Despite its value in today’s search engine optimization and online branding efforts, very few people are aware of their Google My Business page, or aware of how to use it effectively. Now, more than ever, people are desperate for good online reviews and it seems like those are becoming increasingly difficult to come by. Therefore, if you realize that your Google reviews aren’t showing up on your GMB page, you need to act immediately.
Several things could be going on here, including many that you may not be able to remediate on your own.
Where to Start
Google makes it easy to find your page. You can check it out by visiting their business website, or by going directly to the Google Accounts sign-in page and signing into your GMB account and profile.
Why Reviews Go MIA
Ok, so let’s talk about all the possible reasons your reviews are missing. Whether it’s deliberate, accidental, or a major glitch in the space-time continuum, there has to be a cause. Here are some of the most common (spoiler alert: it’s probably not a space-time error):
The pandemic is literally affecting every aspect of life, including work-life at Google. Due to the pandemic, Google has limited staff and therefore is only performing the most necessary functions in priority order. Therefore, it has temporarily disabled the review section on GMB pages because there is no one available to monitor and approve the reviews for posting.
Another common enemy is spam. Because of that, Google has strict guidelines for reviews and will delete or flag reviews that are deemed inappropriate or against the rules. Make sure that your reviews come from reputable sources and try to encourage people to follow Google’s TOS so you don’t get dinged for their mistakes.
If your customers, peers, or anyone who leaves a review uses a link in their post, it will usually be removed by Google. Even if the link proves useful, Google may not have time to verify it and most links are a sign of spam, so they’ll just delete it and move on. Google is fickle in many ways, and this is one of them. If you can contact people and get them to re-submit reviews without links, you can rectify this situation.
Number of Reviews
Any business with fewer than five reviews on their GMB page will not have them listed publicly. Once there are more than five, and once reviews are no longer on hold due to COVID-19 issues, they will begin showing up so that you can boost your reputation.
Duplicate or Inconsistent Listings
Google is not tolerating any level of unprofessionalism. They expect you to have only one business listing that is standardized across all websites, directories, and platforms. Make sure that you check Google, as well as Google Maps and other places where your business may have been accidentally duplicated. This is generally an oversight on your part, but Google will again probably consider it spam or black hat SEO because they trust no one when it comes to marketing.
There are some instances where a user will take down their own review. This is allowed and could happen for any number of reasons, but it also doesn’t happen often so you shouldn’t worry too much about these.
If you are getting reviews from blank accounts that have nothing more than a username or email address, Google might consider they are bots and delete the reviews. Make sure that your users at least have some activity or information in their profiles so that you can get the most reviews and not worry about having them deleted.
Everyone knows people don’t use proper grammar and spelling, or at least not everyone does. Thus, if every single one of your reviews is error-free and perfectly spelled and punctuated, Google might get suspicious. Even in the educational community and in high-level businesses, grammatical and spelling errors run rampant in user reviews.
Because They Can
Believe it or not, you can’t really trust Google when it comes to competitive advertising. In some cases, Google might intentionally delete reviews to encourage smaller businesses to use Google Ads and pay for marketing, or they may delete positive reviews of their own competitors or those of their subsidiaries. This is not good business practice and it’s rather uncommon, but it has been known to happen.
This Is Why the Rest of Your GMB Matters
You can’t count on other people, ever. You can’t even count on Google, because while they will mostly follow the rules, they basically run the Internet so they also do whatever they want a lot of the time. Thus, you have to capitalize on the rest of your My Business listing, ensuring that you provide accurate and complete information and optimize it in the best way to ensure that it ranks well and gives you the reputation boost that you need.
Once you claim or create your Google My Business page, you’ll need to optimize the basics:
- Business Name
- Address, Phone, and Map Location
- Website and Email Contact
- Business Hours
Google does a pretty good job of walking you through the basics. Just remember to be consistent in your business listing for the best results.
Harness Your GMB and More
With the help of the experts at REIN, you will be able to guarantee that your GMB doesn’t become the bane of your existence. It might already be out there waiting for your claim, or it might be waiting to be created. Either way, it’s waiting, and so are we. When you’re ready to get started on taking your brand image to the next level, give us a call. We’ll make sure your GMB and the rest of your marketing is on point to deliver a holistic approach and give your business the branding assistance that it needs.
At REIN, we’re dedicated to experiential marketing and keeping up with the latest trends and best practices. We understand the value of your My Business page and how to make it work for you. Contact us now to get started.