There’s no better feeling than seeing a customer leave a good review about your product or service. You know that your hard work and dedication is paying off and your customers are publicly acknowledging it. A common thing to do is post good reviews on your website so that potential new clientele can have an understanding of your work from first-hand sources. The more good reviews you have the better, but is there a cause for concern in regard to duplicate content and your Google Ranking?
Are My Reviews Penalizing Me in the Eyes of Google?
Let’s say a customer posts a review on Yelp raving about your business. That same review then ends up on your website as well as ten other websites. Is this considered duplicate content? The review may be exactly the same down to the last period if someone copy and pasted it. Although it may seem like it, there has not been any indication by Google thus far that this will affect your ranking under the current rules and regulations. It is out of your control what your customers may post making it extremely difficult to monitor and it isn’t something that yours or any business should be held accountable for. It gets a bit more tricky when you talk about having that same reviews on multiple different pages on your site.
What You Can Do to Avoid the Problem
If you have an outstanding review to display on your site and want to show the world, you may entertain the idea of putting it up on multiple different pages, like on a testimonials and service area page. If this is the case, you may run into the problem of having duplicate content because of how Google might read it. A common course of action to combat this is to use a “rel=canonical” tag to display ownership. It will tell Google that this content may be found in other places on your website and allow you to keep it without harming your ranking.
Another less popular option would be to include a “No Index, No Follow” tag to certain pages with those duplicate reviews on them. This will tell Google to avoid counting those specific pages when calculating your ranking. Be wary of choosing this option if the rest of your content on those pages is important as the “No Index, No Follow” tag will tell Google to disregard EVERYTHING, not just the reviews.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on who is reviewing your business. Whether they are good or bad, it’s always important to make sure that you do not have fake or misleading reviews to negatively affect your ranking and business.
Define Your Goals
In the end, the most important thing to do in relation to reviews is defining your goals. Are they for the purpose of giving clients perspective or are they meant to try and boost your site’s ranking? Once you have your answer, the picture becomes less blurry in regard to how to proceed with reviews and their effect on your Google Ranking.