If you’ve been with us for a while, you might know that Google reviews are super important for a local business. It’s a thing we mention every now and then. It never stops being true. It’s one of the top three things that Google and other search engines use for determining how to rank a site. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 you might have noticed a problem with your reviews not showing up recently, though.
If Google reviews aren’t showing up, there are a few reasons, and none of them are things you should worry about. Let’s go over some of those reasons now.
The Review Just Isn’t Live Yet
Google reviews don’t post always instantly. They often do, but sometimes it can take anywhere from 2-7 business days for it to post online. If a review was just recently written and you don’t see it online, just wait a few days and see if it does before you do anything about it. If it still hasn’t shown up, there’s still no reason to panic. It might just be:
Like everybody else, Google has had problems due to the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s kept their employees from coming in. Why a company that’s all about being online hasn’t thought about ways to let it’s workers work from home, I don’t know, but staffing shortages have meant they’re slow in getting things done. Currently, Google is not supporting online reviews because they can’t get enough staff members to verify them properly. This is a temporary problem and will be fixed as soon as possible.
In the meantime, Google still logs the reviews, so any reviews left won’t just disappear. As of last month, Google restored its ability to respond to reviews, so if you get a negative review that you need to respond to, you still can even if the review doesn’t go live. This provides you with an opportunity to resolve the situation before the review goes live. It might even convince the customer to delete the review before it does.
Customers Can Delete Reviews
Customers are able to delete reviews from Google. There’s really not much more to it than that. If a review disappeared, all you can do is check with the reviewer and see if they did. If they did, you can ask why. It may be there was an underlying problem you can correct for them.
Inaccurate or Duplicate Listings
Your Google My Business listing is how Google tracks user reviews for your company. If the information in you listing is inaccurate, or you have duplicate listings, it can cause reviews to fail to post, or post incorrectly.
First, check you listing information. Go to the “Info” tab and check your local business address. Make sure it’s listed correctly and that the map populates in the correct location. If it isn’t, correct the information. If your listing has the wrong address, then reviews written for your local business will not correctly post since Google can’t connect them to your GMB account.
Secondly, check for duplicate business listings. This can happen if you signed up for GMB, didn’t use it immediately, and then set up a second listing at a later date. This problem can confuse Google and have reviews post in the wrong location, or not at all. If you find that you do have a duplicate listing, Google allows you to delete them.
Inactive GMB Account
You have to keep your account up to date if you want your listings to stand. If your business listing has had no activity on it for more than 6 months, Google will unverify the business. If this happens, you have to contact them to reverify the listing so you can collect more reviews.
The Review Contained Content That Violated Google’s Policies
There are several reasons that can cause Google to remove a review before or after it’s been posted. I’ll go over the more common ones.
1. Reviews From Employees
Google does not allow reviews from current or former employees of your company. It’s considered a conflict of interest. A current employee might be trying to make your business look better, while a former employee might be holding a grudge and trying to harm your business. If Google finds out that a review is by a current or former employee, they’ll remove the review.
2. Reviews With Links
If a review has a link or URL in it, Google won’t allow it to be posted. This is one way that Google makes sure that reviews aren’t used to advertise something other than the business being reviewed. Before they implemented this, rival companies could leave bad reviews and then link to their own businesses.
Google doesn’t allow swearing in reviews. They just won’t. Captain America doesn’t approve of it, and neither does Google.
4. You’ve Been Cheating
Have you been a bad boy and tried to pay people to review your site? Well, naughty-naughty, that’s not allowed. Google wants reviews to be honest and will not accept paid reviews. If they find you incentivizing reviews, they’ll delete them. Furthermore, they’ll penalize your site in the rankings. Don’t try to cheat the system.
Use This Opportunity Wisely
If a Google review disappears, it’s not really a big deal. It does give you opportunities, though. It can give you an excuse to touch base with loyal customers. Find out if everything is going good with them, maybe fix any problems they’ve had. Look to focus customer reviews on other platforms such as Facebook or niche based directories that can also show up in customer searches online. There’s a lot you can do that will improve your customer relationships.
If they aren’t posting right now, it’s probably because of the COVID slow-down. There’s no reason to worry about this. The reviews will post as soon as Google can get its staff back in hand. In the meantime, why not focus on a review campaign? Touch base with any customers who’ve been purchasing from you and find out how they’re liking the service. If they’re pleased, try asking them to leave a review. They won’t appear right away, but when they do, that’ll be a significant boost to your online rankings. Just imagine what a sudden surge of positive reviews will do to help your local business recover from the downtime the outbreak caused.
Let Us Help!
Here at Atlas Internet Marketing, helping you get online reviews is one of our specialties. We have tested campaign strategies that can see you get twice as many reviews as before with your customers. If you want to take advantage of a good ranking boost to get your local business ahead, get in touch with us today! We’ll even give you a free consultation before you sign on with us to see if we’re the right fit for you.