If you’re missing Google Reviews on your Google Business Page, you are not alone. We’ve recently seen a huge spike of missing google reviews and we’ve spent time analyzing this problem for business owners.
From the super obvious to the more obscure ‘theories’ we’re hopeful that you’ll be able to identify the issue you might be having in both collecting Google reviews and getting those reviews posted.
In this article, we look at Google’s policies and provide our insights on how to fix missing google reviews.
If you’ve ever read Google’s terms ‘Understand Missing & Delayed Reviews’ you are well aware of how brief it is. It’s our experience that there typically is not much of a delay when it comes to when a review is written and then posted.
Others have theorized that COVID-19 has created a backlog of reviews that are pending but I don’t necessarily buy this theory. For one, 99.9% of review management has to be automated and although COVID-19 was definitely a disruption, why have we only seen a spike in ‘missing’ reviews in the past 4 or 5 months? And although it’s clear that Google doesn’t want to give away what triggers their review filters outside of the super obvious, we’ll review what we know below.
Potential Issue with Your Google Business Listing
Listing Information is Incorrect
It’s amazing how often we see incorrect ‘NAP’ information on Google Business pages. ‘NAP’ stands for ‘Name Address Phone’ and ensuring this information is correct across the web let’s Google know you are a business that they can trust.
Duplicate Business Listings
Have you ever had a staff member or perhaps a previous business owner create a Google Business page for your business? If so, are you 100% sure it’s been closed correctly? We see this often from business owners who are ‘locked out’ of their current Google Business page so instead of recovering it, they just create a new one. This is a big no-no.
Not sure if you have duplicate listings? Take a close look at Google Maps and search where your business is located to ensure there is no duplicate listing.
If you’ve had a Google Business listing for quite some time but haven’t been active on it, there is a chance that your listing has actually become ‘inactive’. If this has happened you’ll have to re-verify the page to collect Google reviews and to show up on Google Maps/Local Pack.
Okay – I’m sure my business account is in good order, what next?
Now it’s time to look at what could be triggering a problem with a particular Google Review. If you are able, try to coach your clients and customers on how to leave reviews with ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’
Potential Reason Why Your Google Business Reviews Are Not Showng Up
Provide the correct Google Review URL Link
I find many local business owners aren’t aware that there is a special link that Google provides within your profile that you can share with clients and customers. Below you’ll see it under the section ‘Get More Reviews’.
If you use a google search to find your business profile and then send them that link, I encourage you to stop. I had my business partner do that with three review requests and each of those reviews collected still not been posted to the profile despite being legitimate reviews.
Instead, provide clients with the correct link (or a QR code with the correct link) which has had a 100% success rate at Salt Water Digital.
Conflict of Interest
If you had a current or former employee write reviews this would be considered a conflict of interest. If you’re asking friends or family to leave positive feedback, these could get flagged and may never get posted to your business profile.
Has the Review Been Posted Elsewhere?
Google wants original reviews, not ones that were posted on Yelp, Facebook and whichever other directories it was originally posted. So ensure that you’re asking your clients and customers to leave a unique review that’s for Google and Google only.
Brand New Gmail Account?
It’s possible that the person who you asked to leave the review had to create a Gmail account just to do it. Although it could be a real review, Google’s automated spam bots may pick up on it and flag it as fraudulent – especially if they haven’t left any reviews in the past.
Reviews with Links or URLS
Check to make sure that someone isn’t leaving a review that contains a link or URL for your website or another website.
Paying for Fake Reviews?
If you search a marketplace such as Fiverr you will find hundreds of gigs guaranteeing hundreds of positive reviews. Under no circumstances should you be buying reviews.
Even incentivizing real customers to leave positive reviews is against google policies. As per Google’s policies:
“Content that has been incentivized by a business in exchange for discounts, free goods and/or services.”
Many businesses offer a small incentive for real users to leave a review on their google listing. While it’s a common practice you should be aware that it is technically against Google’s TOS.
Be Aware of Geographics
Now this is a theory of mine but I believe if you have 30 google reviews from your local area and then you get a review from across the country (or world), that may be flagged by Google. So be careful where your reviews may be coming from.
A couple of good reviews are not worth getting your account flagged.
How To Get More Google Reviews – It’s A Number’s Game
Consider a few strategies that will help you to collect Google Reviews the right way.
- Ask Happy and Loyal Customers for Reviews
I know this sounds stupid but it’s amazing how few small business owners take this step. After a job is completed, simply ask them to leave you a review. It’s important you do this right after completing a job while the client is high on your service (hopefully).
This could be in the form of an e-mail, a business card or accompanying a final invoice. Look for reputation management tools that integrate directly into your billing system to help generate new reviews.
I also think this goes without saying but obviously make sure you aren’t asking disgruntled clients for reviews. In a world of automation, I’ve seen where very unhappy clients have received an automated review sequence which only encouraged those clients to leave negative reviews.
- Include a Google Review Link in Your Website Footer
Is it going to convert at the high rate? No. But it’s easy to do and can generate a review good reviews for your business.
- Actively Respond To Your Existing Google Reviews
Actively responding to your reviews is a no-brainer. Not only does it let potential reviewers know that you’re listening and accepting feedback (good or bad), but it also give you a boost from an SEO perspective. I always ensure to mention the exact service that we provided for the client when responding to reviews to further let Google know exactly what we do.
- Include a Google Review Link in Your Signature
I actually find this one works very well for collecting reviews and it’s a simple addition to your signature that takes no time at all.
If you use Gmail or Google Business Suite, click on the gear icon in the top right. Click “see all settings”. Scroll down to the bottom where you will see your signature.
- Follow Up
I’m often surprised at how often people say they’ll leave a review but never actually do. Usually it’s not because they don’t want to but because they are busy and they forget.
I recommend creating a review focussed CRM where you can stay organized, identifying which clients have left a review, which ones have said they will but still haven’t and which clients you don’t want to ask for a review.
By following up with those have said they left a review (but didn’t!) you’ll ensure you have a good system to build up your reviews over time.
- Ask Other Small Businesses That You Work With For Reviews
If you’re a painter who frequents a paint store ask the manager of that store. If you work with other marketing agencies, ask those agencies. Do you pass referrals along to another business? Ask them. There is no wrong with reviews left by vendors, suppliers or other business owners that you’ve worked with.
1 or 2 Google Reviews Not Showing? Do You Have 1 or 2 Negative Reviews? Stop Worrying About It
Missing a couple of Google Business reviews doesn’t really matter. Instead of focusing on the micro, focus on your system for collecting reviews and over time, you’ll be in a much better position to rank higher (SEO) in search engine results and convert clients.
Unless you have a real beef (hint, you probably don’t) contacting google support is largely a waste of time. It’s highly unusual to see them reinstate reviews or to get reviews deleted.
If you or your company is being harassed, verbally abused or are a target of hate speech you’ll have a case. Joe, the neighbor who lives beside your construction site who is upset about the mess and said you’re a terrible company – that won’t warrant a removal. You’re better off trying to contact Joe and make it right.
Managing your online reputation is a much better solution than contacting google to try and get reviews removed. Focus on providing an excellent customer experience, reply to both positive and negative reviews on your google my business profile, generate more reviews, etc.
But Don’t Forget! Google Reviews are Extremely Important!
Reviews are incredibly important and they offer three benefits:
- They allow you to collect positive testimonials for your business
- They allow you to understand your customers better and how you can improve.
- They allow you to improve your visibility on Google.
We find reviews are becoming a bigger part of an SEO strategy. In Google’s pursuit to deliver the most qualified search results for local searches, they not only want to know what exactly your business does, your business location but also how you’re perceived by your customers.
It’s important to look at the competitors in your industry to see how many reviews you need to keep up with the competition. For example, when I Google, ‘Plumber Near Me’ the top result in google maps has 147 reviews and is rated 4.6/5.
When I Google ‘Marketing Agency Vancouver’ I see that the average number of reviews for my competition is much smaller, usually 20 or 30 reviews. This allows me to get an understanding of how many reviews I’ll need to compete.
Further, Google will consider the content of the reviews you collect. If you own a restaurant and many of the reviews have the wording ‘Best Brunch in Seattle’, there is a great chance you’re business will begin to show up in the local pack whenever someone searches ‘Brunch Seattle’ or ‘Best Brunch Seattle’. You can’t tell your customers what to put in a review but a little coaching can help.
It helps from a click-through-rate perspective. It is more likely that your business listing is going to get clicked on if you have a large number of 5-star reviews.
And when that click from a prospective client can mean so much to a business, it’s important that a new business owner does whatever they can to ensure they have the best chance to succeed.
Key Takeaways: Why Your Google Reviews Are Not Showing Up
- Issues with your listing: This could be incorrect listing information (name, address, phone number), accidental duplicate business listings, or inactive listings.
- Google Review Link: If you send a link to a customer in hopes of getting a review, ensure you use the special link provided by Google within your profile.
- Flagged Reviews: Reasons why reviews could be flagged is if there is a conflict of interest (ex. employee writing a review), the review has been posted somewhere else already, it was posted by a new Gmail account (may be flagged as fraudulent), the review has Links or URLS, reviews are posted by fake accounts, or the review comes from well outside your geographic area.