Question: which ratings and reviews are:
- Most frequently viewed?
- Most trusted?
- Free (for the business)?
The answer - we would humbly suggest (please feel free to comment) - is 'Google's'.
Most Frequently viewed
Every time a search is made, of whatever kind of business, Google displays reviews - it's own reviews. They are prominently displayed in every kind of search: specific (on the business's name) and comparative (local or competitive).
Ask any consumer. Reinforcing this trust is the knowledge amongst even the least sophisticated consumer - these days - that they are able to post a Google review whenever they wish. It is conceivable that consumers have heard of Feefo and/or Trustpilot, but Google?
Google doesn't charge.
So why are businesses not referencing their Google reviews (and scores) in their advertising?
Left: the business scoring five stars on its chosen reviews site. Right: the same business on Google
We think the answer is a combination of the following:
- if a business has been 'sold' a reviews solution it is inclined to use that solution in its advertising, simply to justify the spend
- research consistently shows that businesses that employ reviews sites score better on those reviews sites than on Google; this is partly due to a syndrome we call 'deflection' where happy customers are content to respond to the business's invitation to post a review on the site of the business's own choice but less pleased customers are more likely to vent on Google
- the herd instinct: competitors do it, so why shouldn't we?
There is a fourth reason: the reviews sites invariably offer 'advantages' to attract businesses, and these can often result in a higher score; some sites are 'closed' (unlike Google) and only allow customers to post a review by invitation and others have some form of 'quarantine' for reviews that allows the business to challenge reviews it disagrees with. Both of these may seem reasonable on the face of it, but they place control in the hands of the business that tilts the board in the business's favour and, as a direct result, raise compliance issues as far as the CMA regulations are concerned (these categorically state that businesses, if they invite reviews, must allow all customers to write a review at a time of their own choosing - read this article for more on this important issue).
Build your advertising and marketing around this (score and content)!
Focus all your efforts on Google*. This advice is categoric, for the reasons mentioned above. Google is here to stay, and it controls the online gateway to your business. Get Google reviews and then reference these and your score in all your advertising and promotional activity.
*In our experience there is only one thing stopping most businesses going down this route, and that is the fear that their customers may post inaccurate or misleading reviews. That is why HelpHound exists, to advise clients on how to go about protecting their reputations at the same time as shining in all forms of Google search. We say we 'manage out the fear' - to understand more about this read on.