Pasting or Embedding Google Reviews on Your Site: Will They Get Filtered?

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For a few years now, people like me have told clients and others that it’s probably not a good idea to copy their Google reviews and paste them onto their site as testimonials.

The concern is that Google might filter those hard-earned reviews, and they’d longer no appear on the Places page, where they belong.

It’s a valid concern, too.  Google’s review guidelines tell reviewers not to “post the same content multiple times.”  Sure, that’s ambiguous, but given how Yelpishly draconian Google’s filter was in 2012 and given that Google still filters some reviews, it’s reasonable to interpret that as, “Your Google review had better not show up anywhere else.”

It’s hard to read Google’s mushy “rules” sometimes.  So let’s ask a different question: do Google Plus reviews get filtered if you paste them onto your site, or embed them as Google+ posts?

It appears they don’t get filtered.

I’ve rounded up a few examples:

Example 1: Simmonds Dental Center

plus.google.com/+Simmondsdentalcenter/about

(Reviews embedded as Google+ posts)

 

Example 2: Navarre Auto Repair

plus.google.com/+Navarreautorepair/about

(Reviews copied and pasted)

You get the idea, so now I’m just going to give you the links to some examples and let you dig around if you’d like.

 

Example 3: Peninsula Air Conditioning

plus.google.com/+PenAirAu/about

(Reviews embedded as Google+ posts)

 

Example 4: Andrew Turchin, DMD

plus.google.com/117483215318765329117/about

(Reviews copied and pasted)

 

Example 5: Honest Family Dental

plus.google.com/+HonestFamilyDentalAmeetTrivediDDSAustin/about

(Reviews embedded as Google+ posts)

 

Now, Gentle Reader, you may be wondering: “What about confirmation bias?”  Did I just find the businesses that cross-posted reviews successfully – and not the ones who sent their reviews into the meat grinder?

I found the above examples “in the wild.”  I simply found businesses that put their Google reviews on their sites, and then I checked to see whether those reviews were still on their Places pages.  (By the way…what’s with all the dentists?)

Until I see evidence that suggests otherwise, I’m satisfied that you’re not leading Pickett’s Charge if you put your reviews on your site.

Should you embed your reviews on your site?

I don’t see why not, as long as you don’t expose your hindquarters to the sharp fangs of IP lawyers.  As Mike Blumenthal has pointed out, Google suggests you ask your customers for permission to showcase their words on your site.

One other question to ponder: could Google eventually take down your reviews?  Maybe.  Google often flip-flops on review policy.  But you’ve got to consider the lifetime value of a review.  If hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of people see a review on your site or your Places page on their way to your site, but one day it gets filtered, didn’t that review pull its weight?

If you’re uncomfortable with embedding or pasting reviews, you could always use the tried-and-true technique of taking screenshots of the reviews and putting those images on your site – because Google can’t “read” images (yet?).  You could even use Linda’s cool animated-GIF-slideshow technique.  (Of course, for CYA reasons you still might want to ask customers for permission first.)

Where do you come out on this?

Any first-hand experience that contradicts what I’ve found?

Have you put your Google reviews on your site – and if so, what happened?

Leave a comment!

Comments

  1. Phil – thanks for the info. I still don’t understand why business owners wouldn’t want to ‘own” customer reviews/feedback. I get your point that even if you get them for a short time and they worked they were worth it, but why rent when you can (and should) own?

  2. Yeah I think I agree – I haven’t seen any recent cases where reviews got filtered because of this. When the review filter first came out, I think it mattered. It was super strict and filtered way too much. People whined and Google adjusted it and now I think the biggest factor is IP address.

  3. If you’re worried about posting them on your site, you can always use specific fragments of the review in your designs to highlight positive reviews in your page headings and other graphic elements. These typically have just as much of an impact of seeing a full review as they tend to answer the pain points of your potential customers.

  4. If you are worried you can use my GIF trick. This also gets a lot of reviews in a small space and no screenshots or graphics work required. 🙂

    Review Gif – Share their Best Google Reviews in a Gif in a Jiffy!

  5. Oops, posted comment before I was finished…

    Meant to add great post Phil and I agree. I’ve had some of my reviews on my Catalyst site and my forum, in the right sidebar, for years. They have not gotten filtered.

    • Thanks, Linda. Yeah, I’ve noticed those same reviews in the sidebar for a long time now – and this whole time I didn’t know they were Google reviews rather than testimonials.

  6. I’ve been pasting reviews from all 3rd parties for a client for about 5 years and so far none of the reviews have been filtered out. In fact he’s told me that clients will point to the reviews on his site as being the reason they converted.

  7. Thanks for the article, great information. I am building a website which allows customers to review local services. I want to allow them to also post their reviews to Google i.e. they post a review to our site and then receive an email thanking them which also has a link to post to Google. Would this negatively effect our sites SEO as the same/similar review would be on our site and Google Local business listing?
    Thanks

  8. Honest Family Dental reviews are all gone on his website, does anybody know if Google would allow this with rich snippet review star schema?

  9. How the heck do I post reviews on my website. Google no longer allows me to embed reviews even with an iframe. Any tips?

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  1. Is Google going to filter reviews embedded on your site? Maybe not?

    All excellent points Phil, thanks for the examples. Pasting or Embedding Google Reviews on Your Site: Will They Get Filtered? For a few years now, people like me have told clients and others that…

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