Monday, 13 March 2017

Review sites - the unintended consequences

No business engages in any form of marketing in order to actively harm its own reputation, but without the right professional advice that is exactly what can happen.

As most readers will know, we have been steering our clients away from review sites for some time now. Mostly because they offer no advantages over proper professional review management. 

Your business wants...
  • great reviews on its own website? - professional review management will get them - and display them there
  • great reviews on other sites that matter - Google, TripAdvisor? - the same applies
  • star ratings in natural search - with a direct link to your website? - yes
  • review links in the Google knowledge panel - again - linking direct? - yes
...and much more

But professional review managers like HelpHound have another role to play as well - we are here to prevent our clients from doing themselves harm. 

Look at this example:

  Comments like these are the last thing a business needs to be hosting on its own website. Everything we do here at HelpHound revolves around honesty and transparency, but this type of system does not lend itself to complex technical and high value/high stress transactions such as these

This is a screenshot of part of the business's own home page (see here for the full picture). 

We have said it before - and we do not apologise for saying it again - high value businesses (like estate agency, wealth management, legal and accountancy services, to mention just a few) need review management. Independent sites were a solution for smaller businesses and online retailers when they were returned prominently in search, but that is no longer the case:

  No star rating in organic search, no link to their reviews there or in the Knowledge Panel, and no reviews at all in mobile search (ironically, probably a good thing in this case)

This is what businesses do need...

 Everything reviews related that you see here is down to their HelpHound membership - the 41 Google reviews, the star rating and HelpHound score and reviews in organic search (top left) and the link to their HelpHound reviews in the knowledge panel (bottom right) and the rich snippets at the bottom of the knowledge panel as well. Read the full story, including what the management have to say, here

 ...combined with a system that fairly allows the business and their client to ensure, in away that is fair to business and consumer alike, that misleading and inaccurate reviews are not posted publicly on the web.

And their own - not a review site's - reviews on their website...


And it can only be had through professional review management; that way the business ensures its reputation is protected form unfair and damaging comments - anywhere: on its own website, on Google and right across the web.

Another example:

Chipsaway are a national franchise of 200 operators who will repair parking damage to your car's paintwork and wheels. 
They look great on TrustPilot:


But what about on Google - where all their potential customers are searching?

And its the same story across nearly all their outlets:

Here's another example:

  A business that's made an immense effort - but with a site that's not returned for popular searches

The same business on Google?


Really harmful - the score, the proportion of reviews that are negative, the content of those reviews (see below) and the two damaging rich snippets


The message? Professional review management pays dividends, both short and long-term. It guarantees your business maximum visibility whist minimising the risk of unfair harm to your business's reputation.

As a client said recently: 'It costs us the same as the office round of coffee from Costa every Friday'. Surely a small price to pay?

For more on review sites: read this

For more on what your business should look like with professional review management read this

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