“Where is my 5 star rating?” “What happened to all my reviews?” These are only a couple of questions business owners are now asking themselves since Google removed all third-party reviews from their Google Places listing.

What changed?

In the past, a Google Places listing would show every review and rating posted to third-party websites, such as yelp.com and insiderpages.com, and would count these towards a business’ overall “star rating.” However, third-party reviews have recently been pushed towards the bottom of every Google Places listing, and are now referred to as “Reviews from around the web.” Not only have they replaced the reviews with a small link, they have also removed them from counting towards a business’ overall rating.

Why did this change?

Google’s main objective is to provide their users with relevant information quickly and conveniently. Avni Shah, director of product management at Google, explains that now “Rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users,” and that they’re “continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe.” Not to mention that some third-party review sites were not happy with Google “borrowing” their content.

How does this affect me?

As a result of the change, now the only visible reviews & ratings on your Google Places listing are those that have come from Google users. Users must sign into their account and post their review directly through your Google Places listing for it to appear. This forces business owners to encourage their customers to post reviews directly on Google rather than allow them to post on a review website of their choosing.

What do I do about it?

The best way to build up your review count—and increase your visibility—is to encourage past patients to post directly to your Google Places listing. You can promote your listing through any of the channels you already use to communicate with patients. Whether by mail, word-of-mouth, email or through social networking sites like Facebook, make a practice of encouraging reviews as part of your message. A steady focus will allow your total reviews to increase over time.

Like it or not, Google Places’ policies have changed, and a number of your reviews may have disappeared. Don’t let it throw you off. Take this time to build back your star rating and review count. Encourage your patients to post directly to your listing. It’s the best way—and now, perhaps the only way—to make an impression with Google Places.

8 thoughts on “Google Places: Where Did My Reviews Go?”

  1. This happened months ago; something has happened last week though that has affected the local results and I can’t find any information on it.

    To add to your article: Try to acquire reviews to Google Places, if a client does not use Google and has a Facebook account send them to CitySearch, if a client is an active Yelp user send them to Yelp. But with Yelp I have heard that if a person only has one review that often times that review and account will be removed or downgraded as Yelp tries to promote reviews from active accounts.

  2. There’s been several Google places changes since January, but just recently around the first of March 2012 there has been a major change. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve seen more than a few Google places accounts get reviews removed from their Google places page that were legitimate client reviews.

  3. We had 75 reviews, almost all of them from Google, and a 5 star rating. All of this is gone, and it is greatly affecting our business. Please help!

  4. Sherrlyn Borkgren Photography

    OK I cannot even find google places to send a happy client to go give me a review. Where do you think is the best place to send clients to review? My website has suddenly gone to page 10 Oh yes come visit me! https://www.borkgrenphoto.net
    Everyone have a wonderful day, get some sunshine and don’t forget to take your vitamin C. Life is beautiful and we get another day. sherrlyn borkgren Photography

  5. I had several very nice reviews and most customers find it too difficult to find where to give a review in the first place. And yes it’s affecting my business as well!

  6. Well. Another change. Looks like its all about +1 now. I had over 30 awesome reviews and had a link on my site to the reviews so clients could easily find where to write a review and wouldn’t you know. It was a client that called and said “what reviews?” I was crushed. The majority of callers were telling me they called based only on my great reviews. Back to the drawing board… Again.

Comments are closed.

Accessibility Toolbar

Before you go...

Do you know how your current site is performing? Find out now for free -- it only takes a minute!


Get free Advice delivered to your inbox.