Wednesday 12 October 2016

If an independent review site is right for your business...

...We will tell you. 

That's what is meant by 'professional review management' - we advise you how best to deploy reviews to benefit your business. 

Some of you may be forgiven for thinking that HelpHound have become pretty Google-centric in the last three years - and you would be right. But that does not mean we ignore the independent sites, far from it.

It's all about visibility - and driving business through your door.


...In search

To get search - especially local search - working you need to look great the minute your potential customer hits the search button. No longer do most consumers actively look for reviews - Google has trained them to know that reviews will appear automatically for any given search, so you cannot be relying on your potential customer to hunt for reviews as they did in 2010.

...and on your own site

But - we hear some of you say - we do all kinds of marketing, and we want to look good on our own site as well. Absolutely - and any strategy HelpHound recommends will have this as its cornerstone.

So let's take two examples - hotels and estate agencies 

Hotels and review management

 No longer do hotels argue against the power of reviews to drive - or deflect - custom

Hotels have been at the forefront of reviews for many years now. And the number of sites that carry reviews for hotels and restaurants is quite staggering (ReviewPro's Global review Index assesses 175 separate sites).

So our focus on our hotel clients' is driven by two factors:
  1. Which independent review sites matter to them
  2. Which review sites show in search
 The answer is invariably:
  1. Google, TripAdvisor, and Expedia
  2. Google, TripAdvisor, and Expedia and all the other OTAs, with the possible addition of Yelp for some
Google matters because everyone sees it - always, even if they are looking for TripAdvisor or Expedia.

The other sites matter because they are so established - and have such high visibility - that ignoring them is not an option.

So: our priorities for our hotel clients are as follows:
  1. We enable them to invite reviews to their own site where they are able to manage negatives 
  2. We make sure they look as good as they possibly can on Google
  3. We constantly analyse their presence and scores on the independent sites and advise as and when they should focus attention on them (TripAdvisor being the most obvious example)
Estate Agents and review management

Estate agents have come much later to the reviews table. That's partly because the numbers are smaller - the average hotel checks out thousands of guests a year, but the average estate agent might only transact a hundred or so sales in the same time-frame - and partly because there has never been the equivalent of a massive TripAdvisor or for estate agents.

  Reviews working every which way - visibility, natural listings, Google score, rich snippets and importantly - volume. If your business has 15 reviews a cynical customer might say you could get them by cherry-picking - but 283?).

The fact that there are no 'go to' independent sites for estate agency - the likes of allAgents and Feefo simply don't have the profile and visibility of a TripAdvisor or an Expedia - either in search or as brands - makes life for estate agents somewhat easier. They simply have to focus on looking great on:
The extra effort involved in looking good on an external independent site is simply not justified - unless there is a pre-existing issue of negative reviews being returned in search. If there is such an issue - or there is some local reason (a competitor may be making much of their profile on an independent site) then HelpHound will advise accordingly. 

No bias

So, you see, we have no intrinsic bias towards Google, just a current - and almost certainly future - bias on behalf of our clients. If you - or we - ever think that you might benefit from exposure on another site - or a hoard of Yelpers attacks your business (it happens!) we will be here to advise accordingly.

Meanwhile we will concentrate all our effort on making your business - whether that be hotel, estate agent, accountant or hairdresser - look great where it matters most.

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