I don’t like doing this, writing about a local company; however, Feefo is in my mind, offering a paid-for link-building service to their numerous clients, including Iglu Cruises. Before I start, this is not an attack on Iglu; it just so happens I saw them on Feefo when I was doing my research. As I have mentioned before, it seemed apt to add them here.
Why do I think that Feefo are offering Paid for Links?
A straightforward one here! It is a review service; companies pay for their clients to review the service they received. Feefo collates all of these and post them on their website with a link back to that company’s website.
It is a paid service meaning that the links should be rel=” nofollow” or the page should have a Meta tag saying so. The website doesn’t do this. Instead, every review posted on the Feefo website is linked back to the company being reviewed.
Some reviews even link to the product sold! OK; you might think that this is OK to do; but what if the reviewer is anonymous? We have no idea who Mr/Mrs Anonymous are? They could be some marketing guy asked to promote some pages within a companies website. (A recent example can be found here! Link removed as this is review is no longer active.)
Feefo rating system is also gaming Google!
You have seen them; all those stars under a search snippet in Google, getting you to click them to read them. I do have a significant problem with Feefo’s, though. Star ratings tend to mark out of 5 or even 10. Feefo only has four grades (marks) available. Excellent; Good; Poor or Bad.
What makes it worse is they are classing all marks rated as good, the same as excellent, so a “Good” has a score of 100%. Nope! I might say someone is excellent if the service was 95% or 93% or 90% because I don’t want to get a staff member into trouble. Let’s call it my human nature element. So a good might only be 60%.
How do I know their good and excellent ratings are 100%? The source code. The coding shows schema.org microdata markup giving the best rating of 100%; so with 8,937 reviews, 777 have to be at 100% to gain a mark of 96%.
Going back to Iglu, when you search for the company in Google, it looks like they have five stars. It states 96% from 8,937 (and counting) reviews. But that is 96% of the reviews being positive, not 96% of people giving five stars.
On the day I wrote this, they had 806 reviews—604 at excellent; 173 good; 23 poor, and six bad. Did some of those marking Iglu give them 3 out of 5?
Let’s give all the goods a mark of 3.5. Then add up all the points. The total is 3677.5, which needs to be divided by the number of reviews. This gives us 4.56. So the stars showing in the search results pages are misleading. It is not an accurate rating.
Let’s go further; they have just four ratings, so let’s use a rating system based upon 4; so excellent gives you 4; good gives you 3; poor gives you 2 and bad…1!
Using this system, which is a more accurate reflection of how people have ranked companies, Iglu Cruises now only scores 3.7, which as an image in Google, doesn’t look good.
Enough said; I don’t want to get technical and have made my views known.
How I see Feefo from an SEO Consultants point of view.
I believe they offer companies a valuable service; however, I also feel that they should change their website to give a more authentic reflection of the companies. I would be happy if they took the microdata markup out for the reviews and changed it to reflect X% positive feedback.
I would also be happy if they made all links rel=” nofollow”. I know this will cause them to lose business from some companies; however, it would show Google they are legitimate and gain rankings elsewhere. Eventually, more companies would use them.