A number of members have been impacted in recent updates to Google Places. It seems that these updated are taking place in waves. Previous updates have caused loss of reviews and historically most of those reviews reappeared within 1-3 days, but I have seen it take as long as 3 weeks. In the past, not all reviews returned, but most did unless they did not meet Google requirements.

In the meantime, continue your efforts to encourage your customers to give you reviews directly on Google.  Be careful not to have sudden, dramatic changes in your review pattern. This may be a trigger to Google that you may be “gaming the system.”  For example, if you generally get 1 or 2 reviews a week and suddenly that increases to 10 a day, that could be a red flag to Google. Google may trigger your account to be in line for a manual review of your Places Profile. Being in line for a manual review can cause your listing to temporarily disappear in the Maps section; if it is then reviewed and found to not comply, it can be suspended.

We have also noticed that when companies have lots of reviews from people outside their location, that sometimes another reviewer will call those out as fake reviews even though they may be legitimate.  That is not good for consumers to see, and may also be a trigger term for Google.

Another less common result of this update is Google suspending a company’s profile and launching a new unclaimed profile for that company, but without all the original information and reviews. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Check to see if your Google Places profile is claimed.
  2. If so, it will show “owner verified listing” in the right corner.  If it says “Business owner?” it is not claimed.
  3. You should also look in your Google Places dashboard to see if there are any notations from Google such as “suspended.”
  4. If you find that your listing is no longer claimed or your account was suspended by Google, please call your marketing coach or web vendor that handles your SEO or Reviews to discuss next steps.