You know Google reviews provide good online marketing for your home improvement brand, but did you know they can disappear? That’s true even if you didn’t do anything wrong.
The first step in triaging your home improvement marketing strategy when reviews start to churn is understanding the reason Google might remove reviews. Here are the top three reasons they might disappear.
1. Reviews Were Anonymous
Google users noticed in May 2018 that anonymous reviews were disappearing from counts and then display. In June 2018, Google confirmed it no longer allowed anonymous reviews and was removing legacy reviews without names.
This isn’t wholly bad for brands; anonymous reviews can be from competitors or others trying to tank your online reputation. And while home improvement companies might lose some good reviews in the fallout, you can reduce future impact by letting customers know to put their names on any reviews.
2. Reviews Violated Google Policy
Brands that break Google rules will have reviews removed. If you pay for reviews or run review contests, customers or your competitors can report you. Google will also remove reviews that include URLs or marketing language, because they violate policy, even if you’re not the one who posted the reviews or caused the violation.
Google may also investigate and remove reviews if it perceives suspicious activity, such as many reviews all coming from one IP address. That means you should avoid encouraging people to leave reviews via a computer in your store or office or when using their own devices on your Wi-Fi network.
3. Google Is Experiencing a Bug
Reviews might seem to disappear only to reappear later because Google experienced a glitch. If you notice your home improvement company review numbers drop, and you’re sure you haven’t violated Google guidelines and didn’t have a lot of anonymous reviews, check in with the Google My Business forums to see whether anyone else is reporting a problem. You can also report your own experience, and then it’s a waiting game to see if and when reviews return after Google resolves any issues.
The bottom line: No matter how hard you worked to earn positive reviews, you don’t own that content. Google (or other review sites) can remove reviews at any time, and you need a plan for dealing with churn if reviews are part of your online home improvement marketing strategy (which they should be).
(Note: Monitoring your business’s online reputation is a requirement for success in the digital age. Try our free Review Scan now for an instant reputation report on your business. It takes less than a minute!)