Why are my Google reviews not showing up? Your Google reviews may not show up if they have spam signals, a competitor flags reviews, customers didn’t really write reviews, or there’s a delay.
Very often, Google reviews don’t show up because customers didn’t actually write the reviews. More on this below.
Other times, Google will show a review, but only after a delay of several days.
In some rare cases, unscrupulous competitors try to tear down a business’ good reviews by flagging them as inappropriate to get Google to remove them.
But quite often, the reason Google reviews don’t show up is due to spam signals.
Google looks for many different spam signals to figure out if a review might violate their review policies.
But Google often gets it wrong, filtering out legitimate reviews in addition to the reviews that violate policies.
So if your Google reviews are not showing up, there’s a good chance that’s because they have the kinds of spam signals that Google looks for.
Keep reading below for the specific kinds of spam signals that might be causing your Google reviews to not show up.
Here are the top reasons why your Google reviews are not showing up:
- Reviews were never actually written
- Reviews are delayed, but will show up
- Reviews are getting flagged
- Reviews include sensitive information
- Reviews are duplicates
- Reviews weren’t written by customers
- Reviews were entered from the business’ device
- There was a sudden spike in new reviews
- Reviewers leave reviews for multiple locations
- Reviews were written poorly
- Reviews had unusual characters
- Reviews are fake
- Reviewers were offered an incentive
- Can I delete a review on Google?
- How do you ask customers for Google reviews that get results?
- Can you offer incentives for Google reviews?
- Are fake Google reviews illegal?
- How do you get good Google reviews?
Reviews were never actually written
Customers often have busy lives, and they simply can’t write a review for every business they ever buy from.
But most people don’t want to disappoint other people.
So when you ask a regular customer if they left that review they promised to write, they may be sorely tempted to just say “yes” even if that’s a little white lie.
This happens a lot more than anyone would like to admit.
The best way to handle this problem is to:
1) Send a review request to every customer
A very common reason business owners think their Google reviews are not showing up is simply because they have unrealistic expectations about how likely it is that a customer will be willing to take the time to write a review. Like most of marketing, getting reviews is a numbers game. You need to send a lot of review requests for every 1 review you actually get. Most requests will not result in a review. Our Google review management tool can help you automate this process, so you don’t spend too much time on it, but can still reach every customer.
2) Optimize your conversion rates
Make sure you do everything you can to increase the percentage of review requests that result in a click that leads to Google’s review page. To do this, check out our section on how to get more reviews by optimizing conversion rates.
3) Track how many customers actually land on Google’s review page
Whether you use Rising Star Reviews or some other system, be sure to track how many customers actually get sent to Google’s review page. Then look at how many of those customers actually left a review after landing on the page. This is the final conversion rate you have little to no control over, since the customer is now on Google’s website.
4) Shoot for a 20% to 40% final conversion rate on Google’s review page
Once a customer lands on the Google review page, the chances that they will actually write a review often range between 20% to 40%. If you see a lower percentage leaving reviews, you may be sending the customers to a confusing Google page. Check out our article on how to generate a Google review link you can send customers to that will have a much higher conversion rate.
Reviews are delayed, but will show up
Sometimes Google reviews appear immediately, but other times there may be a delay from the time when a customer submits the review to when it actually shows up on the business’ Google My Business profile.
How long does it take for Google reviews to show up? It can take up to 7 days for a Google review to show up on a Google My Business profile.
Reviews are getting flagged
Some unscrupulous businesses use “black hat” techniques to compete online, such as flagging their competitors’ positive reviews as “inappropriate.” They usually have a number of people (often either employees or freelancers) flag as many positive reviews as possible.
Whenever a review is flagged as inappropriate, Google investigates the review to determine if it should be deleted or not.
If the black hat business flags enough reviews, there’s a good chance that some percentage of them will actually get removed by Google.
Google has ways to detect this sort of black hat behavior and crack down on those who engage in it. But Google isn’t perfect, so you may still fall prey to a competitor who does this to your business.
If you think the reviews for your business are getting flagged by a competitor trying to tear down your reputation, we recommend you contact Google support immediately and provide as much evidence as you can that this is what’s happening.
To contact Google support, log into Google My Business, click “Support” on the left-hand menu, and follow the instructions.
Reviews include sensitive information
Reviews may not show up if they include sensitive information such as an email address, personal information about an individual, or a website URL.
Even if a reviewer doesn’t include a full URL, but just includes a domain name in the text of the review—like “acme.com”—that may be enough for Google to filter out the review.
Google may also filter out a review if there are special characters that are associated with sensitive information, such as currency symbols like $, personal contact info symbols like @, or symbols like # that are often used by both URLs and phone systems.
Check out Google’s list of prohibited and restricted content for all the kinds of content that Google looks for when determining which Google reviews should not show up due to sensitive information being shared in the review.
Reviews are duplicates
Google will not show a review when the same review already appears elsewhere, even if it appears on an entirely different site, like Yelp or Facebook.
So if you have a customer who already left a review somewhere else, ask the customer to write an entirely unique review with unique wording on Google instead of copying and pasting the same review onto Google.
Reviews weren’t written by customers
It’s against Google’s policies for someone to write a review of a local business if they weren’t a customer of the business.
Google reviews will not show up if Google determines that the reviews were written by the business owner, employees, or even someone closely related to the customer who isn’t the actual direct customer.
Reviews were entered from the business’ device
Your Google reviews may not show up if you ask your customers to leave a review from your own device, such as a tablet or desktop computer.
That’s because Google is very sensitive to reviews that have been manipulated by businesses, so they may question the integrity of your reviews if a lot of reviews are written from the same devices that are all located where your business is located. For all Google knows, you’re strong-arming your customers or offering them incentives, both of which are against Google’s policies.
To make sure your Google reviews show up, encourage customers to leave reviews from their own devices, and from various locations—such as their homes—rather than from your business’ devices at your business’ location.
There was a sudden spike in new reviews
Your Google reviews may not show up if Google suddenly sees a dramatic spike in new customer reviews all at once.
Google is always on the lookout for fake reviews. And when a business suddenly gets a much higher number of reviews than it has gotten historically, Google suspects foul play.
We advise our members to reach out to customers for reviews on a daily or weekly basis, and not to wait much longer than that. If you only reach out to your customers every once in a while in bulk, you may experience a sudden spike in new reviews that causes many of those reviews to get filtered.
There’s also another advantage in asking for reviews more frequently: You get more reviews.
When you ask customers for a review soon after you conclude business with them, their memories are still fresh and their emotions still strong. So they’re much more likely to leave a review than if you wait until their experience with your business is a distant memory.
Reviewers leave reviews for multiple locations
If your business has more than one location, and your customers leave reviews for more than one of those locations, the reviews may not show up on Google.
That’s because Google may suspect that you are trying to get customers to write reviews for locations the customer hasn’t actually visited. Google only wants customers to write reviews for the specific local business locations where they have been a direct customer.
Reviews were written poorly
Believe it or not, Google may not show reviews that have bad spelling or poor grammar.
It’s unclear as to exactly why Google filters out reviews like this.
It may have something to do with the fact that Google is increasingly using its Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to parse the actual language of reviews to ascertain their true meaning—not just look robotically for keyword phrases.
Perhaps when Google’s AI is unable to parse the language at all, due to bad spelling or grammar, Google prefers to filter out the review rather than risk that the review may violate Google’s policies.
In fact, spammers who do violate policies often use misspellings and other writing “mistakes” to circumvent filters. So Google is probably right to filter out reviews with language that its AI is unable to parse.
In addition to filtering out bad spelling and grammar, Google has also been known to not show reviews that are too short—presumably because many fake review mills leave very short reviews, or perhaps because a short review may not give enough information to readers to be considered useful.
And a Google review may also get filtered out if the language is overly negative, such as using profane or strongly disrespectful language. Google is just fine with negative reviews expressing negative sentiment, but is not fine with ranting and raving wildly.
Reviews had unusual characters
You may find your Google reviews are not showing up if they have special characters like $, #, @, (, ), …, and so on. That also includes using normal punctuation characters, but using them excessively, like this!!!!! Google likes honest negative reviews, but not rants, and excessive punctuation is an indicator of a possible rant.
Reviews are fake
Google is constantly on the lookout for fake reviews and will remove any review suspected of being fake.
So if you have written or bought fake reviews and those Google reviews are not showing up, the most likely reason is that Google’s algorithms have figured out what you’re up to.
If you are ever tempted to use fake Google reviews, before you do, check out our in-depth article on fake Google reviews. It will change your mind. Then it will show you how you can get even better results from actual customers while also paying less.
Reviewers were offered an incentive
Not only are incentives strictly prohibited by Google’s policies, but they’re also illegal in most countries. If you offered an incentive in exchange for a Google review, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may fine your business a lot of money.
If this is the reason your google reviews are not showing up, be sure to look at our article on why not to buy Google reviews. (In case you’re wondering, any form of incentive—financial or otherwise—is the same as “buying” reviews as far as the FTC is concerned.