Many users have noticed recently that their Google Business Profile local reviews are not showing up. Users are leaving reviews; however, they are not being posted. If you visit the Google Business Profile Forum, you’ll see an extensive thread of user complaints about the issue. In a recent statement, a Google spokesperson responded that:
“Google uses automated spam detection measures to remove reviews that are probably spam. Although legitimate reviews are sometimes inappropriately removed, these spam prevention measures help improve people’s experiences on Google by ensuring that the reviews they see are authentic, relevant, and useful. “
In other words, reviews are being monitored through a filter algorithm to ensure they are the real deal. So why are your reviews missing? Let’s take a look into the main reasons your Google Reviews are being flagged or may not be showing up.
Reasons Your Google Business Profile Reviews Are Missing
Google has strict policies relating to reviews. These rules include what your review can and can’t contain, who can write a review, and what content is prohibited or restricted. There could also be issues with your Google Business Profile that are preventing your reviews from showing. Similar to legitimate reviews, Google also wants honest business profiles that meet their criteria.
Here are some common culprits that could be preventing your reviews from displaying:
1. The Review Contains a Link or Phone Number
If your review contains a URL or phone number, it violates Google’s policy and will get flagged. Google does not want people using reviews as link building, so they don’t allow URLs. Google will also remove a user’s response to a review if it includes a link.
2. The Review is Inappropriate
If the review violates the acceptable content policies by including vulgarity, defamatory statements, spam, explicit content, profanity, racial term, or any other prohibited content, it will be flagged. In other words, if the review is insulting or offensive, it’s gone.
3. The Review is Not Authentic
Writing a review for your own business or having all your employees write reviews is considered biased and will also get flagged. Requesting or posting reviews from customers in bulk or financially incentivizing users to leave a review is also a violation.
Google wants original reviews, so fake reviews (called astroturfing) are a huge problem. If the same review appears on other sites like Yelp or Bing, it will also get flagged. Additionally, if the user who left the review lives nowhere near the place of business, it will also be filtered as spam.
4. Inaccurate or Duplicate Google Business Profiles
Duplicate listings can happen for several reasons. You could have created an older profile and forgot about it when you registered for a new one. Or you could have deliberately tried to create a copycat. Whatever the case, Google could remove reviews from your current profile and transfer them over to the other profile you may not even manage. The good news is that these issues can be resolved by contacting Google’s support staff and claiming/merging the Business Profiles.
Another reason could be inconsistent or inaccurate information on your profile. Google wants all listings to be identical in order to prevent misinformation from being given to customers about your business. Additionally, Google can penalize your inconsistencies by reducing the number of reviews you can receive from customers. Common causes of inaccurate information include acronyms, abbreviations, and name variations. Examples are:
Business Name: XYZ Tire Repair vs XYZ Tire Services
Acronyms: X.Y.Z. vs. XYZ
Abbreviations: Blvd vs. Boulevard
To correct this issue, head over to your Google dashboard and click on the “info” section within the navigation panel. From there, you can make the necessary edits to update your information.
5. Your Business Profile is Brand New
If you recently created a Google Business Profile, Google will pay particular attention to vetting your reviews. In other words, your profile will be monitored during a probationary period (called sandboxing) to make sure you are a legitimate business. Yes, it can be frustrating, and it can last anywhere from weeks or months. But it’s only temporary. Google will allow up to five customer reviews at first and slowly display more reviews once they believe your profile is authentic.
Your reviews can also get flagged if you add a new location. If your business was heavily tied to the original location, Google might not automatically transfer your reviews. If this is the case, you must contact Google’s support team and provide them with the necessary information about your new location. You may also need to reverify your profile.
6. Your Profile is No Longer Active
You may be trying to resurrect an old business profile, or your profile has been left dormant for an extended period of time. When you finally decide to revive it, Google has revoked your profile. Without verification, your profile will not appear in Google Search or Maps, which means customers can’t see your reviews. Google will attempt to contact you by email before they revoke it. However, if you missed or ignored this email, you must contact Google to get your profile reverified.
Online reviews are essential to your business and your reputation. Most of the flagged reviews are fake or spam, and you don’t want those on your profile anyway. However, if you noticed any reviews missing, run through this list of potential problems first and solve them.
If you’re looking to improve your reviews or any part of your business’s online reputation, we’re here to help. Contact our team to learn more about our unique review system.