Garning Google reviews is one of the more important exercises a local business can do. There are three main benefits of getting patient reviews; firstly the testimonials you receive can be used to market your practice. Secondly, you can use them to better understand what you are doing right and/or wrong as a practice; and thirdly, to improve the visibility of your business on Google (The quality and quantity of Google reviews is one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO)
Considering all of the above, it can be very frustrating when some of your Google reviews vanish and you have worked so hard to get them in the first place.
Why is this happening? and what can you do to prevent it?
Google’s review filter.
Google employes an automatic review filter to combat spam. The review filter runs periodically and tends to take down all of the of reviews at once, that they deem to be spammy or against their guidlines. The filter does not run in real time, this means you could have a review associated on your listing for months and then vanish at the same time as several other reviews.
What Causes a Review to be Filtered?
The vast majority of time, reviews get filtered due to issues with the IP address of the person who left you the review. Here are some things that cause reviews to be filtered:
The review contains a URL.
URLs are not allowed in reviews and usually cause the review to get immediately filtered but if you’re a more trusted reviewer, it might stick for a while and get filtered later.
The review contains a word Google doesn’t like, such as profanity or racial terms.
The person who wrote the review works for you.
Rating your employer is against Google’s guidelines and usually Google can trace this type of thing due to the fact that you share the same IP address that they use to manage their Google My Business listing.
You hired an SEO company to post reviews for you.
You have an onsite review station (iPad, computer etc) at your location.
You are offering incentives for people who write you reviews.
These don’t generally get caught algorithmically by the filter but people report competitors for doing this all the time at the Google My Business forum and Google removes them.
Is it Possible the User Deleted the Review?
Although it’s possible that the user deleted the review they wrote you, I have never come across a case where this was the reason for the review disappearing. This is probably due to the fact that deleting a review on Google isn’t an overly simple process.