How does Google decide which reviews are Relevant?

What do you mean by relevant review?

Looking at your Google My Business page – you may be surprised to see that your latest reviews are not a the top of the Google Review list. Check out the screenshot below from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s review page on Google (which is well worth a visit by the way – the work is life-saving and innovative).

Notice how the older review is above the new review

It’s sorted by relevance, rather than recency.

How does Google define relevance for reviews?

We spent a week reviewing 100’s of Google reviews across a variety of businesses to see if we could identify a pattern

  1. Length – The number of words in a review had a clear impact on how relevant it was considered. There was a consistent correlation between the number of words contained in a review with its position in the Most Relevant rankings.
  2. Keywords – Using the name of the business in the review led to an increase in the post’s relevancy ranking.
  3. Specific – A review that contained a specific story or example was more likely to rank higher than reviews with generic content.
  4. Local – A review by a user who posted other reviews in the local area is deemed more relevant than a user with either no reviews or one with reviews from a different geographic location.
  5. Time – The more time that passes since a review is posted, the less relevant it becomes.
Criteria Description
Time Although the results are not sorted by date, recency does play a role in determining how relevant a result is. A good way of thinking of this is that restaurant menus will often change every season or year. Therefore a review from 2 years ago will lose its relevancy due to age. Tip: Read our article How to ask for a review
Google Local Guide Reviews submitted by a Local guide are likely to be seen as more relevant, especially if the quality score of the local guide is high.
Length of review At least 200 characters. Reviews that are very verbose do not perform as well as those between 200 and 300 characters