Tracking the Return of Google Reviews During Covid-19

As a response to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the resultant closure of swathes of local business across the world, in late March of this year Google took the (in my opinion) wise decision to temporarily block the publication of new business reviews on Google My Business, as business staff no longer working would be less available to respond to them.

At the time of reporting this, we noted that it was “not yet known whether these reviews will be made visible once Google lifts the restrictions.”

Well, now we have the answer. Google is starting to bring your reviews back (but not particularly in a big way just yet).

Are newly published Google reviews being backdated?

It would certainly seem that way, yes. As Google My Business Product Expert, Jason Brown mentioned in an April 7th Local Search Forum thread, he had been told by Google that “they planned on publishing reviews that were posted after March 20th”.

This is backed up by other reports we’ve seen online (and for ourselves). In particular, this heartening, and ongoing, thread on Local Search Forum shows that the reviews being newly published are actually backdated to the date they were originally submitted by the reviewer – meaning that it’s very much worth your while to keep generating reviews now (more on this later).

To firm this up, Google’s own page about limited GMB functionality due to Covid-19, updated in mid-April, now states the following:

New user reviews, new user photos,…

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