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Paid UK Review Platforms: Which is the Right Choice for SEO?

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Paid UK Review Platforms: Which is the Right Choice for SEO?

Jason Barnard
Paid UK Review Platforms: Which is the Right Choice for SEO?

In this post I will go over extensive and independent research to evaluate which is the strongest review platform for SEO. 

The four platforms considered for this article are:

  1. feefo.com

  2. ekomi.co.uk

  3. trustedshops.co.uk

  4. trustpilot.com

A quick recap on what these sites offer:

Your company pays a monthly fee to one (or more) of these review platforms to collect reviews about your company, products and services.

The above services offer code snippets that you can install on your site that will display your ratings to your site visitors.

These snippets also feed that information to Google which allows it to display the stars and ratings we see on some search results and in AdWords text ads.

To benefit from the stars in search engine results pages (SERPs), using a third party site to collect your reviews is not necessary, but in my opinion, is advisable because of the credibility these sites have in Google’s eyes.

What are the key SEO benefits of review platforms ?

  1. Beautification for Benefits

  2. Proving the quality of your offer to Google

Let's dig deeper! 

  • Beautification for Benefits

Most SEO experts agree that when Google records a click-through rate for a given position that is higher than expected, and the bounce rate for those visits to the webpage is not high, Google tends to reward that web page with a higher rank.

We know that the more attractive listings on a SERP catch the eye and tend to get better click through rates at any given position.

These “beautified” listings tend to get more clicks than Google would consider their “fair share.”

This attracts Google’s attention — those that get extra clicks by being more attractive than the listings surrounding them will tend to rise in the rankings as long as they fulfill the users’ needs.

In this manner, well-performing pages are likely to be rewarded by Google in a ‘rich get richer’ fashion.

One easy to understand measure for user fulfillment is bounce rate — is it normal, higher, or lower than expected?

One major beautification feature of any SERP snippet are the yellow review stars, also known as rich snippet stars.

When implemented properly, recognized third-party review sites more or less guarantee that your pages get those stars, a more attractive presentation, more than your fair share of clicks… and a rise in rankings.

Flower Delivery SERP UK

Warning: If you get bad reviews and your score is below 4 out of 5 stars, the beautification effect turns ugly, so make sure you’re providing stellar service to earn a high rating!

  • Proving the quality of your offer to Google

These third-party sites stand as the guarantor that the reviews collected are from real customers.

From an SEO perspective, with the guarantee these platforms provide, Google accepts that the reviews are reliable and honest appraisals of your company and offers.

Google’s primary aim is to provide the best solution based on a users’ search (in this case, the products and services you and your competitors offer).

All other things equal and assuming you get mostly good reviews (80% or more), Google’s algorithm will tend to place you higher in the results as it will be more confident that your company is a good solution for its users.

There is a second element to this equation - the confidence that Google attributes to the third-party who is the guarantor of your great client reviews.

The more Google is convinced of THEIR credibility, the more credibility your reviews will have. That is key to your SEO.

The strongest review platform for SEO?

Beautification for Benefits

All four platforms offer rich snippet stars in the SERPs that allow you to polish up your placement.

No winners there.

SEO boost

The question to answer is: which review platform has most credibility in the eyes of Google and will therefore bring the most credibility to each of your customer reviews?

Who is most visible?

Measurements from SEMrush showing the presence of the platforms in Google

Trustpilot is well ahead of the field in every case. Feefo is clearly in second place, followed by Trusted Shops, and eKomi in last.

Who has most SEO power?

Review Platform Logos UK

Other considerations

Current trends?

Over the two years I have been looking at review platforms for SEO. Feefo has been steadily gaining in visibility.

Trusted shops are on the rise, particularly since the start of 2017, overtaking Ekomi, currently the only platform of the four losing ground.

Trustpilot has a phenomenal lead from a SEO point of view.

From the above analysis, Trustpilot has around a 600% advantage compared to the closest competitor, and has held that advantage for several years.

I cannot see how any of the others can overtake them anytime soon, especially when one considers that Trustpilot continues to gain visibility over time.

Google Penalties?

Whether a company has suffered from Google penalties in the past speaks volumes about a company’s commitment and responsiveness to SEO.

Out of curiosity, I checked a couple of open platforms — reviewcentre.co.uk and ciao.co.uk.

Both have suffered enormous losses from Google penalties in the last few years.

Review Centre appears to have been a serial Panda victim while Ciao appears to be a serial victim of Penguin.

None of the 4 sites in this article appear to have suffered any Google penalties, which is reassuring.

Being closely associated with a site that has been penalized is obviously not going to help your SEO!

And the winner is...

Trustpilot is the strongest review platform for SEO.

Trustpilot logo

Trustpilot wins this accolade hands down.

5 years ago, they were already well ahead of the competition in SEO visibility, and that gave them authority in the eyes of Google.

A very strong SEO strategy over the last 2 to 3 years has pushed them further and further ahead of the competition.

With (arguably) a 6 fold advantage, I am left with the simplest of choices.

Bonus: Interestingly, Trustpilot is the only one of the 4 that has an explicit presence in Google’s Knowledge Graph.

The Knowledge Graph is the vital place to be moving forward in Search Marketing and is a subject that I am very keen on.

Expect an article on that topic soon.

Disclaimer

Please do remember that, as an SEO and ORM expert, I chose to look purely at SEO benefits of each platform when performing this research.

I have not taken into consideration other factors that may play a role in deciding which platform is right for you — such as ease of implementation, pricing, services offered, internationalization, etc.

Would you like to share us your fave review platforms? 

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Almost 2 decades of experience: I started promoting my first website in the year Google was incorporated and built it up to become one of the top 10,000 most visited sites in the world.
Today I am a search marketing consultant and working hard on two SaaS: Kalicube.pro (Measuring Brand Authority) and Kalicup.com (quick and easy SEO wins from small businesses).

My column will outline how we in the world of SEO can successfully segue into AEO – Answer Engine Optimization. I will develop the details of the two major concepts your AEO strategy should center on: communication and credibility. Within these concepts, luckily for us, most (white hat) SEO tactics we use today will remain
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How about YotPo versus TrustPilot - these are the two largest and a fairer fight I think. Any reason you didn't include YotPo in your analysis - I'm trying to figure out which Review service to go with - any insight would help!
Jason Barnard
Scott Hetland
Hi Scott
Yotpo is more US-centric, and not SEO-visible in the UK according the SEMrush data.
Perhaps I should do a US-centric article ?
Jason Barnard
Yes agree!
The post needs to be updated Trustpilot, I have checked over 3000 keyword terms and I can't trigger any Trustpilot knowledge box results. I can trigger Knowledge Box results for Reviews co uk, Feefo, Yelp and Yell. Search "Marks Electrical Reviews" and you will see. Without Trustpilot appearing in the Knowledge Box they have diminished visibility in Google.
This is a paid for marketing article... total waffle. No mention of Reviews.co.uk which is 2nd to Trustpilot in terms of client size and visits.
Jason Barnard
callum mckeefery
Hi Callum

Thanks for the comment.
I was not paid for this, and submitted it to SEMrush as my professional opinion.
Obviously you have 100% the right to disagree :)
Your comment feels a little like self-promotion to me, so I am a little uncomfortable.

This article has brought several platforms to my attention (including yours) since people have contacted me (publicly or privately) to draw my attention to the status of other platforms in the market. So far, they have all been serious market players with a legitimate claim to be included in this article. Same for you.

Yes, reviews dot co dot uk could easily have been featured between Feefo and eKomi / trustedShops.
Truth be told, you guys are WAY behind Feefo, so your claim is a bit of a "Trumpism".

eKomi and TrustedShops take a bit of a pasting in this article. Feefo come out looking pretty good.
I would guesstimate that you guys are 4x smaller than Feefo.
Did you really want to be cited as one of the "losers" ?
Jason Barnard
Hi Jason, we have over taken Feefo in terms of the number of paying UK clients according to both Datanyze and BuiltWith. We get clients moving over to us daily from both TP and Feefo. FYI Trustpilot has not been showing in the Google's knowledge panel "Reviews from the web" for quite sometime.
Jason Barnard
callum mckeefery
Hi Callum

Great news ! You are obviously doing really well commercially.
This article is not about paying customers, it is about SEO strength (my area of expertise :). I investigated ONLY those sites that came up on SEMrush's SEO radar. I am afraid yours did not.

As mentioned, I am an SEO expert and am giving my professional opinion on this subject using SEMrush data - there is no doctoring on my part.
On the basis of that data, the fact that you are way behind in terms of SEO visibility according to SEMrush is not up for debate. Perhaps other platforms give a different picture ?

Positive : I am 100% convinced that third party review sites are vital for the coming of Virtual Assistants / Answer Engines. I am absolutely convinced there is enough space in this market for dozens of companies like yours.
You are definitely in a great place right now. Up to you to make the most of this immense opportunity.

In no way did I intend to minimise any review platforms for their services / client support / number of clients.
Every review platform I have worked with that that provides stars to AdWords is good to great quality.

I don't see much benefit you may gain from arguing with me.
You are an interested party trying to chang the debate - perhaps even bullying me with accusations of being "bought". For the boss (owner?) of a review platform, that seems a counter-intuitive approach.

The tools and platforms I recommend to my clients, audiences and readers are those I appreciate for the job they do. Sometimes I get free access to check the platforms and tools, sometimes I pay.... but nobody buys me.
I work as a consultant to a dozen clients (big and small) and want to provide them with the best tools to do the specific job they need to have done. I do not recommend tools or platforms that are inappropriate or ineffective.
Jason Barnard
Jason Barnard
I have taken the time to reply fully and fairly. Please take the time to do the same if you choose to reply to any of the threads.
Avoid Feefo, we tried them for a few months and had a horrible experience. The real cost to us was £10 per order review. Which was far more than the profit on any order. In the end they withheld content the costumers provided us through their system. Also they game their own platform by refusing for months to allow us write a review on feefo of feefo - basically they would call to see if you were happy with the system - which for us wasnt working - then not send us a link to review so that only positive customers were asked to review.

Price wise I reckon 50c per sale review is a fair price, anything more than that you really have to question why these companies need to charge so much. Certainly £10 per review with Feefo was insane and their contract specified a 5% increase per year which is very greedy. And since the reviews are gamable, do customers really trust them?? We didn't see any conversion uplift, only a small benefit from the SEO stars.

Would love to know what others think is a reasonable price per review and also what others are paying?
Trustpilot has so much more traffic because they take away the traffic from their customers while other platforms support their customers to get traffic. This is not something I like.

Trustpilot is not your friend neither supporting your business. They build their business with your customers comments and it is hard to get rid of trustpilot once you started. They use your customer comments as their SEO content (and you are not allowed to use your customer comments for yourself, have a look in their terms).

Even most of their widgets do not render in google and google only fetches your customer comments on their site. I can not recommend trustpilot, but you are right, they are dominant.
Mirko
I couldn't agree more with this comment, having been with TrustPilot for 4 years....
Hi there Jason,

Nice article and a good read.

Im wondering about SEO presence and how I should read this.

Im guessing you mean the SEO presence of the platform itself, as in searches where feefo, trustpilot etc are shown with your company name in SERP results?

Thanks for answering.

Best regards
Michael
Jason Barnard
Michael
Hi Michael
yes. For brand searches and brand+review searches, the more SEO-powerful platforms will tend to rank higher with less reviews.
Additionally I am arguing this tendency indicates more trust from Google which gives more credibility in the eyes of Google when evaluating the confidence it has in your site and your offers.
Best
Jason
Emily Smith
Hi Jason,

Having read your article with interest, I’d just like to point out that there is no such thing as an ‘explicit presence’ in Google’s Knowledge Graph. (Disclaimer: I’m an SEO Executive at Feefo). We have a number of clients that have their Feefo rating displayed in the ‘Reviews From The Web’ section of their Knowledge Graph (as seen in our blog post about it here: https://en.business.feefo.com/blog/google-adds-reviews-knowledge-graphs-local-business-searches/ ). Review presence in the Knowledge Graph can be achieved by ensuring that a site has its review information marked up: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/reviews#review-snippet-guidelines
Jason Barnard
Emily Smith
Hi Emily

Thanks for the comment Concerning explicit presence in the Knowledge Graph.
It set off a few thoughts and a bit of research.

Have you had a look at Google Knowledge Graph API.
Here's an interesting article about it http://searchengineland.com/laymans-visual-guide-googles-knowledge-graph-search-api-241935

Here is a tool to pull data from Google's Knowledge Graph and have a look. Here is feefo and trustpilot
http://kalicube.pro/knowledge-graph-explorer?q=feefo
http://kalicube.pro/knowledge-graph-explorer?q=trustpilot

Your article about local business searches(https://en.business.feefo.com/blog/google-adds-reviews-knowledge-graphs-local-business-searches/ ) is about My Business / knowledge panel - here is an exchange about the difference between the two
https://www.en.advertisercommunity.com/t5/Basics-for-Business-Owners/The-difference-between-a-knowledge-graph-and-a-knowledge-panel/td-p/588690#

Interestingly, Google merges Knowledge Graph and the Knowledge panel in some instances - popular tourist attractions, universities etc - these are places/businesses that are in the Knowledge Graph and in Google My Business, so that is logical
Here is an example (my old university) https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=liverpool+john+moores+university&
The panel on the right contains MyBusiness information, reviews (as you say in your article) and other information pulled from the knowledge graph (The Chancellor etc)
Sajiv Kumar
Hi Jason Barnard,

Nice article for evaluating the value of paid reviews. but i think some other free platform available in the market that are helpful to increase traffic, leads, and ranking for our website like:-

1. yelp.co.uk
2. extract.co
3. goodfirms.co
4. 10seos.com
5. inhersight.com
6. alltop.com
7. bdaily.co.uk
8. thetoptens.com
9. bark.com
10.bbb.org

Hope this list will helpful for getting organic reviews.
Thanks
Jason Barnard
Sajiv Kumar
Yes indeed, there are many options out there. Thanks for sharing!
Sajiv Kumar
Parts of Trustpilot is free too: https://uk.business.trustpilot.com/plans (disclaimer: I work at Trustpilot). Whats free on Trustpilot:

- 100 review invitations/month
- Public profile with SEO benefits
- Reply to reviews
- 2 TrustBoxes (without SEO benefits)
- more, read link :)