Is Google removing your reviews? This might be why...

A case of disappearing reviews and what to do about it…

By: Johanna Bannis

According to the 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation - an important statistic when growing your business. As such, they can play such an important role in the ongoing success of business practice. So what happens if reviews that you work hard to cultivate are being removed? Business owners are confused as to why some reviews are being removed from Google. Particularly, it seems strange that a review can be published and then, not long after, mysteriously disappear.
Well, there's a reason for this:
Google has specific criteria for reviews and may filter any reviews (over time) that don't adhere to it.
You may inadvertently be asking for reviews incorrectly, or have otherwise run afoul of the rules without realizing it. If you've checked out the Google criteria and still don't feel that the reviews should have been removed, then continue reading to find out if any of these situations below apply to you.

Shared IP address

  • Do you offer free WiFi to your clients or patients? If so, this may pose a problem when leaving a review. If multiple individuals use the same computer or WiFi connection to leave a review, Google may remove or flag them as spam or fake content, only because multiple reviews are coming from the same source IP. Encourage your patients to leave reviews from their phone or device not using the WiFi, or to leave the review from a device at home.
  • The above also applies to patients living within the same household trying to leave a review where similar issues could exist, although this is less likely.
  • Has your number of reviews increased dramatically in a short amount of time? Google may flag this as spam. A way to manage this could be to ask for reviews in different stages, such as on a month-to-month basis or as you feel your business dictates. Try to avoid asking the same client for a review, especially in a short amount of time.

The Reviewer

  • Who's really leaving a review? If a current or former employee, or an associate company working for you leaves a review about your business, Google may flag this as a conflict of interest and remove the review accordingly. In addition to interfering with your credibility as a reputable business, it is likely that the person will not have experienced the service you offer in the same way as a client would and so would be representing your business incorrectly.
  • 3rd Parties: Be careful of SEO companies offering to drastically improve your reviews as it is likely to be a result of the company generating fake reviews. Improving results is important for business growth, but make sure you don't get duped into a scam.
  • Does your client have a blank profile or an account with limited activity? If so, they may be considered as an inactive user and their reviews may potentially be deleted. This is generally because some companies or 3rd parties, intent on gaining an increased amount of reviews and a boost to the company's online reputation, have in the past created Google accounts in order to post reviews and then delete the account. If patients are satisfied with the results or services you provide or offer, encourage them to leave a review with their name to give increased credibility and to avoid potential removal.
Related article: Online Reputation Management


  • Is there a website/URL in the review? If web addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and/or links to social media websites are included within the review, Google will automatically detect this, may deem it as advertising, and remove the review.
  • Are there offensive terms, including but not limited to profanity? If there are any racial or racially charged terms, these are considered offensive and hate speech, and will be removed.
  • Is a person reviewing a business with the same name? Sometimes, a patient may inadvertently leave a review for a business that may have a similar name, and that would be corrected later. Reviews might also be filtered if your business has multiple locations.

Google also lists the following as Prohibited and Restricted Content:
  • Off-topic (and therefore not relevant)
  • Illegal content
  • Sexually explicit content
  • Hate speech
  • Harassment and bullying
  • Impersonation
Click here for Google's contribution policy and more details on each topic.

The premise behind clients leaving reviews is to ensure honest and accurate descriptions of your company and services are available to current and potential clients. UpOnline's Reputation Management Service can help to keep a check on and encourage reviews. Contact us for more details.