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: plus.google.com, your exact business name (or part of it) as it appears on your listing, the word ‘review’. For example, “Bob Smith Plumbing” “plus.google.com” “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.
Using 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.