How review sites hurt your business
June 28, 2017 | Shares:

How Review Sites Can Hurt Your Business

You work hard to make your clients happy and earn awesome customer reviews.

So why let review sites own and control that content?

The value of reviews goes far beyond five stars. Reviews have the ability to increase your SEO, drive more traffic to your site, and build customer trust in your brand.

The Different Types of Online Reviews

First, let’s take a look at the different places reviews of your business can be listed online:

1. Dedicated review sites, like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Angie’s List

Your reviews will likely be seen by many people, but you won’t get direct traffic or SEO benefits from them, nor will you own them.

2. Sites that list your business and feature reviews about it, such as your Facebook page, Amazon product listings, or Google Places

These sites allow customers to see your reviews alongside your product listings, but they typically do not give you control over the process of storing and displaying your reviews. It’s a good idea to share your reviews on sites like these whenever possible, but you should be the owner of your reviews.

3. Your own site

This gives you full control over your reviews so you can display them, use them in marketing, or share them on social media in the way you prefer.

How Using Review Sites Impacts Your Business

Here are 5 of the biggest risks of letting someone else own your review content.

1) Your SEO will suffer

SEO is a complex field that relies on a variety of ever-changing components. This is precisely the reason why it’s virtually impossible to directly correlate organic traffic increase (or decrease) to any one single factor.

However, we took a look at 500 sites across multiple verticals whose only common denominator was that they all started using reviews.

Over the course of three months, you can see the astonishing impact reviews had on their SEO.

Effect of reviews on traffic

There are no two ways about it – reviews have serious SEO benefits. When you don’t own your reviews, you’re giving all that SEO juice to another company.

You’re allowing another site to rank higher than you in search engines – and letting them use your content in doing so!

When search engines crawl the web, they look through a site’s content to rank them in results. If your content is on another company’s site, search engines will fail to see it when they crawl your content.

When you own your reviews, you not only have the content on your site, but you can also add a minisite, or a static webpage with all the data generated from product reviews. This makes it even easier for search engines to crawl through.

Owning your content is vital for both eCommerce and local SEO strategies.

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2) You’ll miss out on high-converting organic traffic

Reviews are super powerful for building long-tail keywords. Longer keywords have high purchase intent because people searching for them are often close to purchasing a specific item.

Stores that rank well for many long-tail keywords see that the results are often greater than just ranking well for one big keyword.

Why?

When people write reviews, they may say something like, “These are the most affordable tennis shoes I’ve bought in years!”

While your site may be optimized for big keywords like “tennis shoes,” “budget tennis shoes,” and “comfortable tennis shoes” in search engines, maybe you never thought to optimize for “most affordable tennis shoes.” After all, you can’t rank for everything.

Luckily, this review content allows you to show up at the top of search results for tons of long-tail keyword phrases like this. People searching for such specific items tend to have high conversion rates because they know exactly what they want.

If you put your review content in the hands of product review sites, you won’t get the sales from all these long-tail searches.

3) Your traffic will wander away

Not only are you missing out on organic traffic to your site, but you’re also letting potential customers go to another site before yours.

Your goal should be to appear at the top of search engine results pages and to get traffic to your site. Using another site to host reviews means that traffic goes to them first, not you.

Also, when your reviews are on another site, you’re allowing customers to see you lined up right next to tons of your competitors. You want customers to come to your site, to see your eCommerce brand, and to assess you and only you.

You don’t want them to possibly stumble upon your company among a list of 50 other stores and then compare and contrast in their head which is best.

You should always bring traffic directly to you, without any detours in the process.

If you own your reviews, you can have complete control over where they’re displayed, how they’re displayed, and how you can leverage the content for marketing. You can use reviews to drive even more traffic by repurposing the content in social ads and more.

4) Your reputation will be out of your control

When you allow another company to have your reviews, you lose the ability to access the valuable data about those reviews and use it to help you make smarter business choices.

You also put your reputation at risk – you can’t control fake reviews or fight back against inaccurate claims on review sites.

One of the biggest problems with customer review sites is that business owners can’t monitor their own reviews, and people are able to leave absurd reviews.

It’s a given that every customer has the right to express their opinion. However, it’s sometimes the case that opinions are left in bad faith. Other times the reviews may be of poor quality, or they may even be plainly abusive.  Top review sites provide an adequate filtration system to prevent this – an essential tool to ensure that both positive and negative reviews are from real customers and are of high quality.

When you own your review content, you can be confident that the reviews are genuine.

Additionally, you can moderate reviews to make sure that only verified reviews are being posted and that negative product reviews receive a response, thus focusing on making customers happy and taking in their valuable feedback.

You don’t risk your reputation being tarnished by a competitor or having a review associated with your brand name filled with inappropriate comments or profanities.

It’s crucial that your reviews reflect your brand, since 77% of consumers say that reviews directly impact their purchase decisions.

chart - how reviews impact purchase

5) You put your customer reviews at risk

In case we haven’t said it enough: your review content is extremely valuable. By letting someone else own your content, you also let them own the value of that content.

You need to be able to export reviews in case you switch to a different review app, and also be able to import all your past reviews so you never lose that valuable data.

Sure, you can re-post the original reviews on your site, but how can you (or shoppers) trust their authenticity?

The only way to vouch for your reviews confidently is by owning the content yourself.

How is Yotpo Different From Review Sites?

With Yotpo, you own your customer reviews and the value that’s associated with them. The reviews remain on your site, and all that extra content goes a long way to improving your SEO. Like this, when customers search for the types of products you carry, they will find your store easily.

Not only that, but you are also able to monitor reviews for profanity and make sure that only verified buyers and reviewers post on your site. As a business owner, you can respond to negative reviews and offer additional customer service to keep all your customers happy.

In other words, Yotpo gives you total ownership and control over your reviews, while dedicated review sites keep that power for themselves.

Learn more about the differences between Yotpo and dedicated review sites in this video:

 

Conclusion:

Make sure that you host customer reviews on your own site instead of on business review sites for more traffic, better SEO results, and more effective brand reputation management.

Aimee Millwood
Aimee Millwood, Director of Content at Yotpo
Aimee loves hummus and hates misplaced commas.

@aimeemillwood – Follow me

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