March 30, 2020

First and Third Party Reviews: A Breakdown

There are plenty of third-party review sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook, and their reviews can be placed on specific pages such as a business’s location page.

According to Google’s senior webmaster trends analyst, those third-party reviews don’t help increase the rank of the page.

However, these third-party reviews, when used along with first-party reviews, can still provide benefits for your brand in several ways.

a man planning a website on a laptop

First vs. Third Party Reviews

The difference between first- and third-party reviews is simple.

First-party reviews are reviews you collected and published directly on your website. This shouldn’t be confused with first-party feedback, which is collected by the business directly for operational insights.

Third-party reviews, on the other hand, are ratings and feedback gathered on sites such as Yelp and Google. There are plenty of other third-party review sites that are industry-specific where you can claim a listing (depending on your industry) and gather reviews from customers on that platform because they might be well-known business review sites from their perspective.

an infographic describing the difference first and third party reviews

Some of these popular third-party sites include:

The Main Value of First Party Reviews: SEO and User-Generated Content

Allowing first-party reviews on your website also helps search engines detect the presence of user-generated content (UGC) on your website, which helps provide context (in addition to more content) to a page.

By proactively asking for reviews, you can direct people to leave feedback on your website, and search engines can see the new reviews as UGC. This type of recent activity shows that your website is active and is constantly updated with new information, which can boost its search engine rankings and effectively attract more consumers.

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Another Value of First Party Reviews: The Deciding Factor for Conversions

People visiting your website are on the cusp of converting, and seeing these positive marketing reviews from past customers leaving reviews on the site can be the final push needed to make a purchase.

In fact, the reason why 62% of consumers between the ages of 18-34 place trust in a brand is because of its high reviews and ratings. Allowing consumers to review your business on your website establishes trust and shows the value of your product.

The Main Value of Third Party Reviews: User Experience

Third-party reviews are extremely useful as context. Testimonials, ratings, and reviews all help bring legitimacy to your site’s product or service offerings.

Survey data shows that 80% of customers trust 4.0, 4.5, and 5-star ratings and 92% of consumers are using reviews to guide their purchasing decisions.

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Highlighting these high scores can bring in more customers and a higher revenue.

Another Value of Third Party Reviews: Review Site Exposure

When posting reviews, variation is key, at least in terms of third-party sources. Showing that you have a presence on these third party review sites shows you’re aware of their popularity among consumers and are meeting them halfway through these sites as they search for their next purchase decision in your industry.

Claiming a profile on industry-specific sites is also worth the time because the reviews there are specific to the industry. This further allows consumers to directly compare your service to competitors based on the experiences of past customers.

Major review sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor all have their own widgets, which you can embed on your website, but having too many widgets on one page can negatively affect the user experience. Fortunately, there are plenty of custom widgets available from WordPress users and reputation management companies.

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First and Third Party Reviews: A Powerful Partnership

Adding both review types to your website is a highly effective strategy. Not only do they attract consumers and establish brand authenticity; they serve as valuable social proof and provide insights for businesses used to improve operations.

People can easily see a brand’s high rating, but they need an average of 112 reviews to confirm its legitimacy. Showcasing reviews on your website can help drive that home and easily convert people into customers.

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