You get a client, you work with the client, and after spending countless hours working and customizing their website, setting up their hosting, emails, SEO and many other things in between you end of having a customer who is fairly satisfied with your service, excitedly you request them to write you a review on your google business profile, which they reluctantly do but to your surprise that review never gets posted publicly despite the client sending you screen shots of the them writing the review and it actually showing up on his account.
Given the importance Google places on positive reviews, this can be very frustrating as a small business owner. If this has happened to you, don’t worry you are not alone, just last month this happened to me twice and here is what I have discovered in the process to try and resolve this.
Why are your reviews missing ?
There isn’t an exact answer to this as Google never gives you one apart from saying it possibly violated one of its many policies, but after scouring the internet and going through testimonials of small business owners over the years, here is my best take on what makes a review go missing.
1) The review is longer than usual
In both of my cases, I realized that the reviews that went missing were longer and explanatory than usual. This somehow seems to trigger the algorithm to flag longer reviews as spam. I am not saying long reviews wont post at all, but you are better served by having short concise reviews.
2) The review contains a hyperlink
Google will flag and remove reviews with backlinks, this is in place to avoid people from tying to game the system to create a backlink and improve their SEO. If you think your client has left one with a link, even a genuine one contact them and request to remove the link.
3) Multiple reviews from the same IP address
If you are a business owner and want to jack up your review game by having your employees or even your family or friends write you multiple reviews from different accounts, then its an exercise in vain as most probably none of those reviews would show up.
4) Review contains advertisement
Reviews are supposed to be your clients unbiased opinion on how you were as a business to them, so that next prospective customer gets an idea. Reviews with advertising content aren’t allowed and hence would be removed.
5) Use of Profanity in reviews
Australian love their slangs, and their are many common words that we say and use that are considered profane is the general sense. Avoid having your customer use even the slightest hint of it as that review would be pulled for having inappropriate content.
How do I get my missing reviews back?
There is no sure way to ascertain if Google would decide in your favor and re-list your missing reviews, but Google does allow a dedicated form to report your missing reviews that you think have been deleted in error.
- Google allows you to report all your concerns with your business profile through a dedicated portal available here
- Select your business from the list for which the review is missing.
- Where it says tell us how can we help you write ” missing reviews” and selects ” reviews missing” for the list of options that appear after that.
- Click on the next step in the Resources part.
- Choose email as your contact option in the next part, that will expand to a detailed form, key in all the relevant details you have about the missing review.
- You would need your business profile ID to complete that form, which you can get by going to the 3 dot icon of your profile page Business Profile Settings > Advanced Settings
- Once submitted, you will receive an email from Google with the details of the report and will be subsequently updated on the outcome of your request.
Can I Solicit Google Reviews ?
Is it ok to ask your customer to review your business once you have provided your services, absolutely you can as satisfied customers rarely tend to leave reviews unless asked but your approach should be of request and not of force. There are a few things you need to keep in mind while soliciting reviews, you can’t request them to give you a specific review or explicitly urge for 5 stars. While it’s acceptable to promote positive feedback (if you appreciate our service, kindly consider rating us on Google!), discouraging negative reviews is not permissible.
On 13th of Aug, 2 days after posting this article, Google indeed wrote back to us informing that our case of missing review was being investigated by a team dedicated for missing reviews. A day after on 14th of Aug all our missing reviews appeared online again.
There is a catch though, along side the 5 star positive reviews that went missing, two 1 star negative reviews that we never saw off also appeared alongside. This goes on to show that you need to be ready for that possibility as well.