experience of a friend, relative, co-worker, or anyone other than themselves, Google may unpublish that review.
Just because Google’s the largest search engine in the world doesn’t mean that it doesn’t experience any issues anymore. There are instances where it would face bugs and glitches, causing reviews to go bye-bye all of a sudden.
If you’ve been proactive with your marketing leading up to the opening of a new location, you can set an opening date through Google. However, if you start getting reviews prior to opening, Google will most likely remove them. How can someone have an experience at your location if the location isn’t up and running yet?
With the exception of reviews removed due to a suspended Google account, there’s no guarantee that you’ll successfully restore your missing reviews.
Google’s documentation even pointed out that reviews that weren’t flagged for policy violations are no longer eligible to reappear on your profile. Then again, you can always try reaching out to Google.
If all else fails, we’re here to help you fill those vacant spaces in your review section. Here are several proven ways to score legitimate reviews:
This should go without saying but doing right by your consumers can go a long way! Providing top notch service is the ultimate way to get reviews.
You can send an email to consumers after they’ve worked with or purchased from your company! Encourage them to share their experience on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or another relevant review site.
You may not know it but responding to reviews can influence others to leave their own reviews as well. Seeing that you’re listening to your consumers will give them the notion that you’re open to opinions, good or bad. Be sure to avoid providing the same generic reply, as it could give the assumption that you’re not really reading the comments.
Posting a feedback form on your website is a simple yet one of the most effective methods to generate legit reviews. The trick is to keep the form incredibly visible and easy to fill out.
Also, if you have a blog or you offer customer support, make it a point to add a CTA at the end of each content to encourage your audience to provide feedback.
Google neglecting to show reviews is just as common as it removes them. For instance, there may be times when a review shows up on Search but not on Maps, or vice versa. When this happens, your best bet is to wait a few days for the review to appear. If it still fails to surface, it's most certainly another issue that you need to address with the Google Business Profile support team.
As the number of fake reviews has drastically soared, Google sent a statement to the FTC in January 2023, announcing that they’ve implemented strict policies that prohibit fraudulent content.
The platform is now using advanced machine learning models to detect and remove inauthentic reviews. These automated systems are designed to perform crucial tasks such as:
Of course, Google would also rely on a team of analysts to further validate that they’re dealing with spam accounts. This blend of human expertise and machine intelligence bolsters Google's effort in catching more sophisticated or nuanced attempts of fake review manipulation that may fool automated systems.
One particular incident that highlighted this strategy involved their systems detecting a coordinated attack of fake reviews, which were then further scrutinized by the human reviewers. They unveiled a whole network of spam accounts churning out fake reviews.
It doesn’t stop at written reviews though. Google’s also taking steps to combat fraud in other forms of content. In fact, they’ve deployed machine learning systems to scan images uploaded by businesses. Here, they scout for things like phone numbers of QR codes that could misdirect calls or traffic away from the business and straight to the scammer.
Through all these measures, Google is pulling out all the stops to keep their platform a safe and reliable place for their millions of users around the globe. So far, their efforts have been successful – with over 200 million photos, seven million videos, and more than 115 million reviews removed or blocked.
Google has promised their users that they will continue to address these issues for as long as they could, adding that they’re constantly working to innovate and improve their systems to detect and counter fabricated reviews.
While we could only hope for the best that you can get those deleted reviews back, you can count on our team here at Digital Resource to give your business a strong online presence like never before!
Not only do we specialize in reputation management, but we’re also experts when it comes to other online marketing tactics to grow your brand – from SEO and web design to content creation and social media marketing.
Book a free consultation with us today!