Hamish McKenzie noted that Google displays wrong reviews counts for Google reviews in the local search results. The counts displayed are many times higher than the actual number of reviews for the business. He received the following answer to the issue from Google:
We’re currently experiencing a technical error in which the total number of Google reviews is accurately appearing in the Places listing, but only some of the reviews are appearing on the corresponding Place page. We’re aware of this error affecting a limited number of Google Places listings, and are working to resolve it as quickly as possible.
I dug a little deeper into the issue and investigated two hypotheses of what the number of reviews displayed might mean.
1) These are the Google reviews + reviews from other websites.
This was my initial thought. In this example Google tells us that the restaurant has “844 Google reviews”. However, if you sum up all reviews the count for which is shown (Google reviews + top 4 third-party sites), the count is over 1,000. So this hypothesis seems to be wrong.
2) These are Google reviews that are currently “active” + reviews that have been filtered out.
For the test, I took the case of Flower Power Davenport, FL, who expressed their problem with disappeared reviews here. They currently have 13 reviews in their listing, and the same number of reviews shows up in the search results.
None of these two hypotheses seems to be true. However, this erroneous review count seems too natural not to be caused by a random bug.
What do you think might be causing it?