Missing Google Reviews or Why Did Google Delete My Reviews?

by | Jan 18, 2023

Have you received a great review, only to notice it has disappeared a few weeks later?  It’s a major bummer when you visit your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business – and I’ll use both throughout this article) page to find that a big, beautiful 5-star review has gone missing – but where did it go?! ( You can skip this long article and have us conduct an in-depth evaluation to find out why your Google Business Profile reviews are missing. Only $150.)As a small business owner, like you, I get excited when I receive that email notification exclaiming that our great new customer has given us a 5-star review on our Google Business Profile page! It’s a great feeling to know that we’ve done a great job, and our clients loved the service we provided them – and they want to tell everyone how great our business is. If you’re not getting any online reviews for your business, don’t be afraid to ask customers to leave an honest review on your Google Business Profile page

Why did google delete my business reviews?

Example of a business listing with star reviews as displayed in a Google search

This post was inspired by an email from a client. I had helped him create a direct link to the Google review box. He had been sharing the link with his clients and the Google Reviews were rolling in on a regular basis – because he provides great service. But this day, he awoke to find 6 Google Business Profile reviews missing from his page. Oh no! He wanted to know why the Google reviews were missing, how he could get the missing Google reviews back on his page, and what he could do to prevent more Google reviews from being deleted.

Googling Missing Google Reviews

At Search Centered we regularly monitor Google business reviews for clients, so this is a normal process for us. But there’s a good chance you found this post via Google search – Obviously, the first stop in hunting down the reason for missing Google reviews was to visit Google and do a quick search for “missing Google reviews.” From this simple search, it is quickly obvious that this is a common problem experienced by many, many business owners. The Google search results are full of stories from business owners who have found that their Google Business Profile reviews have disappeared. If you’re asking “Why did my Google Business Profile reviews disappear?” The most common (and broad) answer – Google’s spam detection algorithm has flagged some of your reviews, and they have been removed by Google. We’re happy to give your online business reviews an in-depth evaluation to discover why your reviews are disappearing

Reasons a Google Business Profile Review may have Disappeared

While Google doesn’t outline every aspect of their spam detection algorithm, they do provide specific Google review content guidelines. If a Google review has been deleted from your business page, ask yourself the following questions to help narrow down the reason your Google Business Profile review went missing. Google will remove reviews that violate their review content guidelines. 1. Was there a URL in the review?

If there is a URL in the review, it’s likely spam and will trigger the review for removal. We’re a web design company, so some clients want to show off the awesome site we’ve built – we make a point to ask them not to include the URL, so it doesn’t accidentally get flagged for removal. Instead, we ask for an additional review write-up that we can add to our website.

2. Was there a phone number in the review?

A phone number in the review is a big trigger for possible spam. There’s no need to have a phone number in a review.

3. Do you have reviews in other places online?

If you have tons of reviews on Google Business Profile, but none on Yelp, Facebook, etc., this could be a cause for the deleted reviews. Simply, it’s not natural and spontaneous if every single customer who reviews you leaves the review on Google Business Profile. This is a good indicator of spam – or maybe your over-coach your customers about how to leave a review for your business. Instead, mix it up – ask for a review of your business on Facebook half of the time.

4 . Did the review appear elsewhere on the internet?

If the same review appears on Facebook, Yelp, or on a “testimonials” page on your website, the duplicate review on your Google Business Profile page could be removed. Isn’t it great when your customers love you SO much that they want to tell everyone how great you are?!?! This is the downside – unless the customer writes unique reviews on each review website, you may risk multiple reviews being removed, not just on Google Business Profile.

5 . Is the reviewer a manager of your Google Business Profile account or Google+ page?

If a review is written by a manager of the business’s Google accounts, this could be seen as a conflict of interest by Google. Generally, the person managing your Google Business Profile account is not a customer. They are likely an employee or a service provider. Reviews should be left by customers.

6. Is the reviewer your employee?

When an employee reviews their employer on Google Business Profile, this can be seen as a conflict of interest – even if the employee has purchased your products or services. This practice is frowned upon because many employers will require that employees leave positive reviews or offer incentives for employees to leave reviews.

7. Was the review written from your physical business location?

What’s important here is the IP address (used to identify the physical location of your computer). If the review was written from an IP address used to manage your Google Business Profile account, the spam filter could have been triggered.

8. Was the review written from the same IP address as other reviews?

Similar to the previous point, if many reviews are coming from the same IP address outside of your business, the spam filers might be triggered. If this is happening, the reviews are most likely spam or fake. There’s no chance your business received 19 legitimate reviews from the same physical location.

9. Is there a “review station” set up at your business?

Remember what we talked about above – if all the reviews are coming from the IP address, they’ll trigger the spam detector. It’s a better plan to give your customers a short review URL that’s easy to remember and let them leave a review from their own cell phone.

10. Was your review written from a location that is TOO far away from your business location?

If your business sells products locally, but you also ship products across the country or across the world, you need to set up your Google Business Profile account to recognize this fact. From within your Google Business Profile account, you need to tell Google where you ship products. Go into the “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” section and make sure to setup the states and/or countries where you will ships products.. This will stop reviews from across the country (or world) from being flagged by Google.

11. Were there multiple attempts to post the same review?

If a review was flagged and deleted by Google, then the customer adds the same review again – it will be removed again.

12. Did your business recently receive a large number of reviews?

If your Google Business Profile page receives a rapid influx of a large number of reviews in a short time span, the spam detectors may be triggered. If you’ve read our blog post about getting more Google reviews, make sure to only ask a fraction of your customers at a time for a review. If you have a back-log of 500 customers to reach out to, and your Google Business Profile page gets hammered with 50 new reviews overnight, you’ll sound some alarms.

13. Do many of your reviews originate from the same online location?

If you have a “Leave us a Review” page on your website, and you send all your customers to that page before they leave a review on your Google Business Profile page, your reviews may not be spontaneous enough. Google likes reviews that appear naturally “in the wild.” It’s likely that Google records the referring URL and sees that all of your reviews are coming from a central hub. A better strategy is to send your clients an email with your Google review link. This way, their email will be the referrer.

14. Do you have multiple business locations?

Do you have multiple locations and multiple Google Business Profile pages? Customers are great! They love your service and products and they want to tell the world about you. They love you so much that they visit the Google Business Profile page for every location your business has in the metro area, eager to leave their review. Unfortunately, if the reviewer left the same review on multiple business locations, the duplicates (or all) will likely be removed.

15. Do you have an abnormally large amount of reviews on your Google Business Profile page?

If your business has way more reviews than other businesses in your industry and city/area, this could be cause for concern. If your business is in rural a town of 1000 people (just a simple example), but you have 4000 business reviews, don’t be shocked when many of them get removed. I’m sure you make amazing sandwiches, but why does the pizza joint only have 8 Google Business Profile reviews?

16. Did the reviewer simply remove their review from your Google Business Profile page?

A reviewer has the ability to remove their reviews at a later date. This one is pretty straight forward, and is one of the most common determinations I come to when monitoring Google Business Profile reviews for clients (sign up for our newsletter to get more tips about getting great online customer reviews and receive a copy of our Google Review Backup template)

17. Does the reviewer have a completely blank Google account?

Fake profiles commonly do not contain a name, photo, or other information. Real accounts are never completely blank. When a business gets tons of reviews from empty accounts, this is a trigger that the reviews were created by bots and are fake or paid.

18. Did the reviewer delete their Google account?

A user must have a Google account to leave a Google Business Profile review. When a Google account is deleted, the associated reviews are deleted as well. As with a user deleting their review, a user deleting their Google account is one of the most common conclusions we come to when monitoring Google reviews for clients.

19. Have you been active on Google Business Profile lately?

If you have not been active on Google Business Profile in a 6-month span, it’s possible that your business has been unverified. Make sure to pay attention to your Google Business Profile page on a regular basis. It doesn’t take a lot to stay active on Google Business Profile. If nothing else, install the Google Maps app (Android, iPhone) and reply to reviews and thank people when they leave a review of your business.

20. Do all of your reviews look and sound the same?

If all of your reviews are written from accounts with profile images, and all reviews use perfect grammar, perfect capitalization, and all mention your business by name – there’s a very good chance the spam alarms are going to go off. This is a problem I see frequently – and was the problem for the client I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Some business owners are TOO good at coaching their customers on leaving a review for their business – This is what happened with my client. Ask for a Google review, but don’t over-coach your customers how to leave a review and never offer a pre-made review or a pre-made template for them to copy.

21. Was the review written in third person?

A reviewer is only allowed to review their own experience with your business. Reviews are not allowed to retell the experience of a friend, family member, or a story they read elsewhere. Only first-person accounts are allowed in reviews. The reviewer cannot leave a review on behalf of another person.

22. Was the review “clean?”

Profanity, hate speech, offensive language and personal attacks are not allowed in reviews. This type of content will definitely trigger the filters and the review will be removed. If there are reviews on your Google Business Profile page that contains any of this type of language, you should request to have the Google review removed ASAP.

23. Are you offering incentives for customers to leave reviews?

Do not offer discounts, coupons or free products to entice customers to leave you a review. If Google notices, you may lose all of your reviews. When you offer an incentive, you are more likely to receive a positive review, incorrectly skewing the results. Do not offer incentives for reviews.

24. Are there multiple businesses located at the same address as your business?

It’s not uncommon that one person may operate multiple businesses from the same address, however, Google sees this as a red flag – especially if you own multiple businesses that are in closely related industries. If your businesses are both real registered businesses, you can try to get help from Google by scrolling all the way to the bottom of your Google Business Profile dashboard and clicking the “Help” link. If nothing else, you may want to use a suite number for each business, so they appear as separate businesses to Google. NOTE – This may not the best or the correct strategy for your specific business(es).

Is your Google Business Profile Review missing because of a Google Error?

These are situations that can happen but are rare occurrences. If you’re missing reviews on your Google Business Profile page, one of the reasons above is much more likely to be the reason for your missing Google reviews. UPDATE – July 21st – Google announced that a bug did occur with Google Business Profile reviews disappearing from the local business profiles due to algorithmic updates with Google Maps aimed at removing fake reviews.

In our ongoing efforts to remove fake reviews from Maps, we’ve experienced an increase in reviews being removed from businesses. We are inspecting our tools and systems to ensure that any legitimate reviews are reinstated.”

Now, this doesn’t mean these reviews or any reviews deleted in the past will definitely come back, but 25. Your Google Business Profile account may be affected by a Google Maps bug Your Google Business Profile reviews may not be missing at all! You may simply be experiencing a bug. Many small business owners have reported experiencing this bug off and on for nearly a decade. To check if your Google Business Profile page is experiencing this bug – Log into your Google Business Profile account at http://business.google.com. Select your business location that is having issues (if you have multiple locations). Click “Manage Location.” Click “Edit” at the top right. Click “Google Maps” in the “Published On” section. This will open Google Maps. In the panel on the left, click “Suggest an edit.” Grab the map marker on the map at the right and wiggle it around just a little bit. Click “Submit.” If your Google Business Profile page is experiencing the Google Maps bug, the wiggle will force Google to clear the cache and “update” your location. It sounds silly, but give it a shot! 26. Google had a glitch when updating or backing up software Yes, it is possible that even a company as big as Google can have a glitch. Glitches are possible with every size system, no matter how big or how small. 27. A Google employee accidentally deleted your Google Business Profile review This one is super-unlikely, but yes, humans still need to be able to manually access systems that are designed to run autonomously. Why would an employee access your Google Business Profile page manually? I don’t know. It’s probably unlikely a Google employee would ever need to access your specific Google Business Profile page. Can you think of any reason? No? That’s why this scenario is very unlikely.

The “Google Deleted My Reviews” Conspiracy Theories

I want to say upfront – I do not subscribe to a single one of these conspiracy theories. Simply, I get a ton of emails from people claiming to have “proof” Google intentionally targets specific small businesses and deletes their 5-star reviews. Of course, not a single one of these conspiracy theorists have actually shared the proof with me, nor provided a step-by-step tutorial about how they collected their “proof.” Conspiracy Theories:

  • Google deletes reviews of businesses who do not use Google Ads to promote their business in Google search. The theory is that Google hopes these businesses will start paying to use Google Ads
  • Google deletes reviews of the competition of businesses who do use Google Ads to promote their business. As above, the theory is that Google wants to force a small business to use Google Ads
  • Google deletes reviews of businesses who are in direct competition with an area of their business
  • Google deletes reviews of businesses who are in competition with their own business partners

Again, I do not believe any of these theories, and not a single person has provided “proof” to back up a fraction of these theories. If you’ve come to one of these conclusions, it may be time to take a step back and hire someone to run the digital marketing aspects of your business. Trust me, you’ll be much happier running the day-to-day operations of your business and letting someone else take care of your brand’s online reputation – and your business will be better for it.

Helpful and Trustworthy Reviews

Google aims to provide “recommendations that are helpful and trustworthy.” Google’s spam algorithm helps to ensure they can provide the best information possible. Unfortunately, sometimes real and honest reviews get swept up and disappear – and other times, it seems like it’s nearly impossible to get Google to remove a fake or spam review.

Can I get the Missing Google Business Profile Reviews Back?

Unfortunately, once Google has removed a review from your Google Business Profile page, it is gone for good. There is no getting it back. Instead of worrying about getting missing reviews back, focus on getting new 5 star reviews! That’s time better spent. Before you give up, however, check out tip #25 above to check if your Google Business Profile page is experiencing a bug.

Make a Backup of Your Google Business Profile Reviews

Make it part of your regular business process and start backing up your reviews, so you can analyze the reviews and to discover the reason a review is removed in the future. When you get that notification email of a new Google Business Profile review, copy the review and the details. When you notice a drop in your number of reviews, take a look through your reviews to figure out which one(s) was deleted. Sign up for our email series about online business reviews, and we’ll give you a copy of our Google Business Profile review backup template – along with many more great tips for getting great online reviews from your customers.

The Takeaway

You shouldn’t worry too much if few of your Google Business Profile reviews disappear. Focus on running your business and providing great service and products, then ask happy customers to leave a review of your business. It’s good practice to backup and monitor your reviews, then perform an audit when reviews go missing, but don’t lose any sleep over it. Just go out there and get another great review to replace the one that disappeared. It should be pretty simple – you’re great at what you do! Keep doing it. Let the little stuff take care of itself. If you really can’t let it go – or it’s really bad – we can audit your business profiles to discover why your reviews are disappearing.

Have you lost reviews on your Google Business Profile page?

Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

56 Comments

  1. Will the change of owner of a business dispose off all reviews earned by that business on GMB or not?

    I’ve 3-4 businesses, 2 of which are extremely popular among my customers and have earned 4.9 and 5 for each business out of sheer hard work. But a few days back google disabled my whole account two times (only google or god knows why). It won’t tell beyond ‘Check out google policies’. Though both times the account got activated when I logged in again, but all my GMB businesses are now in suspended state.

    Now I want to transfer the ownership of 1 business to its actual owner (my wife)’s account.
    Want to delete one business, which is just the area of my neighbourhood. I just owned it to add some details and photos of the same.
    And want to shift the ownership of my 2 poplular businesses to my newly opened paid Google Suit business, so that in future if google honks at me, it should at least tell the reason, the policy which it thinks I violated.

    Thank you very much.

    Reply
  2. Hi,

    we had 100+ reviews , but google deleted many reviews automatically. Noe it is 43 only.

    And our ranking also decreased. This deleted reviews will effect SEO ranking?

    Reply
  3. So I posted a factual negative review that listed the reasons for the review. The review appeared for a few hours, then just disappeared about the same time the owner responded to another post. I was a real, long-time customer, and the review was professionally written. Now I know why the business has almost all 5-star reviews. The business owner gets to remove reviews.

    Reply
  4. Hey Travis, Would you happen to know any reason why all of my reviews pre-2017 are deleted? I have been in business since 2011 and had several reviews prior to 2017. Any reason why they would be removed? And they were ALL 100% legit. There were some 1-stars that I am glad are off, but 99% of them were 5 stars and real… Thanks in advance for the help.

    Reply
  5. We operate a law firm and were accused by an anonymous competitor in bar complaint that we were using fake reviews. The frivolous complaint was dismissed after we were able to prove that our reviews were genuine. However, the 10 years’ worth of positive reviews went disappearing one by one until there were almost none left. Our SEO suffered as well and it has affected business. What is going on? We sent Google an email through the Google business profile help page but are not very optimistic about the outcome. Any idea on what happened? Did our site get blacklisted?

    Reply
    • Apologies, I did not notice your comment until just now. Reviews disappearing will not negatively affect your SEO. We’ve found that Google seems to give a little bit of an SEO bump when a business gets ~5 reviews on their Google Business Profile because at this point your customers are “verifying” that your business does actually provide the products/services that you say you do (on your website and other online assets). Most likely, your website got hit by one of the 2021 Google search algorithm updates https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change – likely the June – July 2021 updates. These were big-time updates that affected a lot of businesses. Also, it is important to remember that legal-related businesses are the most competitive when it comes to Google ads and SEO, so if your competitors are regularly “doing SEO,” and you are not, that means you’re likely to “fall” in relation to your competitors. It’s doubtful that your site got blacklisted, but you can check if your site has been blacklisted by Google here – https://transparencyreport.google.com/safe-browsing/search

  6. I wrote an honest review of a physical therapy office that scheduled me for am appointment three weeks out Day of -just hours before as I was getting ready to go- they called ton cancel me saying they just decided to no longer accept my insurance. I was dropped to find and schedule with another provider after waiting three weeks. Then, months later, they called again wanting to schedule me in again saying they are taking my insurance again. I wrote the review so others would be aware. Why can they have positive reviews and delete honest true facts?

    Reply
    • I’m not sure, but you didn’t actually do business with this company, so that may be the reason. To me, it sounds as if the company actually did the right thing by notifying you that they no longer accept your insurance – then notifying you about that fact, rather than keeping your appointment – then giving you a bill for the full amount due. 🤷‍♂️

  7. This is nonsense. Google changes it’s rules every 2 seconds and every time business owners document mafia-style scams that rip off small businesses that will not play the Google adwords game there is some expert that comes along and totally supports Google and not the small businesses. Gosh I wonder why? Can you provide any evidence that Google does not remove your 5-star reviews . Of course you cannot. Google can do whatever they want. I have competitors that pay upwards of $4,000 a month on Google adwords, have 20 times as many 5-star reviews as I have and have never had a 5-star review removed. Hmmm? I’ve had other businesses that got some unfair 1-star reviews. These were never removed? Hmmm. The best written 5-star reviews that I had have been removed but not ones that were copied and also put on Facebook. According to you sir, those ones should have been removed but were not. So why are 1-star reviews never removed even if they make every violation you mention, and only 5-star reviews removed? Not 2-star, not 3-start…just 5-star. How much does Google pay you each month pal?

    Reply
    • From my 20ish years experience in web development, marketing and working with small businesses – usually when a business owner makes these types of comments, it usually means the client is not being fully upfront about their practices around their reviews. 9 times out of 10, when the client (or potential client) hires me to look into their specific situation, I find that their issues are listed above. It’s not usually until I do the deep-dive, then present evidence… That’s when the truth starts coming out. Rather than getting upset, actually look at your current and former practices to find your problem. Honestly, you probably could’ve done the research about the items listed here and found your problem in the amount of time you’ve spent being pissed off at Google and accusing small business owners of of doing something nefarious. OR you could just ignore it and move on – if you’re good at what you do, there should be plenty more 5-star reviews to come. I am happy to look into this for you, but not for free and I would expect an apology before doing so. Best wishes.

    • Isn’t it ironic the fake malicious reviews never get removed.

    • You can and should report fake reviews. It’s actually pretty common that fake reviews are removed. I get fake reviews removed all the time for clients.

  8. I would like to know why MY review of a business got deleted.
    I did make the mistake of writing a review after my husband had also written one on same company. I get that only one per household….However, neither of our reviews are on there at all now. It was a negative review of a business that did a terrible job and kept our $500 deposit for work that did not even get done. I would like to be able to re post this review.
    Thanks

    Reply
  9. Hello I am trying to write fake reviews for my own business to get me started. My google reveiws keep getting deleted/ removed. How do I get around this?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Uhh… No. That is unethical and you risk getting blacklisted in Google search results if you repeatedly get busted doing so.

  10. Hi,
    Really happy to see your efforts!
    I would like to know if I did one or two mistakes out of all these and google has detected it as spam. even it was no spam… but it seems like it. my all review seems like banned and I had honest reviews earlier which have been removed and I am not able to get more reviews.
    The mistake I did was
    1. during a seminar I asked to put google review and got 40 to 45 reviews the same day.
    2. they must have done it after the seminar so the location might be from far.
    3. I was not aware of the spam so again and again, I asked my client to do edit and post again.

    But they were genuine and now my real reviews getting disappeared.
    please help me out, what i should do in this case?
    and i can make google to understand that it was and it is not spam

    Reply
    • Yep. The article mentions that it’s not a good idea to have a lot of people reviewing from the same IP address – and at the same time. If this was at a seminar/conference, likely everyone was using the same wifi network, ie. the same IP address

  11. This is so frustrating. I spent an entire day talking with all my patients, kindly asking them to leave a review of my new Google My Business page. The entire day. I got a lot of reviews, like 50 (I’ve been a physiotherapist for the past 10 years, so yeah, I have treated a lot of people). Suddenly, half of them were deleted. No apparent reason. All honest reviews and from real people, my patients.

    Reply
    • As mentioned, a mass influx of reviews when you don’t normally get a ton of reviews can be a red flag. This is because businesses who hire companies or individuals (such as on Fiverr) to post fake reviews for a business will likely post them all at the same time. A mass influx of new reviews is a red flag. Rather than asking for reviews from all clients on the same day, setup a drip email campaign leading the client to leaving a review and/or stagger the emails over a few week span – asking only small amounts of clients for reviews every few days.

  12. The laser whisperer in Ontario scammed me of thousands of dollars .. and google removed my review. Why ? In fact all negative reviews have been removed . Why ?
    Can google review be trusted ?

    Reply
    • See the article above. There are lots of examples. My guess – your language was not business professional (likely combative and/or included profanity) and did not support evidence of your claims. When you can, upload photos, etc and include the URL in the review (I upload images to imgur.com). Every time I have a really bad experience and leave a review, I include a link/URL to supporting “evidence.” I never have negative reviews removed – keep it professional and provide supporting evidence when you can.

    • Hi Travis. After reading your response to Shari Lalani, I’m a little confused. I thought you were not allowed to include links or URLS in the review? Is it okay or not?
      Thanking you in advance for your reply.

    • Shari’s comment was in regards to a comment they left for another business, not a review left for their business. Spambots regularly include spam links. That’s why I do not recommend including links regularly, but this is only a generalization – If you own a dentist office and your reviews regularly include links, that doesn’t make sense. Why would you customers need to share links? They wouldn’t. If you own a web design company, it is probably more common that a reviewer would want to share a link to their project. That said, in this specific case, I am talking about sharing a link to a screenshot image that is saved on a website/platform specifically made for sharing images. I have never had a review removed for sharing a link to a screenshot from imgur.com to support the content of my review, but this is a completely different context than the focus of this article.

  13. I wrote a bad review for a horrible company we did business with. The review stayed up for almost a year, but I noticed it had been removed recently. Any idea why? I didn’t violate any of the listed guidelines. Was the company able to have it removed?

    Reply
  14. Anyone here who has respect or time for Google is naive. Utter waste of time asking customers for reviews, utter waste of time doing anything to jump through googles hoops. Same with Google Ads, you are dealing with poorly implemented automated junk. Its such a shame they have the monopoly and have no incentive to improve.

    I have spent months chasing a customer for a review. They were too busy and I was becoming a bit of a pain, but they took time in the end to write me a great review. It has been removed by Google… its embarrasing to me and looks bad on my business that I have wasted my clients time asking them to do this for nothing.

    I have spent over £250,000 with Google Ads over the years… I had 3 people working for me, and an Adwords rep would ring me monthly… one day my adwords account was suspended, for a incorrect reason…. every contact I had at Google could offer no help… nothing… they all told me that even they couldn’t contact the compliance department. I had to make my staff redundant just before Christmas….. then, without any notice or explanation, no changes from me, zero communication the account was unsuspended… everytime now the account rep rings me and gives me the usual ‘is there anything else we can help you with’ I say, yeah why was my account suspended then unsuspended, and they say sorry we cant tell you…

    So any serious business cannot depend on Google, and investing anytime in Google is a risky business.

    Reply
    • Sounds like a bad situation.

      The reason Google will not tell you exactly why your account was suspended is because SO many business owners and ad agencies are continually try to “game” or “cheat” the system, which is detrimental to other businesses. They continually try something, it doesn’t work, so they try something else to figure out exactly how much they can get away with. My advice, track every change you make against the terms of service. If you do that regularly, or work with an agency that does the tracking, there won’t be any mystery as to why your account gets suspended and/or why Google removes your business’s reviews.

      It sounds as if you’re completely abandoning Google when it comes to any marketing efforts – where are you shifting your marketing dollars, time & efforts?

    • Google Ads has long held the award for worst support on the planet. Truly incompetent. I would leave them immediately if they didn’t own 80% of the marketshare.

    • Meh… Maybe you’re not doing it right. When I need support, I get it… But also, this article doesn’t deal with Google Ads – it’s about Google Reviews on Google My Business.

    • I agree with you completely, the same thing has happened with my business.

  15. The articles reads: Unfortunately, once Google has removed a review from your Google My Business page, it is gone for good. There is no getting it back. Instead of worrying about getting missing reviews back, focus on getting new 5 star reviews! That’s time better spent”. Without wanting to be disrespectful to the author, I see the same phrase published in numerous similar articles.
    Well dear, every small business owner, something you are probably are not, works 12-14 hours a day to make his/her small business a good one. When you put huge effort day in day out, with enormous sacrifices in personal time, family time, etc, to establish a good reputation , then it DOES matter whenever a single review gets lost due to a bug or due to a bad implementation of an algorithm. Small businesses have small numbers of reviews. And the they DO matter, each and every one of them. The response type of “focus on getting new reviews” is B-S, when you know that every new review could get scrapped just like that.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment. I understand your frustration, but my advice is still the same – rather than wasting time fighting to try to get back a review that was removed (likely because one of the points mentioned above), spend that time to get new reviews instead. Most happy customers will gladly leave a review for you when you ask and make the process easy to do. There are all sorts of strategies to make the process function more smoothly and in a mostly automated manner, such as:

      • Automatically send an email asking for a review when a payment is received online – or when the customer is added to a specific list in your customer relationship management (CRM)system
      • Automatically follow up via email if the recipient has not clicked on the “leave a review” link after 3 days
      • If you’re in a business to business (B2B) industry, leave a review of your customer describing your positive experiences working with that customer. This will further entice them to review your business

      Since you mentioned/asked – Search Centered Digital Marketing is a company with ONE full time employee – ME – and I work with ~10 various contract employees and freelancers on a semi-regular basis. I know what it’s like running a small business. That’s why I am comfortable recommending that small business owners spend time gaining new reviews, rather than chasing those that have been removed.

  16. My husband has the same issue today. He’s a translator and works online. 5 reviews have been deleted without any reason. Speechless.

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear. Does his business have a plan in place to track reviews? Did he/you go through all the points listed above and eliminate all of them as possibilities? When companies hire me to look into their reviews disappearing, it almost always comes down to one of the points mentioned above – at least partially.

  17. I agree with Tina Huston 110%! This is just ridiculous. We are all not tech savvy people, I work for a living and don’t have time to be a tech guru! I have clients who have posted reviews and not one of the new reviews is showing. This is so stupid and very unfair. Who in the heck are you, to remove real reviews from humans who want to post a review?

    Reply
    • There’s always a reason reviews get removed. Recently, a client hired me (through the links on this post) to review his business to find why his reviews may have been reviewed. Like everyone who is upset, he swore none of these points were related to his business. After research and pressing, we found that a few of these points did, in fact, apply to his business AND I found that the way his business is listed throughout the internet is very inconsistent. Search engines and review sites must have confidence that a business is a legitimate business. When the business is not listed consistently online, confidence drops. When one of the points listed above happens, confidence drops. Ultimately, it is not the responsibility of theses sites to display any review it doesn’t have confidence in. You have to remember, these sites are not charging you to have your business profile listed and they’re not charging you to invite your clients to leave a review. It is, however, your responsibility as a business owner to follow the guidelines set forth by the review platform – if you want your customers’ reviews to be displayed.

      Ultimately, it has nothing to do with being a “tech savvy” person or not. It has to do with being a business owner and adapting to the current business environment. Either you adapt yourself by learning and doing or you hire a professional (or purchase a software) to manage aspects of your business you cannot or do not want to or you fall behind your competitors.

      I completely understand your frustration, but as a business owner, it is important to view all sides of the situation and select the most efficient and cost effective strategy to fix the issue.

  18. So annoyed to have had my very first Google Review removed within 2 days of being posted! I asked one of my brides if she could leave a review and she left a 5 star one. Super annoying as we are only a small business!

    Reply
    • Reviews are turned off currently (as of 22nd March 2020)

    • That’s partially true. Reviews have not been “turned off.” Simply, submitted reviews are being held in a queue and not being approved as quickly as Google employees deal with more important things right now.

  19. Two things you may want to try to remedy the situation:
    1 – Use a separate phone number for each business. You can get a free Google Voice (or other service) number and forward it to your main phone number.
    2 – Use suite numbers/letters for each business. Make sure to also notify your postal service. They tend to get confused easily.

    These are not fool-proof, but I’ve found they work well. If each business has it’s own unique name, phone number, and address, there’s no reason for Google to insist that they are the same business.

    Reply
  20. By doing a quick Google search, I see that both of your businesses are located at the same address. Being that your two businesses are very closely related in very similar industries, it is very likely that Google views both of your businesses as the same business because they are in related industries and at the same address. If each business is registered as it’s own independent entity, you may benefit from contacting Google to discuss – if you can figure out how to contact them. The live chat and email link that I have doesn’t seem to work anymore.

    Reply
  21. A client of mine has left one review on my computer services business listing, as I provide them with computer support. They also left me a review on my web design business listing, as I built them a website. Google has published the computer support one, but not the web design one. As they were written by the same person, but for two different “businesses”, I can’t see any valid reason for one being published and not the other! This review process has so many hurdles to jump over, yet Google is an unaccountable monopoly, playing god with our livelihoods!

    Reply
    • You’re probably right Travis.

      This was an issue a few years back and they wouldn’t allow any reviews to be published against the Web Design business because they were at the same address, but I thought it wouldn’t happen again as they published one this time. It’s also probably because both reviews were left by the same client, so the spam filter has blocked it. I do run the two businesses as separate entities, but trying to persuade Google of this is like banging your head against a wall.

      You’re right, the links that used to be there, to ask a question and/or request a callback have gone from the My Business backend. Perhaps they can’t afford the staff any more!!!!!! :/ Have spent too much time trying to get this resolved, instead of getting on with actual work, so best to let it go now!

      Cheers.

  22. Todd, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I would LOVE to review the proof that you mentioned previously. I don’t know how else I can say this. It’s super-simple to convince me of something – show me the proof. You say you have proof that Google targets individual small businesses to remove their legitimate reviews. I would love to review it.

    Yes, I understand that an admin can make adjustments manually within a system/software. I never disputed that fact (In fact, I just moved your last comments to follow this comment thread, since you replied outside the thread), and I never disputed that something could accidentally be deleted manually or accidentally deleted by the system.

    I don’t doubt you have years of tech consulting experience, and I have no reason to delete your comments. If anything, this comment thread adds credibility to my business and my expertise. I am offering to review your proof/research that Google targets individual small businesses to remove their 5-star reviews and write about it if it is a real concern for small businesses as it affects their Google My Business reviews. However, it seems that we’ve come to an impasse. I am eager to review your research, but you don’t want to share it.

    It is amusing that you came to my website to spread a conspiracy theory and not back it up with proof while hiding behind an anonymous name on a disposable email address without a profile image linked to a non-existent website… yet you call me a troll. You sir, are the troll. And this comment thread is over.

    Best wishes.

    Reply
  23. No problem. If you want to keep all of your research and proof to yourself. That’s your call. Simply, you asked for a discussion. I told you I would like to have a discussion. If you have proof that you’re willing to share I’m happy to look it over, and even help verify it. Discovering issues with Google reviews and writing about them only help my website and my business – hence, this article and others on this website. That said, unless you are willing to share this proof you claim to have collected there is no need to continue this conversation.

    Reply
    • For your information Travis if someone has exhausted all your steps as well as other steps on the web (which are similar to yours) that in and of itself can be a form of proof as well. Frankly I view folks like yourself as a nuisance because you’re on the web stating information like it’s fact without even considering the possibility you might be wrong. Many poor people have spent a great deal of time exhausting this subject which in my opinion they shouldn’t have to only to come across sites like yours hoping for a solution and to be further annoyed. Now I’m not denying you may have helped some folks but there are a lot of people falling victim to what I have described. As I mentioned earlier that is ridiculous that a simple review system should be designed this way and i think it says a lot about an organization who does it. Seems to me you just want to argue and troll people. I’d be a fool to think if I did organize a case study or something for you to view there would EVER be any convincing someone of your nature.

    • One last thing before I leave for good.. I would love to walk you through one of many data centers I’ve worked on similar to google and show you how easy it is for something like this to happen. It’s not uncommon when dealing with systems for things of this nature to occur. Administrators, consultants and sometimes executives regularly remote into these systems because they have to for their jobs. It’s also not uncommon for them to by mistake or intentionally remove something like a review. Heck, the systems themselves can on occasion even do it. Whether it be a backup restore or whatever. I have witnessed countless occurrences like that where a nightly restore reported a successful status and stuff wasn’t totally successful. I can’t began to explain how humorous it’s with my kind of experience to come across an article like yours acting like it isn’t possible. If it hurts your business or whatever to have that public information then remove my comments I understand but for the record it isn’t entirely politically correct. I will say it is rare but it all depends on certain factors and can be more common if certain conditions are ripe in the data center or in the systems themselves.

  24. Sounds great. I would love to see your case study proving that Google explicitly targets individual small businesses and removes their reviews. Proof is is the great equalizer. If you work up a case study with this proof, I can get you in contact with some of the really big SEO websites. I know they would love to share this type of information with the world.

    Reply
  25. I understand that any time there is a very large player in any industry, the conspiracy theories are going to swirl. Personally, I do not subscribe to such theories, but I do welcome the conversation. In my view, Google has zero incentive to screw over individual small business owners. Sure, there may be other reasons that Google removes reviews from a business page, but I do not believe any of them to be malicious toward any particular small business. If anything, I believe reviews may be errantly removed algorithmically. That said, if a single small business repeatedly has their reviews removed, I believe that the business owner is doing something wrong – not the review system.

    Reply
  26. Travis, I’m a technology consultant with 35+ years experience all with large corporations only (particularly well known ones). I specialize in firewalls and routers with tons of programming background and will tell you there are definitely reviews being removed outside of the points in your article and it goes on a lot. There is a lot of manipulation going on and without access to their networks from the inside I have no way of pin pointing who is doing it but it’s definitely happening. It is very irritating for a person to go through this then exhaust basic stuff like you’re suggesting only to realize and roll your eyes how you wasted all this time. I’m with Tina, this is ridiculous and I know many executives who have stopped using Google entirely. Clearly they have some political agenda they’re engaging in and who has time for it.

    Reply
    • Well I disagree and can prove it. Thankfully I recorded everything I tested and did so in lab environments while putting all this to the test and no question this is being done by an individual and not systems (which I have tons of experience with). Travis, I have designed many networks and run many companies and let me tell you something.. No way would a company not leave a way for them to individually mess with something if they wanted to. Every executive and administrator there has access to do just that. I should know I’ve worked with enough of them as a consultant all over the country. What you’re saying is like me telling people I want a Mustang but won’t have the ability to drive it. Any goof knows the owner of that product will want control of it if and when needed. This isn’t a conspiracy theory because there is proof so you’re misusing that word. Many companies engage in unjust or unlawful events, this is nothing new to anyone especially government so please don’t act like it is. Google has been all over the news many years for losing legal battles with the EU and other entities so please spare me.

    • Yeah I’m going to go through all that trouble just to argue and prove a point with someone in Kansas City. You’ve already wasted enough of my time along with Google’s ridiculous product. Not exactly rocket science, more and more people are having issues with this all over and getting fed up with Google. Frankly I’d be skeptical to use a professional not recognizing these details and was defending them. They’ve gotten into a lot of trouble the past few years and there’s still a lot of stuff out there in the works so you might want to be careful defending them. Time is upon us to utilize other search engines. Btw you don’t need a case study for something to be a fact or provable in court of law but courts aren’t exactly going to recognize something this minor unless it starts costing business’s a lot of money which I can’t see. Thus far it’s working in favor of the business like nepotism. I did lab stuff on my end because I intend to make YouTube videos proving my point. Either way going through all your steps still makes it a foolish product and most won’t even bother and will move on which is probably what they want. lol Sense!!

  27. Hey Tina, I understand your frustration. Don’t take it personally. When a review is removed, there’s usually a valid reason. We’ve recently updated the article with 2 more reasons – #10 and #24. I’ve found that the problems usually come with #4, #17 and #20. Don’t give up, just modify and improve your methods. Best wishes.

    Reply
  28. We are only a small business and our good reviews have all gone (3) however, very bad for business the only bad review has remained. From over a year ago.
    We have since changed our business to a limited company and the bad review has stayed in place even though we have changed.
    Does not look very good for our business at all.
    Is there any way we can get the only remaining one removed.

    Reply
  29. You know what…I don’t have time for this nonsense and neither do my customers. If I ask my customer if they would write a review and they take their time to do it, then the review shouldn’t be removed. Enough of the freaking web ranking head games. When I come to the end of my life and am lying on my death bed, I don’t want to consider how much time I spent spinning my wheels on Google reviews. This makes me so angry I could just F****ing spit! I’m not going to ask anybody to review my business anymore. Time is money and I don’t have time for Google’s crap.

    Reply

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