So, you’ve finally started asking for online reviews from happy customers – way to go!
But what if you can’t find their review? The happy customer swears they’ve left one, but it’s not showing up on your Google My Business profile. They might even see the review they left on their end, but it’s not showing up on your business profile and you can’t respond to it as the Google My Business Manager.
From time to time, online reviews that are posted won’t actually appear on your online business profile. This is due to a number of checks and filters Google has in place to distinguish out legitimate reviews from phony ones. Most of the time it does a good job of identifying when a review is illegitimate. But sometimes, a perfectly legit review gets flagged as fake and it takes some detective work to figure out what caused it.
Let’s review some of the reasons why a Google review might not show up right away.
1. Global Pandemic/Natural Disaster
The majority of the time, Google reviews are reviewed manually, by real people, using their judgement to determine if a review is legitimate or not. In 2020, Google experienced major delays in review management due to staffing shortages stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant there were less people to review those flagged reviews, resulting in major back ups for reviews. So a review that should’ve taken a day to review and post, suddenly took 5 days to be made public.
This is an important lesson to keep in mind moving forward. Natural disasters can totally affect the posting times of an online review.
2. URL in the review
If the customer left a URL or link to a website in the review, this could result in the review being taken down. The customer will have to edit their review and remove the link before it is posted live.
3. The person who posted the review is an employee
This one seems fairly obvious, but reviews left by employees of your company will get flagged and won’t be posted to your Google My Business profile. It’s pretty easy for Google to determine if a review is left by an employee based on the contents of their review, their online profiles, and social media accounts.
Google can also identify if reviews are being left using the same IP address (same device) or under the same Wi-Fi network, which can also contribute to a review being flagged.
4. Too many reviews too quickly
There may be legitimate reasons for your business to receive a major uptick in reviews in a short period of time (1-2 days for example), but more often than not, this will warrant a review by a Google employee. It just looks like spam and the reviews may be held from going public until they can be properly vetted to ensure authenticity.
It’s safer to simply ask for reviews in a steady and consistent pattern vs. mass campaigns to friends and family on the spot.
5. Buying Reviews
Offering money or prizes in exchange for reviews will result in the reviews being taken down AND could result in your Google My Business listing being suspended by Google. Stay far away from this strategy and solicit reviews organically from happy customers only.
6. You have multiple locations or your business listings are inaccurate
If your business has multiple locations with a different Google My Business for each location, that could result in customers getting confused and leaving reviews for the wrong business listing.
Similarly, if your business listing information (Name, Location, Hours of Operation) are inaccurate, Google may prevent reviews from being posted because the business profile lacks credibility.
This is why it’s so important to always have accurate business listings across the web.
7. Inappropriate Content
Google has a strict no-tolerance policy for any kind of foul language, images or text promoting violence, sexually inappropriate content, hate-speech, or bullying in their reviews.
Also, any overly-personal information (like financial information, private contact information, or government issued identifiers) won’t be allowed in the review.
8. You just might be a bit impatient!
Last but not least, there’s always a chance the review simply hasn’t been reviewed yet by the Google team. Reviews can take anywhere from 2-7 business days to be posted on a Google My Business listing, so if you’re not seeing a review right away, wait at least a week before you look into editing the content or contacting the Google team.
At the end of the day, the best way to boost your online reviews is to simply ask every customer you interact with to leave a review for your business. 71% of customers will leave an online review if asked. So get started today by asking for those reviews and if you don’t see them on your Google My Business page right away, don’t panic.
Just give us a call and ask us what the issue might be. We’re happy to walk you through the process of troubleshooting!