As I’ve observed and written for many years, your Google reviews are never completely safe – and never completely gone. You can lose them in bulk or in a drip. You can lose them because of Google’s filter, manual removal, a bug, or a reviewer’s change of heart. You can also lose your Google reviews – all of them – in a puff of smoke when trying to move to a different Google account.
The specific scenario I’m thinking of is that you deleted a G Suite account or other Google account and thought your Google My Business page and reviews wouldn’t be affected, only to discover that both your GMB page and your pile of reviews are gone.
If it makes you feel better, Google’s messaging often is unclear, such that routine steps sound scary and shooting yourself in the foot is easy.
He got in touch, told me what happened, I asked some questions, and we put together a plan. A few days later, and without too much back-and-forth between me and him or him and Google, we got all 60 reviews back.
Now’s probably a good time to say that I do NOT want you to do the steps below if your GMB page is still up (as in accessible in Google Maps) and is missing only reviews. If you didn’t accidentally nuke your page, but you’re shy some reviews, then something else is going on and the steps below are not the solution to your problem.
Below is what I suggest you do to recover your Google reviews if you lost your Google My Business page and its reviews because you pressed the wrong buttons.
1. Create and owner-verify a NEW Google My Business page, in whatever account you like.
Presumably it’s not the same one your page used to be in. For the love of Pete, at least make sure it’s an an account that you will keep around for the long haul and will want to use for years to come. Use the same name, address, phone number, and landing page URL you had in the old GMB page. The other details (e.g. description) don’t matter, but now is not the time to change the basic info you use on your page.
The reason you need a new page is simple: Google needs a place to transplant the reviews if and when they’re exhumed. I’d guess a secondary reason is security: Google needs to know you’re the same person as the one who deleted the old page, and are still located where you say you are. (That would make it harder for someone to hijack your GMB page.) For that reason, I don’t suggest trying to get the old page back now, or back at all. The goal is to get your reviews back, and that’s less likely to happen if you don’t have a GMB page and can’t or won’t create a new one.
2. Contact Google My Business support, and tell them the facts:
- The name and location of both the vanished GMB page and of the new one (the one you just verified).
- What you were trying to do and what happened instead.
- How many reviews the old page had.
- The usernames / email addresses used for the old GMB page and for the new one (the one you want the reviews dug up and moved to).
- If possible, provide a link to the old Google My Business page. You may have that link handy if you sent a link to customers when asking them to review you.
3. Provide info the Google rep asks for, and follow up as needed.
It shouldn’t be a super-long process, but if all your reviews are gone it may seem like an eternity. You probably won’t need the patience of an oyster, but it’s good to have one anyway. Whatever your opinions of Google as a company, the GMB support reps do try to help, and in general are helpful.
That’s it. Of course, I can’t promise Google will do what you need, or do it soon. But it’s your only move. The main thing is to do step #1 quickly, rather than to flounder around in an attempt to get back your GMB page and the reviews in one motion.
I don’t like it any more than you do, mainly because I’m a bit of a purist, in that I don’t like solutions that involve relying on someone else’s discretion. In any event, the above process worked in the situation I described, and should work for you if you’re in the same situation or a similar one.
Thanks to Lenny from Kammes Colorworks in Elburn, IL, for chronicling the whole shootin’ match.
Do you have – or have you had – a TARFU situation like that? Leave a comment!
(By the way, though I haven’t seen anyone talk about this exact problem or solution, please tell me if you know of a blog post or other resource on the topic, so I can give the author his or her due credit.)
Andy Kuiper says
A possible life saver in the future 🙂
A nice success story. Double thanks to Lenny for documenting everything, and you for sharing this, Phil.
Although I don’t think I’ve ever tried it, I am surprised that deleting the Google account resulted in the listing vanishing from Maps completely. I would have expected behavior similar to when a listing is manually removed from the GMB dashboard — it still remains live on Maps.
Since reviews are tied to the CID of a listing, saving that somewhere is also probably a good idea in case something like this happens. I’m not sure if providing that to GMB Support makes it easier for them to find the reviews, but doesn’t hurt.
Yes, I shared your surprise. I expected it to be tantamount to a soft suspension, where the page is up and has all its reviews, and you just need to re-verify. But Lenny’s GMB page was gone without a trace (and no longer in his dashboard, either).
At my suggestion, he did provide a “write a Google review” link to GMB support, which helped them pull up the old page and reviews. I didn’t see the link he sent, though I assume it didn’t contain the CID. As you say, it’s good to sock away the CID.
Google deleted 14years of reviews and hard work I build up on my notary business Anthony’s Anytime Notary Services. I’ve been trying to get them to retrieve my business listing and the reviews I received in the past 14 years. They don’t have a working contact # and the emails I sent out. No one from google has responded back to me. I want my business listing posted along with all my reviews.
Is there a way to use this to rid an account of a bunch of revenge bad reviews made by friends of a competitor?
Tamhas Buchan says
Thanks Phil. I tried this and it worked. After accidental OP deleting a listing, and re-creating it from scratch, we called Google and them to transfer the reviews we lost. They said they could and that they would appear within 24 hours. They haven’t all appeared yet, but one review appeared even before we were off the phone.