Wednesday 12 May 2021

Trustpilot or HelpHound+Google - which adds the most value?

We are asked this question frequently enough to warrant this article, especially now that Trustpilot is a £1 billion quoted entity.

First - a brief outline of each business...


An open reviews platform on which anyone with access to the web may write a review of any business.

What this means for consumers:

  • they may write a review of any business at any time - invited or not
  • they may write multiple reviews of the same business as often as you wish
  • they may interrogate the site for reviews of businesses
What this means for businesses:
  • anyone can write a review of your business at any time
  • if there are currently no reviews of your business the act of searching for your business will initiate a Trustpilot listing
  • you are entitled to respond to any reviews of your business
  • you may ask Trustpilot to suspend reviews of your business pending 'proof of purchase' by the reviewer
  • Trustpilot owns the reviews


A review manager: advising on and supplying 'best practice' solutions to businesses through a module hosted on the business's website.

What this means for consumers:

  • they may write a review of the business at any time - invited or not
  • each review they write will be moderated to ensure that it contains the minimum of factual inaccuracies and/or statements likely to mislead readers
  • they can subsequently edit their review at any time
  • they can read reviews of member businesses at any time
What this means for businesses:
  • anyone can write a review of your business at any time
  • each review will be moderated - read for factual inaccuracies of potentially misleading content - by one of our moderators
  • the reviewer - irrespective of moderation - always has the right to have their review, no matter the content* - published
  • the business may respond to each and every review
  • all reviewers are automatically asked to copy their review to Google
  • the business, not HelpHound, owns the reviews
*  'no matter the content: the UK CMA regulations specifically state that no barriers must be placed in the way of a reviewer's opinion, right or wrong, being posted. But they do allow for rejection of reviews on the grounds of 'foul language' and 'legally contentious content'. We always revert to the reviewer if their review falls into either of these categories and ask them to rephrase any offending content.

Key differentiators and commentary

1.  Visibility: Trustpilot reviews appear on the Trustpilot website and can be displayed on the business's website; HelpHound reviews appear on the business's website and on Google.

This means: that Helphound clients get their reviews to Google, not to a website - however large - that depends on the ever-changing Google algorithm for its visibility 

2.  Moderation: for professional and service businesses, is essential if potentially damaging inaccurate and/or misleading reviews are to be minimised.

This means: that our clients are fully compliant with UK law which states that no mechanism that prevents a genuinely held opinion from being published should be used. 

3.  Flexibility: if a business client of HelpHound needs to get reviews to another platform - including Trustpilot - at any time, now of in the future - they are able to do so.

This means: that businesses are not tieing themselves to a single inflexible solution and are therefore able to take a long-term view, and make a long-term commitment - to their review strategy.

4.  Cost: Google makes no charge for hosting reviews - the reviews themselves add so much value to Google's core offering they likely never will. So the only service a HelpHound client needs to pay for is our moderated module, and this can be discontinued at any time - any further advice is charged in the same way as any other professional adviser; HelpHound doesn't have contract periods - with the business retaining their reviews, both those on their site and on Google.  

This means: not being 'tied' to any review mechanism.

5.  Impact: Trustpilot places a massive emphasis on marketing with 'Rated excellent on Trustpilot' as a familiar strapline; this has led to considerable brand awareness for Trustpilot which may add value for product reviews, but the fact that Google reviews are so overwhelmingly predominant in both visibility and credibility makes Google our preferred solution for professional and service businesses. 

This means: we will consider Trustpilot - and Feefo and any other relevant review site for clients in [online] retail but for all others, Google wins. 

Proof of the pudding

We have a high-profile Plc client with over 100 locations in the UK. They have been pitched by just about every review solution available over the years that they have been clients of ours - including Trustpilot.

Interestingly, and partly because we had advised them to concentrate their efforts on their own website and Google, there had been a steady drip of mostly negative reviews to their Trustpilot listing. This is what they looked like at the turn of the year...

The businesss' customer relations was definitely not as bad as the impression created here, which was fine - as no-one much was looking

We canvassed their branches on behalf of their head office to see if this was having any noticeable impact. The answer was a resounding 'No'. Why? Because the Plc's Trustpilot listing - and therefore the negative image portrayed there, was not being shown for any of their critical Google searches**. But the Plc remained concerned that, although the negative reviews only represented less than one a year per location, the overall impression would not be great for anyone who did find their way to Trustpilot.

So what did we do? In conjunction with the Plc head office we conducted a month's 'blitz' to get reviews to Trustpilot (as well as to their own websites and Google as per usual, so 'in addition to' rather than 'instead of'). A month into this exercise their listing now looks like this...

But now, even if they do look - the score and rating have both improved, and the last forty or so reviews are all complimentary

And if you were wondering 'What a typical branch location for this business looks like', here's a sample...

...on Google...

...and on its own website. The above stars and score and 'votes' show under the business's listing on Google as well.

** If you would like us to walk you through these searches just drop us a line and we'll arrange to do so. For obvious reasons of client confidentiality, we cannot show specific examples here.

Further reading...

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