As a Google Product Expert for Google Business Profiles, the main issue I have seen recently is authentic customer reviews not showing up for the business. This can be extremally frustrating for a business who values their reviews and understands how important it is to build their Google reviews. Reviews have a significant impact on branding and local SEO. With that in mind capturing all reviews is important to the business and missing even one can be burdensome to say the least.
Missing and Delayed Reviews
There are several reasons why a business is missing a Google review. The following article from Google will help you understand missing and delayed reviews. Google claims that most reviews are removed because they violate policy like spam, or inappropriate content. For a better understanding on what Google deems prohibited and restricted content click here. Like all things, Google isn’t perfect and they rely on their algorithms to help detect fake reviews.
Google’s goal is to provide user-generated content (“UGC”) to enhance user experience. They go to great lengths to ensure content published by users is helpful and authentic. Google states, “Deliberately fake content, copied or stolen photos, off-topic reviews, defamatory language, personal attacks, and unnecessary or incorrect content are all in violation of our policy.” For more information on the topic and to understand Google’s machine-learning algorithms read their Maps user-generated content policy.
Understanding Google’s Machine Learning Review Algorithm
Google uses a moderating system to make sure reviews are not violating any policies. That does not mean that a human is not factored into the moderation of reviews. Google invests in both tools and people to moderate reviews. However, the machine is the first line of defense.
- Does the content contain offensive or off-topic content?
- Does the Google account that left the review contain a history of suspicious behavior?
- Does the business suddenly have a increase in reviews over a short period of time?
- Has the business had negative press either on the news or social that would motivate fake reviews to be left?
If you feel that you are the victim of fake or fraudulent reviews, you can report them here.
What To Do if Your Authentic Reviews Were Flagged by Google’s Algorithm
- Get screenshots of the review from your customers
- Provide Your Business Name and link to your Google Business Profile
- Go on Google’s support forum and Ask the community for Help
Google provides its users with a group of Google Product Experts, like myself that can help frustrated users escalate missing reviews and suspension issues. A silver product expert and higher can escalate your review if you provide the above information for them. You can also try escalating your issue with Google support, https://support.google.com/business/gethelp. It could take up to three weeks to resolve your issue.
7 Factors to Consider When You are Missing Google Reviews
There have been a significant amount of Google Reviews that disappeared in 2021, below are some reasons why…
- There are known issues with reviews not getting published on older mobile phone and operating systems.
- Your customers just created a new Gmail account to leave you a review. Google’s algorithm can pick this up as a fake review. Make sure they post their photos on their profile as well as leave reviews for other businesses. Fake profiles typically don’t contain a photo, name or other information. If you are receiving multiple reviews from empty Gmail accounts, this is a trigger that the reviews were created by bots and are fake or paid.
- Reviewers cannot be on your Wi-Fi. If the review was written from an IP address used to manage your Google Business Profile, the spam filter could have been triggered.
- Reviews cannot contain phone numbers or URLs
- Get reviews on your Yelp and FB accounts. If you have 0 reviews on other platforms and several on Google this may look suspicious.
- Do not incentivize your customers to leave reviews.
- Reviews cannot be left by an employee.
At Reputation Arm we help manage our clients reviews, if your business is struggling to get their reviews posted or you feel that you have other underlying issues that have not been solved, reach out to us for help.