Google My Business reviews are hugely important to small business owners across the country. They rely on the word of mouth and social proof that positive reviews provide.
Consumers use these reviews to vet companies and businesses every single day. Some people will not try a new restaurant without first combing through all the online reviews posted.
Several weeks back, digital marketing experts began to notice that their client (and their own) reviews were mysteriously vanishing with no explanation whatsoever.
Now, there may be an official answer as to what is happening.
Google staff have now confirmed that this is a bug that is being worked on. However, there is still no time frame as to when we can expect this to be resolved.
Joy Hawkins, an administrator for the popular Local Search Forum, has provided a direct quote from a Google source which sheds a bit more light on this issue:
In our ongoing efforts to remove fake reviews from Maps, we've experienced an increase in reviews being removed from businesses. We are inspecting our tools and systems to ensure that any legitimate reviews are reinstated.
What does this mean? It seems to be some sort of bug that caused the removal of legitimate reviews while Google was trying to sweep for spammy/fake reviews.
While frustrating to the numerous small/medium business owners who were affected and did lose legitimate reviews, Google does seem to be working on the issue.
As more information is uncovered, we will be updating this post with any relevant facts.