The Curious Case of Disappearing Google Maps Reviews

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    Posted By | Updated June 28, 2022

    Google’s ML-Based Review Algorithm

    Near Media’s study on Google’s review takedown shows a noticeable spike in complaints starting from February of 2022. Mike Blumenthal, the post’s author, believes that Google may have rolled out a machine-language-based algorithm targeting SPAM reviews. Based on supporting data in the past, such review-filter algorithms also affect legitimate reviews.

    Mike Blumenthal supported his statements by referring to Google’s blog on how reviews on Google Maps work. The blog details the process of filtering reviews and what happens when a user leaves a business review. When a user leaves (posts) a review, it is sent to the moderation system to ensure that it doesn’t violate any Google policies.

    Google’s Official Review Guidelines

    Based on Google’s official support guidelines, there could be several reasons for the removal of business reviews. The Google Review-filters remove reviews that violate policies, such as inappropriate content and spam.

    Google doesn’t allow reviewers to post reviews that go against their policies and will continue to reject reviews that do not meet their strict and no-nonsense criteria. Here are a few Google Contribution Policies to keep in mind when publishing reviews:

    • Civil Discourse: This includes harassment, hate speech, offensive content, and publishing personal information.
    • Deceptive Content: Google doesn’t allow reviewers to manipulate their ratings with fake engagement. This policy also removes reviews that violate their impersonation, misinformation, and misrepresentation policies.
    • Mature Content: It rejects reviews that include profanities, sexually explicit content, adult-themed content, and violence and gore.
    • Information Quality: Google might get rid of off-topic reviews. It also primarily rejects reviews with promotional content such as phone numbers, email ids, social links, etc.

    In a perfect world, ensuring that the reviewers stick to the guidelines should prevent the reviews from disappearing. However, in some cases, businesses lose reviews that do not violate these policies. These businesses can make a case for reinstating those reviews.

    How to Reinstate Google Map Reviews?

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    First and foremost, contact Google support and fill out the necessary fields with relevant information detailing the issues with the disappearing reviews. If the reviews have not violated any policies, Google might reinstate them.

    However, if Google has failed to respond or reinstate the lost reviews, consider reaching out to the Google business profile help community. There you can ask a product expert to escalate your issue.

    Google business profile help community

    When you post your issues, provide all the necessary details such as case number, the content of the missing reviews, etc.

    Below we have shared information you need to have before you post the issue in the forum:

    • Screenshots of the lost reviews
    • Name of the people who left the reviews, as they appear on the review
    • The number of business reviews that have disappeared
    • The date each review was left (posted).

    Although these guidelines can help some businesses get their reviews back, they might not work for everyone. These businesses will have to focus on building a review system that isn’t flagged for violating Google’s policies.

    Also, many businesses send a customised review link to their customers, politely asking them to leave a review if they enjoyed the services. Instead of sending customers and clients a review link, ask them to search for your business and leave a review. Consider making a guide to help people understand how Google review works.

    Blog Author
    Nirav Dave

    Nirav Dave is the Co-Founder & Partner at Capsicum Mediaworks, an SEO Agency based out of India that specializes in all things Web Design & WordPress Development. He Worships WordPress and Loves to read anything and everything about this exceptional CMS.

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