Monday, 11 June 2018

'Reviews or Testimonials'? - Go Google!

Some of you will have seen this advertisement from a reviews site, in this case targeting estate agents...






...so let's analyse its content.

The main thrust

We have no argument at all with this - testimonials, in the 'Mrs P from Hertford' form so often seen, are so 'last century', and we think most businesses are on board with the contention that reviews are the way ahead these days.

But when we move on to the content of the advertisement we begin to have issues. Try asking the question 'Why not Google?' to each point they make. Here we go...

  • 'Unbiased': Google 'don't stop any reviews, good or bad'. It could be argued that the odd 'fake' review appears on Google, but these are very rare indeed (remember that a Google account is needed to write a review, and that Google are 'watching' every move the fake reviewer is making on the web). On the other hand one could argue that reviews sites incorporate mechanisms that favour their business customers - try writing a review on one of this site's businesses (and be sure to let us know if you succeed)*.
  • 'Transparent': We are unsure as the meaning of this in the context of 'Our reviews are indexed with Google, but does it matter? Get Google reviews and they sure as eggs will be 'indexed with Google' then!
  • 'Trustworthy': We won't take issue with 'all our reviews are 100% authentic' until we mine deeper and ask questions like 'was every customer asked to write a review?' (we are sure they are for online retail, but have doubts when it comes to some service businesses - does every estate agent, for instance, invite every single tenant to write a review when they check out of a property? Can such a customer write a review if they want to?**). Even for online retail - can a customer write a review a year post-purchase, when they will be able to make an informed comment about the longevity of the product they purchased?

*this - being unable to write a review when a consumer wants to - is a major cause of something we call 'deflection' (essential reading) where a business ends up looking great on an all-but-invisible reviews site and much less attractive where it matters: on Google.

**the answer, for those interested, is 'No'. This may be seen as some businesses as a 'benefit' - those businesses would do well to consult the CMA's regulations.


Go Google! - and Go HelpHound!

Back to the title of this article: our message is loud and clear - get Google reviews.

That only leaves one question for us to answer: why use HelpHound? And the answer to that is twofold...

  • if you are a service business or a professional service you, and your reviewers, will need moderation. Buying a pair of shoes? A Google score of 4 out of 5 won't put you off. Searching for an oncologist? You would want the highest score - and the most accurate reviews - possible. HelpHound's moderation enables both business and reviewer ensure that the reviews ultimately posted are as accurate as they possibly can be.
  • Your business needs independently verified reviews on its own website*** - to drive business through your website (and to enable our moderation to work)

***There is a 'third option' on the market currently - review aggregation: - importing reviews from external sites, Google, Facebook and the reviews sites and displaying them on your website - but this bypasses moderation, resulting in potentially inaccurate or misleading reviews appearing front-and-centre of the business's own website, like this...




...which would be fine if the reviews were accurate, but we suspect many are not, and would have benefitted - business, reviewer and consumer (reader) alike - from our moderation.


It's not as if you would be making any sacrifices...

This is what a typical HelpHound client looks like in a specific search...



   ...great Google score, great reviews - and 'rich snippets' (bottom right) - underlying it, their own reviews, moderated by HelpHound, showing as a star rating in organic search (top left)


...and a local search...


  unedited - today's search results - check for yourself!


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