Google has a MAJOR problem with loosing reviews, but they sometimes come back. For the past month Google has made numerous updates to their review process and TONs small businesses have lost reviews.

The problem is multi-faceted for small business owners. 1) The number of reviews is a ranking factor in the ‘old’ Google Places ranking algorithm. So if some or all of your reviews go missing, your ranking would drop too. (Things have changed somewhat however with the new “Place Search” merged algo.) 2) With the new Google algo that started launching on Oct. 27th, Google reviews are even more prominent and have a big impact on click-through rates and conversions for many companies. 3) If you’ve ever worked on building up your customer or patient reviews you know they can be as precious and hard to get as gold bullion. Losing them HURTS small business owners at their core, in addition to their bottom line.

If you’ve lost Google reviews and Google Places rankings, below are several great resources that will help.

Here’s a story from InfoWorld about how Google is hurting small businesses due to the problem.

Google Places glitch hurts small-business owners
“Small businesses worldwide report they’re losing customers after their positive reviews disappear from Google Places

Google reviews that disappear, often reappear, but it seems based on the quote from Google below, many reviews are now being removed due to new review spam algorithms. The problem with Google algos is they OFTEN get things wrong and innocent marketers get penalized due to the actions of the real spammers.

2 MAIN Google Places support forum threads are going, where Google is encouraging users to report their lost reviews. (There are many other individual threads too. The ones below are the ones that Google is monitoring to some degree.)

HELP! ALL MY 13 REVIEWS HAVE DISAPPEARED AND NOW CLIENTS SAY REVIEWS CAN’T BE REGISTERED! 159 replies as of today.

Last reply from Google was 11/10.

“As mentioned in this forum previously, we’re currently experiencing an issue that is preventing us from showing some reviews on Place pages. We’re working to correct this issue as soon as possible, and apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused some of you.

However, please remember that there are various reasons why reviews may not appear. We’re continuing to do our best to ensure that the reviews in our system are legitimate and high-quality. To protect both business owners and customers, we have systems in place that may remove individual reviews, and with the revised review policies we released a few months ago (see below) we have taken a stronger stance against spam and other forms of abuse. So while some of you are seeing less reviews because of the aforementioned error, many of you are experiencing removed reviews because they have been removed by our systems. We acknowledge that sometimes our algorithms may flag and remove legitimate reviews in our effort to combat abuse, but believe that overall, these measures are helping to ensure that the reviews appearing on Place pages are authentic, relevant and useful.”

My reviews are missing!!! It took me months to get them and all of a sudden EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM are gone. 102 replies so far. Same post, same date from Google as above.

Informative Blog posts that go into not only the problem of the missing reviews, but some of the review system updates Google has made recently.

Google Places: Are Your Reviews Still Missing? Tell Google

Google Places – Are Reviews Now Being Filtered?

Google Places Upgrades Owner Review Response Feature

Some Missing Google Maps Reviews Return