We all know reviews are important for a business online. Putting aside the ranking connection, studies have shown 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. We all have our own methods of taking reviews into account. I tend to look at the 1-star and the 4-star reviews and try to pull out consistent themes showing issues or common problems with the product or service. From reading the 1-star reviews, you can get a feel of what is coming from some crazy person and what may be legitimate issues with the business. It also can help you determine specific issues like sizing problems or issues that may only arise with certain uses of the product. That may be exactly what you intend to use it for. Sometimes it is even helpful to search the reviews for mentions of an aspect that is very important to you.
Doing Online Review Management the Right Way
Reviews are also important in local search, and likely more and more in search in general as Google and other sites get better at understanding and monitoring them. I always tell clients it is important to “bake reviews” into your business process, but you also need to understand the rules. For example, Yelp won’t allow reviews that come to Yelp from third-party tools, so sending them there may be a waste of effort. Google tends to let more in but then struggles with filtering out the fake from the true reviews. With the value and importance of reviews, more and more companies sprout up to help with online review management. Some actually help businesses by following the rules and just making the process easier, while other blatantly cheat the system with fake reviews or try to game the system with shady tactics that bring in false scores.
Whether you manage the process yourself, simply by asking all of your clients to review you, or you turn to an agency tool to help manage the process better, you want to make sure you work with someone you know and trust to follow the rules. While Yelp often stops reviews too often, before they even get in, many are abusing Google’s open door policy, but as Google finds fake review networks or shady tactics like those mentioned above, they tend to erase them all with one big stroke of the brush. You can wake up one day and see all of your reviews have disappeared, even the ones from legitimately happy customers because the methods for collecting them were breaking the rules.
DIY Review Management
In general, try to follow the following rules for getting legitimate reviews:
- Ask real customers for reviews
- Don’t send them to Yelp via a third party tool
- You can ask good customers to leave a review on Yelp
- You may even want to look for power Yelp users and find out if any are customers and ask them.
- Give your customers options
- Not everyone will leave a review on Google
- Give them a few choices if sending an email or text
- It doesn’t hurt to ask them to be specific, but don’t write the review for them
- ABC Company really did a great job with “specific service” will help you more than a generic 5-star that says you did a great job, but don’t force it.
- Check to see what Google gives more power to
- Do a Google search for “(Industry) Reviews” and see which sites rank
- Try to get reviews there
In general, we have a tool that we know follows the rules closely to keep you out of trouble. It may be a slightly longer process, but it won’t get you in trouble. If you want to make sure you are following the rules and doing things the right way, give us a call and let us help you.