You know about the big local-business review sites. You know about the review sites that matter most in your industry. You probably know about the pipsqueaks, too.
But what about the review sites that matter more than you know? Isn’t it possible there are some gaps in your online reputation?
If there aren’t, I’ll eat my hat. There are always gaps – even for businesses with tons of reviews on many sites. You probably know the benefits of diversifying where your customers review you. Those benefits also extend to sites you might have dismissed as irrelevant or insignificant, or that you didn’t even think of.
I’m not saying all of these review sites are relevant to your situation, but at least some will be.
Here’s a rundown of what I consider the 10 most-overlooked local review sites:
Why it’s overlooked: it’s not a super-established “brand.” Partly because the name itself is mushy, and partly because it’s not a search engine or a social network or a startup run by drama queens. It’s just a solid reviews site. It’s also visible one. Care.com is all over Google’s search results in the in-home care and education spaces, for example, and most “service” businesses are eligible for a listing there.
Why it’s overlooked: because there’s a good chance you don’t run a bridal shop or a tux shop, or are a florist or photographer. WeddingWire also lists businesses in all kinds of related industries: limos, venues, jewelry, and so on. You can also get listed and reviewed there even if you own a car rental or a cryotherapy place, or if you’re a dentist, a dermatologist, or a plastic surgeon. Maybe they’ll even allow divorce lawyers.
Why it’s overlooked: because most people think it’s just for real-estate listings and agents. It’s not. Pretty much any contractor or other home-improvement professional can have a listing there – and reviews there. Though Zillow isn’t the 800-pound gorilla in the contracting space that it is in real estate, it may just be a matter of time. In the meantime, anyone who sees your Zillow reviews there is probably pretty close to calling you.
Why it’s overlooked: because it’s got a home-improvement bent, it’s up against more-established sites like HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, and Houzz. Also, Thumbtack doesn’t seem to go out of its way to encourage reviews – for customers to write them, or for businesses to ask for them. Still, the site is pretty visible in some niches, and can serve as a nice barnacle site – especially for “near me” search terms. I wouldn’t be surprised if Thumbtack is acquired by an even-bigger player one day. I’d scare up at least a few reviews there.
Why it’s overlooked: Groupon deals can be business-destroyers. They often attract crybaby customers. It doesn’t help that new businesses and businesses in dry spells are the ones most likely to offer deals. Often those businesses also are the ones least-equipped to pull off the deals without incident – or to handle an online reputation disaster well. But if you’re a pretty established business and aren’t dying for customers (but still want to attract more of them), look under the Groupon rock. Yes, Groupon takes a big cut of the deal, but you can get reviews that stay up long after the deal ends. Those reviews are highly visible, because Groupon is. Even if you don’t want to offer a deal, you can get customers to “recommend” you and write “tips.”
Why it’s overlooked: customers don’t talk about it, because customers can’t write reviews there. GlassDoor is a place for employees (past and current) to review your company anonymously. Just the same, because customers can see what’s on GlassDoor easily enough, because it’s on Google’s local results like stink on a monkey. If you stop short of encouraging everyone on your team to review you (anonymously), at least encourage the happy people to say their piece. The angry ones will. Time is of the essence.
Why it’s overlooked: because it’s relatively new (started in 2015 or 2014, from what I can tell). It’s similar to GlassDoor, except it’s specifically for women. InHerSight is not exclusively a review site, but on it women can review (anonymously) places they’ve worked. As of this writing it’s not a super-visible review site, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes off.
Why it’s overlooked: if you’re anything like me, you associate WebMD only with feeling a mysterious new pain, Googling it, reading the WebMD result, and concluding you’ve got 3 days to live. But it’s also a giant healthcare directory. If you’re a doctor, do what you can to rustle up reviews there.
Amazon Home Services
Why it’s overlooked: Amazon hasn’t done much in local search yet, and most business owners don’t want to wet Amazon’s beak or possibly deal with frustrating leads (a la Groupon). Still, if you can get listed, it’s probably worth having a few reviews there, which can benefit you both before and after the sleeping giant wakes up.
Better Business Bureau
Why it’s overlooked: most business owners associate the BBB with “complaints” from customers and with questionable accreditation ratings of certain businesses. But it’s also a local-business reviews site, in the mold of Yelp and Google and so on.
BBB results often are extremely visible in the local organic search results – maybe more so than they should be – both for brand-name terms and often for the terms you really want to rank for. Because people can (but don’t have to) write anonymous reviews there, and because an angry customer is likely to be there anyway to lodge a complaint, bad reviews are especially likely to appear on BBB – and to stick out. The good news is good reviews stick out there, too. Of all the “underrated” review sites I’ve mentioned, I consider BBB the most overlooked one of all.
What’s been your experience with those review sites?
Can you think of other review sites you consider overlooked?
Leave a comment!
Update 10/9/17: For a short list of overlooked review sites in the UK, see the comment from Caroline of Alba SEO.
Marc Charette says
Would it be fair to suggest that you could have added ‘in the United States’ to this post’s title?
I’d bet these are not really of the same relevancy in other countries.
No. That would not be fair to request. I love working with international business owners, have worked with many of them, and often speak to their needs in my posts – as many of my long-time non-US readers can attest. But I won’t necessarily go so far out of my way to change the name of my post to something I consider clunky.
Also, several of the sites I named are in fact open to non-US businesses. To wit: BBB, GlassDoor, and Groupon. Probably others, too. If you’d like to go through the list and vet which ones are relevant to Australia (and maybe other countries), and maybe suggest some strictly non-US sites, I’d love to add that info to the post (and there’d be an easy link in it for you).
I do a lot of profile / citation work for an HVAC contractor. Never thought of zillow. Went to look, I don’t see any information on listing a company on here. Just their premier agent section. Where were you seeing contractor information?
Scott Hendison says
I wondered the same thing when I saw it listed… This 2016 post at Zillow says “permanent residential listings only” unless you advertise – https://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/How-can-I-list-my-business-on-Zillow/663287/ –
Under “Agent finder” -> “Other pros” or “Home improvement pros.” You’ll see listings like this one:
I don’t remember where the “add your listing” button is, though. It’s buried in there somewhere.
Susan Walsh says
Great post on these review sites. Some I recognize a couple – Zillow and of course the BBB. I’ve written about reviews in the past as they are not only an important SEO and local SEO element, but should be part of any business, organization, or school’s social media strategy. LinkedIn has recommendations that I wish they would call reviews because that’s what they are, Google My Business reviews show up locally and now send reports on how many phone calls you received when someone searches Google for your business and the knowledge panel appears with your phone number and more. My point, those reviews on Google are so important. You can ask clients and customers to leave a review on Facebook too – those are the easiest as you don’t need an account to leave a review.
Years ago we were providing local SEO as a service. We manually claimed citations – Yelp is one of them – all free listings at the time. Those clients are repeating the rewards – their reviews growing on a number of different sites. I’m a believer that you should ask for the review – you’ve written about this in the past. I’ll be sure to share a link to this blog in the new article I’m working on LinkedIn. Social media is our specialty now – you are the Local SEO guru – thanks again for all the excellent and interesting information you provide and always have!
Thanks for the compliments, Susan! I agree that there’s an important seed-planting component to all of this. As you alluded to, the first step is just to get listed on these sites.
Susan M Staupe says
Great post Phil! Thank you so much for sharing – as I venture outside of the legal realm this post is definitely a guide for my future clients. As always, you are spot on and provided it with a pic of a kitten to boot! Thank you, thank you!
Thanks, Susan. Glad you liked it!
Justin Mosebach says
Thumbtack is my favorite underdog in this list. They’re not just for home improvement… they have categories like catering, photography, personal training, counseling, music lessons, etc.
I promise… I’m NOT getting paid to say this 🙂
Their leads are typically cheap. I’ve heard lots of complaints from small businesses about HomeAdvisor (and they basically compete against you online for leads so that they can turn around and charge you for them). Unlike HomeAdvisor (who charges for each phone call), with Thumbtack, you only pay once you respond to the customer’s request for proposal (RFP). As a business, you get an email notification with all the details that the customer mentioned in their request (including questions specifically geared toward each category)… the only thing that’s missing is the customer’s full name and contact info.
If the lead looks like something you’re interested in, then you simply pay Thumbtack to essentially unlock the customer’s contact info (you don’t have to pay them for ongoing communication).
Interestingly, when you sign up for Thumbtack as a business, they try to make you add reviews before you get started (or ask for a driver’s license).
Good points, Justin. Thanks.
Andy Kuiper says
…Good idea to have clients get a few good reviews on BBB before the inevitable bad one gets there. Thanks for sharing Phil 🙂
My pleasure, Andy.
Two of my favs that I’m not sure were listed are Manta.com (they offer you the ability to build additional pages per service with link building per page) and TheKnot (https://partnerssignup.theknot.com/) ~ both are free and are fantastic resources.
I think what some SEO/SEM fail at when they list a business for a client is adding in as much detail as possible, and make it original. I know that Thumbtack may take me 2 to 3 hours to complete a listing, Manta is about the same (as are some others).
My simple rule of listing clients is to “never spray and pray” – it’s always going to be grunt work pure and simple.
Good call on TheKnot, Nick. I almost included that one, but didn’t want to include TWO wedding-specific directories. It’s a strong one, though.
Manta doesn’t have reviews, as far as I know.
Holly Pedit says
I agree that Manta is underutilized. That it takes so much work to set up is one story, but then they want you to continue on and on. But getting it there. THIS was the first “neighborhood” site I am aware of. Now there is “Alignable” – lining local businesses. https://www.alignable.com/
Bravo, Phil. That is a good list. Some are niches, but they get significant traffic for their niches, such as weddingwire, and Thumbtack (a variety of niches). Actually wedding wire generates a healthy number of referrals to the many vendors for that event. Also I’m witness to a growing awareness of glassdoor as as site that gets accessed by more and more people I know.
Niches and regional sites make a big difference. In the DC region and many other cities the most powerful single review comes from the major newspaper reviewer. OK. Similarly, the social/event/ type places get reviewed by many major and niche news sources in many cities. They have significant followings. Frankly some of those media sources border on “pay to play”. Never the less those sources have significant followings.
The point is that a variety of niche or specialty review sources can have very significant local followings that can impact a local smb. Valuable to stay aware of them and valuable to get reviews in them.
Great points, Dave. For sure, regional sites can be powerful (in the way you describe), even if the review is unstructured – more like a write-up from a local critic, or someone like that.
Thanks again for the great info Phil!
They all look great resources. Tried a few though and not all suitable for the UK. Here’s the ones that I think are suitable for the UK after checking (worth an easy link? ;-):
The webMD transfers to the UK site which I don’t think it’s possible to list anything: https://www.webmd.boots.com/
Not sure if Amazon Services works in the UK. Couldn’t find the link to list a company.
Hope this helps!
Thanks, Caroline. I’ve added a bit at the end. Please let me know if you find more!
Patrick Leonard says
Good post Phil, a lot of industries have review sites that are highly influential in their specific niche so focusing only on the obvious review platforms would be a missed opportunity. Another example would be HomeStars for home service businesses.
Evan Guthrie says
We have overlooked many of these sites. Thanks for sharing this list.
Phil, thank you for this list.
What do you think about adding business to Cortera.com, too?
I’m not sure of Cortera’s value as a review site. Not that there isn’t any, necessarily. It’s just not one I’ve run across much. I’d be interested to hear more about its value, in your experience.