Why Have Some of My Google Reviews Disappeared?

Companies of all different sizes rely, to a degree, on trust-building customer testimonials to represent their brands. Reviews and testimonials help Internet users determine which companies they can trust with their business and which ones they pass up on. These reviews can be even more important to local businesses that rely on Yelp, Google Maps, and other organic sources for their foot traffic and web traffic. As 2020 comes to a close, we’ve noticed a large amount of companies losing some of the Google reviews that were previously connected to their Map listing. One might think that these Google reviews just vanished or disappeared, but there is a more logical reason why these reviews aren’t on display where they used to be.

Google’s Review Filter

As important as reviews are to Google and the businesses that rely on Google for exposure, there is a dark side of testimonials that play a role here: fake reviews. Fake reviews submitted by fake accounts are one of the many ways that businesses try to game the system, rigging Google’s Map Pack in their favor without really earning a solid reputation online. To keep these fake reviews out of hand, Google has designed and implemented a “review filter”. The purpose of this filter is to catch fake reviews every so often and remove these illegitimate reviews from the system, thus keeping them from giving any business an unfair advantage. In theory, this is a foolproof idea that could only have positive impacts. The problem here is that the Google review filter makes mistakes sometimes. Sometimes, the filter perceives a legitimate review to be illegitimate because of certain factors, even if it’s from a real customer with a real perspective. Anything ranging from a reviewer’s IP address or their connection to your WiFi network to attached links or profane language could trigger Google’s review filter. This causes the filter to remove the real review from the system, as well as your Google business listing.

What Can You Do?

If you’ve become a victim of stripped reviews, there are a couple of things you can do to make the most out of the situation. First, ask yourself, do you have a “review station” or “review tablet” at your business’s physical location? Is there a chance that a considerate amount of customers are reviewing your business from your location, IP address, or even your Wifi network. If this is the case, you have two options. Option #1 is to consider looking into a dynamic IP address and working with your service provider to reset your address and system. As option #2, consider adopting an external communications strategy like email marketing or follow-up calls. This way, you can encourage clients to leave reviews, but you can also make sure that they are back home when they do this.

However, what if the issue triggering Google’s review filter isn’t the proximity of reviewers to your business? Maybe you don’t have a review station, customer tablet, or even Wi-Fi for clients. Then what can you do to combat disappearing reviews? The second and most important thing you can do to maintain good ratings and reviews in light of disappearing testimonials is to continue to solicit reviews from your happy consumers. Don’t get discouraged by the circumstances. Making sure that you have a consistent flow of positive, insightful reviews from your clients means that you can afford to lose a couple of gems. Control what you can control by delivering on promises to customers, communicating the importance of their positive reviews to you, and encouraging them to share their positive experiences with your company on Google. Making sure to keep the process going is one of the most important things you can do to combat stripped reviews.

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