Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Mobile search - the review sites are all but invisible

It was tempting to apologise for yet another article highlighting why we don't recommend independent review sites - but when we think of the time, effort and pure cash that so many businesses are wasting because they have adopted a solution that is, at best, second best and, at worst, simply does not deliver the results they have been led to expect, we decided to go ahead anyway - if we save just one of you from harm, then this post will have been justified.

Over 60% of searches on the web are now conducted on mobiles. That is a global figure. In markets such as the UK, where over 8 out of 10 devices are smartphones and a very high percentage of those are on contract rather than PAYG - meaning that there is no incentive for users to defer mobile searches to desktop - it is more than likely that the figure will be in excess of 70%.

So we - and you - should be looking at how users search on mobile and adapting our review management accordingly.

There are two main searches we should all be concerned with. let's follow those journeys (we'll use an estate agent as an example)...

A general search: 'business type [location]' - estate agent [Kennington]...

The search throws up:


N.B. See the 'Top rated' button alongside 'MORE FILTERS' at the top - any business that scores less than 4.0 out of 5 will increasingly find itself filtered out of search entirely. For more on the Google filter read this.

  • advertisements - which any business can buy, limited only by the depth of its pockets
  • the Google 'three-pack' which is currently a SEO-based selection of three local businesses - led, currently, by Winkworth Kennington
  • natural listings - our client can also be seen, along with their HelpHound review score - 'Rating' 4.7 (128) - at the head of these

A specific search: 'business name [location]'  - Winkworth [Kennington]...

The search shows:

  • the business's Google review score and number of reviews and two tabs - 'Overview' and 'Reviews'

  • the business's Google knowledge panel - with its own reviews and score under 'Reviews from the web' (4.7 out of 5 and 128 reviews in this example) its Google review score (4.8), and the number of reviews (40), prominently displayed along with three rich snippets (all positive in this case).

We are now going to make an assumption: that any consumer who would like to read reviews will click on either the Google reviews or the 'Reviews from the web'; after all, if you are looking for a large and credible brand to give you comfort then we reckon Google - which everyone relies on for search results day-in day-out - is just about as large and credible as they come.

Then your potential customer sees this (for Google):

 N.B. Most people will immediately select 'Lowest score' - that is why it is so important that business's understand that they cannot simply sit back an be passive where reviews are concerned - they have to engage, otherwise unhappy customers will post reviews - and those reviews will be read

And this (for the business's own reviews):

Winkworth use our API to custom-display their customers' reviews and feed their score and link to Google to display under 'Reviews from the web'.

We hope this shows you just how relatively important your own reviews and Google reviews are compared to those from other sources - especially on mobile. Even for the rarely used search term 'Winkworth Kennington reviews' a mobile search now shows this:

 'Reviews from the web' - again, the business's own reviews gathered using HelpHound software

As opposed to this on desktop:

One independent site - allAgents - gets shown in this search, albeit with Google reviews - in the Knowledge Panel - and the business's own reviews, star rating, score and number of reviews (right under their organic listing) taking precedence.

Your reasurrance

As review managers HelpHound's duty is to you - our clients - first, last and always. There were times in the past when we recommended independent review sites and there may well be again at some future date; if and when that is the case you can be sure to read about it here.


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