I thought we were friends? You’ve courted me. You’ve emailed me. You’ve called me. I even received regular mail on a somewhat consistent basis asking me to join. Then once I did join, you continued to send me information. You were everything I was looking for in a business directory service! Why have you left me?
The Better Business Bureau doesn’t need much of an introduction. We’ve all run into their logos or sales pitches at one point or another. It’s a listing of various businesses throughout the US that not only lists business names, contacts, phone numbers and a brief description of services, but it allows users also to rate businesses and provide feedback. When needed, they provide a way to file a complaint, and mitigation services for the business and customer.
We all love seeing the A+ rating on the websites, and while touted as an invitation only type listing, they will pretty much list anyone, and grant the A+ rating as long as you pay your yearly fees and don’t receive any complaints. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) was the Yelp of yesteryear, and we loved them!
My World Got Flipped, Turned Upside Down!
On October 20th, 2015, the Better Business Bureau webmasters decided that they no longer wanted to share the love of our website! They still post a link to our website, and they still provide information about the business, but there’s no more love.
What are you talking about Conor? It looks exactly the same today as it did on the 19th of October. “I don’t see what the big deal is” I can hear you say, oh, but look closer my friend, look in the source code. It’s become a one-way street of “link love”.
No More BBB Love As They Implement “rel=NoFollow”
As an SEO Company, one of the big parts of the SEO process is gaining relative links that pass what’s commonly referred to as “link juice.” Basically, if a site likes you, they place a link on their site to link to yours. This process has been abused over the years through Black Hat SEO and Link building, but in the case of the BBB it was still a great link to get.
When the webmasters at the BBB decided to implement the “rel=nofollow” attribute on links, they essentially told Google, Bing and Yahoo! that they are showing the link for users, but they no longer endorse or recommend the place that they’re linking to.
Google ranks websites on hundreds of different factors, and one of those is the amount of Authority Links that a website receives. The BBB has a very high authority and is trusted by the search engines, thus your website would move up the list. At last check, the Authority of the BBB had a MOZ Page Authority score of 96, and a MOZ Domain Authority of 97 out of 100. This is a huge authority score pointing to a site and can quickly help a site move up the ranking positions.
When the webmasters at the BBB put in the “rel=nofollow” on the links, they took that Domain Authority to 0. Zero. Nada. Zilch! This is a massive blow to people when generating links to get noticed by Google. And while Google and Bing may still crawl the website they’re linking to, there’s definitely no love or “link juice” being passed along.
I Only Kept You Around Because You Loved Me!
Here’s the brutal truth when it comes to my own relationship with the BBB. I only subscribed because of the link. In the 20+ years of building websites and performing marketing, I’ve never once had a potential client say “I found you on the BBB website.” That’s right, not once. They’re a great directory listing, but I honestly only went to the site when performing audits for clients or generating a link for a client.
The BBB is not a bad organization, and I am in no way saying that they’re not a viable source for other people to location businesses. There are plenty of people that will only work with a BBB rated company, but web design and internet marketing in Omaha is not one of those services.
Goodbye BBB – I Hardly Knew You!
I haven’t fully said goodbye yet to my BBB listing, but the days are numbered, and my renewal likely will not be something I perform this year. As a BBB member, it’s recommended to place the BBB logo on my website, on marketing material and any other place I can fathom. This in turn helps market my company as a BBB A+ Rated business, but it also promotes their company. This is common practice, and is accepted by everyone, but my time is now reaching an end.
My hope is that the “rel=nofollow” addition to the website was an oversight by an SEO or Web Developer on their end. But should the link attribute remain in place, the value of a link from the BBB has plummeted to zero, and, as a result, I no longer have a use for it.
Chime In – Am I The Only One?
I’ve checked a few dozen listings for our own clients, and spot checked a fair share more, but to me, it appears that the writing is already on the wall. What does the “rel=nofollow” mean to you and your SEO plans? Are you going to keep your BBB membership?