Many a business owner have noticed their total review counts going down in February. This is due to a tried and partially failed attempt at Google purging spam and other reviews that went against their terms of service. Google has been overzealous in this latest attempt however and over the past month, many legitimate and positive reviews have been disappearing from Google listings.
Google confirmed that the missing reviews were in fact a result of mistakes they’d made. While trying to purge reviews that went against their policies, their automated systems also produced a large number of false positives that removed a fair number of guideline-abiding reviews.
As per Google: “In the last few weeks, our protections took down more than expected policy abiding reviews from a set of Local Guides. We’ve also closely followed the conversations on Connect around unpublished reviews and we acknowledge that this change has affected a lot of your accounts.” Google added they are now working on an automated fix, saying, “as part of our efforts to resolve this situation, we have launched an update to our protections to fix them. We will also automatically reinstate the policy abiding reviews over the next few weeks if we determine that we made a mistake.”
Google is currently in the process of reinstating these lost reviews. This will hopefully see review counts go back up for the affected businesses while still keeping away the spam that Google initially intended to remove.