Wednesday 13 September 2023

Moderated review management v. going it alone to Google - the crucial difference

Below are two businesses as currently shown in Google local search. Both were first visited by HelpHound some years ago when they had very few Google reviews - the first had 2 the second 7 - one took the plunge and joined, and one did not. What both did do was understand our core message: that Google reviews were paramount. Not Trustpilot. Not Feefo. Not any other review site.

No prizes for guessing which is the HelpHound member, but that's not what we are going to discuss here. What we want to know is what has caused the difference in outturn? 

Because we have met both businesses we know we can answer that question pretty accurately, certainly accurately enough to pass those answers on to you in this article. Here we go...

1.  The HelpHound member quickly gained confidence thanks to our moderation, they knew that they could invite reviews, in person, on their website and by email without that lingering fear that inaccurate or misleading - or just plain unfair - reviews would be written unchallenged. Looking back over the years when our moderators have intervened it has almost invariably been to the delight of the reviewer and our member business. If you are looking for the answer to the question 'Why has the first business got more reviews?' this is a big part of it

2.  The HelpHound member has no compliance issues or worries: they know they are compliant, and they know that they can ask exactly whom they want to write a review in the secure knowledge that having a 'Write a review' button on their website makes them instantly conform to the CMA regulations (the law). Many - most? - businesses with 100+ Google reviews are - wittingly or not - flouting one of the CMA's core rules: more often than not they are selecting which customers/clients/patients to ask to write a review. Many businesses react with disbelief when we come to this subject; all we would ask is that you read this article and read the relevant CMA rules referred to there

3.  They know that Google is seeing their own reviews on their own website and scoring them for local search (SEO) as a result - may be as much a 15% of the overall. What we do know is that at least eighty-five per cent of our clients feature in the top three of their most popular relevant local searches, even when there are as many as twenty or thirty competitors in their area...

How many similar businesses? We counted 15 in this very condensed area - more than 30 if we pan out


And top - of both map and organic (natural) search? We can't take 100% of the credit for that - the business has an award-winning website, but their rating of 4.9 with 266 votes alongside that search result, against their nearest competitor with 4.7 and 121, is surely winning clicks and calls


The conclusion we hope you have come to is first, the one mentioned in the first paragraph: that engaging with Google reviews is a must and second, that engaging by employing a moderated and compliant system is worth every penny (and more). The difference between adopting HelpHound and just going for Google reviews directly is amplified over time; all things being equal (quality of service/CRM, in the main) the HelpHound business will gradually pull away as it has done in the example above, thanks entirely to our moderated system. Less factually incorrect, misleading and downright unfair reviews will find their way to Google. Full Stop. The fact that there are other benefits - SEO, owning your own reviews, displaying those reviews on your own website to drive calls and clicks - pale besides moderation.

While we are on the subject of costs, we can be pretty confident that none of our clients see their HelpHound membership as an 'added cost'; it is expressly designed to drive an increase in calls and clicks and raise the quality of each piece of business transacted. For more specific examples of both those please read this article.


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