This article was prompted by this photo taken through a business's shop window by one of our staffers on their way home from work one night last week...
It raised a whole load of questions, as you can probably imagine, but the one we are mostly interested in here is the one in the headline.
So what does this business look like online?
And against their competitors?
Then the first review site they are paying to belong to...
Then the next...
So, the above begs the question: why not concentrate on the obvious solution? The most effective and the least expensive as well? Certsainly the one most seen by their prospective customers. Not only that but the one that will see them safely through the medium and long term?
Let's just run through the number of solutions that have been available for businesses over the last ten years;
- Yelp: the big daddy of all review sites, launched in the UK to huge fanfare - and had their London HQ opened by the Duke of York! - gone from these shores in 2016.
- RaterAgent: a niche website adopted by many estate agents - did a reasonable job until its demise in 2018.
- AllAgents: another estate agent-specific review site with an intriguing business model. Try contacting their office if you consider your business has been the victim of an unfair review.
- Reviews.io: maybe read their reviews on Trustpilot (and vice versa)?
- Feefo: A review site specialising in online retail. Great where shirts and socks - online retail - are concerned. Moved into the service/professional business market in mid-decade, possibly because it was faced with the enormous financial clout of Trustpilot in its existing marketplace. But sites that allow the business to dictate who is allowed to post reviews are illegal in the UK. It's the same regarding timing.
- Trustpilot: why would a business display - and pay for - Trustpilot's green stars when they can display Google's gold ones for free?
- And the aggregators, such as Reputation.com? Again - great for products, but far too high risk for professional service businesses where a single misconceived review can stop the phone ringing
So, to answer the question posed: at HelpHound we focus our clients' efforts on Google. Why?
- Because it has more visibility than any other solution - every single consumer sees a business's Google reviews, every time they search
- Because it has more credibility than any other solution - everyone knows Google
- Because it will dominate for the foreseeable future
- Because its reviews are trusted by consumers more than any other solution
- Because it's free!
- Reviews on the business's own site: not reviews from a third-party reviews site who will take them away the minute the business stops paying - the business's own reviews
- Moderation: nice to have for businesses selling products (who wants to publish - or read - misinformation?) but critical for service businesses where a single misinformed or factually inaccurate review can do really significant harm to business flows
- Advice: ongoing, unbiased professional advice. A solution is right for a client of ours? We'll recommend it. Google change their review algorithm? The law changes? Our clients will be amongst the first to know. If you have any doubt about the latter contention feel free to interrogate this blog!
And for those whose web designers are up to scratch: stars in competitive search as well:
No prizes for guessing which of these is our client.