Why does Google show a 4.8 rating when I have all 5-star reviews?
Joy Hawkins

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2023

Google Review Score Average Not Matching Up With the Actual Reviews Left on the ListingWhy Does Google Show a 4.8 Rating When I Have All 5 Stars?

It is a question that comes up repeatedly on Mike’s blog and in the Google Business Profile help forum leaving many people asking “How does Google review rating work?”

If you have a review score average on Google that doesn’t match up with the actual reviews left on the listing, the likely reason is that the score doesn’t update in real-time and you need to wait a few days for it to reflect the average after new reviews have been left.

How Are Google Reviews Calculated?

Google, on its help page says, the review score is calculated from user ratings and a variety of other factors. These calculations make sure the overall score best reflects the quality of the business or place.  After someone leaves a new review, it may take up to 2 weeks to get an updated review score.

google reviews average rating number calcuation_

In the past, Google used to use something like the Bayesian average which made things very confusing for people that were trying to figure out how the average rating got calculated.  If, like in the screenshot, you have eight reviews that are all 5-star reviews you would be hard-pressed to come up with 4.9 average if you did the math.  They stopped using this in 2017 and switched to a simple arithmetic average.

If you want to confirm the average rating is correct based on the number of reviews left, you can use this handy tool.

How Many Reviews Do You Need To Get 5 Stars?

It can be very tempting to want to bolster your reviews in order to achieve a perfect 5 star rating. You might even be asking “how do I raise my Google review score?”

Before you go on this pursuit of a perfect score, ask yourself, is a perfect 5 star review a good thing? We’re not saying that you should never have a perfect score or provide poor service. However, in an article about negative Google reviews, we reference a study by Power Reviews which found:

“A consumer is most likely to purchase a product when its average star rating is between 4.2 and 4.5 stars. Why? Because a perfect 5.0 rating is seen as too good to be true. An average star rating of 4.2-4.5 stars, however, is seen as more transparent and balanced”

All that being said, if you don’t have a perfect 5-star rating, don’t stress it.

Become a Local Search Insider

Enjoyed this article? Check out our many other blogs and resources!

Register for LocalU in Detroit or New York - Just $299

Join us for our next free webinar on May 29, 2024 at 1pm ET

Local SEO Site Audits with Brandon Schmidt and Colan Nielsen

Posted in

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.