The Secret to Balancing Your Online Review Strategy

The Secret to Balancing Your Online Review Strategy
Let me pose a real world question: when was the last time you were in a physical retail space, like a coffee shop or a deli, and noticed a “we’re on Yelp” sticker somewhere in the store, or saw mention of it on a menu or receipt?

Restaurant displaying a "find us on Yelp" sign It’s common to see businesses focusing on their review presence on one platform, which makes sense when you think about it. Why not consolidate effort in one place and be great at managing that platform, rather than attempt a scattershot “be everywhere” approach?

Online reviews are a critical part of the decision path for businesses in all industries, and it’s not just limited to purchases: Even prospective employees will be checking you out on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, seeing if your business is up to their standards. Reviews cover most of the far reaches of the internet and influence behavior in search results, on local search sites and elsewhere. They hold the potential to play a heroic role in the consumer’s decision journey. After all, what more contextually relevant content is there than the feedback of fellow consumers? Concerned citizens are looking out for other concerned citizens.

But the reality of managing a complex web of reviews requires more than just good instincts. Being good at reviews on one single platform can be a great place to start, but it isn’t enough.

Being good at reviews on a single platform is a great place to start, but it isn't enough. Click To Tweet

Why Focusing on One Review Platform Won’t Cut It

Google picks up reviews from a variety of sources on its SERPs and uses them to improve the search user experience. Because of this, I sometimes question the true impact of businesses focusing their own review management efforts on one single platform. What about the other places where their business might have reviews, that also appear in a Google SERP? It can create a sub-optimal outcome if your business has 4.5 stars on one platform, the one you focus your review management efforts on, and 3 stars on a number of others where you’re not as present. In short, this approach lacks balance, and that’s an issue that will catch up with you eventually.

The Google SERP for this Sbarro location, located in a mall not far from my house, illustrates that problem perfectly. On Foursquare they have a 5.8 out 10, on Google My Business a 3.7 (although with only three reviews), and on Yelp a 2.3. If you are in a rush, trying to find a quick slice of pizza and happen upon that SERP, you might not end up at Sbarro. Their review strategy is unbalanced and lacks consistency.

This is a problem for businesses of any size and can result in becoming too focused on review management on one site. Balanced reviews paint a better snapshot of your business and do a better job telling a consistent story about the things that matter to your consumers.


How Yext Helps Balance Your Online Review Strategy

When the team at Yext built their Yext Reviews platform, they discovered this was a problem worth solving: empowering businesses to better balance their reviews across a spectrum of sites. This helps create a more consistent SERP and ultimately improves the consumer experience by helping them make better decisions.

Yext Review Balancing allows brands to route customers to sites where they need more coverage and have them leave reviews there. These can be places where the brand needs more reviews or where they need more recent reviews. Brands can choose the problems they want to solve and let Yext dynamically route customers, so they leave reviews in the places that will help meet their goals.

However you solve the challenge of balancing reviews, it’s a problem worth exploring and will help you create a more durable search presence.

If you’re doing it now, how do you balance your reviews? Let us know in the comments.

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