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I manage a low volume website, but with good SERP position. So far I have only a few reviews in Google My Business (GMB).

My primary question is, does Google use the reviews/stars from GMB in the SERPs or only if I supply Schema.org?

If I have to use Schema.org, do I need a user review process separate from GMB? Everything I read says I shouldn't copy reviews from other sources and that they need to be unique to my site.

As a secondary but related question: Per Google guidelines, we aren't supposed to have reviews on our home page, only leaf pages. This implies that the reviews should be product reviews versus company reviews. My site advertises a service, and it doesn't make sense to create product reviews at the leaf level. So, pulling GMB reviews makes more sense IMO.

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If people rate you on your Google My Business page, the reviews definitely show up in the SERPs. See this example of a restaurant with its Google local business ratings on the right-hand panel when the business is searched:

Knowledge Graph Example

Now if you mean that you want star ratings directly on the search entry for your own website itself, that's not something that you can do as easily, and something that I indeed think Google is trying to discourage with the "no reviews on home page" guideline that you mentioned.

If I have to use Schema.org, do I need a user review process separate from GMB? Everything I read says I shouldn't copy reviews from other sources and that they need to be unique to my site.

You don't have to use Schema.org review markup to get GMB reviews to show up in your SERPs - they will show up naturally on the knowledge graph card to the right.

It is true that you cannot copy reviews into your own schema markup from other sources on the web:

From Google:

  • Ratings must be sourced directly from users.

  • Sites must collect ratings information directly from users and not from other sites.

In short, just make sure that you have claimed and optimized your Google My Business listing, then Google should show it in the SERPs.

  • Thanks @Maximillian. The number of ratings don’t match with your example. That tells me the ratings are from different sources. – Trebor Jan 22 at 0:32
  • @Trebor What exactly do you mean by "the number of ratings don't match with your example"? – Maximillian Laumeister Jan 22 at 0:32
  • Compare the count of the number of reviews. The SERP shows almost 2,000 reviews while the GMB display shows substantially fewer at just under 800. – Trebor Jan 22 at 1:08
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    @Trebor The 1,994 reviews are Yelp reviews (they are shown on the Yelp SERP). The 791 reviews are Google My Business reviews, shown only on the knowledge panel. So it's totally true that the ratings are from different sources! – Maximillian Laumeister Jan 22 at 1:15
  • you are right. I didn't see that. Sorry. Still, I'd like to see a SERP star rating that matches GMB if Google indeed uses GMB ratings in the SERP list as opposed the side panel and a direct search of the company name. – Trebor Jan 22 at 2:28

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