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.