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Google Maps & Local Business Reviews: Caution!

February 25th, 2008
13 Comments


If you are thinking about generating a lot of reviews for your business on Google Maps’ write a review feature, I recommend you read this post about a business who lost all of their reviews on Google Maps.  As Miriam Ellis of SolasWebDesign tells it, Canoe Sport in Houston, TX asked their customers to review their business on Google Maps and got over 30 reviews.  Unfortunately it seems like getting too many reviews too fast may have set off a SPAM filter at Google and all of the reviews disappeared.

While it’s hard to know for sure what happened – could just be a bug – if you’re planning on generating reviews for your business on Google Maps, I’d recommend rolling them out slowly, similar to what you do when you develop inbound links, so that it looks natural.

My theory is that the GMaps team set the SPAM sensitivity very high when they rolled out the reviews feature as in the early days it was likely to be gamed by everyone on the planet.  Of course it could be just some flaky code.  One never knows do one?


Tags: Google Maps · Online Reviews

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 MiriamEllis

    I would just love to hear from someone at Google on this, Andrew. It’s not very good PR for their own reviews, and as I’ve been putting efforts into using that entity, I’m very keen to know why this is going on.

    But, when you think about the fact that thousands of citysearch reviews disappeared over night and were gone for months, apparently owing to a bug, the final answer may be … oops!

    I really appreciate the link, Andrew!
    Miriam

  • 2 Stever

    These reviews are so ripe for abuse from all ends.

    -business owners submitting fake reviews
    -over zealous customers submitting multiple reviews
    -competitors giving false negative reviews

    Now that Goog is pushing their Maps harder, and its getting used a lot more by the general public, we may see more abuse.

    Oh, and how to remove a competitors reviews altogether? submit 30 fakes and trip a filter?

  • 3 David

    Search for a DJ in the Bay Area, San Francisco or San Jose and you get the same guy with (em) strange doubtful street addresses……

  • 4 MiriamEllis

    David -
    Can I get clarification on what you are saying? Who is a DJ in the Bay Area?

    Puzzled.
    Miriam

  • 5 local google mexico

    Interesting Post, although local google is not yet working here in Mexico, Google Maps is already active and you can make all the reviews.

    By the way, you are ranking #2 for local SEO.

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  • 6 dhurowitz

    It is not a big surprise that Google is hyper sensitive t anything that appears to be spam. If the responses were in fact “real” we have seen sites or listings disappear for some time then all of a sudden reappear. Be patient and do not overreact to any placements would be the only advice.

  • 7 Using Google Maps to Increase Sales | The Adventures of SEO Boy

    [...] recognition and more leads to your main site.  Don’t try to fake out Google with posting bogus reviews for your own business.  It’s not cool and you’ll wind up hurting yourself.  If you [...]

  • 8 Adrian Cameron

    Ok, I have developed over the last 9 months steadily and systematically 40 reviews. They are bona fide and really make a difference. Customers read them and have commented on what they have read. Today they have all gone…. kazzam. How do I go about getting them reinstated, what do I do?

  • 9 KwikChex

    Our recent research has identified a massive amount of both bad and good fake reviews.
    It might be of interest that posting fake reviews is illegal in the EC and the US an recently a company was fined $350k for the act.
    KwikChex.com provide a number of solutions on how to counteract these problems if you readers are interested.

    Regards
    The Verification Team

  • 10 ReviewBoost

    Yes, even I have noticed that happening to few listings. We do not have any information about the spam filter just like Google search engine. Business owners can be left confused when all the “gurus” around the internet tells them to ask the businesses to leave reviews. They cannot ask their customers to leave the reviews “gradually”, can they?

  • 11 SEO Servcies

    WOW, Great Post About for Local Business Reviews and site map.

  • 12 Gold Coast SEO Guru

    Excellent post and still relevant even today. It will be interesting to see how things are going to change now with Google Places?

    One thing is for sure Google like to keep us guessing and keep on changing things.

  • 13 More Local Customers

    I’ll be curious to see how the rollout of Google+ will change this over the next few months.

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