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Does a new Google update mean fewer reviews?

You may have seen or directly experienced a recent string of changes in the reviews on your business page. Some users have been reporting issues with the Google Reviews feature, including missing reviews that were posted for months, or new reviews that are never fully posted. As a visible gauge of your business’ overall health, at the very least from an external perspective, sudden changes to this feature can be jarring.

As we’ve touched on before, Google regularly makes frequent updates throughout the year. It would seem the latest “core update,” brought in a stricter approach as an effort to crackdown on what they (or their algorithm) believes to be spam or fake reviews. Unfortunately, legitimate reviews, including pre-existing, are not immune to this ‘catch-all’ approach.

(If you need an overview, here's a quick video of how their Reviews system works on Google Maps.)

Are there any options available?

Option 1: Contact Google support directly

Reaching out to Google support via email or chat can provide some high-level information as it relates to your issue. If they can’t provide an answer at the time, they may refer it to a fellow specialist that can more clarity or resolve your issue together. Generally, you’ll hear back within 3-5 business days for most support cases.

Option 2: Share your experience on the Google Business Forum

The Google help forum can help escalate an issue of interest and help scout answers from those experiencing similar problems. For this issue, it helps to screenshot the posts, so you have a reference to which ones are being taken down or not going live altogether.

Option 3: Ask reviewer to edit review or resubmit

Again, Google’s algorithm may wrongly flag some legitimate reviews as spam or a violation of policy. Though it may not be possible for all reviewers, you can try and reach out to see if the reviewer can edit their review or try reposting another time.

(Side note: We would recommend that you refrain from asking for reviews from the same customers TOO often, including for edits as above.)

Other causes to consider:

  • Your business profile was recently disabled or under suspension

  • An error where reviews appear either on a Google search or on Google Maps, but not both

  • The review actually might have content that violates policies and guidelines

  • There was a true technical error or glitch in the reviewing removal process

  • A reviewer is using an outdated device and/or operating system not fully supported by the current version of the app(s) or browser(s)

While short-term changes can be frustrating, the feature itself is sticking around, and reviews can still have a positive impact on your page despite the recent changes.

Have further questions about review management or overall SEO for your business? Please reach out to us!

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