Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Professional review management - now essential for every business

Recent developments at Google have moved review management from 'makes us look great in search' to 'must have' virtually overnight. Here we set out the reasons why.

Up until August 2016 search results were a pretty random affair.  If you got your SEO right - and up-to-date - your business stood a fairly good chance of...
  • appearing on page one of local search
  • appearing in the 3-pack in desktop search
  • listing reasonably prominently in mobile search 
...irrespective of whether or not it had Google reviews. 

The introduction of the Google filter has changed that - forever.  For the time-being Google are content to leave the filtering in the hands of users, but it is certain that they will replace it with 'Top Rated' in the very near future (the filter was introduced for hospitality in January - and 'Top Rated' was introduced last month).

Google has always fought SEO tooth-and-nail - it hates its search results being manipulated. Just stop and think a minute - do Google's users want the businesses with the best SEO returned in search? - of course they don't. What do they want? The best business for any given search, of course.

So how was Google going to deliver the best businesses? The only answer they were ever going to come up with was 'by listing them according to their review scores'.

Now Google needed to keep its advertisers, many of whom had yet to engage with reviews, on side. So it wasn't going to jump in all at once - and nor did it. Google have been continually flagging the importance of reviews ever since they migrated them from Google Places to G+ and Google my Business nearly two years ago. They have effectively been warning businesses that they would have no choice but to bow to competitive pressure to introduce qualitative search results sooner rather than later.

And those qualitative search results? They were bound to be based on G+ reviews.

But for businesses getting great reviews - and therefore looking great in search - was always going to be easier said than done. And that is where professional review management comes in. 


  Compare these two screen grabs - the one on the left is unfiltered, the one on the right filtered. Two agents, in this example, drop out of search, completely. Our prediction is that Google will soon introduce 'Top Rated' which will place our client, Greene & Co, at the top of the result - on both score and number of reviews. In this example the filter has been set at 4 stars - we cannot think of a reason why any user would set their filter lower. For much more information on the Google filter read this

With professional review management - such as we provide for our clients at HelpHound - you avoid all the pitfalls:
  • Not engaging altogether - we meet so many business that say to us "Until we met HelpHound we saw reviews as a minefield best avoided." Professional review management is your guide through that minefield - with professional review management on board you should be able to relax in the knowledge that your business is doing all it can to engage with the world of reviews in the best way possible
  • Choosing the wrong solution - without professional advice it is so easy to buy a solution that won't deliver for your business. There is a whole world of a difference between a review website and professional review management - perhaps a good comparison is the difference between an accountant and accountancy software: a good accountant will recommend the best software for your business - HelpHound will recommend the best review solution for your business
  • Missing out on a wealth of professional understanding and ongoing advice - do you have the in-houseknowledge and resources to stay on top of developments at Google and all the other review sites? Do you have the expertise to draft an appeal against an unfair or misleading review on Google or any other review site? Do you know the most effective way to build reviews into your sales and marketing? Do you understand how a 'closed' review site can harm your brand? Do you know what a 'hostage' review site is? And much more besides - always up-to-date and, most important of all, all with your business's best interests to the fore
  • Inviting consumers to write reviews direct to Google - means you miss the opportunity to get your own reviews to your own website and leaves you open to accusations of cherry-picking - unless you invite all your customers. And if you do that, without a professional review management mechanism in place, human nature dictates that you will receive a disproportionate number of negative - and potentially misleading and unfair - reviews. It is a superficially attractive quick fix that leads to problems stored up downstream 

Great businesses care how they show in search - HelpHound will ensure your business looks great in search. 

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