10 Reasons Why Your Google Reviews Are Missing
The success of your company’s marketing strategy heavily relies on Google reviews. This is especially important for local service businesses as it increases online visibility and leads to more sales, which is why its incredibly frustrating when Google reviews are missing, resulting in a lower star rating. You worked hard for those reviews, and your business deserves recognition.
To recover missing positive reviews, improve your rating, and increase revenue, it’s crucial to understand Google’s review policy and common reasons for reviews not showing up.
Before delving into the steps to follow when your Google reviews are missing, it’s important to understand the significance of reviews for small businesses. So, in this article, we’ll cover why reviews are crucial for small businesses and provide an overview of Google’s review policy, followed by common reasons why reviews may not appear correctly.
Why are Google reviews important?
To begin with, let’s understand the significance of Google reviews. It’s crucial to ensure that your Google reviews are displayed accurately for your company’s online reputation and should be a top priority when developing and executing your online review management strategy.
Research on customer reviews reveals that 93% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. Moreover, 73% of reviews are hosted on Google. In simpler terms, for most people, Google is the primary and only destination to check a brand’s credibility before investing their time and money. Therefore, having numerous reviews on your Google listing can provide the social proof required to make informed purchasing decisions
What is Google’s review policy?
Prohibited and restricted content policies apply to all formats, including Reviews, Photos, and Videos on Google Maps. This means that if a review doesn’t meet the criteria, it may not be published. Google wants to ensure that reviews accurately represent the location or business being reviewed. If a review distorts the truth, it will be removed. This includes reviews that are not related to the location or business where they are tagged.
Google uses automated processes to detect inappropriate content like fake reviews and spam. If a review is flagged, Google may take it down and penalize your business. This is why it’s essential to focus on honest and genuine reviews rather than buying Google reviews.
10 Reasons Why Your Google Reviews Are Not Showing Up
1. Embed links
Google’s guidelines regarding adding URLs and links in reviews are strict, and reviews containing URLs are promptly removed. This is because Google perceives reviews with URLs as potential spam. If you come across a review with a link that hasn’t been removed yet, attempt to contact the customer and request them to edit their review by eliminating the link before Google eliminates it.
2. Google reviews marked as spam
To maintain the platform’s quality, Google remains vigilant in combating review spam. If a Google review is not appearing, it may have breached the review policy. Additionally, if regular users flag a review as inappropriate, it may also vanish. Google investigates such cases by scrutinizing the review before removing it from the listing.
3. Fake reviews
Certain brands look to get ahead by buying fake reviews. This action violates Google’s guidelines and may result in the removal of your entire Google My Business (GMB) listing. Rather than purchasing fake reviews, it is recommended to take a proactive approach and request reviews. This approach not only enhances your search visibility and brand reputation naturally but also provides you with valuable feedback to enhance the customer experience.
4. New business
Attracting customers during the first stages of a business can be challenging, and listing your business on Google can be beneficial to growth. However, it may take some time for users to view the reviews submitted by others regarding your business. Typically, Google will not display the entire collection of reviews on your listing until at least five people have left a review or rating. To tackle this issue, it’s helpful to develop a plan for gathering reviews from customers. Additionally, it’s important to learn how to respond to both negative and positive feedback from customers
5. Business changed locations
If your business has changed locations and you forgot to update it on Google, in most cases, Google will transfer all the reviews to the new location on Google Maps, but there are instances where this may not happen.
For businesses like hotels and restaurants that have strong connections to their locality, it’s possible that Google won’t automatically transfer the reviews. In such cases, it’s advisable to reach out to Google for assistance. Though it may take some time for them to process the change, getting your reviews transferred is worth the effort. To avoid any issues, be sure to proactively update your address on your Google Business Profile if your business changes locations, as this may require re-verification.
6. Google Business Profile is inactive
If you haven’t made any updates to your Google Business Profile for an extended period, and customers are no longer engaging with it, your business may have lost its verification status on Google. Moreover, Google disables Business Profiles that lose their eligibility status.
Unverified businesses will not appear in Google Search or Google Maps, and as a consequence, any new or existing reviews left by your customers will not be publicly visible.
7. Duplicate Google Business Profile
In the event of duplicate listings, even accidental ones, Google will eliminate one of them. Consequently, if your Google Business Profile has a duplicate, your reviews may appear on a different listing rather than the active one.
To determine if your business has any duplicates, search for your business on Google. If you come across one, you can correct it by reporting it as a duplicate.
8. Reviewer’s account is inactive
Occasionally, a prior review may vanish if the customer who authored the review has their personal Google account deactivated. This can occur if the account is in breach of Google policies or even if it’s deactivated intentionally. For instance, individuals can choose to deactivate their account through Google’s Inactive Account Manager for security reasons. When an account is deactivated, all of the user’s data, including their reviews, is erased.
9. Reviews from third-party sites
In the past, Google used to import reviews from external business review sites such as Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor and showcase them on local business listings. However, this is no longer the case, and any reviews from external websites that appeared during that period are no longer accessible or considered for your business’s visibility on Google.
Occasionally, Google may display feedback from trustworthy sites in a section labeled “Reviews around the Web,” located below the reviews left by Google users. Nonetheless, these reviews are algorithmically generated and may not always be precise
10. Reviews are disabled by Google
During times of excessive traffic and limited staff, Google may temporarily disable the review section of Google Business Profiles. For example, at the beginning of the global pandemic in 2020, Google temporarily disabled reviews. During such periods, reviews may go missing, and customers will be unable to leave new reviews, while businesses will be unable to respond to any existing ones.
How to fix missing Google reviews
To address issues with Google reviews not appearing, there are a few steps you can take. However, it’s important to note that Google typically does not reinstate reviews that have violated their policies. If you believe there was a mistake or inaccuracy in the initial violation, you can contest it with Google.
To address other reasons why Google reviews may not be visible, follow these steps:
- Collect evidence, such as screenshots, of the missing reviews on your Google Business Profile.
- If you recently reinstated your Google Business Profile, provide support with a case number and reinstatement details to request review transfers.
- If your Google Business Profile was not recently suspended, contact Google Support for assistance with your missing reviews.
- If you are not happy with Google’s assistance, you can try posting your issue on the Google Business Profile Community to seek help from a Google employee
Long-term solution: get more reviews
It’s not uncommon for some reviews to go missing, and if you find that some of your reviews are missing, don’t worry. Simply follow the steps outlined in the article to resolve the issue.
To ensure that you have a steady stream of reviews and maintain a good rating (even if a Google review or two gets removed), it’s always a good idea to optimize your Google reviews collection process.
We at Rate.Ink understand that the review process is not easy and takes time away from you running your business. This is why we offer a simple and free tool that allows you to populate the customer email, and then we handle the rest! We have researched the best practices for gathering reviews (highest-converting layouts, wording, follow-up frequency) all so you don’t have to. In addition to that, we offer ReviewShield technology which only prompts happy customers to leave reviews, while privately collecting any feedback unhappy customers have so that you can review.
Give Rate.Ink a try and watch the 5-star reviews come rolling in