Are your Google Reviews Disappearing?

This past summer, Google began working on solutions to combat fake reviews. They created algorithms to help determine if a review is real or from a spam account and remove the review if it was deemed fake. Unfortunately, hundreds of real and credible reviews have also been removed in this process.

Google Reviews are crucial for businesses, shaping their online reputation and influencing customer decisions. The are the #3 factor in local SEO and the #1 factor according to customers on whether they try a new business. Growing real customer reviews is important for businesses, which is why companies have recently started panicking as they’ve noticed review count dropping.

Google Reviews serve as a form of social proof and build trust online for your business. A study by BrightLocal found that 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 79% trusting them as much as personal recommendations. Losing reviews can diminish your social proof and potentially erode the trust of potential customers. (Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2021)

A study by BrightLocal found that 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 79% trusting them as much as personal recommendations.

Beyond influencing customers, reviews are a crucial factor in local search engine optimization (SEO). Google considers the quantity and quality of reviews when ranking businesses in local search results. A decrease in review count may affect your visibility, making it harder for potential customers to find your business. (Source: Moz, Local Search Ranking Factors 2020)

Additionally, positive reviews have a direct correlation with revenue. According to Harvard Business Review, a one-star improvement in a business’s Yelp rating can lead to a 5–9% increase in revenue. Conversely, losing reviews may result in a negative impact on your bottom line. (Source: Harvard Business Review, 2011)

If you are a victim of this new Google algorithm and notice that your review count is shrinking, what can you do?

Before taking any action, it’s important to stay calm and assess the situation. Determine whether all of your reviews are missing or if only a specific set is affected. This initial analysis will help you understand the scope of the issue and guide your troubleshooting process. We recommend tracking your review total weekly so that you can report the count lost to Google. One of our clients lost over 150 reviews in a 2-week period and because we had the count total, Google support was able to help us and restore them all!

It’s also important to determine if your reviews may have been fake. Sometimes they remove years from years prior and the business may have previously engaged in unethical behavior. Google has strict policies regarding reviews, and any violation can result in their removal. Ensure that your reviews comply with Google’s guidelines. Reviews that include inappropriate content, spam, or violate any other guidelines may be taken down by Google.

Once you’ve confirmed that your reviews follow Google’s policies, submit your case to the Google Support Community. Many experienced users and Google product experts actively participate in the community, and they might be able to provide insights into why your reviews are missing. We find that sometimes these individuals are faster with their support than working with Google directly as they gain rankings by the amount of cases they can assist with.

We also recommend reaching out to Google directly and opening a ticket through Google support. Provide as much information as possible, including details about the affected reviews, how many have been removed, that you believe they are credible reviews, and any other relevant information.

While working to recover your removed reviews, it’s important to continue to focus on growing new ones. Continue asking customers to leave you a review and avoid any practices that may be perceived as soliciting or manipulating reviews.

Resolving issues with missing Google Reviews may take some time. Be patient and persistent in your communication with Google support. Follow up on your case regularly and provide any additional information requested to expedite the resolution process. You can track your case and the current status through the reporting tool!

The impact of losing Google Reviews is real and can affect your business on multiple fronts. When it comes to any issues concerning your Google My Business listing, we suggest you act quickly, follow best practices to prevent future issues, and continue to solicit new reviews from customers. If you need support with your Google My Business listing, our Rhino Reviews team is here to help in any way!

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