Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Google reviews - and their staggering reach!

Google reviews - in Google's own words - are 'making a difference'...

Anyone who writes a review to Google - and millions do every day - used to wonder if anyone ever read them. And so did the businesses that were subject to those reviews!

Well, now that Google reports like this...

...those days of 'living in ignorance' are well and truly behind us. Here's another element of the report...

...and for anyone still labouring under the misapprehension that negative reviews don't get seen that much....

...or that photos don't really matter...

...or that reviews only matter for hotels and restaurants...


Just to really drum it in, that's...
  • over 500 people saw a single review of a golf club - since February - so, in just three months
  • 2,000 people - yes, two thousand, have seen a negative review of a hire car company - in only four months
  • 20,000 people have seen a photograph of a relatively minor tourist attraction - in the last six months

So: a checklist for your business...
  1. How many reviews have you got? Aim to double that figure in the coming six months
  2. How many photographs have you got? Same - double up
  3. How many negative reviews have you got? If that number exceeds two percent of your overall reviews total, then speak to us
  4. Oh - we nearly forgot - if you are asking your customers to review you anywhere but Google: speak to us! 

 ...and - back to 'making a difference'. How's this for making a difference? 


Review Management - a beginner's Guide

With over seven hundred articles on this blog we periodically publish this Guide, so anyone new to HelpHound and review management can bring themselves rapidly up to speed.

HelpHound: review managers

 Our clients look great all through the customer journey - in Google search and on their own websites

We are professional advisers. In just the same way as your accountants or lawyers, HelpHound gives both proactive and reactive advice to make sure your business looks as good as it possibly can:
  • On your own website
  • On Google 
  • On any other sites that matter 

  Great review management leads directly to results like these

This article - 'The 20/30 effect' (relating to the uplift in calls and visits two clients have had since joining) - shows example of results for an estate agency and a heating engineer, but it applies across the full spectrum of businesses. Adding Value shows the difference between a HelpHound client and those yet to engage.

Our clients invariably look great in local search too

Trust: for reviews to be effective they must be 100% trustworthy

Trust is everything examines why so many of the independent review sites fail this crucial test. It's one of the many reasons that Google - which is increasingly trusted by consumers - plays such a big part in our strategy on behalf of our clients.

There are so many aspects of this clients' display that we have included specifically to reinforce the trustworthiness of their reviews:
  • the wording next to our logo - the promise that 'these reviews are genuine' is supported by the word 'unfiltered'. The 'promise to publish' is critical
  • it is also supported by the 'write your review' button - showing anyone reading the reviews that anyone can write a review at any time
  • and the 'Worst' category in 'Order by' - the first thing most people do is look at the least favourable reviews
  • last, but by no means least, the words 'Our partner HelpHound is an unbiased independent reviews service' without which these reviews would revert to the much weaker status of testimonials

As Google reviews accelerate it's tempting to go it alone

Businesses that had no reviews - or few - just a year ago often first attempt to address the situation themselves. This article - Why DIY leaves half the job undone - explains how businesses lose out by going down the do-it-yourself route.

Compliance with UK government regulations

It should also be noted that it is virtually impossible to comply with the CMA regulations if you invite customers to post direct to Google - one of the first questions we ask prospective clients that have reviews on Google is 'Have you had a difficult customer lately?' and when the answer comes, as it inevitably does: 'Yes' - we ask 'And have they been invited to write a review to Google? Non-compliant (a polite expression meaning 'breaking the law') every time.

The Google filter

 Why would anyone choose any but the 4+ rating filter?

When businesses first realise that they are subject to the Google filter - because they score less than 4.0 out of 5 - it can cause understandable consternation. Read The Google Filter - Don't Panic! and relax.

Engage with reviews

Reviews can be a daunting subject. For many businesses it will be the first time they have ever asked customers to comment on the service they provide, and certainly the first time they have asked them to do it publicly (and it doesn't come much more public than on Google). Too posh to push is an article with a tongue-in-cheek title but a very important message - if you don't engage with reviews you will be missing out on a wonderful way to drive new business, besides which you will leave your business exposed when your competitors do engage.

Negative reviews - they will happen

No business is perfect. We know because we see thousands of reviews of great businesses every month! And one of the main reasons businesses don't engage with reviews is the understandable fear of inviting publicly visible negative reviews. That's one of the main reasons that we advise clients to invite reviews to their own websites before they invite their customer to copy their review to Google: so our client business can engage with inaccurate or potentially misleading reviews pre-publication - a process we call Resolution™ - and it works brilliantly for both customer and business. We will guide you through each and every case to ensure the best possible outcome for both parties. 

The benefits of professional review management

If you have followed half the links we've embedded in this article you will already know the answer, but we'll summarise anyway:
  1. Great reviews - on your own website and on Google - drive business
  2. Independent review sites are - with few exceptions - yesterday's solution
  3. Review management is about much more than simply getting great reviews - it's about managing the process professionally - and that's what HelpHound does for our clients
We will leave the final word to one of those clients:

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The 20/30 effect

When we are asked what HelpHound is all about there is, as is often the case with B2B services, a complex answer that includes all the bells and whistles (compliance, SEO etc.) and then a really simple one. 

Here's HelpHound's 'simple answer':

"It's the 20/30 effect"

Let us explain - simply...

Adopting HelpHound will mean that you see results like these...

...within weeks.

See the 20/30 effect? Actually, in this case, it's 18/27 (18% uplift in calls/27% uplift in visits). 

It can be even better...

...but we cannot, for obvious reasons, guarantee that (+169%/+950%!). What we can guarantee is that your business will see an uplift.

So: that's our core pitch to you - HelpHound will drive more business through the web to your door, safely and compliantly*.

*For more on 'safely' read 'Taking the 'Fear' out of inviting reviews' below. For a full explanation of the compliance issues surrounding reviews read 'Compliance' below.

Further reading:

There's more, much more, but we are not going to confuse the issue by going into any more detail here. If you would like to read more about what we do there are more than 700 articles on this blog. Here are just a few important ones...
  • Curchods - a case history. What happened when  one of the South East's most respected estate agent joined HelpHound
  • LDC Heating - another case history - and some truly astonishing results!
  • Compliance - an analysis of the CMA regulations surrounding reviews (and why so many businesses are in breach of them)
  • Deflection - what happens when a business uses a reviews site (as opposed to Google)
  • Scoring 4.0 is not enough - why you need to score north of 4.7 on Google to succeed
  • Taking the 'Fear' out of inviting reviews - no-one, least of all the consumer, is helped by factually inaccurate or potentially misleading reviews

...but the simple answer is to speak to one of us so we can relate what we do for our other clients to your business.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Deflection - it's becoming an epidemic

Let us define 'Deflection': it is what happens when a business invites its customers to post their opinions on a review site instead of Google, it is as simple as that.

What happens next is human nature at work: happy customers do as they are asked - and post their review to whatever reviews site the business has chosen. Less happy customers 'rebel' and post to Google.

It is probably best illustrated with real-life examples (we are using estate agency here, because the deflection is most marked with them, but the principle applies across the board)...

Here is one that is rapidly attaining mythical status:

If you look closely (and how many searchers do that these days?) you will see that this business is rated 4.7 (or 4.8) out of 5 on an - unspecified - reviews site (it is actually BUT 1.0 on Google - which is not only displaying that score in the business's header, but prominently displaying it again when the potential customer scrolls down and reinforcing the negative impression with both rich snippets and the reviews themselves.

What we have here is an example of three of the business's dissatisfied customers completely dominating the impression of that business in search.

Why has this happened? What follows is an educated guess - but a highly educated guess nonetheless. Bradleys joined way back at the end of 2012 - long before Google reviews were a viable solution for businesses. They put a massive effort into becoming the dominant business in their local area on that site - and have succeeded in spades. 

Then Google came along. What should have happened then? Well, at some stage Bradleys should have realised that they were travelling on a barge on a canal and 'jumped ship' (excuse the mixed metaphor) to the train/railway that is Google. 

The same search, but this time on desktop (less than 30% of search these days): the reviews site is showing, but Google is a) so much more prominent and b) has name/brand awareness out of all proportion to the reviews site (note: both scores under 'Reviews from the web' in the Google knowledge panel are derived from the reviews site; the disparity is caused by a time-lag in Google retrieving the score from the business's own website).

Why didn't they/haven't they? We don't know, but we guess (again) that there is a marked reluctance among management and staff to abandon a solution that they have put so much effort into, combined with loyalty to a business relationship that has lasted over five years. One thing is absolutely certain: our advice would be to refocus all their efforts on Google.

Another business and another reviews site...

...and on Google?

...and, just for good measure (and to show that we are not picking on any one site)...

...on Google...

So why do businesses continue to use reviews sites?

The reasons are many and various, but none of them are valid in 2018...
  • the aforementioned loyalty; and we often hear 'but we've put in so much effort'
  • 'advantages' promoted by the sites - notably 'stars in search' and moderation of negative reviews (not always complaint with CMA regulations)
  • awards - estate agents are particularly partial to awards, and both allAgents (with their own) and Feefo (with their tie-up with the ESTAS) play that card
  • contracts - a business should never sign up to a reviews solution that ties them in to any contract period, for whatever reason
And the final clincher? Reviews sites have sales forces and Google doesn't!

Monday, 14 May 2018

Reviews - the four questions any business should be asking

This is a simple guide designed to help businesses choose the right reviews solution. Why do we need to publish it? That should become clear as you read on...

First - the questions (for the reviews solution)...

1.  Can anyone write a review on your platform?

2.  Can they write a review at a time of their own choosing?

3.  How do you prevent misleading or inaccurate reviews from being published?

4.  What results have your clients achieved?

Now, let us analyse these in detail...

1.  Can anyone write a review?

You may (or may not) be surprised to know that there are reviews solutions on the market that prevent consumers from writing reviews unless they have been invited by the business. The logic is that this ensures that the reviewer is a bona-fide customer of the business under review.

Our comment...
  • This practise, whilst undoubtedly well-intentioned, contravenes the UK CMA regulations, which clearly state that a business must, if it invites any of its customers to write a review, enable all its customer to do so. You can probably see the CMA's logic here: they want to prevent business's inviting only happy customers to write a review - a practice known as 'cherry-picking' and therefore running the risk of skewing the impression for potential customers
  • It also has the effect of driving those unable to write a review to resort to Google. We often see businesses that employ this kind of site looking great on their own websites and much less good on Google - it is so common we have come up for a term for it: 'Deflection' (because businesses are unwittingly causing their unhappy customers to 'deflect' away from the reviews site to Google)

Can they write a review at a time of their own choosing?

Our comment...
  • If the answer is 'No' - the mechanism is also in contravention of the CMA regulations. Why? Because consumers need to know more about products and services than what the customer thought at point-of-purchase. Think for a minute - do you want to know how fast the shoes wore out? Do you need to know if the long-term impact of that financial or legal advice was positive?
  • The 'Deflection' point applies here too - the customer cannot write a review to the business's review site of choice - they will resort to the biggest 'reviews site' of them all: Google

How do you prevent misleading or inaccurate reviews from being published?

Our comment...
  • If the answer to this key question is anything but 'We don't!' alarm bells should be ringing loudly in your ears. Why? Because the CMA rules - again, rightly - prohibit any mechanism that enables the business to in any way deflect negative reviews. We know of (and have documentary evidence of) reviews sites that incorporate mechanisms that have this very effect - they may be given grand-sounding names like 'quarantine' for what appear - superficially at least - to be the best of intentions, but the outcome, in the hands of some businesses, is straightforward: the negative review does not appear

What results have your clients achieved?

Our comment...
  • and by results, we don't mean 'numbers of reviews' (we see businesses every day that have hundreds of reviews in the wrong place, making no impact on their bottom lines whatsoever) - we mean a quantifiable financial impact. An uplift in visits to their client's website, an uplift in calls (both of which most marketing directors can put a £p value on). Insist on seeing case histories and actual results. 

Now: HelpHound's answers to those four key questions...

1.  Can anyone write a review on your platform?

Yes - all our clients have a button on their website, accessible to all, 24/7, without invitation

2.  Can they write a review at a time of their own choosing?

Yes - whenever they choose, seven days a week, morning, noon or night

3.  How do you prevent misleading or inaccurate reviews from being published?

We cannot. But we do have a mechanism that allows the business and the customer to interact, pre-publication, and it is welcomed by both as a way of ensuring that reviews posted HelpHound are factually accurate and less likely to mislead the consumer than those on any other platform we know of - more here

4.  What results have your clients achieved?


...and these, taking a business from this... this...

...and lots more, that we will be happy to show you.

Welcome to professional review management. Welcome to HelpHound.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Responding to reviews - what can you hard-nosed business people learn from a ballerina?

She left her home in Argentina at the age of fifteen, to train at Royal Ballet School. She is universally acknowledged at one of the greatest ballerinas of our time. But we can be pretty sure she has not had much training in marketing or social media - so what can Marianela Nunez teach us business folk?

Let us begin by telling you a story: last night a HelpHound staffer attended a performance of Marguerite and Armand by the Royal Ballet. Being a keen fan of ballet in general and Ms Nunez in particular our staffer follows her on Instagram. Let's be clear about this - she did not invite this person to follow her, they just 'did', as you do on Instagram. But they posted their congratulations on her performance, not at the end of the evening, but during the interval. What do you suppose happened next? 

This happened next...

...and for those of you who don't use Instagram, the 'heart' is a user's way of thanking someone for their comment. Much more importantly: the thanks were posted within ten minutes of the original comment being uploaded.

Compare that with businesses and their reviews. We would rather not, but since it is an important part of our job, we will.

We reckon the average business does not respond to reviews - ever - at all. Bearing in mind that these reviews are posted by happy customers who have gone to some lengths to express that happiness - and that responding is FREE for the business - we are dumbfounded.

How about "Thanks for your kind comment and helpful suggestions"? That took all of ten seconds to type. Even better: how about addressing the criticisms? But three weeks later and...nothing. It gets worse. 

The next reviewer is doing their best to say "Don't use this company". So what does the business, with all its marketing nous and resources, say?

Nothing. No apology, no explanation. How could this be? Seriously: HOW - COULD - THIS - BE?

Let's apply all of our experience and give you some options - and our answer to those options...

  • Option 1: the business is unaware that they have the review. We see this all the time with big corporates (seldom with SMEs - a review like this rightly keeps them awake at night). So many businesses think they have reviews covered - when we meet them they say things like "Our PR people handle that side of things" - our answer? Make sure an individual within the branch is nominated an understands their responsibility. And then make sure head office has KPIs to keep the branches on their toes.
  • Option 2: the business doesn't know how to respond. They may have lost their G+ log in details (often the person that set up their G+ account has left). Solution: ask us for our simple step-by-step memo and our help to recover the lost log-in.
  • Option 3: a negative attitude to reviews. All people who write reviews are either 'idiots with too much time on their hands' (positives) or 'keyboard warriors with impure motives' (negatives). This reason for ignoring reviews - and not responding - is more common than some might imagine - but it flatly goes against all the evidence that consumers now rely more heavily on reviews than ever before. Solution: a fundamental shift in the business's attitude and approach to reviews needs to happen.
  • Option 4: Failing to understand that the simple act of responding to reviews makes it less likely that someone will post a negative review in future. Action: try it - prove it for yourself, it's true.

...and, most important of all...

  • Option 5: Failing to understand that a good showing in reviews, which consists not only of getting great reviews but in responding to those reviews in a timely manner, drives business through the door.
And, by 'timely' what exactly do we mean? How about 'within an hour of receiving the email from Google alerting you to the review's appearance?

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Why scoring 4 on Google is simply not enough

Google allocates a score to every business on the planet, from 0 to 5 ('0' for businesses with no reviews - for reasons better known to Google, a customer cannot score a business '0'). In this article we will help you understand why your business's score matters so much (and will matter even more at some point in the not-too-distant future). 

Your Google score

Your Google score is used as a headline guide, by everyone who is searching for a business. If that score is not as close to perfect - 5.0 - as it can be, those potential customers will mine deeper - by selecting the 'lowest rating' option given to them in every search...

The Google filter

This can be set to '4 and above' or 'top rated'...

So, if your business scores more than 3.9 you will pass the first of these filters, but to succeed with certainty with the second it will need to score as close to 5.0 as possible.

How consumers view your score

This section is based on hard research by several respected institutions - Harvard Business School and Cornell University School of Hospitality amongst them - we have simply expanded on their findings...

  • 5.0 - will use this business - no questions asked (may read the first two or three reviews)
  • 4.8 - 4.9 - will use this business - will read the first two or three reviews
  • 4.5 - 4.7 - will use this business - as long as the negative reviews are not convincing
  • 4.2 - 4.4 - may use this business (will definitely read the negative reviews) if there is no comparable business scoring higher
  • 4.0 - 4.1 - may use this business, will definitely read the negative reviews, but will actively seach for a business with a higher Google score

But what if my business scores less than 4.0? we hear some of you say. I think we have probably answered that question already, but, for those harbouring any lingering doubts...

  • 3.9 or less - these businesses are increasingly finding themselves filtered by even the most unsophisticated Google users (bear in mind that well over 70% of search is now conducted on mobile). If they do make it into the consumers' line of sight then estimates show that at least 93% of those consumers will be influenced by the reviews - negative reviews in this case - that they read.

The 'No-one believes a business that scores a perfect 5' myth debunked...

This has achieved the status of 'urban myth' with businesses. How often do we hear a business say 'No-one will believe their reviews - they score 5'? Pretty often - especially when referring to a competitor! But all reserch points to the fact that consumers actually discriminate in favour of a business that scores as near to 5 as it possibly can.

This business is not 'suffering' from its score - quite the contrary. How do we know? Because they are clients of ours. Of course it does help that all our clients can point to the fact that they invite reviews from everyone with a button like this on their website...

...the button illustrated is 'actual size' so our client can hardly be accused of not proactively inviting reviews!

Why a score in the 'low 4s' is damaging...

Apart from the fact that your competitor with scores better than yours will be doing more business, consumers will invariably read a business's one-star reviews. Here is a typical business scoring in the low 4s - see how they look...

Ranking by score

Sheer force of logic dictates that Google will soon rank businesses by their reviews scores - it is just a question of 'when'. Why do we say this? Because of the single most important reason people use a search engine - and that is to find the 'best' business for them there is. Not the one that pays the most for advertising, not the one that is (necessarily) the closest - the best

Google have a three-pronged conundrum to solve before they switch over to 'best' in search, and it goes something like this...

  1. Will it dilute our ad pitch (even more)?
  2. Do enough businesses have enough reviews to make it a reliable test?
  3. Are the reviews themsleves reliable enough?
Our answers:
  1. You - Google - will have no option, the logic is just too strong (and you are already acknowledging this in mobile search, with your filters)
  2. In some markets and amongst some types of business - yes. There is some way to go with businesses in denial - here's a good example: our recent article on financial services
  3. Far more reliable than those from external reviews sites, partly because businesses are not paying Google for reviews and partly because Google now insist that a reviewer is indentifiable - at least to Google!

Friday, 4 May 2018

Reviews - back to Basics

It is sometimes difficult for us - steeped in reviews and review management as we are - to remind oursleves that not everyone else on the planet, or, indeed, in the business world, 'gets' reviews as we do. 

This week we were invited to speak to an audience of business people in the South West of the UK and the questions we were asked demonstrated the need for a 'nuts and bolts' explanation. It was also made abundantly apparrent that businesses have been confused by the array of offerings being promoted to them - we will look at these too.

This article is going to go right back to the early days of the 'Interweb' and explain exactly where reviews and review management fit into a business's strategy and planning. We have included links to Wikipedia for those who would like fuller explanations and have tried to make the headings self-explanantory so you can skip those you don't need to read. 

In the beginning...there was the world wide web, then there were browsers and search engines

...there was the world wide web. No one had access to it without being a) in the US military or b) a graduate of the Massachussets Institute of Technology (or Tim Berners-Lee, obviously - because he invented it all). Then there were 'browsers'. Browsers enabled ordinary folk to connect their computers up to the world wide web (soon, thankfully, to be known simply as the 'web' and 'search' for information that others - mostly eductional establishments and businesses - had 'uploaded' on the the web.

Early browsers - you probably remember the first one you used; was it Netscape Navigator, or maybe Still is Internet Explorer. Later on Apple came up with Safari and Google came up with Chrome.

Browsers should not be - but often are - consfused with 'search engines'. Some people find it easy to remember that a browser is like the library door and the search engine is the librarian. 

You browse with Chrome and search with Google.

Search engines gave you lists of 'relevant' information - and ads...

Loads of ads. 'Banner' ads (the ones accross the top and bottom) and skyscraper ads (the ones up the side. The search engines sold ads in the same way as newspapers: 'Buy an ad, that'll be £500 please'. Like this...

I know it's hard to believe nowadays, but these ads were sold on 'size' - see the pixel dimensions next to each ad!

They were then displayed above or beside the search directory, like this...

...Tower Records has now gone the way of this kind of search - replaced by two twenty-somethings who had the idea that businesses would rather pay if their ads were actually clicked on and then fed the customer straight through to the business's own website. Their business? Google. 

The first Google home (search) page...staggering how little it's changed, when you think about it.

Anecdote alert! Jeff Bezos was one of Google's initial backers - does everything he touches (Amazon) turn to gold?

Anecdote alert 2! Google's founders, Sergei Brin and Larry Page decided they wanted to sell Google to Excite. They went to George Bell - Excite's CEO and offered to sell it to him for $1 million. He rejected the offer. Vinod Khosla, one of Excite's venture capitalists, talked the duo down to $750,000, but Bell still rejected it. A true 'Dick Rowe' moment - except that Dick Rowe did sign the Rolling Stones.

Google truly invented modern - 'intelligent' - web search.

And advertising?

Google's genius was to combine natural - sometimes known as organic - search where links to businesses are delivered based on popularity (OK, we know there are other factors, but 'popularity' will do for the purposes of this article) with advertsements based on a 'pay per click' model. In theory a business coudl run an advertisment - lineage only, no images - on Google and customers could see that ad and pick up the phone or visit the business, but Google had done their homework: the overwhelming majority soon learned that clicking on the ad would take them to the website behind it, and that's where Google made money - by charging for each of those clicks.

Natural search - free. Advertising - paid.

Here was the new world. The only answer was to pay or not to pay? - or rather: 'to pay Google or a web designer'?

This confused plenty of businesses and there was no lack of snake-oil salesmen (did someone mention SEO?!) who would relieve thousands of businesses of huge lumps of cash on the basis that 'you won't need to advertise with Google, we'll get you showing on page one of natural search'.

Why we businessmen didn't relaise sooner - maybe some did -  that this is exactly what they were telling all of the boys, and only ten of those 'boys' were ever going to appear on page one for any given search. Google must have stood by laughing - they must have loved the uncertainty this generated amongst marketing executives, and, of course, the advertising people weren't averse to it; after all, they were trousering lovely commissions for sellling Google PPC to their clients who demanded to appear on page 1 whatever the price!

The flaw in Google...

There's a flaw in Google? The flaw in Google was - and remains - that its search results are not qualitative. Let us explain, because this is important.

When anyone searches the web, using Google, what do they want? Really want?

  • a list of plumbers?
  • a list of plumbers near them?
  • a list of plumbers with clever web designers?
  • a list of plumbers with even cleverer SEO specialists?
  • the best plumber near them?
simple really, when you think about is, isn't it. We won't go into why Google does not supply the very thing their users want - directly. What we will do is explain why a whole global industry grew up to fulfil that role.

And the name of that industry - REVIEWS SITES!

At last! 'You got there in the end' we hear you say. Unfortunately we are not quite finished yet - there is a twist in the tail.

Reviews sites...

If Google gave us the best 'plumber' near us (or near where we wanted to be), then we would never have needed any of these...
  • Tripadvisor
  • Yelp
  • Trustpilot
  • Feefo
  • Angie's list
  • Zagat
  • Glassdoor
  • RatedPeople
...and all the hundreds of others to help us find that 'plumber/hotel/dentist/lawyer'.

Google wakes from its slumber...

Goodness, how long it took Google to wake up to the fact that people needed a review site to help them make sense of a lot of their Google searches. But wake up thay eventually did - and how savagely unfair on those reviews sites it was when they did.

Google introduces reviews

Google first tiptoed into the world of reviews when it introduced Google Places (pretty well buried behind Google Maps) which eventually morphed into Google+ Local. Now anyone could write a review on Google. And, it goes without saying - read a review on Google.

At one fell swoop Google had sounded the death knell of reviews sites (how thrilled must the owners of Zagat have been, when they realised they sold to Google just in time? No-one needs a restaurant reviews site now).

And: no-one needs...
  • a plumbers review site
  • a doctors review site
  • a hotel reviews site
  • an online retailers reviews site
  • a physiotherapists review site
  • a bowling ball manufacturers reviews site
...we guess you are getting the point...they just need Google (unless, of course, the business in question is still using - and paying for - an 'old-fashioned' reviews site).

The reviews sites won't disappear in a puff of smoke overnight - after all the canals are still here over 150 years after the invention of the railway (and lots of those reviews sites have significant capital behind them, albeit draining away like Yelp's)...

...and TripAdvisor's share prices... 

Both peaking at almost exactly the same time (Dec/Jan 2013/14) and subsequently falling by over 50% -  and it's no coincidence that it was around this time that th stockmarket woke up to Google as an increasing force in the reviews marketplace

...but it is HelpHound's job to make sure our clients are advised to catch the 11.05 to Birmingham from Euston, not the four-day-journey narrowboat.

Reviews and review management in 2018

As we have been advising clients for over four years now, their primary focus - if they don't want to spend a fortune on advertising (and indeed, waste that money - because consumers now invaribly check out a business's reviews pre-purchase - 93% of them,according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing's most up-to-date figures, so what is the point of advertising if it's going to be contradicted by your reviews?) has to be Google reviews. 

Looking good in a search on their business...

 Having nerly three hundred Google reviews - all attched to a verified Google+ account - and highly visible in every search helps the consumer choose the right business. Having oover 500 of your business's own reviews showing in natural search and 'Reviews from the web' reinforces the trust those Google reviews create.

and looking good in a local search...

Consumers are, understandably, cynical about reviews - just see this artcle about fake reviews and the recent BBC programme - so having over 500 of them goes a long way to allaying fears that they are 'only written by firends and connections'


Until? Yes - until Google finds a way to do what logic overwhelmingly dictates - rank businesses in search by their reviews score!

Will your business be ready then?

And finally...

...where does HelpHound come in?

HelpHound provides three essential services for our member businesses...
  1. We enable them to show independently verified reviews on their own websites
  2. We moderate every review before it is posted on their own websites - making sure, as far as is possible that no inaccurate or potentially misleading reviews see the light of day (providing a benefit to all stakeholders: the business, its prospective customers and Google)
  3. We then go on to invite your reviewers to post their review to Google, in effect giving both your business and Google a source of very high quality - reliable - reviews
...and, on top of these, we keep a watching brief over every aspect of the reviews market (there are nearly a thousand articles on the Blog alone - covering every concievable event that has impacted reviews over the recent past), so our members can relax in the knowledge that they have 24/7 coverage of the complex and ever-changing reviews scene.