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Google: Customer Reviews Not A Signal For Web Search

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

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

A question is submitted to Mueller that reads:

“Does Google look at the amount of customers and/or reviews a website has to rank it higher in the search results?”

Mueller responds saying customer reviews aren’t a factor for web search, but they’re not totally irrelevant in terms of gaining visibility in Google.

Read his full answer in the section below.

Google’s John Mueller on Customer Reviews & SEO

While Google does show information about customer reviews in search results, such as aggregate star ratings, they are not a factor for determining the ranking of web content.

Mueller says:

“As far as I know we don’t use the number of customers or reviews when it comes to web search, with regards to ranking. Sometimes we do pull that information out and we might show it as kind of a rich result in the search results.”

Google’s customer review rich results can give the impression they’re being used as a ranking signal, but that isn’t the case.

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However, as Mueller alludes to in his response, customer reviews are used elsewhere in Google Search:

“It might be that for the Google My Business side of things, maybe that’s taken into account more. I don’t have much insight there. But with regards to normal web search we don’t take that into account.”

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

When conducting a local search, the pack of business listings shown at the top of Google is ranked using its own set of factors.

Google is transparent about what those factors are and lays them out in a help guide under a heading titled: “How Google determines local ranking.”

The section reads:

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

The prominence ranking factor refers to how well known a business is. One of the ways Google evaluates prominence is by looking at customer reviews.

The Google My Business help guide confirms both the number of reviews and average score are taken into account when ranking local results:

“Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.”

Customer reviews won’t help (or hurt) a business’s web search results, but they will impact the ranking of its Google My Business listing.

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

Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below:

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Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: What’s the best office suite for business?

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Google G Suite vs. Microsoft Office

Once upon a time, Microsoft Office ruled the business world. By the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Microsoft’s office suite had brushed aside rivals such as WordPerfect Office and Lotus SmartSuite, and there was no competition on the horizon.

Then in 2006 Google came along with Google Docs & Spreadsheets, a collaborative online word processing and spreadsheet duo that was combined with other business services to form the Google Apps suite, later rebranded as G Suite, and now as Google Workspace. Although Google’s productivity suite didn’t immediately take the business world by storm, over time it has gained both in features and in popularity, boasting 6 million paying customers, according to Google’s most recent public stats in March 2020.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has shifted its emphasis away from its traditional licensed Office software to Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), a subscription-based version that’s treated more like a service, with frequent updates and new features. Microsoft 365 is what we’ve focused on in this story.

Nowadays, choosing an office suite isn’t as simple as it once was. We’re here to help.

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 have much in common. Both are subscription-based, charging businesses per-person fees every month, in varying tiers, depending on the capabilities their customers are looking for. Although Google Workspace is web-based, it has the capability to work offline as well. And while Microsoft 365 is based on installed desktop software, it also provides (less powerful) web-based versions of its applications.

Both suites work well with a range of devices. Because it’s web-based, Google Workspace works in most browsers on any operating system, and Google also offers mobile apps for Android and iOS. Microsoft provides Office client apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and its web-based apps work across browsers.

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