What is 'deflection'?
It is the unintended consequence of focussing review efforts on a reviews site rather than Google. It results in the business looking good on the reviews site and less good - often a whole lot less good - on Google.
Because consumers have got wise to Google - and its power to influence their fellows. So when a business invites them to write a review to the reviews site of the business's choice they do write a review, but to Google instead - especially if they are unhappy with the service they have been given.
Here's a business on a reviews site...
...and here's the same business on Google...
This is exactly what we term 'deflection' - the business's happy customers doing as they are asked (writing a review to the business's reviews site) and a significant proportion of the unhappy customers - invited or not - writing their review to Google.
The harm being done
Ask any consumer these days 'whose reviews do you read?' and the answer will inevitably be 'Google's'. Unsurprisingly, because they are the reviews we are all shown in every search we ever make...
This business has been actively harmed* by adopting the independent reviews site. How can we/you tell? Well, no-one is walking into the business and saying 'I was going to instruct you to sell/let my house until I saw your reviews on Google' but we can be absolutely sure that is happening. How can we be sure? Because Google don't dedicate such large amounts of search real-estate to reviews for them to be ignored by their users - and just look at the 'likes' the reviews receive...
...and, unlike Facebook, where personal friends will 'like' a comment or review simply because of that friendship, with Google the 'liker' will almost certainly be a potential customer of the business under review.
*An exception to the rule is the 'clever' business that invites customers to post reviews to a reviews site and then only invites those that rated it five stars to copy their review to Google. Not only is that against the T&Cs of both the reviews site and Google - it is against the law (if you need to brush up on the law relating to reviews there's a link at the bottom of this article).
It need not be...
No reviews site here - just professional review management from HelpHound. Try this search yourself - and then 'estate agent Kennington' to see the local search results.
The good news - for businesses in this situation and for businesses new to the world of reviews - is that the solution to everything the reviews sites have promised and failed to deliver is right here at HelpHound. We will get you those stars in search - but the right stars: your own and Google's. We will also ensure that you are not breaking the law and are protected from inaccurate and potentially misleading reviews.
- Stars in search - the right ones!
- Understanding the difference - between reviews sites and review management
- Don't incentivise customers - to write reviews
- The rules - and how to comply with them
- The good news - calls up, clicks up, leads up - business up