In the following example we have used estate agency, partly because they, as a profession, are as engaged with reviews as any other. But what applies to them applies equally to any other business – financial, medical, any professional business at all. Online retailers, on the other hand, would be well advised to remain with the review sites.
Your business's choice? One of the following...
Now, assuming that your choice is not going to based on anything subjective (the colour of the salesperson's shoes, or even unsupported promises by salespeople) but our old friend ROI, pure and simple, we assume you are going to conduct the following tests:
1. Visibility: which of the above three is the most visible in search?
2. Credibility: which has the most in the eyes of your prospective customers?
3. Compliance: which is least likely to get you into hot water with the regulators?
4. Longevity: which will you want to look good on in five or ten years' time?
After this, you will choose Google.
'Wait!' we hear - some of you - say. And then the following may be added...
'But... [insert name of major competitor] uses one of the others.'
'But... [insert name of reviews site] has promised me a massive leap in ROI as well.'
'But... Google has not tried to sell me their reviews system.'
And, perhaps most important of all...
'But... if I choose Google how can I be sure the reviews I get will be accurate and fair?'
Let's look at these, one by one:
Your competitor uses a review site:
They're wrong. Review sites are last year's solution. They evolved before Google came up with its own reviews solution. Heard of Beebo? Probably not (unless you were a teenager around the millennium); they were the No 1 social media site before Facebook happened along. If you want to be ahead of your competition with reviews: choose Google.
A big leap in ROI:
The only way to find out? Do it! You will know within weeks (a client of ours saw a twenty percent jump in clicks through to their website and a thirty percent rise in inbound calls from potential customers within six weeks of refocussing their efforts towards Google.
Google hasn't tried to sell me their system:
Of course they haven't, it doesn't earn them revenue. But PPC does, so choose a reviews site that's a Google partner and they will be very happy indeed.
On that point: some businesses choose a reviews site to get this - in organic search...
See the one with the stars next to it, that also happens to be heading natural search? Yes? That's our client!*
*Stars in search need three key ingredients:
- reviews hosted on your own website
- a regular flow of those reviews
- a web designer and/or SEO specialist that knows their business inside out
If you would like us to introduce you to a 'No. 2' please just ask.
How can I be sure the reviews will be accurate and fair?
Perhaps the most important question of all. Inaccurate and misleading reviews help no-one, not the reviewer, nor the people relying on the review to lead them to the right business nor the business itself. There's only one legal* way to make sure your reviews are accurate and fair and that's by having them moderated. Read this article to understand all about HelpHound's moderation system.
*Legal: we have all come across businesses that look great simply by virtue of selectively inviting those customers they know to be happy to write reviews, to Google or to any other platform. This is illegal. If you have any doubts whatsoever please read this analysis of the CMA regulations (the law).
As with any other decision of this importance, we would encourage you to speak to an existing client, someone who has experienced the journey for themselves. To speak to a HelpHound client, just contact us, we will be happy to effect an introduction.