Google: BBB or Other Trust Building Sites not used for Ranking


djbaxter

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Google Does Not Use BBB Or Other Trust Building Sites For Ranking
by Barry Schwartz, SERoundtable.com
Nov 14, 2018

Google's John Mueller confirmed yesterday in a video hangout that Google does not use the BBB, Better Business Bureaus score or reviews as well as other third-party trust sites in their ranking algorithm. So all that talk about making sure you have a good BBB score with the core updates is really completely unrelated to core search rankings.

Of course, you want to make sure your business has a good reputation when someone Googles it. But at the same time, to think Google's search ranking algorithms use third-party scores for ranking web sites is something that doesn't make much sense. Supposedly some SEOs were thinking Google would use these scores as part of their algorithms but John Mueller from Google confirmed yesterday that Google does not.
John said "we wouldn't use something like the BBB score" for search rankings he said. Here is the video embed of where John first started talking about this 15:30 mark:

Here is the transcript:
In the past you explained that Googlebot or Google is not researching author backgrounds expertise etc. Can you say the same thing for site reputation and Better Business Bureaus scores? For example, some believe that BBB ratings and reviews are used algorithmically with the latest core updates. That doesn't make sense since the BBB is only for the US, Mexico and Canada. I can't imagine that Google would use a single source like that algorithmically when its algorithms are mainly global in nature.
I would venture to guess that you are correct. That we wouldn't use something like the BBB score for something like this. As far as I know that's certainly the case. There are various kind of issues with regards to some of these sources of information, about a business, about a website and we need to make sure that we're really reflecting what we think is actually relevant for users. Rather than blindly relying on some third parties ratings.
Google said also over a year ago that adding trust building seals or logos to your site has no impact on rankings.
Read more...
 

JoyHawkins

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So on the GMB side I can say that the BBB is important. It is the only 3rd party source outside of government sites that you can source when sending Google a spam report. For example, if a business lists themselves as "Best SEO Company Toronto" but the BBB actually has them as "Sterling Sky Inc", Google will use that as evidence that the real name is actually Sterling Sky Inc. I believe this is because the BBB is one of the only 3rd party directories that does some serious due diligence on if a business exists at a specific location or what their real business name is.
 
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At the lowest level, it must be using the BBB page a basic citation that the business exists.

Speculation: the algo might be seeing keywords on that page and associating those with the business, whether positive or negative. -- This does not invalidate anything John says as they are not using the rating in a direct way.
 
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This discussion is pretty topical for us. John's response, IMO, doesn't mean that Google completely ignores BBB ratings.

We have seen a very clear pattern where many sites that were hit strongly with the Aug 1 and also Sep 27 updates also had F ratings on the BBB.

Now, does that mean that Google has a line in the algo that essentially says, "If BBB rating = F, then quality = low?" I don't think that is the case.

In some cases, we noticed something interesting. The BBB tweeted recently about a business, saying that they were downgrading them to an F rating due to fraudulent business practices. So, we looked at the business on SEMRush and we could see that they had dropped dramatically in traffic on August 1. So, this means that Google recognized the trust issues with this business even before the BBB rating reflected it.

We do look at things like BBB ratings, Yelp review profiles, etc. when we do our site quality reviews. In countries where there is no BBB, we look at what type of review profiles that competitors are listed in. We are commonly seeing that the sites that are ranking well are ones with good reviews and a nice online sentiment and that sites that have bad review profiles and loads of complaints are suffering during quality updates.

So, if a business has a low BBB rating, most likely if they got the BBB to remove that rating or change it, nothing will likely change in terms of rankings. But, if they work over time to fix the problems that are causing people to distrust the business, then eventually things should improve.

So, does Google use BBB ratings in their algos? I think it's possible that it is one of just many different signals that Google looks at collectively in trying to determine whether a business is trustworthy enough to rank.
 

Phil Rozek

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What @JoyHawkins said. I could see how Google would pay close attention to BBB profiles simply because of BBB's thoroughness in rounding up hard-to-get info on the business.

It's also a mighty important review site, at least as of the last 5 years or so.

Trying to get a free listing is a no-brainer. The question is whether getting BBB-accredited is worth it for a given business. Often it's not, but it's a case-by-case question.
 

djbaxter

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Note that John Mueller isn't saying Google ignores the BBB and similar organizations; only that they are not used as ranking signals. That makes perfect sense to me. Google doesn't have a history of liking to depend on others for information in their ranking algorithms.
 

JoshuaMackens

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That's a very misleading topic title by SERoundtable.

Here's the exact verbiage from John:

"I would venture to guess that you are correct. That we wouldn't use something like the BBB score for something like this. As far as I know that's certainly the case."

He's basically admitting he doesn't know but doesn't think that's the case.

1) Google has routinely been caught telling webmasters things that aren't true.

2) John didn't say it was not part of the algorithm.

I'm going to keep using the BBB on our sites. It's not that hard to get. If it was difficult, maybe I would rethink it.
 
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TL/DR:
My two issues is how the question was initially framed, and how SEroundable decided to report on it. .


Like others have said, we really need to pay attention to exactly what John said. He's very good at choosing his words carefully.

"That we wouldn't use something like the BBB score for something like this. As far as I know that's certainly the case."

Unfortunately the question asked was faulty because it gave a very narrow window for an answer.
Q: Do you use BBB scores in ranking
A: No

I don't think many of us assumed the actual rating/score was being used in Google's algorithm...

Questions like this need to be framed differently if we want a more realistic answer to work with. By giving the score example, it allowed John to focus on that one piece and tailor the answer how he wanted (as to not answering the broader question). We need to be more careful with how questions are worded.

Also to @JoshuaMackens point, Google has been known to mislead the public on things like this. Also to his point, this is a misleading topic on SEroundtable. The first sentence...

"Google's John Mueller confirmed yesterday in a video hangout that Google does not use the BBB, Better Business Bureaus score or reviews as well as other third-party trust sites in their ranking algorithm. "

All John said was that they don't use the BBB scores. That's it. That doesn't mean they're not weighing other factors from that site. As @Phil Rozek said, if you can get a free listing then definitely do it. You should also weigh the option of paying for it if something like that makes sense for the business.
 

Tim Colling

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You should also weigh the option of paying for it if something like that makes sense for the business.
Well said. I can tell you that BBB is basically an advertising platform, and in my experience, not a very good one. When I owned my in-home caregiving agency from 2003 to the end of 2015, we were members of the BBB every year and I know that we never got a new client who said that they found us in the BBB nor that they chose us because were a BBB "member" in good standing. A complete waste of advertising dollars, in my experience. Your mileage may vary, especially in different industries.
 

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