Business owners and marketing professionals appreciate the value of online reviews.
Various studies state that on average 85% of internet users check online reviews before making a purchase of goods or services making reviews highly important for your digital strategy.
Consider the below search result:
I’ve conducted a simple Google search of ‘window cleaner near me’, 25% of page 1 clicks will go to the three search results in the map pack and I can almost guarantee 90% of these clicks will go to the top link.
Why? Because it’s got the most reviews, a landline telephone number and published office hours. Quite simply, it looks the most legitimate, professional and trustworthy. I’m sure they’re all great businesses capable of doing a great job however impatient modern internet users won’t wait to find out.
We’ve previously published a blog about how to create a proactive review strategy that can be found here.
Given how important reviews are and how difficult they can be to acquire, it is extremely frustrating when they disappear, with no warning, no notification and no communication from Google.
Google aims to provide “recommendations that are helpful and trustworthy” and like with most things, Google uses an algorithm to help it achieve this aim. Unfortunately, there are many occasions where legitimate customer reviews inadvertently trigger the spam algorithm and are removed.
Below are 8 reasons why this can happen:
Is Google the only place you have reviews?
This can be an indicator of spam for Google.
Google wants reviews to be spontaneous and genuine. If all your reviews are on one platform, their platform, then this can trigger its spam detection algorithm.
The simple solution is to mix up your reviews and ensure they are cross platform.
Do you have duplicated reviews?
Google doesn’t like duplicate content. If your reviews are being left on multiple platforms with the same content this could trigger the removal of your Google review.
Is the review legitimate?
Google is doing it’s best to try to ensure that reviews left on its platform are legitimate. You can see the problem they’re facing, you can set up a Gmail account in minutes and given reviews are high value there will be many people out there looking to generate a mass of fake reviews to promote their products and services.
This doesn’t help the consumer or Google so Google does its best to update its algorithm to detect fake reviews by asking questions such as:
Have multiple reviews been left from the same IP address? Has the review been left by the company’s employees or Google account manager? Was the review written from the physical business location? Have multiple reviews been left by the same customer?
If Google suspects the review is illegitimate, it will take it down.
Were your reviews left by people too far away?
Following on from the above. If your reviews were left from locations in India and your business does not trade with or ship to India, this indicates to Google that your reviews may not be credible and legitimate and could lead to them being removed.
To counter this simply ensure that your Google Business Account accurately reflects where you trade.
Did you have a large influx of reviews?
As stated above, Google likes reviews to be spontaneous. If Google’s spam detection algorithm detects a lot of reviews all being left at the same time this could trigger their removal.
This is why having a consistent review strategy is so important, because if implemented correctly, your reviews will be drip fed across multiple platforms on an ongoing basis.
Is there a URL or phone number in the review?
Google is locked in an eternal battle against internet spam and online fraudulent activity. It appears that many online spammers have been leaving company reviews with URL links and phone numbers for readers to follow that takes the reader to places that don’t add to their user experience. Therefore Google’s spam detection algorithm picks up on these and can delete them.
Do not improperly incentivise reviews
Asking for reviews is one thing. But incentivising with financial rewards, discounts, goods or services could lead to all your reviews being deleted if Google finds out.
There is no problem asking for reviews, but Google is very clear on improper incentivisation.
From their perspective, anyone being paid or gaining benefit from leaving a review is far more likely to leave a positive review and not an honest and accurate review. This would therefor interfere with it’s mission to ensure reviews are “honest and trustworthy”.
Did your reviewer delete their Google Business Account?
It’s also quite possible that your reviewer has simply deleted their Google Business Account or had their Google Business Account blocked for some reason. This would cascade and delete all the reviews this account has left across the web.
Can I get my deleted Google reviews back?
In short, no.
Once Google has deleted your Google review it is gone for good. If you were to re upload the review, it’s likely this would be detected and deleted again.
Rather than contacting Google and trying to get your reviews back, your time would be far better spent implementing a strategy to consistently and effectively gather more cross platform reviews.
I hope this helps.
Business Development Manager
Lilac James Co.