Self Review Penalty? Three self reviews flagged, now all sites down 35% in 30 days.

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Three of my self reviews were flagged, now all my sites are down 35% in 30 days. What ever it was it's affecting every site I have in the old master G+ account (half a dozen) which I'm about to break up. Pulled the old reviews, just wondering if if anyone has experience this and what sort of time it takes for the smell to go away. Thanks in advance.
 

Linda Buquet

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Let me be sure I understand...

You did 3 self reviews? What do you mean they were flagged? Where did you see this and what did it say?

You have 6 listings in dash? You don't have 6 locations do you?

Do you have 6 different client listings all in one account? That's a problem too.

Please explain in more detail.

So you saying all 6 listings in that account dropped at the same time by about 35%?

If so, then you just hit one of the problems with having multiple clients in the same account. If one or 2 get a penalty they all suffer, even the clean listings. In the past that used to happen for dashboard violations and the entire account would be suspended.

But I've never heard of an account wide ranking penalty for REVIEW violations. However I've always wondered if they did not do ranking penalties for reviews. I've just never seen one that I could tie directly to that.
 

Linda Buquet

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Sorry for all the Qs...

"all my sites are down 35% in 30 days"

Can you explain what you mean by down?
Do you mean rank drops of 35%?
Or traffic drops per WMT?
Or impressions via Places dash?

Just trying to determine if there is really a penalty. For instance if you are looking at Places Insights, they often go on the blink so if all dropped at same time for same period it could be the stats not a penalty.
 
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Not sure if it's an exact cause and causation but checking again all 6 places accounts are down 10 - 30%. I'm refering to search appearances as tracked by webmaster tools. Insights shows about the same. All national Google+ pages (a couple) without Places pages, under the same account are down the same as well.


I was unaware of the risk of a master account. You couldn't transfer ownership until recently so not sure what I could have done after setting up. Many of the sites are old and been SEO clients for years, one over 10 years. It's keeping up with changes over time that has been tough.


All reviews were genuine from 2 years ago with my name and picture. None were for myself but rather accounts I manage. Own review with a violation was for my carpet cleaner who has never been a client.

Like many local seos I exchange services with customers. One review is from my dentist that re-did my teeth, my car repair shop, my golf course, etc. I bet local SEOs have the best looking teeth of any industry short of dental employees.


Any idea from experience how long the penalty (if there is one) might last? Do I need to get out the classifieds? I'm moving everything to individual accounts ASAP. Thanks in advance!

review-penalty.jpg

 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for the added details Brian.

I'm not seeing a 35% decrease. Or at least it's not obvious to me.

Regarding the reviews...

Google knows you manage those accounts AND left the reviews based on your IP.

Does not really matter to the algo if you were really a customer too. The algo paints with a broad brush and since MANY SEOs leave fake reviews for customers, you were put in that basket.

FYI THOUGH - I wrote a review for my vet. NO marketing relationship at all. Totally legit.

It never went live so I asked Google management why it was filtered. I was told in short, if you want reviews to stick you should use a Google account that is not tied in anyway to SEO. (Because so many SEOs write fake reviews for clients or do rep mgmt.)

So I'm not so sure there is a penalty here. And if there is it COULD be more about the fact that now having a bunch of unrelated businesses in one account gets penalized. (I'm not sure, just guessing.)

But as far as how long penalties last, I've seen them clear up 2 days to 2 weeks after the violation was fixed. BUT I've also seen penalties that lasted for 8 months.
 
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The drop was 15% - 30% maybe just a bad month.

One dentist is showing over 600 reviews in Places Insights Review Analytics from around the web, sure didn't need me.

I used Broland's local penalty check and organic was no better than local. Maybe the penalty is the loss of the review.

I'm breaking up my old Google+ master account ASAP.

Thanks for the help! With all you do I see why your hands hurt.
 

Linda Buquet

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I used Broland's local penalty check and organic was no better than local. Maybe the penalty is the loss of the review.
Reviews don't directly impact rank as much as people think. I mean they are totally important on many levels.

But there are tons of packs where the top couple listings have 1 - 3 reviews and the e,f,g spots have 20 - 60 reviews. So if they had 600 and lost one I would not expect it to make a dent.

However if organic does not rank well either then that's a big part of the issue because organic ranking order directly impacts the ranking order of the pack.
 
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