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Is BBB Rating a Google Ranking Factor?

Learn what a BBB rating is, what it measures, and whether Google considers it a ranking factor.Google's algorithm relies on over 200 signals to rank, but is BBB rating one of them?Google has denied this on at least three separate occasions.However, that doesn't necessarily mean they ignore it entirely.

Let's look at the evidence.

Disclaimer: BBB rating is not a ranking factor

We'll start by looking at exactly what a BBB rating is and what it measures.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​is a non-profit NGO that checks the credibility of companies.The idea is to adhere to certain standards across the board, giving clients confidence when dealing with different businesses.

Companies are ranked on a simple A+ (highest) to F (lowest) letter grade scale, representing how confident the BBB is in the business and how it interacts with customers.

This ranking is based on scores that measure:

  • The type of business and whether it may operate in violation of the law.
  • How long the company has been operating.
  • Advertising issues (eg, inaccurate claims).
  • Transparency of company business practices.
  • Any failure to meet commitments to the BBB, including mediation settlements and arbitration awards.
  • Complaint history, covering the number and nature of any issues raised against the company and the time it took to resolve them.
  • Licensing and government actions against companies.

Businesses wishing to gain BBB certification must meet several initial eligibility requirements and pay an annual fee directly to the bureau.

The Search Quality Rating Guidelines (QRG) are provided to Google contractors who conduct manual evaluations of search engine results pages (SERPs), ensuring that the algorithms are doing what they need to do.

In July 2018, Google made major changes to its QRG and increased focus on user safety for the sites they prioritized in rankings.

On August 2018, 8, Google rolled out a broad core algorithm update that affected many websites.

Many formerly popular health and medical sites have dropped significantly in the rankings.SEO experts at the time pointed out a correlation between these and a poor BBB rating..

In addition to this, the BBB, along with other third-party review sites, is frequently mentioned in QRGs as an indicator of trustworthy sites.

"For businesses, there are many sources of reputational information and reviews.Here are some examples: Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Amazon, and Google Shopping.

It added that "please consider very low ratings on BBB sites as evidence of negative reputation", highlighting the importance of BBB ratings to Google.

Evidence against BBB ratings as a ranking factor

In 2017, a Twitter user asked about the SEO benefits of adding a certified badge (stamp of trust) to their website.When another user said he had doubts, Google's Gary Illyes responded: "I can confirm your suspicions.

Then, in 2018, Google's John Mueller was asked the following question in a video call.:

"In the past, you've explained that Googlebot or Google doesn't have the expertise to study the author's background, etc.Can you say the same about website reputation and Better Business Bureau scores?For example, some argue that BBB ratings and reviews are used algorithmically with the latest core update.This doesn't make sense since BBB is only available in the US, Mexico and Canada.I can't imagine Google using such a single source for algorithms that are inherently global.

Mueller responded:

"I'd venture a guess that you're right, we don't use things like BBB scores for something like this.As far as I know, this is indeed the case.

He went on to add:

"There are all sorts of issues with some sources of information about businesses and websites, and we need to make sure it really reflects what we think is actually relevant to our users.Instead of blindly relying on some third-party ratings."

See the discussion at 15:30 in the video above.

In 2020, Google's Danny Sullivan was very clear in response to another claim from Twitter that Google uses BBB ratings to determine whether a site should rank.

"No, we don't use BBB ratings as a ranking factor," he tweeted.

BBB Ratings as Google Ranking Signals: Our Verdict

While the importance of credibility to Google rankings is well established, there is no evidence that their algorithm considers BBB ratings as a ranking factor.

In fact, given that the BBB is only available in the US, Mexico, and Canada, and also requires businesses to pay for certification, it doesn't make much sense for them to do so.That doesn't mean you should disregard BBB ratings entirely.

Their prominence in the QRG suggests that while the BBB rating may not be a direct ranking signal, Google sees it as a reliable measure of a company's trustworthiness, so much so that they incorporate the BBB rating into their algorithmic quality control.

Extended reading:

Is Author Authority a Google Ranking Factor?

Anchor Text as a Google Ranking Factor: Everything You Need to Know

Is AMP a Google ranking factor?

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