Review sites have taken a pretty big jump in popularity lately. But this is to be expected, as it’s in our psychology to seek out social proofing. What is social proofing? In a nutshell, it’s a mental characteristic that makes people look to others when contemplating a decision. This is especially true for peers who are in a similar position or group as ourselves.
What this basically means for your business is that customer reviews are a very powerful asset in maximizing conversions and profits. In fact, if you already possess a bunch of nice customer reviews, you are in a great position to leverage that or use it in marketing campaigns to great effect.
That’s were review sites such as Amazon, Trip Advisor, Bing Places and Yelp! come into play. They can be somewhat helpful, but if you’re relying on them for your reviews, you are actually severely limiting yourself, and they can definitely harm your business, with a substantial opportunity cost.
Why Review Sites are dangerous
Let me explain. If someone else owns your review content, you are shooting yourself in the foot in the following ways:
Problem #1: You’re hurting your SEO
Although SEO is a highly complex matter, with a myriad of factors influencing your rankings, customer reviews DO increase your rankings by quite a lot. One report pointed out a 50% rise in rankings over a 3 month period. But this is only if you own your reviews! If another site owns them, they may even rank higher for your content than your own site. You obviously don’t want that.
Problem #2: You’re not leveraging the power of ranking high for long-tail keywords
Before people buy something, they tend to have a time interval during which they get closer and closer to the final buying decision. Research has shown that people who use long-tail keywords are usually further up the timeline, thus being closer to converting.
Your reviews can be immensely powerful of increasing your rankings for these terms, as it turns out that people will use roughly similar expressions in their reviews than what they’ve used while searching for a product. The result: more conversions for you, but only if your own site ranks for these keywords… you don’t want Yelp! to have all this juicy rank-boosting, right?
Problem #3: People leave your site much too early and they go to the competition
Using a review site will mean that potential customers will visit that third-party site first, and in addition to your website, will also see a whole lot of competitors as well! Basically, if you use review sites you are letting potential customers go to another site first. Instead what you are ideally looking for is always bringing traffic directly to you, cutting out the middle-men.
If you own your reviews you can even leverage the content for marketing. You can use reviews to drive even more traffic by repurposing the content in social ads or more.
Problem #4: You lose the ability to control your reputation and eliminate fake/unjust reviews
This is big. Using customer review sites means that as a business owner, you can’t monitor and control your own reviews, and people can (and definitely will) leave absurd or fake reviews, hurting your reputation. The competition can also abuse these sites and can make you look bad quite easily. And you can’t really do anything about that if you don’t have control over it.
Problem #5: You risk losing your customer reviews, which are a very valuable asset
Using third-party review sites always carries the risk that you won’t be able to properly export your reviews or use them elsewhere, which would be a pretty big loss. If you happen to lose them, it’s very hard to replicate the reviews with the same authenticity.
In order to eliminate these problems, you need to take matters into your own hands. And that’s why we have created Wiremo, a free and easy review widget for your website that keeps control in your own hands instead of giving it away to third-party sites.
- It’s the most user centered platform that can be fully tailored to your business
- It takes care of the SEO side of things
- It lets you interact with your audience at a much more personal level
- It has a 24/7 support to guarantee that you can use your reviews’ powers to the max.
As a quick recap, the main takeaway from this post is that you have to make sure that you host customer reviews on your own site instead of business review sites. This will mean increased (and more targeted) traffic to you, better SEO results - especially for long-tail keywords (which are proven to convert better) and you can also ensure more effective brand reputation management.
What do you think about review sites? We would love to hear your thoughts.