Guidance and Updated Policies for Writing Reviews

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
[Cross-posted from the LatLong blog. While this post about writing reviews may not be actionable for business owners like you, we wanted to share this information about the guidelines and policies we have in place to help ensure that reviews about your business that appear on your Place Page are useful and relevant. -Ed.]

Three years ago we launched reviews for places on Google so that you could share your opinion of any place in the world. Your reviews help other users find places that are right for them.

We encourage you to continue sharing your experiences and opinions -- both good and bad. At the same time, we want to ensure that the information posted in reviews is useful and relevant for everyone. So today, we’ve updated and clarified the guidelines and policies for writing reviews. These guidelines help to make sure that reviewers understand how to write thoughtful reviews, that readers will find them informative, and that the content of the reviews provide useful feedback for Google Places business owners. We’re also sharing more information about when and why some reviews may be removed from a Place page. Below is a quick summary of the updates. Be sure to review the updated policy for more details.

Tips for writing great reviews
There isn’t an exact formula to writing a great review. Reviews are best when they reflect the unique opinion and viewpoint of an individual. You can share as much or as little information as you’d like: you might choose to describe the intricate details of a restaurant’s decor, or simply recommend your favorite dish. In the updated policy, you’ll find several best practices to consider when reviewing a business. These tips can help you convey your personal opinions clearly and effectively.

Does Google remove reviews?
The short answer is yes. Reviews are intended as a way for people to share useful and relevant information. That encompasses a wide range of opinions, most of which are permitted by our policy. However, in instances in which a review is in violation of our policy, we will remove the review. It’s important to remember that negative reviews aren’t against our policy. We encourage you to share your honest opinions about a business. And if you’re a business owner, you can directly respond to reviews to share your side of the story.

The process for reporting a review that violates our policies hasn’t changed. You can still report a review using the Flag as inappropriate link found next to each review submitted through Google Maps. When a review is flagged, we'll check to determine if the review violates our guidelines and take action accordingly.

This policy update is our latest step in our ongoing effort to improve your experience with business reviews. We hope you continue to voice your experiences, thoughts and opinions of the places you visit!