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Ultimate Guide to Finding Filtered Reviews on Google Places/Google Plus

One of the most common questions I run into at the Google & Your Business Forum (Google Places Forum) is people wanting to know why their reviews got filtered. The first step to figuring that out is to track down the reviews and looking for patterns to see why it might have been filtered.

But how can you look at the reviews if they have disappeared from your page? How can you possibly contact the users/customers and ask them to revise the review if you don’t know who they are?

Do not fear, there are still a few ways to track down this information.

Method One: Look at the Cached Version of your page

  • Do a Google search for your Google Plus Page URL
  • If the page comes up in the search results, click the little right arrow and select the cached button
  • This will bring up a blank screen, go to the end of the URL and add the code &strip=1
  • That will convert the cached version of your page to text so you can scroll down to see what was on your page the last time Google crawled it.

This method doesn’t always work if Google has crawled your page AFTER the reviews disappeared. Then I would move to method 2.

Method Two: Search Specific Terms in Google

  • Do a Google search for the following in quotations:, your exact business name (or part of it) as it appears on your listing, the word ‘review’.  For example, “Bob Smith Plumbing” “” “review”
  • If you click the link to the user’s profile, it will not show you the review text since the review has already been filtered.
  • At this point you need to the same thing as listed in method one – click the right arrow to see the cached version of the user’s page, add &strip=1 to the end of the URL string, and you should see the text of the review.

Filtered Google Places Reviews 2Using those 2 methods you should have the name of the person and the text of the review that got filtered. With those 2 pieces of information, you can now try and figure out why the review got filtered in the first place. The list below is the common reasons why I have found reviews get filtered on Google.

  • URLs in reviews
  • The same review appears elsewhere online (Yelp, a testimonials page on your website etc)
  • The person who wrote the review is a manager of your G+ Page
  • The person who wrote the review works for you
  • The person wrote the review from the same computer/IP Address that you sign into to manage your local listing
  • The person wrote the review from the same IP address as other users who left you reviews
  • The person tried to post a review for you several times on different dates (Ex: they wrote one August 5 and it got filtered so they tried again on October 10)
  • You’ve been collecting reviews in mass within a short time frame
  • All the people reviewing you are clicking on a link from an email signature
  • The person reviewing you has also reviewed multiple other businesses with the same name (if you have several locations and they reviewed all of them)
  • The person reviewing you has a completely blank G+ profile and has never had any activity on that Google profile before or after they left you that review.
  • You hired an SEO company to post reviews for you
  • You have an onsite review station (Ipad, Computer etc) at your location
  • You have literally no reviews anywhere else online but tons on Google
  • You are offering incentives for people who write you reviews.
  • Your # of reviews is abnormally higher than most businesses in your industry.


The one I see the most is businesses who have employees write reviews for them. Often after I get the name of the user via the methods above, I’ll search this user’s name + the name of the business and find Facebook or Linked In profiles that clearly indicate that person works for the business they reviewed. I can only imagine that if it’s that easy for me to discover, it’s even more easy for Google to connect.


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Joy Hawkins

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Excellent post, Joy.

    I’ve found that this is by far the biggest filter-factor:
    “You’ve been collecting reviews in mass within a short time frame”

    Google has been pretty toothless about catching review/reviewers that fall short on most of the other factors.

  2. Ultimate Guide to Finding Google Local Reviews that were Filitered/Removed

    Joy Hawkins, fellow Google Top Contributor, friend and forum sponsor – just wrote a dynamite post about how to search for and find reviews that get removed by Google. FYI Google seldom deletes anythi…

  3. Excellent and much-needed post. Thanks, Joy!

    When you list the filter factors you’ve observed, I’m curious how you knew which behavior triggered the filter? Or is it just a correlation or best guess? The reason I ask is, some of the behaviors you mention are prohibited or obviously frowned upon, but others are not (e.g. linking from email signatures).

    1. Hey Jon!

      It’s based on all the posts I’ve assisted with on the Google forum. When the review filter first came out there were a TON of threads about it and some were hundreds of posts long. I was on most of them and started comparing patterns and seeing what items kept coming up. The email signature thing isn’t honestly one that came up a ton and usually was more of an issue when combined with mass solicitation via email. But I wanted the list to include everything I have run across. The most popular definitely is people associated with the business writing reviews, followed by people posting reviews on-site (connected to business’ wifi etc), then reviews posted by pretty much blank profiles.

  4. Very useful post Joy. Thanks for taking the time to share your distillation of reviews. Smart biz guys always give a review form for their customers to fill out online. Now to get the customers to act, thats determined by how good your work or service is and what pain you relieved for your customer.

  5. Thanks for posting this, Joy. This is a helpful list of “what not to do” as well as how to find those filtered posts.

    I had an interesting conversation with a Google customer service rep this past June while assisting a client with multiple G+ pages. The rep actually recommended that my client set up a laptop at his place of business and solicit customer reviews on the spot for his verified business listing / page. From the one onsite computer.

    My client and I decided that probably was not such a hot idea.

  6. Nothing was right with my problem.

    The owner of a business talked with Google Business Team for nobody could write in their page.

    I asked my question here (,3054546,3061080&contact=1) and a worker of Google Business told me that they can ban reviews if the owner of a business page send them a report. The business is actually private and nobody can write any reviews. So you can write my case as a new possibility for deleting reviews.

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