It used to be that current Google reviews would just get lost, which seems like a big enough problem.
Now, however, the problem is that the reviews you’ve worked so hard to get for your small business simply don’t show up at all.
The Importance of Google Reviews
The emphasis for small businesses has become reaching potential and current customers quite literally where they live when it comes to search optimization. As the focus of Google search has increasingly become more geographically targeted, the importance of Google+ Local reviews has increased, especially as Google Places has been (and, in some cases, is being) converted to Google+ Local.
Because Google+ Local pages are part of the Google big picture, I think it’s safe to assume that they bear more significance when it comes to local search. And the more active your small business is with your Google+ Local page and the more reviews you get, the better off your search results will be…right?
Hey, Where Are My Reviews?
As I stated earlier, the problem used to just be that Google reviews were getting lost, especially as the conversion from Places to Local pages started. Now, though, it seems a bit more complicated.
As small business owners have become more savvy about garnering reviews from current customers, Google and additional review sites have gotten more picky about the presence of false reviews. This combination has proven to be problematic as our clients have tried different strategies for getting Google reviews which end up not even appearing on their Google+ Local pages.
So what’s happening? One common example is our dental clients who put iPads in their practice waiting rooms so that patients could leave a review right after they had the wonderful experience. Just using this strategy can help our clients gain several reviews in a short amount of time with a minimal amount of effort.
As far as we can tell, these reviews are getting blocked because they are coming from the same IP Address, which is essentially a computer’s unique signature. Google may flag this behavior as suspicious, especially if there are upwards of 100 reviews in the space of 4 weeks, as an example.
So How Can I Get My Reviews To Show Up?
This, my friends, is the eternal question. While we have no cut-and-dried answers for how to deal with Google regarding actually seeing your reviews show up, we do have some tips that may help.
- Protect Your Current Reviews – I cannot say this enough. Go to your Google+ Local page and use these tips to retain the reviews you’ve already received…just in case.
- Keep in mind that Google doesn’t publish reviews from third parties such as Yelp. Consider diversifying your reviews in other sites like Yelp that relate to your small business.
- Also bear in mind that authors of reviews can remove them if they want to.
- Check for a duplicate Google listing for your business, even if you’ve checked before. The duplicate listings seem to multiply like rabbits, and there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason.
- They may have been lost in the shuffle of Google Places being moved to Google+ Local, in which case it’s time to grieve those reviews because you’ll not see them again.
- Use a program like Social Dentist, where customers use their mobile phones and QR codes leading directly to your Google+ Local page. This way, the reviews are coming from different IP Addresses.