One of the most important elements of a successful online marketing strategy is great customer review management. Potential customers are trusting online reviews over personal recommendations from friends and family. Because of this, it comes as no surprise that there is a massive uproar in the world of Google Places at the present. Google Places listings, now Google+ Local has always been notorious for losing, misplacing, and deleting ( whichever word you want to use) reviews that customers leave for businesses. It has only been since the transition to Google+ Local in May that the problem has become so widespread.
Some of the complaints are for reviews disappearing, and some are for reviews that just never show up in the first place. We have personally seen this review phenomenon affect nearly half of all the Google+ Local listings that we manage. Whether it’s a glitch that has to do with the migration over to Google+ Local, or Google’s attempt at tweaking their review filter, legitimate reviews are biting the dust, and people want answers. This issue seems to be gaining some serious momentum. It was recently picked up by a popular SEO media newsletter – http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/179038/problems-with-google-local-harm-small-businesses.html?edition=49191
The good news is that the issue is at the top of Google’s priority list of their problems related to local search. Every couple of complaints in the help forums, and there are a lot of complaints, seems to be a business owner wondering where in the world their reviews, that they worked so hard to get, have gone.
The bad news is that as of today, Google has not come up with a solution to the problem, and they are not able to identify a reason (at least not publicly) as to why the reviews are disappearing.
Our best guess is that it has to do with the fact that Google Places is in a major transitional phase as they move everything over to Google+ Local. Most experts are in agreement that Google will find a solution to the problem, and that we will hopefully see a number of the lost reviews return, which they have done historically, in a lot of cases.
Here is a little comic relief to lighten a heavy situation. This comic was created by Margaret Shulock and appears on Mike Blumenthal’s blog. Check out the comic here.