Failure to Appear – Google Reviews Disappearing Amidst Recent Change in Algorithm

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Frustrated by a lack of “stickiness” from recent Google reviews? Noticed that previous reviews have been removed from your business profile?Are customers giving a positive review, only to have it fail to appear?

Small business is tough. If you are like most small business owners, you are wearing many hats, all of which you put on in an effort to do right by your customers and employees. When we do a good job for a customer, a positive review is a pleasant way of being rewarded for a job well done. Today, business owners know all about reviews and their obvious benefits. Short of having received a personal recommendation from someone you trust, there are few consumers who are going to do business with a company if they haven’t at least glanced over their Google reviews. Of course, there are other review sites, but Google has become ubiquitous in our lives. Today, we use Google for all sorts of things, but one of the reasons it has become so powerful, is that your Google Business Profile is used in the same way we used the phone book or called 411 in the old days, simply to get the phone number, address or other contact information. This gives your customers another look at your reviews even after they have decided to call you. The bottom line is that reviews matter.

Recently, small business complaints have been logged at an alarming rate on Google’s Webmaster Forum, citing all sorts of examples where reviews that should be appearing on profiles, or were showing on profiles are now missing. Speaking with our contacts at Google and having our internal product experts look deeper into the issue hasn’t been much help. We can see that the most recent set of updates made to the algorithm have had some effects on how and if reviews are showing up, but as of today, no clear-cut answer as to why the change and if it is a permanent fact of life.

There are of course best practices that must be followed to give your customer’s reviews the best chance of “sticking”. We felt it would be helpful to list them here for you in an effort to educate or remind you of what Google is looking for and as importantly, what it will likely screen out.

  1. Be sure that you are not requesting or receiving a review from a customer who has already provided a previous review and will be providing another from EITHER the same Google account, or the same IP address, these will likely be screened out. 
  2. If your business offers customers access to Wifi while at your location and they login, that customer’s review is likely to be screened out. (heckuva reward you get for being nice ☹) 
  3. Remind customers to please NOT include any phone numbers or website addresses within the body of their review. 
  4. Sounds obvious, but reviews with bad language or offensive statements such as racial slurs are likely to be screened. (why can’t everyone just be nice)
  5. Be sure that you do not contract with an SEO provider or marketing company that uses Blackhat tactics to post reviews for you. This is always a no-no & again, will likely trigger screening of your reviews. 
  6. Do not provide an in-office computer station, tablet or other device to request reviews from your customers while on site, these are sure to be removed.
  7. If as a local business you are receiving a review from someone out of your area, be sure they mention their visit in the review. These are much more likely to get screened out as they have a higher likelihood of being invalid if they are not located anywhere near you.

We promise to continue monitoring the situation and advising you as to any updates we receive. As always, OMG follows the rules which are providing our clients with consistent results and the most up to date information on small business marketing and advertising.

For more information on our products and how they are helping clients affect their Google Reviews in a positive way, visit

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