BBB Accreditation: Boring But Bumps Your Local SEO

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I may be unpopular for saying this….

But here goes:

You should consider getting accredited by the Better Business Bureau.  It can help your local visibility (if you’re in the US or Canada).

Mind you, I am no fanboy.  There are a few valid reasons to skip the BBB:

  • Money (although it’s only a few hundred bucks a year).
  • Time (you do have to apply).
  • Maybe you think the BBB just peddles junk.

 

But I can think of 8 reasons your local rankings and reputation can benefit from BBB-accreditation:

1.  You get a great link. (Yes, it’s a “follow” link.)

 2.  It’s one of a few straightforward ways (that I can think of) to get good links to subpages on your site – pages other than your homepage. That’s especially useful if you’re multi-location business and use “location” pages as the landing page for your Google Places pages.  In my experience, it’s better to use the homepage as your landing page, but if you can get some good links to those “location” pages they may fare just as well in the rankings.

3.  Some segment of the population does care what the BBB says about local businesses.

4.  Ranks well for brand-name searches.

 5.  Even ranks well some broad searches.  Great for barnacle SEO.

6.  Customers can write reviews on your BBB page. I encourage you to encourage them.

7.  It’s a nice “trust symbol” to put on your site.

 8.  It’s a good citation.

I may not have made you like the BBB more, but it’s a practical way to help your local visibility a little.  Close your eyes and think of England.

What if you decide to skip it?  No big deal.  Just make sure you get other good links.

What’s been your experience with the BBB?

Know of any alternatives that help in some of the practical ways I described?

Leave a comment!

Comments

  1. Cool post Phil! I had an auto shop client in Dallas that was ranking really well for a year. The following year he dropped from 2nd place in the 7 Pack down to the 6th place. I looked for some changes and found out that he lost his link with the BBB. It was the only change that I could find. I concluded that the link is worth a lot, and I now recommend it to all my clients 🙂

    Have you observed any boosts in ranking that were date-coincident to signing up for BBB?

    • Thanks, Erick. Good vignette, BTW.

      Date-coincident: no, simply because there’s a lot of dust flying (other links, citations getting fixed, site getting tuned-up, etc.). But in other ways I’ve observed the BBB link as a very good one.

  2. Signing up for and being approved by the BBB will give you a great link only to the extent that Google crawls and indexes it. My company was approved over a month ago and so far it does not appear that Google has given me credit for it.

    • There’s a delay. I had a client who waited 2 months for BBB to get the page (and link) up. But there’s no harm in prodding your BBB rep, which I suggest you do.

      • Oh the BBB site and link is up however Google has not indexed the link yet and given me credit for the link. When you get approved for BBB it will take some time before Google crawls it.

  3. I’m going to give this a try and track the difference. great article

  4. May i ask what tool you used to get the PA and DA. I’m using Moz plugin for chrome

  5. Also, it’s one of the few sites that gets approved for the review extension in Adwords.

    • Thanks, Mark. That’s good to know. I’ve never been able to get the review extension to work for “local” reviews. Dana DiTomaso told me it can be done, but is finicky.

      Have you found that BBB reviews always get rubber-stamped for use in the extension, or they’re just more likely to be approved?

  6. You make a decent Case Mr. R.

    I am a bit of a hater on the BBB for reasons that have been well-publicized, and don’t believe there is nearly as much consumer trust in it as there once was, but you didn’t really argue there was, so.

    Curious about that Page Authority. I tried half a dozen random BBB pages, and didn’t find anything that high. Checked both accredited and non, 6 of each. The only one I found later on with 60, was one I had spammed to death for a ORM case. So from a link value (not citation value) stand point, I am not so sure.

    Anyways, love your posts as always. No one puts out more consistently awesome local content than you. HT, HT, HT.

    • Interesting. Obviously, non-accredited businesses don’t get a “follow” link, but how their pages are low-PA is a mystery to me.

      The only accredited business on that list (Extreme Plumbing) has a PA of 46, at least when I checked it. Pretty good, and consistent with what I’ve seen

      Still, I agree that the link doesn’t need to have high PA to be good.

  7. avatar John Smith says:

    If doing background checks on businesses, resolving disputes, working with the Gov, Media and consumers to prevent scams is boring. Than Guilty as charged! Phil, you should pay your BBB a visit and walk in their office and see what they do on a daily basis.

  8. Feel free to disagree but here are some thoughts…

    1) It may not only be a couple hundred dollars. They price things based on the number of employees that you have. For this reason alone I think it’s crazy to pay them.

    2) I can get on the BBB site and get a rating without being accredited. A big mistake on their part if you ask me.

    3) I already have the BBB logo and my rating on my site. It just doesn’t say Accredited.

    4) It’s already there as a citation. I don’t have to pay them.

    • Valid points, Chris. My point is simply that you can squeeze more benefit out of BBB – however much or little benefit there may be – if you get accredited. It’s not something that makes sense in every situation, of course. Just one more tool in the toolbox.

  9. Chris Auman, you are illegally using a federal trademarked logo then.

    • John, as you probably know, a business can be listed and have a rating without being accredited. I think that’s all Chris is referring to. If that’s the case, he can use their logo on his site to showcase a listing for his own business – a listing that he may not have even created personally.

  10. avatar John Smith says:

    Just like any Federal Trademark Logo, you have to have their permission to use it. That is one of the things you pay for when you join. Businesses actually sign a licensing agreement in order to use the logo. The agreement is there so businesses have to sign an agreement, stating they will not illegally, deceptively advertise with the BBB logo. He has not signed that agreement. Using the logo on his website insinuates that he is BBB Accredited and participating in an Arbitration program (which he is clearly not). The reason he is using it is because the logo has value to his consumers.. I have viewed his website. It clearly is posted there to look like he is BBB Accredited.. 100 % of the general public would see that and think, he is BBB Accredited. He is clearly trying to get something for nothing..

    • John, I just looked at Chris’s site. There is nothing deceptive about his citing the BBB. They give him an A+ rating, and he mentions the A+ rating. He’s not even using one of the “official” badges that are available only to accredited businesses. He doesn’t need the BBB’s permission to cite his own profile any more than they need his permission to list his business on their site.

      If someone’s simply linking the BBB logo to his BBB page and citing the rating that they gave him – accredited or not – that is OK both ethically and in practice.

      • Phil, we will have to agree to disagree. I think you should research the law on this. I have. There is a difference between using the logo vs. citing the rating.. He is clearly using the logo. Using the BBB’s name and logo in advertising with out the BBB permission is against the law. Period, point blank.. You have to have permission to use it. It is a completely different law that gives the BBB permission to use his name. The BBB is a non-profit consumer
        It is like saying you are an Alumni of a school that you attended (did not pass a class) and did not graduate from..

  11. avatar John Smith says:

    Phil, Part of the background check the BBB does on business owners, is they look at Advertising, Licensing, Background check on ownership, Public records such as Bankruptcies, Government Action. Not every business is eligible . Why would the BBB want just anyone using the Logo? It would devalue it’s meaning.. You can’t expect the BBB to not want to protect their brand right? Let’s be fair..

  12. avatar Collin Davis says:

    Query, can BBB also be used for national businesses. We don’t have a physical brick and motor location.

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