In the midst of Google's attempts to streamline their Google Plus, Google Places, Google Maps, Google etc., you may have noticed that some of your reviews have gone missing. Why you ask? The problem could stem from a variety of factors - Google's algorithm could be having issues from identifying spam from legitimate reviews or the algorithm needs time to "settle down." From Google themselves, here is what they are stating the problems arise from:
- Reviews from third-party websites are no longer displayed on Google Places listings. Below the reviews by Google users, we may link “Reviews around the web” on third-party sites.
- Reviews are removed from Google Maps because they exhibit spammy behavior. We can't share specifics about what signals we use, but our goal is to provide end-users with high-quality information they can trust and use that info to make informed decisions. (We can share -- reviews with URLs in them are automatically marked as spam. No URLs, please!) We also remove reviews that violate our content policy guidelines. We know that sometimes our algorithms may flag and remove legitimate reviews in our effort to combat abuse, but believe that overall, these measures are helping to ensure that the reviews appearing on Place pages are authentic, relevant and useful. Here's our reviews posting guidelines and policy: http://goo.gl/LtFCS
- We have data spread across multiple databases, and we bring all that information together to create your local listing. Reviews can sometimes be dropped from Place pages when we’re trying to reconcile all that information. As we mentioned at the beginning of this note: This is a known issue, and we are working to make it better.
- There are duplicates of the business's listing, and your reviews are living on one of these duplicates.
- Occasionally, there is a technical issue that causes Place page reviews to drop from Google Maps for a short period of time (a few days) and then reappear on your listing. This happens when we push updates to our listings database. Again, this is a known issue, and we are working to make it better.
- Edited by Jade on June 20: Keep in mind that some reviews may have been marked as private/removed by their author. When Google+ Local launched on May 31, reviewers were given the option to publish their reviews under their Google+ profiles or mark them as private. If they marked them as private, they won't show up on a business listing.
Basically, Google needs time to work out the bugs of their own systems. This is frustrating for sure, but is there anything you can do to help correct and be proactive about this issue? Right now, there's technically no surefire way to quickly and easily get your reviews back on to your listing, but if Google ending up removing your listings during their reconciliation process, you’ll see them reappear after a few days.
I also recommend contacting the Google support team here, monitoring your listings on a regular basis and alerting your Internet Marketing Consultant (IMC) any time you see issues arise. The assigned optimizer for your site, along with your IMC, are constantly researching ways to remedy the "Disapearing Reviews" issue and the progress Google makes on solving their algorithm bug.
Please contact your IMC or Page 1 Solutions with any questions.