Why does Google Delete Reviews?
You received a wonderful review and then noticed it had disappeared a few days later. When you go to your Google Business Profile page (formerly Google My Business and I will use both terms throughout this article), it’s a real bummer to discover that a beautiful 5-star rating has disappeared. But where is it?!
Like you, as a small business owner, I am thrilled to receive an email stating that our new 5-star customer has reviewed our Google Business Profile! It is a wonderful feeling to know we have done a good job and that our customers are happy with the service and want to spread the word about our business. Don’t be scared to request that your customers leave a review on the Google Business Profile Page if you don’t have any online reviews.
This post was inspired after receiving an email from a customer. I helped him to create a link directly to the Google Review box. He shared the link with clients, and Google Reviews began to pour in because of his excellent service. He woke up one morning to discover that six Google Business Profile Reviews were missing. Oh no!
He wanted to find out why his Google reviews had disappeared, how to get them back, and what to do to stop more Google reviews being removed.
Googling Missing Google Reviews
We regularly monitor Google reviews of our client’s businesses at Search Centered, which is part of our normal business process.
This post is likely to have been found via Google. “missing Google Reviews” A quick Google search will reveal that this problem is common among many business owners. Google’s search results are awash with stories of business owners whose Google Business Profile reviews disappeared.
If you ask, “Why have my Google My Business Reviews disappeared?” There is a common (and general) answer: Google’s algorithm for spam detection has flagged and removed some of your reviews.
We are happy to evaluate your online reviews to find out why they have disappeared.
Google Business Profile Review Disappearance: Possible Causes
Google does not outline all aspects of its spam detection algorithm. However, it does provide Google review guidelines. Ask yourself these questions if a Google Review has been removed from your Google Business Profile. Google will remove any reviews that do not follow their review guidelines.
- Did the review include a URL?
If the review contains a URL, then it is likely spam. The review will be removed. As a Marketing Company, we ask our clients not to include URLs so that it does not accidentally be flagged as spam. We ask instead for a review that we can post on our website.
- Did the review include a telephone number?
A phone number is one of the biggest triggers for spam. A phone number is not necessary in a review.
- Have you received any other online reviews?
This could explain why you’ve deleted some reviews. It’s not normal and spontaneous for every customer to leave a review on Google My Business. It’s a sign of spam, or perhaps you are over-coaching your customers on how to leave reviews for your business. Instead, try a different approach – request a review on Facebook about half the time.
4 . Does the review appear on other websites?
The duplicate review that appears on Google My Business could be removed if the same review is posted on Facebook, Yelp or a testimonials page on your site. It’s great that your customers are so happy with you, they want to share it with everyone ?!?! The downside is that if the customer does not write unique reviews for each review site, they may be removed. This applies to Google Business Profile as well.
5 . Is this reviewer the manager of your Google My Business or Google+ account?
Google may consider a review written by the manager of a business’s Google account to be a conflict. In general, the person who manages your Google My Business is not a client. Most likely, they are an employee or service provider. Customers should leave reviews.
- Are you the employee of the reviewer?
Even if an employee purchased your product or service, it can be seen as conflicting interest when they review their employer on Google Business Profile. Many employers require employees to give positive reviews or provide incentives for them to do so.
- Did the reviewer write it from your business?
The IP address is important (used to determine the physical location of the computer). The spam filter may have been activated if the review was posted from the IP address associated with your Google My Business account.
- Is the IP address the same as the other reviews?
If many reviews come from the same IP outside your business, spam filters may be activated. The reviews will most likely be spam or fake if this happens. It’s unlikely that your business has received 19 genuine reviews from the exact same location.
- Does your company have a “reviewing station”?
If all reviews come from the same IP address, the spam detector will be triggered. Give your customers an easy-to-remember URL for reviews and allow them to leave a review on their cell phones.
- Your review was written at a distance that was TOO great from the location of your business.
You need to create a Google Business Profile to reflect this. You must tell Google from your Google My Business profile where you are shipping products. In the section “I deliver products and services to my clients at their location”, make sure you set up the states or countries where your product will be shipped. Google will not flag reviews that are posted across the country or the world.
- Was there a multiple posting of the same review?
Google will remove a review if it is flagged by the customer and then added again.
- Have you received a lot of positive reviews recently?
The spam detectors can be activated if your Google Business Profile page is inundated with a large number reviews within a short period of time. You may have read our post get more Google reviews. Make sure you only ask a small number of customers for a review at one time. You’ll be alarmed if you have 500 customers you need to contact and you suddenly get 50 new reviews on your Google My Business page.
- Many of your online reviews come from the same place?
Your reviews may not seem spontaneous if you direct your customers to a page that says “Leave Us a Review”. You can do this by sending them there before directing them to your Google My Business profile. Google prefers reviews that are spontaneous and appear “in the wild”. It is likely that Google will record the referring URL to see that your reviews all come from one central hub. can be used to send an email with the link for your Google review. The email address of the client will be used as the referrer.
- Have you got multiple business locations in your company?
Have you created multiple Google My Business Pages for your business? Customer service is excellent! Your customers love your products and services and want to spread the word about you. They love you that much they go to the Google Business Profile pages of all the locations your business has within the metro area and leave their review. If the same reviewer has left the exact same review at multiple locations, the duplicate reviews (or all of them) will likely be removed.
- Are you getting an unusually high number of reviews for your Google Business Profile?
This could be a cause for concern if your business receives more reviews than others in your city/area or industry. Don’t be surprised if you lose many reviews if your business is located in a rural town with 1000 residents, but has 4000 business ratings. Why does the pizza place only have eight Google Business Profile Reviews?
- The reviewer removed their review from the Google Business Profile Page.
Reviewers can remove their reviews later. This is a pretty straightforward determination, and one that I make often when monitoring Google My Business Reviews for clients.
- Does the reviewer’s Google account have no content?
Fake profiles often do not include a photo or any other information. Real accounts will never be completely blank. If a business receives a lot of reviews on empty accounts, it is likely that these reviews are fake or paid.
- Does the reviewer have a Google account?
Google Business Profile reviews can only be left by users who have Google accounts. The reviews associated with a Google Account are also deleted when the account is deleted. When we monitor Google reviews on behalf of clients, the same conclusion is often reached when a user deletes their review.
- Google My Business: Have you used it recently?
It’s possible your business is unverified if you haven’t been active in Google Business Profile for six months. Be sure to check your Google My Business Page regularly. You don’t need to do much to keep your Google Business Profile active. Install the Google Business Profile App (Android or iPhone), and respond to reviews. Thank people for leaving a review.
- Are all your reviews the same in appearance and tone?
There’s a good chance that the spam alarm will go off if all your reviews come from accounts with profile pictures, all use perfect grammar and capitalization, and mention your business. This is a common problem I encounter – it was also the case for the client I spoke of at the start of this article. My client was one of those business owners who were TOO good at coaching customers to leave a review. Request a Google Review but do not over-coach or offer pre-made templates.
- The review was written in the third person.
Reviewers are only allowed to write about their own experiences with your business. It is not permitted to use a reviewer’s experience or that of a family member or friend. Reviews can only be written in the first person. The reviewer can’t leave a comment on behalf of someone else.
- The review was “clean ?”
Reviews are prohibited from containing profanity, hate speeches, offensive language, and personal attacks. The filters will remove the review if the content is of this type. You should ask to remove any Google reviews that contain this type of language.
- Do you offer incentives to customers who leave reviews?
Offer no discounts, coupons, or free products as an incentive to customers to write a review. You may lose your entire review list if Google finds out. You are more likely than not to get a positive review when you offer an incentive. This can lead to incorrectly skewed results. Offer no incentives in exchange for reviews.
- Do you have multiple businesses at the same location as yours?
Google will flag this if the businesses are closely related. You can get Google’s help if your businesses are real, registered businesses by clicking on the “Help” button at the bottom of the Google Business Profile dashboard. You may at least want to assign a separate suite number to each business so that they appear to Google as separate businesses. This strategy may not be the most effective or correct for your business.
Google Error: Is the Google Business Profile Review missing?
These situations are possible but rare. One of the above reasons is more likely the cause for missing Google reviews on your Google My Business Page.
UPDATE July 21st– Google has announced that there was a bug, with Google Business Profile Reviews disappearing from local business profiles. This is due to algorithmic changes with Google Maps intended to remove fake reviews.
We’ve seen an increase in the number of reviews that are being removed by businesses as part of our ongoing effort to remove fake reviews. We are currently inspecting our systems and tools to make sure that all legitimate reviews are restored. .”
This doesn’t necessarily mean that deleted reviews will be returned, but
- A Google Maps bug may affect your Google Business Profile.
It’s possible that your Google Business Profile Reviews are still there! It could be a simple bug. Many small business owners have reported this bug for almost a decade. To check if your Google Business Profile page is experiencing this bug – Log into your Google Business Profile account at http://business.google.com. If you have more than one location, select the one that’s having problems. Then click “Manage Location” and then “Edit” in the upper right corner. In the “Published On section”, click “Google Maps”. Google Maps will be opened. Click “Suggest an Edit” in the panel to the left. Grab the map marker at the top of the map and move it around a bit. Click “Submit”. If the Google Maps bug affects your Google Business Profile, the wiggle forces Google to “update” and clear the cache. Try it! It may sound silly, but you’ll be surprised at the results.
- Google’s software update or backup glitch was a problem
Even a large company like Google could have a glitch. There are glitches in every system, regardless of its size.
- Google accidentally deleted your Google Business Profile review
It’s highly unlikely, but humans do need to have the ability to access systems designed to operate automatically. Why would an employee manually access your Google Business Profile? I don’t understand. It’s unlikely that a Google employee will ever need access to your Google Business Profile. You can think of a few reasons. No? This is why the scenario described above is unlikely.
Conspiracy Theories about “Google deleting my reviews”
I’m going to be upfront and say that I don’t subscribe to any of these conspiracy theories. I receive a lot of emails from people who claim to have “proof”. They say that Google deliberately targets small businesses, and deletes 5-star reviews. These conspiracy theorists never shared their proof or provided me with a detailed tutorial on how they gathered it.
- Google removes reviews from businesses that do not pay Google Ads in order to promote their business on Google. Google is hoping that these businesses will pay to use Google Ads.
- Google removes the reviews of competitors who use Google Ads for their business. The theory goes that Google is trying to force small businesses to use Google Ads
- Google removes reviews from businesses that are directly competing with them in an area.
- Google removes reviews from businesses that compete with each other
Once again, I don’t believe any of these ideas, and no one has ever provided “proof” for even a small fraction of them.
You may want to hire someone to manage the digital marketing aspect of your business if you have come to any of these conclusions. You’ll be happier running your day-to-day business if you let someone else manage your online reputation. Your business will benefit from it.
Reviewers who are helpful and trustworthy
Google strives to offer “recommendations which are helpful and trusted”. The spam algorithm ensures that they can give the best possible information. Sometimes real reviews are swept away and Google will not remove them. Other times, it is nearly impossible for to get Google to remove fake or spam reviews.
How can I retrieve the missing Google My Business reviews?
Once Google removes a review, it’s gone forever. It is gone forever. Focus on getting new 5-star reviews instead of worrying about missing reviews. This is time that’s better spent.
Check out tip #25 to see if you have a Google My Business bug.
Back up Your Google Business Profile Reviews
Start backing up reviews as part of your business processes so that you can analyze them and discover why a review was removed. Copy the review as well as the details when you receive the notification email about a new Google Business Profile Review. If you notice that your number of reviews has dropped, go through your reviews and see which ones were deleted.
It’s okay if some of the reviews on your Google Business Profile disappear. Focus on your business, providing excellent service and products. Then invite happy customers to review your business. You should backup your reviews and monitor them. Then, if a review disappears, you can perform an audit. But don’t worry about it. You can replace it with another excellent review. You’re good at what you do, so it should be easy. Keep doing it. Let the small stuff go.