In the digital age, public business reviews have become the cornerstone of online reputation management. Among these, Google reviews hold a special place. They appear directly on your Google business profile, influencing how potential clients perceive your services. When people search for your business on Google, these reviews are often the first thing they see. They can either make or break your online reputation.
The Importance of Google Reviews
Google reviews are not just testimonials; they are powerful tools that can significantly impact your business. They are key components of a healthy Google search engine optimization strategy. When someone searches for services similar to yours, Google uses these reviews to determine your ranking on the search page. More Google reviews often translate to higher visibility on Google search console, leading to increased search traffic to your business page.
Why are Google reviews disappearing en masse?
However, a new issue has surfaced over the past couple of years: Google reviews disappear without warning. This phenomenon of disappearing Google reviews overnight has left many business owners puzzled and frustrated. If you've ever thought, "Why did my Google review disappear?", you're not alone. Many are grappling with the same issue, wondering if they'll ever get new reviews again or if their existing positive reviews will vanish overnight.
The Questions That Arise
Is it a glitch causing these Google reviews to disappear, or is Google intentionally removing them? Could it be that Google removes reviews because they violate some hidden criteria? Or worse, are these missing reviews the result of some nefarious activity, like fake reviews being posted from the same IP address as delete reviews? The questions are many, and the answers are not straightforward.
The Impact on Business Owners
For a business owner, each Google review removed can feel like a blow to their online reputation. These are not just missing reviews; they are missing opportunities to attract new clients. Each positive review that disappears from your Google business profile reviews section can result in a potential loss of business. On the flip side, if negative reviews disappear, it might seem like a good thing initially, but it raises questions about the integrity of additional review and writing up your Google business profile.
By now, you're probably wondering how to tackle this issue of Google reviews disappearing. What steps can you take to safeguard your valuable online reviews? And how can you prevent future Google reviews from disappearing?
Why Did My Google Review Get Removed?
Before diving into the nitty-gritty, it's essential to have a roadmap. This article aims to cover the following topics:
- Why Google reviews disappear from your Google business profile
- The top reasons that Google reviews go missing
- What you can do about missing Google reviews
This comprehensive guide will serve as your go-to resource for understanding why Google reviews disappear and how to manage your online reputation effectively.
Source and Reasons for Disappearing Reviews
The Complexity of the Issue
Understanding why Google reviews disappear from your Google business profile is not a straightforward task. The reasons can range from algorithmic changes to manual interventions by Google. The issue has become so prevalent that it's affecting multiple industries, from healthcare providers like doctors and dentists to service providers like plumbers and electricians. Even online storefronts are not immune to this phenomenon of disappearing Google reviews.
The Role of Algorithms and AI
One of the primary reasons for missing Google reviews is Google's sophisticated algorithmic review filter. This AI-driven system is designed to keep the review process fair and unbiased. It scans each review posted on a Google business profile page for signs of spam or guideline violations. For instance, if a customer writes unique reviews that contain certain flagged keywords or come from the same IP address, the AI might consider them as spam reviews and remove them.
The Human Factor
However, algorithms are not the only reason your Google reviews may disappear. Human factors also play a role. For example, if the reviewer deleted their review, it would naturally disappear from your Google business profile reviews section. Additionally, if a review appears to be fake or violates Google's guidelines, it may be manually removed by Google's team.
The Influence of External Agencies
Some experts believe that external pressures, such as those from the Federal Trade Commission, may be influencing Google's decision to remove reviews. These agencies may be pushing Google to be more stringent in monitoring Google reviews, leading to an increase in deleted Google reviews.
The Importance of Staying Active
Your activity level on your Google business profile account also impacts the visibility of your reviews. If you're not updating your business information, posting updates, or responding to reviews, Google might consider your business account to be inactive. This could result in your Google reviews disappearing from your Google business profile dashboard.
The Checklist of Reasons
To summarize, here are some of the reasons why Google reviews disappear:
- Algorithmic filters
- Manual removal by Google
- Reviewer deleted their review
- Inactivity on your Google business profile
- External pressures from regulatory agencies
Understanding these reasons can help you take proactive steps to prevent your Google reviews from disappearing in the future.
Why Did My Google Review Get Removed?
The Algorithmic Review Filter
One of the most significant reasons why Google reviews disappear is the algorithmic review filter employed by Google. This AI-driven system is designed to keep the Google my business page review process fair and unbiased. It scans each review posted on a Google business profile page for signs of spam or guideline violations. If a review is flagged, it may be removed from your Google business profile reviews section, affecting your overall rating and online reputation.
The Role of AI in Review Management
Google's use of AI in managing online reviews is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it helps in filtering out fake reviews and spam, ensuring that only legitimate reviews appear on your Google business profile. On the other hand, the AI is not perfect and sometimes flags honest reviews as spam, leading to valuable online reviews being deleted. For example, its link spam update in 2021 helped keep quality content ranking high in search results.
The Impact of Algorithmic Changes
Google frequently updates its algorithms, and these changes can affect your Google business profile reviews. For instance, a recent update might focus on removing reviews that contain URLs or phone numbers, leading to a sudden drop in your review count. Business owners need to stay updated on these algorithmic changes to understand why their Google reviews may be disappearing.
Here’s a snapshot of the number of complaints about Google reviews disappearing between Q2 2019 and Q4 2022:
The data clearly shows complaints building as time goes on. Some business owners claim that review purges are occurring in "waves" and that they can do little to fix the problems.
Ultimately, it's wise to keep reviews within the scope of Google's spam sensitivity and content violation triggers. However, as a business owner, you have little control over what people write in their positive or negative Google reviews.
The Link Spam Update
In 2021, Google rolled out a link spam update aimed at improving the quality of search results. This update also had an impact on Google business profile reviews. Reviews containing links or promotional content were flagged and removed, leading to a decrease in the total number of reviews on many Google business profiles.
By understanding the role of algorithms and AI in the Google review process, you can take steps to ensure that all your reviews remain visible. This involves encouraging your customers to leave reviews that adhere to Google's guidelines and regularly monitoring your Google business profile dashboard to check for any missing Google reviews.
What you can do, however, is:
- Reach out to Google for help
- Ask reviewers to adhere to Google’s guidelines
- Encourage reviewers to use other platforms where possible
The Top 12 Reasons That Google Reviews Go Missing
Google review removal via AI is helping clear up review spam but is also causing mass headaches for innocent businesses.
Provided your reviews pass Google’s legitimacy checks, you can expect them to stay “live” on your business profile.
Ideally, legitimate Google reviews that don’t vanish should look like the screenshot below from our clients at Grillo Law:
However, you can’t always blame the algorithm for losing online reviews.
You should also be aware of 12 other reasons why you could lose testimonials on your Google Business profile.
|Why are my Google reviews being deleted?||Summary|
|The reviewer didn’t leave a star rating||No star ratings can indicate fraudulent reviews|
|Google disabled your listing or category||Google removes listings and categories that seem problematic|
|The review is flagged as spam||A review triggers one or more of Google’s automated spam flags|
|The reviewer’s Google account is incomplete or unavailable||Google reviews disappear after reviewers delete their accounts|
|Google removed the review because it violated the guidelines||A review breaches appropriate content rules set by Google (such as harmful rhetoric)|
|The reviews are long-standing||Some older reviews might disappear as they no longer meet standards|
|Reviews are promotional in tone and content||Google restricts anti-competitive content|
|You’re not active enough on Google Business||Google freezes and deletes Google Business accounts if they’re inactive|
|There’s a location issue||Reviews made too close or too far away from a business may look fraudulent|
|Google recently reinstated your Google Business Profile (GBP) – formerly known as Google My Business||It can take a little time for reviews to reappear after reinstating|
|The reviewer deleted their review||Reviewers have full ownership rights over their content|
|The reviewer left a URL or phone number in the review||Google views URLs and contact details as flags for fraud and/or malicious engineering|
Let’s cover them in more detail.
Detailed Explanation of the Top 12 Reasons
The Reviewer Didn’t Leave a Star Rating
One of the most straightforward reasons why Google reviews disappear is the absence of a star rating. Google aims to provide comprehensive information to its users, and a review without a star rating is considered incomplete. Therefore, such reviews are automatically removed from your Google business profile reviews section. As a business owner, you can encourage your customers to not just write a review but also leave positive reviews with a star rating to ensure that their feedback remains visible on your Google business profile page.
Google Disabled Your Listing or Category
Another reason that can lead to disappearing Google reviews is the disabling of your business listing or category by Google. If this happens, all reviews associated with that listing or category will be removed. This is often the result of a violation of Google's guidelines or due to incorrect information on your business profile. It's crucial to regularly check your Google business profile account to ensure that all the information is accurate and up-to-date to prevent such incidents.
The Review is Flagged as Spam
Google's algorithm is designed to flag reviews that appear to be spammy. This could be due to the use of certain keywords, phrases, or even because multiple reviews are coming from the same IP address. If the algorithm detects such activity, the same review name will be removed from your Google business profile. As a business owner, it's essential to ensure that your customers are writing unique reviews from different IP addresses to avoid triggering Google's spam filters. Google advises its spam detection measures are fully automated. However, it also states that “some legitimate reviews may be inadvertently removed.”
The Reviewer’s Google Account is Incomplete or Unavailable
If the reviewer's Google account is incomplete or has been disabled for some reason, their reviews will also be removed from the review website. This is why it's essential to encourage your customers to complete their Google profiles before leaving reviews on your Google business profile reviews section.
Google Removed the Review Because It Violated the Guidelines
Google has specific guidelines that all reviews must adhere to. These guidelines are designed to maintain the integrity of the review process and ensure that all reviews are honest and unbiased. If a review violates these guidelines, it will be removed, affecting your overall rating on your Google business profile.
By understanding these top reasons, you can take proactive steps to ensure that your Google reviews remain visible. This involves regularly monitoring your Google business profile review dashboard, encouraging your customers to leave complete and honest reviews, and staying updated on Google's guidelines and algorithmic changes.
For example, Google flags the following as in violation:
Google Flags The Following As In Violation:
- Reviews that are spam or fake
- Duplicate reviews that inflate a company’s score
- Biased or deceptive content (e.g., written by you or someone who works for you)
- Illegal content (e.g., regarding gambling, firearms, or narcotics)
- Offensive, dangerous, explicit, derogatory, and threatening content
The Reviews Are Long-Standing
Google's algorithms are continually evolving, and one of the factors that may affect your Google business profile reviews is the age of the reviews. Older reviews, especially those that no longer reflect the current state of your business, may be removed. This is why it's crucial for business owners to continually seek new reviews to keep their Google business profile up-to-date and relevant.
For instance, a digital marketing manager for a law firm based in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, reported Google erased more than 90 reviews across seven years of public business listing.
It’s unclear whether or not age has a bearing on the deletion crisis beyond the fact some customer reviews may no longer be relevant.
For example, your business may have:
- Moved location
- Replaced staff
- Changed niche or specialty
In this particular case, it may be that older reviews previously considered permissible simply no longer adhere to Google’s changing algorithms.
Reviews are Promotional in Tone and Content
Google aims to provide unbiased and honest reviews to its users. Therefore, reviews that are overly promotional or appear to be advertisements will be flagged and removed. This is particularly important for business owners to note, as encouraging customers to leave promotional content in their reviews can lead to these reviews disappearing from your Google business profile.
You’re Not Active Enough on Google Business
Your activity level on your Google business profile account also impacts the visibility of your reviews. If you're not updating your fake business profile listings and information, posting updates, or responding to reviews, Google might consider your business account to be inactive. This could result in your Google reviews disappearing from your Google business profile dashboard. Therefore, it's essential to be active on your Google business profile to maintain a robust online reputation.
For example, it intends to deactivate Google Business Profiles that don’t receive updates within six months. This rule leads to the risk of reviews getting deleted.
It's part of Google's push to purge "dead" accounts. Google’s content policy also includes a two-year expiry policy for general Google accounts.
It’s wise to keep your Google Business Profile as active as possible.
Your GBP helps searchers find you easier online, and you can share posts important to you and your clients. It's a key component of off-page SEO (how people perceive you outside your website).
If you haven’t logged in, replied to reviews, and/or made changes to your Business Profile within six months, Google may restrict your account and potentially delete reviews.
Naturally, once your profile’s gone for good, so are your reviews.
You'll have to start again if your profile and reviews are no longer visible. Re-register, and make sure to pass Google’s video verification.
There’s a Location Issue
Google places a lot of emphasis on the accuracy of location data. If the location data for your business is incorrect or misleading, Google may remove reviews to prevent misleading other users. This is especially important for businesses with multiple locations. Make sure that each business location has its own accurate Google business profile to prevent reviews from disappearing.
For example, a reviewer leaving comments from Glasgow, UK, may seem a strange customer for a lawyer based in Toronto, Canada.
There’s nothing to say the review isn’t legitimate, but Google might flag it.
Google Recently Reinstated Your Google Business Profile (Google My Business Account)
If your Google business profile has been reinstated after being disabled, you may find that some or all of your reviews have been removed. This is why it's crucial to adhere to Google's guidelines to prevent your Google business profile account from being disabled in the first place.
By understanding these additional reasons, you can take further steps to ensure the visibility and longevity of your Google reviews. This includes being active on your business's Google accounts and business profile, ensuring the accuracy of your business information, and continually seeking new reviews to keep your profile current and relevant.
The Reviewer Deleted Their Review
Sometimes the reason for a missing review is as simple as the reviewer choosing to delete it. While this is beyond the control of the business owner, it's essential to remember that each review contributes to your overall online reputation. If a reviewer deleted their review, it might be worth reaching out to understand why, especially if it was a positive review that added value to your Google business profile.
The Reviewer Left a URL or Phone Number in the Review
Google's guidelines strictly prohibit the inclusion of URLs or phone numbers in reviews. Such reviews are automatically flagged and removed from your Google business profile reviews section. As a business owner, it's advisable to inform your customers about this guideline when you encourage them to leave reviews. This ensures that their valuable feedback remains visible on your Google business profile page.
What You Can Do About Missing Google Reviews
Steps to Retrieve Deleted Reviews
If you find that some of your Google reviews have disappeared, don't panic. There are several steps you can take to address this issue and potentially retrieve those valuable online reviews. Here's a detailed guide:
Raise a Case with Google: The first step in dealing with missing Google reviews is to contact Google support and Raise a Google support case. Provide as many details as possible about the deleted reviews, including screenshots if available. This is crucial for Google's review process to understand the context and potentially restore the reviews to your Google business profile.
- Supply More Details When Requested: Google may ask for additional information via email. Comply as much as possible to facilitate the review process. The more information you provide, the better your chances of having your Google reviews restored.
- Keep an Open Mind: Google's algorithms are complex, and there's no guarantee that your missing reviews will be restored. However, it's essential to keep an open mind and wait for Google to complete its investigation.
- Prevent Future Deletion: To prevent future instances of Google reviews disappearing, advise your customers to adhere strictly to Google's guidelines when leaving reviews. This includes not using promotional language and ensuring that their Google accounts are complete and active.
- Diversify Review Platforms: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on multiple review sites, not just your Google business profile. This ensures that you have a backup of valuable customer feedback in case of future issues with Google reviews disappearing.
- Use a Business Review Backup Template: Consider using a business review backup template to keep a record of all reviews received. This can be a simple spreadsheet where you copy and paste each review as it comes in. This way, even if reviews are deleted, you still have a record of them.
While we recommend you contact Google to reinstate any review content you believe was deleted erroneously, it's just as important to focus on gathering new reviews.
Continue providing great service and encouraging legitimate feedback, and you'll quickly rebuild a presence with positive reviews.
Capturing longer testimonials for your website can also help improve its conversion rates.
Google Reviews Disappeared FAQs
Now you know why Google may delete your reviews and what to do about it, here are a few final thoughts worth addressing.
Does Google tell you if they remove a review?
Google doesn't inform all business owners why it removes reviews from their profiles.
If you request a review removal, Google will typically confirm it within three to four business days.
How do Google reviews get removed?
Typically, Google removes reviews if its algorithm picks up on content it believes to be spam or violating guidelines.
Google will also remove reviews if users delete their review content outright. If you wish to remove content on behalf of your business, you can flag it as an “inappropriate review,” and Google will consider it for removal.
Why do Google reviews disappear after editing?
If you're leaving a review and it disappears after you edited it, Google may have deleted it, believing it to be spam.
Google removes comments and reviews that appear biased, contain contact details, and carry geolocations too "close" or too "far" from the business premises.
There are multiple other reasons why Google deletes reviews after editing. Our complete list above goes into more detail.
Can a business remove a Google review if it’s bad?
Google will only remove reviews it deems harmful, fake, biased, or otherwise violating its content guidelines.
It’s not possible to remove reviews simply because they contain negative feedback from unhappy customers.
Google wants to retain legitimate reviews that accurately depict the standards of service businesses provide and will not honor a removal request for bad Google reviews.
Communicating with your reviewers is the best way to turn a bad review around. They may edit or delete their review and low star rating if you provide a better customer experience.
Is it possible to view deleted Google reviews?
At the time of writing, it’s not possible to revisit Google reviews once deleted. Google doesn’t have an official process, and they advise that once they remove a review, it’s gone for good.
Always back up your published Google reviews in a separate document should you need to ask for Google’s help in the future.
Can someone else remove Google reviews from my profile?
The only people who can delete reviews are the reviewers and Google (via AI). Reviewers can delete their content at any time.
Google can delete reviews if they violate content policy or if you raise a complaint and they decide in your favor.
How long does it take to remove reviews from Google?
Google review removal may take about three days to process after your request. However, this depends on whether or not Google believes you have a legitimate cause to delete the review.
Google routinely deletes reviews as per its AI and spam detection in what some business owners believe are "regular waves."
However, there's no official timetable or schedule to suggest this.
So, Your Google Reviews Disappeared: What’s Next?
Next Steps for Businesses
If you find yourself wondering, “Why are my Google reviews disappearing,” especially when you have nothing to hide, your next steps are clear:
- Reach Out to Google: The first and most crucial step is to contact Google support. Use your Google business profile account to raise a case and provide all the necessary details. This is the starting point for resolving the issue of your Google reviews disappearing.
- Follow Google's Recommendations: Once you've raised a case, Google may provide specific recommendations. These could range from updating your business information on your Google business profile to ensuring that your reviews adhere to Google's guidelines. Follow these recommendations diligently to increase the chances of your missing Google reviews being restored.
- Rethink Your Feedback Strategy: Relying solely on Google for reviews is a risky strategy. Diversify your review platforms to build a more robust online reputation. Consider using services that track online reviews across multiple platforms to get a comprehensive view of your online reputation.
Although Google reviews are fantastic at driving traffic to your website, there are more ways to build up your reputation across the web.
Final Thoughts About Google Business Reviews
Google reviews are crucial for driving traffic to your website and building your online reputation. However, it's essential to remember that there are other ways to establish your credibility on the web. Online business reviews on other platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor also play a significant role in shaping your online reputation. If you need help managing your online reputation, experts in the field of great online reviews are available to assist you.
In conclusion, while the disappearance of Google reviews can be disconcerting, it's not the end of the world. By understanding the reasons behind this phenomenon and taking proactive steps, you can safeguard your online reputation and continue to grow your business.
The Role of Google Maps in Reviews
It's worth noting that Google reviews are also visible on Google Maps, and the Google Maps app plays a role in the review process for multiple business locations. If there's a Google Maps bug or a location issue, it could affect the visibility of your reviews. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure that your business location is accurately represented on both your Google business profile and Google Maps to prevent reviews from disappearing.
The Importance of Monitoring Online Reviews
Given the various reasons why Google reviews can disappear, it's crucial for business owners to regularly monitor their Google business profile dashboard. This allows you to quickly identify any missing Google reviews and take corrective action, such as contacting Google support services, tracking online reviews or requesting additional review write-ups from your customers.
The Bottom Line
Understanding the myriad reasons why Google reviews disappear can help you take proactive steps to safeguard your online reputation. This involves not just monitoring your Google business profile but also educating your customers on how to leave reviews that adhere to Google's guidelines. By doing so, you can ensure that your Google business profile remains an accurate and positive reflection of your business, attracting more customers and driving your own business' growth.
If you need help managing your online reputation, don’t forget that dNOVO experts are on hand for you.
In the meantime, ensure your Google Business Profile is complete and ready for future feedback.