How Long Can a Google+ Review Stay Filtered? At Least 2 Years

Like my post? Please share!

I’m a jerk.

Someone wrote a nice Google+ review on my business page in 2012, and I didn’t thank him until today.

‘Course, it would have helped if I knew about the review.  It had been filtered for over 2 years.  It wasn’t there a week ago.  I saw it for the first time only a few hours ago.  (And I only stumbled across it when doing some research for my State of Search talk.)

To add insult to injury, the review was from no less than David Mihm.

Why was it filtered?

My theory is that David’s review fell victim to Google’s Great Review Purge of 2012.  As you may recall, Google was filtering reviews left and right.  For a time, they were out-Yelping Yelp.

Google eventually relaxed the filter, at the beginning of 2013.  Many reviewers that had been filtered came back to life, and new, post-2012 reviews weren’t filtered nearly as often.  Good news, for the most part.

Turns out that was only the beginning of the 180-flip.  Throughout 2013 Google pushed customers to leave reviews and pushed business owners to ask for them.  This past July, Google even OK’d pseudonyms.

The other reviews people kindly posted on my page – the ones that seemed to stick initially – were all written after 2012.  So that fits with my theory.

What surprised me is just how bad Google was at playing God with reviews.

Even 2 years ago, David had written 40+ reviews, over a period of 4-5 years.  Not a newbie reviewer by any means.

Plus, all the reviews on my page were written spontaneously.  As much as I appreciate the kind words, I’ve never asked anyone to review me on Google.

Why did the review only show up now?

That’s what puzzles me.  Google’s filters loosened over 20 months ago, at which time many reviews came back to life (indeed, they never really go away).

True, some reviews never seem come back, but usually those are the real stinkers (and even many of those stay up).  Why didn’t this review come back?

It can’t be that my page had to get a certain number of reviews for all the oldies but goodies to return: More than 6 months passed between when my most-recent review was written and when David’s got unfiltered.

Nothing else happened recently in terms of Local Visibility System reviews, except for the very nice Yelp review I got a few weeks ago.

So I’m stumped, unless there’s such a thing as a 27 Club for reviews.


Any theories?

Have you noticed old reviews resurface recently?

For that matter, have you noticed anything odd with Google+ reviews lately?

Leave a comment!


  1. Woah. Woah. Woah. This is very interesting Phil. David should be considered a top reviewer. His Google account is solid and he’s writtena ton of excellent reviews. The only theory I can come up with is that Google’s filter looks at the connections between people. Your profile is connected to your blog, David is connected to you, David shares your content, you share David’s content. Google sees you and David as being friends, and as such, the review may be filtered for not being completely unbiased. Sort of how if you ask your friends to leave you a review.

    It reminds me of something I saw on TripAdvisor for one of our clients. I’m friends with the client on Facebook, I’m somehow connected to TripAdvisor through my facebook account, and when I look at his TripAdvisor page, the reviews written by friends of HIS are sorted to the top. They say “client-name’s friend wrote this review” with his facebook profile pic attached. I can see that some of his earliest reviews were written by his friends. That’s the power of social. That’s why Google is pushing G+ so hard. With the social connection data, they can understand so much more, and perhaps they’re using this data as a component of their review filter.

    • Great points, Darren. It could very well be that Google made all those connections 2 years ago, during the Reviews Inquisition.

      But for me the question remains: why did they unfilter now?

  2. Hi Phil, your posts are always pertinent and informative. Call me cynical if you like but Google knows people trust reviews (three quarters of us trust them as much as personal recommendations!) And Google knows that reviews make or break a business. Sooooo is Google pushing reviews over the next 12 months … prior to perhaps monetising them? I do hope I’m wrong. All I know is that reputation optimisation is the foundation with which I help all my clients, regardless of industry, age or niche. Because it’s always about what the world says about us, not what we say. Neglecting one’s reputation can be either suicide or a slow wasting disease. Having a great reputation enables all other marketing to work.


  1. Understanding the Google + Review Filter: Local Visibility System

    Another great post by Phil. Darren Shaw makes a great point in the comments. Should be an interesting conversation. Lots of questions to be answered. How Long Can a Google+ Review Stay Filtered?…

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.