You know a customer left a Google review. And you know it will be a positive review—so where has that online review disappeared? Or what about when you read a fantastic business review only to look for it the next day, and you can’t find it? You are left wondering, “Where have my Google reviews gone?”
Unfortunately, the scenario of disappearing Google reviews is all too common for some businesses. It is frustrating to put all that hard work in getting more reviews only to vanish into thin air. Because 5-star reviews positively impact your online reputation and search rankings, you don’t want to lose them.
Why do reviews on Google sometimes disappear? What can you do to avoid customer reviews disappearing from your business profile?
In this article, you’ll find out why reviews disappear from your business profile.
Why Did a Google Review Disappear?
There are two main reasons why Google reviews disappear. The first could be the customer’s fault, and the review disappears because it goes against Google’s policies. Second, a mistake from your end could cause the review to vanish. Rarely, a Google error could result in a review disappearing.
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11 Reasons Why Google Reviews Disappear
Before you think that Google is trying to manipulate ratings, they don’t. There are usually legitimate reasons why Google deletes reviews, or they disappear.
Most businesses have the opposite issues with Google. They want Google to delete negative reviews from customers because they’re worried about its impact. Even if someone leaves a bad review, Google won’t remove it just because the customer had a bad experience. After all, reviews should be an honest reflection of the service your business offers.
Related reading: Do Google reviews last forever?
Now it’s clear that Google isn’t to blame. Let’s see where that positive feedback has gone. Here are the most common reasons why Google reviews disappear.
1. The review is deleted because it contains prohibited content
Google’s review policy doesn’t allow any review content to contain prohibited material. This applies to reviews, photos, and videos. Any policy violation will result in a review removal. Google review guidelines ensure that all reviews are fair, honest, legal, and inoffensive. Review violations can include:
- Links, email addresses, or phone numbers to illegal or restricted goods and services or any type of promotional offers on such goods.
- Reviews containing illegal or dangerous content, illegal drugs, organ sale, human trafficking, endangered animal products.
- Sexually explicit content.
- Google doesn’t tolerate any links to terrorism, the promotion of terrorism, the celebration of terrorist attacks.
- There can be no offensive content, such as foul language or gestures. There can be no bullying, threatening, or discrimination against age, race, gender, sexual preferences, religion, or disability.
2. Fake reviews disappear
Reviews that are paid for or left by non-legitimate customers are fake, and fake reviews get deleted. This type of review is also a policy violation. For example, fake reviews can come from your competition. Or, if you buy fake reviews, you will see that they eventually disappear. Any review that a genuine customer doesn’t leave is considered fake. The review must describe the actual customer experience.
The review also must be relevant. So, the content can’t go off-topic and start talking about other products. Or a customer can’t use the online review to rant about personal issues.
Related reading: How to respond to fake reviews.
3. The reviews are deleted when they contain duplicated content
To leave reviews on different sites, the review must contain original content. Of course, it’s excellent when a customer is so pleased with your business that they want to leave the review on Google and various other review platforms. But a duplicated review will be removed.
4. Employees are trying to leave reviews
Naturally, you can’t leave a review for your own business. But this restriction also applies to all your employees and managers of your Google My Business account. Aside from the fact that these “self-serving” reviews are likely to be biased, they are not real customers.
5. The review was written from your business location
Reviews can’t come from the same IP address as your business. This issue can cause reviews to disappear because some companies have the idea of setting up an onsite review station. This seems excellent to customers who may struggle with technology. But you may never see the review that this legitimate customer leaves.
6. Your reviewer is too far away from your business location
It is illogical when a customer from a small Italian village leaves a review for a business in the US. Google may delete reviews that come from other countries. If you are shipping nationally or overseas, be sure to change your settings in your Google My Business account.
7. You have an irregular number of reviews
Google will compare the volume of your business reviews to similar businesses in your area. Getting an abnormally large number of reviews in a short time could trigger Google’s spam detection algorithm. For this reason, it’s never a good idea to send out bulk invitations. Even if you get honest reviews from genuine customers, they could get flagged as fake or spam.
8.The Reviewer doesn’t have a complete account
A sure sign of a fake reviewer is an incomplete Google account. Most people have at least some details in their profile. A business that has multiple reviews from empty accounts is a sign of spam.
On a similar note, if a reviewer closes their Google account, the review will disappear.
9. You are not active on Google My Business (GMB)
Make sure to keep your GMB account up to date, or your reviews could mysteriously disappear. This fact makes it imperative that you have a robust review management strategy. Be in the habit of checking for new reviews and replying to all of them. Unfortunately, if you aren’t active on your GMB account for six months, your business could become unverified, and people won’t be able to leave reviews.
It’s also worthwhile checking that your business listing is accurate. Potential customers won’t find you on Google maps if there are inaccuracies or duplicate business listings.
Related reading: How to optimize your Google My Business listing.
10. You have offered customers incentives for their review
Offering incentives for people to write a positive review is a policy violation. Incentives can encourage customers to leave a more positive review or change their original opinions. Google removes reviews that have been left in return for free products, cashback, or discounts.
11. You are getting reviews ahead of time
If you are about to open a new location, it might seem like a good idea to get some new reviews ahead of time. Even if it is the same as what you are already offering, Google reviews ahead of time will be removed as the customer hasn’t tried that business location.
What Can You Do to Counteract the Impact of Disappeared Google Reviews?
The best way to counteract the impact of disappeared Google reviews is to keep getting more. If you have a stream of continuous reviews, a few that disappear—even if they are positive reviews—won’t harm your average star rating.
Another way to prevent Google reviews from disappearing is to educate customers. For example, it’s a good idea that customers know that reviews must adhere to Google’s review policy. Also, if you notice a potentially problematic review, you could contact the customer, informing them of this potential violation. Inform them of the issue and ask them if they would be so kind as to update their review—as their opinions do matter.
How to Get More Reviews
Getting more reviews doesn’t have to be complicated. While there are various review management software solutions available, Starloop has a couple of unique advantages.
Starloop is straightforward in every sense of the word. The setup is easy, the dashboard is user-friendly, and there is a fixed price regardless of the number of customers or locations you have.
Starloop encourages your business customers to leave reviews in several ways. First, the software sends automated invitations via email or SMS. Second, the review process is easy and straightforward. Third, if a customer is unresponsive, up to two reminders are sent to let them know their feedback is vital.
There’s another way why Starloop excels in helping its members get a steady increase in reviews. Starloop stands out among its competitors because it uses ethical motivators to encourage more reviews. For every review your business receives, Starloop plants a tree for free. Your customers know that you care for the environment, and they are happy to do their part. This is the environmentally friendly incentive that helps the planet and gets your business more reviews.