Can Google? Yes. Will Google always index the content in Yelp reviews? Jury’s out.
Here’s an example:
On the other hand, on the pages I cited a minute ago, much of the content is in Yelp reviews. Proportionally, their content is pretty Yelp-heavy. The pages I looked at where Google doesn’t seem to have indexed the Yelp content also have proportionally more non-Yelp-review content. That suggests there’s some truth to John Mueller’s characteristically brief and clear answer that, in effect, Google is more likely to index iframe content (like embedded Yelp reviews) when that content makes up a large chunk of the page.
Why does any of that matter to your local SEO?
For one thing, copying and pasting your customers’ Yelp reviews onto your site long has been the best way to ensure that Google can access that relevant content (that you didn’t have to write!). But copying and pasting is a hassle if you want the reviews to look good on your site, because you’ll have to style them a little. Now, I’d say it’s not as much of a trade-off: you can use the embed feature to have your Yelp reviews look OK on your site, and still be confident that Google at least knows what’s in the reviews.
Another upshot is that you might lessen the problem of your Yelp page outranking your site for certain brand-name search terms. Often Google seems split as to which one should rank higher: your site because presumably it’s the “home base” of your business, or your Yelp page because it’s got the juicy reviews on your business? More often than not Google puts your site above your Yelp page, but not always. If your Yelp page seems to be cannibalizing your site’s visibility, consider cannibalizing your Yelp reviews on your site by embedding them. Might make your site a little stickier, too.
Anything I should test or look into?
What’s been your experience with embedding Yelp reviews?
Any benefits or drawbacks I didn’t mention?
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