The Google My Business (GMB) Community Forum is seeing an increase in threads about missing or filtered reviews in the past few weeks. We see a lot of posts from reviewers or businesses about Google removing reviews for quality issues. Google will filter out reviews for using questionable words or for using too many special characters. As Google Product Experts, we have a standard answer that we supply when we see threads about reviews getting filtered.
It appears that there is a new technical issue where reviews are being removed or not getting posted at all. The first assumption was that any reviews posted by Local Guides were getting caught in a review filter. I was able to debunk this through a series of tests. Others have confirmed that this is not accurate at all. We discovered that Google would filter the review from one account and not for another. It didn’t matter if the review profile was a Local Guide or not. We saw reviews get filtered on both account types.
We have raised this issue directly with Google. Joy Hawkins sent in several examples to the GMB team. Each time she was advised that the team took proper action by removing the reviews and that the review filter was “working as intended.” The problem is the example reviews didn’t fit the standard criteria to warrant the removal. I played around with the text from several reviews and couldn’t get any of them to post. I even attempted to post a review with this as the text. “Amy is fantastic.” and my review was filtered.
This morning I ran two new tests after seeing this comment in the forum. I left two 5-star only ratings for two different businesses. Only one of the 5-star only ratings appeared for the business. I don’t know why Google removed one of the 5-star only ratings. I updated both reviews with similar text; the Owner’s name is super smart. The filtered star-only rating became unfiltered and showed up for Sterling Sky’s Google listing. The updated review for Pet Sitter SEO is also showing. Full disclosure, these reviews were left for testing purposes and I am aware that both reviews violate Google’s TOS.
TL:dr – It appears the only workaround for a filtered review to show up is to leave a star-only rating and then go back and update the review by adding the text. If the review filter is working as intended, then this is a workaround to outsmart the algorithm and the AI that runs it.
Wondering how Google reviews are calculated? Check out our article where we go over how Google review ratings work.