You may or may not have already heard about disappearing Google reviews. Google recently reported that any reviews that were previously posted anonymously will be removed from public view. And from this point forward, they are no longer allowing any reviews to be posted without being signed in to a Google account. This change has been expected for a while, but Google finally took the leap and removed all anonymous reviews from being seen on Google listings.
At the end of May, the anonymous reviews (listed as “A Google User”) were removed from the review count, but were still showing in the list of reviews for the business. However, a few days later, the actual reviews were also deleted. Many started to notice the change immediately, however, Google only just recently confirmed this major change in the review guidelines. As you can imagine, this has affected many business owners, as they watch their average rating on Google change, or their overall review count plummet.
How Many Reviews are we Talking about?
Overall, roughly 3% of all Google reviews were posted by “A Google User” (anonymously). Most of these reviews were posted prior to 2013 when Google started requiring a G+ persona to post a review. So if you do see reviews disappear from your listing, they are most likely old; possibly stale by now.
How much did the purge affect overall ratings?
This purge by Google is clearly going to affect overall star ratings, but perhaps not as much as you’d expect. Research shows that the average rating on reviews from an anonymous author had only a 0.2 star difference when compared to reviews from a named person. Remove the anonymous reviews that are holding down the overall rating, and you’ve got good news ahead. Folks will start to see a higher average rating in the long run.
Why did Google make the change?
Google reports that the change was made to ensure accountability, and deter fake reviews. Reputation is certainly a prized factor for any business, and Google knows how difficult it can be to ensure accurate reviews online. They feel that this purge is a step towards higher accountability and truth with reviews. They did note that there is more work to be done, and that they have only scratched the surface of removing the anonymous reviews. So as time goes on, you may notice your overall number of reviews change a bit.
Here at Review Wave, we’ve noticed the change, but we encourage our clients to keep these points in mind:
- Utilize Review Wave to consistently get more reviews on the major review sites. Best results are seen when using an integration with your practice management software, so that feedback requests are sent out automatically. Consistency is key. This is a long term race, in which the most reviews with the highest overall rating wins.
- Review Wave isn’t just about the number of reviews or the star rating – it’s about customer service! We’re here to help you improve your customer service. We provide a non-confrontational way for your customers to let you know if something is sub-par. Use it to raise your standards, improve the experience in your office, and you’ll win!