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Customer Reviews Not a signal for web search

Customer Reviews Not a signal for web search

Google’s John Mueller states that customer reviews are still not taken into account when it comes to web search results.

This topic is being discussed during the Google Search Central SEO Hangout, recorded on August 6, 2021.

Mueller is asked a question that reads:

“Does Google look at the amount of customers and / or reviews a site should rank higher in the search results?”

Mueller responds by saying that customer reviews are not a factor in web search, but they are not completely irrelevant in terms of gaining visibility in Google.

Read his full answer in the section below.

Google’s John Mueller on customer reviews and SEO

Although Google displays customer review information in search results, e.g. Overall star ratings, they are not a factor in determining the ranking of web content.

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Mueller says:

“As far as I know, we do not use the number of customers or reviews when it comes to web search in terms of ranking. Sometimes we pull this information out and we may show it as a rich result in the search results. ”

Google’s customer review rich results may give the impression that they are used as a ranking signal, but this is not the case.

But as Mueller alludes to in his answer, customer reviews are used elsewhere in Google Search:

“It may be that for the Google My Business side of things, perhaps more consideration has been given to this. I do not have much insight there. But with regard to normal web search, we do not take that into account. ”

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To be fair, Google My Business is not Mueller’s department, but it’s certainly such that customer reviews are taken into account there.

When you do a local search, the business listings package that appears at the top of Google is ranked using its own set of factors.

Google is transparent about what these factors are and puts them out in a help guide under a heading titled: “How Google Determines Local Location.”

The section reads:

“Local results are primarily based on relevance, distance and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search. ”

The prominent ranking factor refers to how well-known a company is. One of the ways Google assesses prominence is by looking at customer reviews.

The Google My Business Help Guide confirms that both the number of reviews and the average score are considered when ranking local results:

“Counting Google Reviews and Local Search Ranking Factor. More reviews and positive reviews can improve your business’s local ranking. ”

Customer reviews do not help (or hurt) a company’s web search results, but they will affect the ranking of its Google My Business listing.

This is in line with what was previously known about customer reviews and their impact on Google Search. It is a common misconception among business owners that customer reviews affect search rankings, making this a topic worth revisiting from time to time.

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Hear Mueller’s full answer in the video below:

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