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Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 signals for ranking, but is BBB rating one of them?

Google has denied it on at least three separate occasions. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they completely ignore it either.

Let’s examine the evidence.

The Claim: BBB Rating Isn’t a Ranking Factor

We’ll start by taking a look at precisely what a BBB rating is and what it measures.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a nonprofit, non-government organization that examines companies’ trustworthiness. The idea is to uphold certain standards across the board and allow customers to feel confident in their dealings with different businesses.

Companies are ranked on a simple A+ (highest) to F (lowest) letter-grade scale representing BBB’s degree of confidence in the business and how it interacts with its customers.

This rank is based on a score that measures factors such as:

The type of business and whether it might be operating in violation of the law.

How long the company has been in operation.

Advertising issues (e.g., inaccurate claims).

The transparency of the company’s business practices.

Any failures to honor commitments to BBB, including mediation settlements and arbitration awards.

Complaint history, which covers the number and nature of any issues raised against the company as well as how long they take to resolve them.

Licensing and government actions taken against the company.

Enterprises looking to get BBB accreditation must meet several initial eligibility requirements and pay an annual fee directly to the bureau.

The Evidence for BBB Rating as a Ranking Factor

Search Quality Raters Guidelines (QRGs), given to Google contractors who run manual evaluations of search engine results pages (SERPs), ensure that the algorithms are doing what they need to be.

In July 2023, Google made substantial changes to their QRGs and placed a larger focus on user safety regarding sites they prioritized in ranking.

On August 1, 2023, Google rolled out a broad core algorithm update that impacted many sites.

Beyond that, BBB, alongside other third-party review sites, are frequently mentioned in the QRGs as an indicator of trustworthy sites.

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

It adds, “please consider very low ratings on the BBB site to be evidence for a negative reputation,” which serves to highlight the importance of BBB rating for Google.

The Evidence Against BBB Rating as a Ranking Factor

In 2023, a Twitter user asked about the SEO benefits of adding Accreditation Badges (Trust Seals) to their site. When another user said that he doubted it, Google’s Gary Illyes responded, “I can confirm your doubt.”

Then, in 2023, Google’s John Mueller was asked the following in a video hangout:

“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.”

Mueller responded:

“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 went on to add:

“There are various kinds 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.“

See that discussion at 15:30 in the aforementioned video.

In 2023, Google’s Danny Sullivan was crystal clear in his response to another Twitter claim 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 Rating as a Google Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

While the importance of trustworthiness for Google rankings is well established, there is no evidence that their algorithms consider BBB ratings a ranking factor.

In fact, it wouldn’t really make all that much sense for them to do so given that BBB is only for the U.S., Mexico, and Canada and also requires that businesses pay for accreditation.

That doesn’t mean you should completely disregard BBB ratings.

Their prominence in the QRGs suggests that while BBB ratings may not be a direct ranking signal, Google respects them as a reliable measure of a company’s trustworthiness, so much so that they have factored them into their algorithmic quality control.

Featured image: Paulo Bobita/SearchEngineJournal

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Amp Is Not Currently A Ranking Factor #Sejsummit

Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, opened up SEJ Summit Chicago with a twenty-minute presentation about what AMP is, why publishers should be using it, and what the future of AMP is (hint: it is going to keep growing and will likely roll out to product pages).

Here are a few of the top points he made during his presentation.

Why AMP?

“We have this beautiful thing, the web. It is full of cats and chocolate, but we as humans have ruined it.”

This matters because 40% of people will abandon a mobile site if it takes more than three seconds to load. This poor user experience means publishers are faced with new challenges.  Because of slow time times, users have a poor perception of mobile web experiences. Which makes mobile extremely hard to monetize.

Gary encouraged attendees to “Make the Mobile Web Great Again”. And AMP is the way to do it. 

AMP pages are designed to create fast pages that are easy to implement. We already know how to make fast web pages  – according to Gary that includes using less java, lower image resolution, parallelize the loading, limiting the number of hosts, and caching pages.

Four Building Blocks of AMP

HTML 5 (AMP HTML)

JavaScript

Custom Styling (CSS 3)

Global Proxy Cache

Benefits of AMP

According to Gary, AMP pages are seeing an average of less than one second median load times, which is four times faster than average. In fact, the median load time for mobile responsive sites is a whopping 20 seconds. This is terrible for user experience, and AMP aims to change that.

In fact, Gary says 90% of publishers are driving greater engagement with higher CTRs and 80% of publishers are getting more views, and the majority of publishers are seeing higher eCPMs, which means more money.

The Future of AMP

According to Gary, Google is expanding AMP vertices to include Google News, Google Now, Play Newsstand, and Now On Tap. During the question and answer section, Gary said he does expect AMP to expand to product sites like Amazon.

Currently, AMP is not a mobile ranking factor. However, it could be in the future, as Gary didn’t directly say it wouldn’t be. Fellow speaker Carolyn Shelby chimed in to say that some of her sites at Tronc have seen an increase in mobile views by implementing AMP, just because those stories are shown in the AMP carousel.

Moving forward, site owners should work to speed up their websites, pay attention to AMP announcements from Google, and start talking to their developer about AMP.

Editor’s Note: Article will be updated with information from the AMA panel at 1:20 pm C. We will also be streaming it live on Facebook! 

Is The Iphone 14 Waterproof? Does It Have An Ip Rating?

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

It’s likely that you’ve learned by now that electronics and water don’t mix, so the question of the iPhone being waterproof might seem superfluous. But there’s actually a little more to the story than a simple IP rating or a quick yes or no answer. So before you drop your iPhone 14 into a pool, it’s best to find out just how waterproof it actually is and what that means for your device’s survival. Here’s what you need to know about the iPhone 14’s water resistance and IP rating.

QUICK ANSWER

Is the iPhone 14 waterproof?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

People toss the word “waterproof” around a lot, but the iPhone 14 is not actually waterproof; it’s water-resistant. That might seem like splitting hairs, but it is an important distinction. Technically, the iPhone 14 has an IP68 rating. That means it can survive a plunge into fresh water up to six meters deep for a maximum of 30 minutes. This IP rating for water and dust resistance is applicable to the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

IP68 rating on the iPhone 14 explained Word of caution for iPhone 14 users

Water resistance is not a permanent condition. A few days of normal use can even render it practically meaningless. Also, note that Apple only claims resistance to fresh water. Salt water, like the ocean, can and will damage your phone severely.

Are any iPhones waterproof?

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

No iPhone (or any other phone for that matter) is technically waterproof; as mentioned, they’re water-resistant. A waterproof phone would be totally sealed and could withstand extended contact with water or deep submersion. No iPhone can do that. And just as with any other phone, the water resistance of an iPhone degrades over time and with normal use, sometimes quite rapidly. The first iPhone to have an IP68 rating was the iPhone 11. Since then, Apple claims this rating applies to successive models. However, if your old iPhone has been around for years, chances are it’s no longer water-resistant at all.

Frequently asked questions about the iPhone 14’s water resistance

To make your iPhone truly waterproof — as in totally sealed against moisture — you will need a waterproof phone case that fits your iPhone. Sealed cases, in essence, give you access to a phone’s touchscreen through some sort of window and keep everything else well away from water.

And a big caveat still applies here: there is always a chance water could make it in any way. The smallest rip or hole in any waterproof phone case could cause water to come pouring in. Furthermore, cases are just like phones in that using them will degrade their water resistance over time. When in doubt, avoiding getting your iPhone anywhere near water is best.

Not exactly. There are apps that claim they test your phone’s water resistance rating by using its barometer and other metrics, but we can’t say if these actually work. Needless to say, we don’t recommend dropping your phone into a sink to test its water resistance rating either.

You can take your iPhone 14 in the shower as it is IP68 rated. However, we recommend against it, as repeated exposure to moisture and accidental exposure to chemicals in soaps and shampoos have the potential to damage your phone.

No iPhone is fully waterproof. Recent iPhones are merely water-resistant. These resistance values are not guarantees.

Do Social Signals Impact Google Ranking

Google is where we turn to for anything that we want. Google has become that well-wisher we seek assistance from. Given that it is expected that businesses and entrepreneurs are willing to establish an online presence for themselves.

Carrying out an online business requires certain entities. The primary one is the content that you want to effectively deliver to the targeted audience.

The important secondary thing is trying your best to make your content reach the targeted audience through SEO. 

No website can stand without a strong backbone. And that backbone is technical SEO. 

– Neil Patel

SEO has become the primary need for doing any business online or even giving the traditional business an online presence.

With the availability of High-speed internet, there is no scarcity in the availability of content that different websites offer. Along with it is the search engine optimization that works its best to target the niche audience driving traffic to the website.

How Does SEO Work? 

Let us put it forward as simple as possible. SEO tries to understand the Google algorithm and search engine behavior and drives traffic to websites. 

During the 1990 and the early 2000s, submitting the address and URL of the website to webmasters was sufficient enough to make the website link crawl to the top. 

Later in 1997, SEO was initially mentioned and was put into use. Search engine optimization more or less revolves around using the keywords in the content which would be the high-density keywords that the targeted audience would use to search for information on the content they want.

They all work on image search, video search, and generalized searches.

SEO helps a great deal in making many business websites rank at the top of a search. 

But, Is using a google keyword ranking high all that is necessary to make websites rank at the top? 

Then, anyone could simply pitch in a few keywords to improve the visibility of their page. 

There are many factors like backlinks, signal rank brain, well-coded website, social signals, and much more. 

Social Media Impact On SEO

Social signals are one of the most prominent and talked-about concepts about google ranking in recent times.  Social signals merely boil out from social media. 

Social media has become a hub of information and a platform for many businesses. More than using social media for communication and enlarging the social circle, social media platforms are slowly turning into a hub of businesses.

 And in that way, people are becoming more aware of brands and businesses. Social media has become an effective space for businesses to reach a wider audience with a minimal amount of effort and energy compared to the other ways of digital marketing. 

Not long before, social media alone can become the sole runner for doing a business. Already many small-scale businesses are largely dependent on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook to carry out marketing and even pitch their products to their clients. 

Many businesses are using social media effectively to build up and sustain their business. 

Influencer marketing is one of the most known ways of marketing a business on social media sites. 

But what if I told you that, businesses could simply make use of social media engagement to increase their visibility and drive more traffic. 

Yes, that’s right! Social media engagement can have an impact on Google ranking, and social media impact on SEO exists. 

So, to directly answer the question of Do social signals impact google ranking?

Yes, social media’s impact on SEO and social signal’s impact on Google ranking does exist to a certain extent, and there are researches to prove it. 

So What Exactly Are Social Signals?

Social signals are the metrics of engagement on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, medium, and much more. 

Social signals are social engagement like likes, shares, views, votes, saving the post, and much more. Search engine optimized content does increase the visibility and work on the google ranking.

But if that was the sole reason businesses and influencers could simply optimize their website to increase page visibility. And businesses are making a smart way out by increasing their concentration on their social media pages. 

So How Exactly Do Social Signals Impact Google’s Ranking?  1. Social Signal & Google Ranking are Positively Correlated and are Bidirectional

Social signals largely depend on the engagement of social media posts and profiles. 

In research conducted by CogntiveSeo, It was found that there was a positive correlation between social media engagement and google ranking. 

The cross-comparison was run between three thousand posts or content and thirty-four thousand keywords that have a good google ranking position between one to ten. 

Let us look at a few notable findings derived from the research. 

A Google+ business page ranking went up by 14.63% ⬆️ after the site received 100+ google followers. 

Another notable site received three google votes, and its ranking went up by 9.44% ⬆️

With just 70 Facebook shares and 50 Facebook likes, the ranking went high by 6.9% ⬆️

It is to be noted that with just 50 tweets, a website’s rank went up 2.88% ⬆️ more. 

The research also mentioned that the correlation between social signals and social engagement on google ranking was positively prevalent. But that couldn’t be stated as causation in itself. 

A correlation is generally bidirectional and if social signals increase the google ranking or generally website with a higher google ranking has more engagement is not known clearly. 

Although social signals do not work directly on Google ranking, they boost the factors of Google ranking. 

2. Integration of social signals as ranking signals 

The ranking of the search engine result pages (SERP) can go up and affect the Google ranking with the help of social signals, and how does that happen?

Social signals are a pretext and notification of the fact that people are noticing the brand and products and there’s a talk involved around it. The social signals are calculated as ranking signals by the search engines, which makes the SERP ranking go up. 

3. Did you know that the traffic of the website also has a positive impact on google ranking? 

The notable reason for the impact of social signals on Google ranking could be using social sharing plugins that are linked to websites and link-up of websites on social media sites.  

Providing a link to social media accounts on websites and linking up blog posts through a swipe-up option in stories is something we are quite familiar with on Facebook and Instagram. 

Clubbing up links in quora and Reddit posts is another way of increasing visibility and driving traffic. 

By linking website content on social media in this way, the content visibility is more, and it is also easier for the followers to share the content with others. There is an easier and higher traffic generation to the website by affiliating the blog through social media. 

Website traffic is found to improve search engine optimization and plays a role in affecting google’s ranking. 

So, to be precise, affiliating the website content to social media paves the way in driving the traffic to the website, and the higher the traffic, the higher the Google ranking. 

Thus, not directly but indirectly, social signals have an impact on google’s ranking. 

Hyperlinks work wonders here. When someone links up content from your website to another site or shares it, inbound links are created.

Inbound links and backlinks are undeniably a good factor in improving SEO and google ranking. 

Social sharing and social signals help in generating inbound links and increasing the Google ranking. 

5. Bing uses social signals as a ranking tool

To those of you who don’t know Bing, it is another platform like google in which almost 24% of the internet searches are carried out. Bing has openly accepted to have used social signals like shares and likes in determining the website ranking to some extent. 

Likewise, social signals are also shown to play a role in google ranking as well but in an indirect way. The more the content gets shared, the higher the ranking. 

Dwell times are nothing but the user’s average time spent on the website. Dwell times do have a significant impact on SEO and the ranking of the page. 

Dwell time is one of the most critical ranking factors that google ranking takes into account. 

The higher the dwell time, the higher the ranking and vice versa. 

How Can You Increase The Social Signals To Your Business?  Conclusion

Social media platforms are a more manageable, and unpaid way of increasing the reach of the business among the varied class of prospective clients. Social signals from social media platforms are undeniably the easiest and most effective way for boosting the google ranking of the website. You can join a free digital marketing course to learn all about social media, SEO, and more to learn how does all these work together.

Thanks for Reading!!

Enrol now for free digital marketing certification course

Google Search Ranking And Popup Banners

Google’s John Mueller answered a question in a Google SEO office-hours video about whether rankings could be affected by a banner popup. John answered the question and then shared the technical background of why banners may have a negative effect as well as other issues related to Core Web Vitals.

The answer to the question involves more than just the banner. The answer is more technical because of ranking factors related to Core Web Vitals which can also be influenced by things like popup banners, which in turn can have an effect on rankings.

Core Web Vitals

In his answer John Mueller references two factors related to the Core Web Vitals metrics.

So it’s important to quickly define what those factors are so that his answer makes sense.

Cumulative Layout Shift

Largest Contentful Paint

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cumulative Layout Shift is a Core Web Vitals metric that measures how much a web page shifts around as it is loading. Factors that can affect this metric are images and fonts. An image that takes a long time to load can make the words on the page shift around.

Fonts that take a long time to load can also cause the page content to shift around as the font style is rendered.

Largest Contentful Paint

Largest Contentful Paint (also known as LCP) is a metric that measures how long it takes for a website to load the largest block of content (either image or text content) beginning from the moment the site begins to lead.

Page Layout Algorithm

Lastly, Google introduced an algorithm in 2012 called the Page Layout Algorithm, also known as the Top Heavy Algorithm.

The purpose of this user experience ranking related factor was to down-rank web pages with obtrusive popups.

Can Rankings Be Influenced by Popup Banner?

The question asked:

“Could my rankings be influenced by a banner popping up on my page?”

John Mueller answered:

“And yes, they could be, as well.

There are multiple things that kind of come into play with regards to banners.

On the one hand we have within the Page Experience Report, we have that aspect of intrusive interstitials.

And if this banner comes across as an intrusive interstitial, then that could negatively affect the site there.

The other thing is that often with banners, you have side effects on the cumulative layout shift, like how the page renders when it’s loaded.

Or with regards to the …I forgot what the metric is when we show a page… The LCP I think, also from the Core Web Vitals side with regards to that page.

So those are different elements that could come into play here.

It doesn’t mean it has to be that way .

But depending on the type of banner that you’re popping up, it can happen.”

Multiple Ranking Factors Affected by Popup Banners

The situation today is more complicated than just an intrusive interstitial having a negative ranking effect.

A less intrusive popup banner could still have a negative ranking effect because of the effect those banners can have on CLS and LCP, Core Web Vitals ranking factors.

Citation Can Rankings Be Affected by a Popup Banner?

Watch at the 39:31 Minute Mark

Google Answers If Core Update Ranking Losses Are A Soft Penalty

Google’s Office Hours Hangout featured a question about algorithm updates and whether the rankings of a negatively affected site is suppressed by a “soft penalty.”

The person asking the question made reference to a soft penalty, which is a phrase that’s been around for several years but isn’t really a thing.

They also make reference to suffering from a “flag” that’s been assigned to their site, which alludes to Google having marked the site in some way, as in flagged.

Here is the question:

“Both of my websites have been hit by different updates, around 90% drops and are suffering from some type of flag that is suppressing our sites until the soft penalty is lifted.

Or… is there even a soft penalty? “

This is the answer:

“No, the named updates that we publish on the rankings updates page on Search Central are not penalties in any shape or form.”

That confirms that any ranking drops associated with a named Google update is not a penalty and should not ever be thought of that way because that’s not what is happening.

The Googler explained why it’s not a penalty:

“They are adjustments to our ranking algorithms, so they surface even higher quality and more relevant results to search users.

If your site has dropped in rankings after an update, follow our general guidelines for content.

Take a look at how you could improve your site as a whole, both from content and user experience perspective, and you may be able to increase your rankings again.”

Core Update and Fixing Content

We understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward….

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 11, 2023

Soft Penalty

I’ve been in the search industry for over 22 years and the term “soft penalty” is not a real thing.

There is no half-version of a penalty. A site is either penalized (by a manual action) or it’s not.

It’s a catch-all phrase that explains something without actually explaining it, like the phrase, “engine problem.”

Non-penalty ranking drops can be caused by many different causes:

Content related issues

Improvement in how Google understands search queries

Quality issues

A competitor simply has better content

Watch/listen to the Google Office Hours Hangout at the 15:08 minute mark.

Featured image by Shutterstock/Luis Molinero

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