Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 100.26.182.28

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Impact of third-party reviews on SEO

     
6:02 pm on Nov 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Nov 20, 2018
posts: 3
votes: 0


Does anyone know what's the impact of third-party reviews on SEO for non-local e-commerce websites?

We already use our own rating system. It's a non-biased and honest system. We display the ratings on our pages and in our schema.org.

In order to add E-A-T, we're wondering if we should turn to a third-party review system, like Trustpilot.

I found a zillion blog posts saying that third-party reviews were very important. All the posts use the same arguments:

    - ratings are important for users, so of course they're important for SEO (but no one actually measured it)
    - ratings allow to put stars in your schema.org, increasing your CTR (but we already have our own stars in schema.org, and they display well in the SERP)
    - ratings are important for local businesses (but we're not a local business)

I haven't found any serious study on the matter. Third-party reviews cost money and are difficult to maintain, so I need to be careful before changing our current proprietary rating system. Does someone have some experience to share?
8:58 am on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from DK 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 24, 2018
posts: 47
votes: 4


Hi, I can't provide any studies. But I've worked with both third party rating systems and a homegrown system. I clearly prefer the homegrown. Third party systems are often expensive and, most importantly, you give away control of your ratings. With a homegrown system, you retain control(1). Third party systems promise many things, but it too often turned out that you, as a company, didn't have a say after all. We used the market leader, but didn't measure any positive or negative effect on performance (e-commerce). Neither SEO nor CVR. And mostly just had trouble working with them.

Two handy tips: 1, make sure to write your scema.org tight and correct. 2, if you'd like to use a third party system, I'd try Google, it's at least free.

(1) I didn't say to manipulate your own ratings!
9:11 am on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Nov 20, 2018
posts: 3
votes: 0


Thank you for your feedback. It's really hard to find people sharing real life experience on this matter.

It seems like third-party rating companies can reduce the numbers of bad reviews for their paying clients by making it more difficult for users to register a bad review. For exemple, they would ask the user for a proof of purchase, or they would ask the user to rewrite their review many times, due to "bad language". Whereas good reviews go unfiltered.

I'm afraid that if I start using a third-party rating company and then decide to stop using them, we will see an increase in bad reviews because they would stop "blocking" bad reviews.

Is this your experience?
9:40 am on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from DK 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 24, 2018
posts: 47
votes: 4


"It seems like third-party rating companies can reduce the numbers of bad reviews for their paying clients by making it more difficult for users to register a bad review. For exemple, they would ask the user for a proof of purchase, or they would ask the user to rewrite their review many times, due to "bad language". Whereas good reviews go unfiltered."

No, I can't confirm that. It's the other way around. Bad reviews are always, no matter what obstacles, going to find their way - justified or not. But contracting with a third party system will make it very much easier for you and your clients to acquire and leave positive reviews. Hence the advantage. Obviously, bad language, threats and so on will be removed immediately, my experience is, though, there are only very few of these - so it doesn't make a difference in the end. And proof of purchase is a two-edged knife. Most will have one, since you'd be asking for reviews. And even if not, if the reviewer is able to tip '1234' that would count as a proof of purchase. And quess, who'll have to prove that it's not a genuine proof of purchase, before you can take action against the review... You would...

"I'm afraid that if I start using a third-party rating company and then decide to stop using them, we will see an increase in bad reviews because they would stop "blocking" bad reviews."

No. If you stop using the service: The number of negative reviews will stay the same (they'll always find a way). What happens is: Your flow of positive reviews will diminish and thus influence your score negatively.
2:39 pm on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 5, 2004
posts: 599
votes: 82


Third party review systems are hard to dethrone from the top of the search results especially since the March update where I have seen them all rise in the search since Google seems to be favoring more general authority sites compared to niche oriented sites.

The problem with a lot of third party review site is they accept any review. A lot of the reviews are either 5 stars it is great or 1 star it is bad and no real explanation behind it. After reading a page of these type of reviews I move on frustrated.

As far as SEO is concerned I am positive review sites have no influences on the ranking of your site beyond any back links on the pages. Search Engine Round Table had a post called

"Google Does Not Use BBB Or Other Trust Building Sites For Ranking" [seroundtable.com...]

which says Google doesn't use sites like these to help with ranking in the search results.

The only reason to sign up for a 3rd party review site is to help control your own reputation. If I was a business in this situation I would probably do a 2 prone approach. Signup to the highest ranked review site for your business and then launch your own review portal. You can run with the 3rd party review site for a while to see if it helps things.

For your own review site I would make it like a review / FAQ for your business. Make it interactive and have customer service respond to the good and bad reviews, Allow them to ask questions. Don't hide the fact that you are the business who owns the review site. Don't do a marketing type site with only good reviews, customers are smart and will see through that. Get rid of those short sentence reviews and only allow reviews good and bad that contain information. Look at how Amazon does reviews and questions, for the most part they get it right.
2:53 pm on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member from DK 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 24, 2018
posts: 47
votes: 4


If I might comment. I asked the market leader, what SEO advantages would you directly provide/cause? The answer was, the stars on the listing. Which don't affect the ranking itself, as JesterMagic described, but CTR. This could be of advantage. But, if done correctly, your own markup will do the same.
4:21 pm on Nov 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Nov 20, 2018
posts: 3
votes: 0


Thank you @JesterMagic et @dennisjensen, your answers are very clear.

I don't know how I missed the post from Search Engine Round Table. It says it all.
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members