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 them before; it seemed apt to add them here.
Why do I think that Feefo are offering Paid for Links?
A really simple 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.
The fact that it is a paid service means 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 is posted on the Feefo website with a link back to the company who is being reviewed.
Some reviews even link to the product being 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 who has been asked to promote some pages within a companies website. (A recent example can be found here!)
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 major problem with Feefo’s though. Star ratings tend to be marks out of 5 or even 10. Feefo only have 4 grades (marks) available. Excellent; Good; Poor or Bad.
What makes it worse is they are classing all marks of good, the same as excellent; so a “Good” is given 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 rating and excellent are 100%? From the source code; it shows schema.org microdata markup giving a the best rating 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 5 stars. It states 96% from 8,937 (and counting) reviews. But that is 96% of the reviews being positive not 96% of people giving 5 stars.
On the day in question; that is when I wrote this; they had, had 806 reviews. 604 at excellent; 173 good; 23 poor and 6 bad. Now who is to say that those marking it good might have given them 3 out of 5; maybe even 4 out of 5?
So lets now give all the goods a mark of 3.5; add up all the points; 3677.5 and divide by the number of reviews. This gives us 4.56. So the stars showing in the search results pages are misleading. It is not a true rating.
In fact lets go further; they have just 4 ratings; so lets use a rating system based upon 4; so excellent gives you 4; good gives you 3; poor gives you 2 and bad…1!
By using this system; which is a truer 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 do believe they offer companies a valuable service; however I also feel that they should change their website to give a truer 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 that they are legitimate and they would gain rankings elsewhere so eventually more companies would use them.