In recent years, online reviews have become a popular topic of conversation. Whether they are positive or negative reviews, they have managed to find a permanent position within most successful marketing budgets and are proving more than their worth in terms of local SEO and building brand trust.

So should your business simply collect online reviews on any review site and call your job complete? No, probably not.

The reason is, not all review locations are made equal.

To prove the core differences between review sites, and help you decide which is best for you and your company, we’ve built an in-depth guide for business owners.


While there are literally hundreds and thousands of review sites out there, most fall within a few core types:

  • Popular, consumer (who uses a product or service) online review sites
  • Industry-specific online review sites such as
  • Self-hosted online review sites


These types of sites generally consist of Google, TrustPilot, Yelp, Zomato, Facebook, YellowPages, BBB, etc…

Review sites are accessed and used by millions of consumers every day, it helps consumers obtain a better understand of a business before making a decision to purchase a produc or service from there. There appears to be an endless supply of reviews. They are also, in most cases, the sites that can appear within search engines. For example, reviews from Google and Yelp can

For example, reviews from Google and Yelp can appear within local Google search results with a company’s average star rating and the total number of stars. Other review sites may appear in Google search results which would assist the consumer in gaining a better understand for online reviews.

Sites such as Facebook, and Google where they are heavily used are the most effective due to the traffic they receive and helps with local SEO if your business is on there.


As the title denotes, these are reviews sites that are geared toward specific industries. For example:

Industry-specific sites do a great job of delivering relevant information to a very targeted type of searcher. For example, someone looking for reviews on a certain doctor would be a targeted type of searcher and would likely end up on one of these sites through their search query or pre-existing knowledge of one of these sites.

While industry-specific sites do a great job for targeted searches, they also help with general search queries. If you were to type “doctors in Salt Lake City” into Google search, you’d likely stumble across HealthGrades’ website. This proves industry-specific sites to be very relevant for finding businesses organically (via search engines), as well.

These types of sites are generally supplemental to popular, consumer online review sites.


These types of sites consist of review sites that are published and updated by a review generation software company.

Some review software will help businesses generate reviews and they place them on the software company’s site, thereby forgoing the placement on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. This is a huge disappointment to business owners.

While some software companies carry enough punch to prove some level of effectiveness, many get lost within the search engines. This is because Google doesn’t recognize online review sites that are self-hosted and can’t necessarily verify the validity of the reviews.

One major loss to self-hosted online review sites is the “use it or lose it” mantra. This refers to an event where a business stops using a software platform’s service and in turn, loses all of their hard earned reviews on that specific review site.

This doesn’t happen with Google, Yelp, or Facebook. Rather, your business “owns” those reviews.


Mostly, this depends on the end goal of your company.

If you want to manually drive potential customers to a site that may be unfamiliar, but shows your company’s customer reviews, a self-hosted site could be for you (note: this can be effective for some companies).

If your company is looking to improve search engine optimization (SEO), build brand trust on the most trustworthy review sites, and increase online exposure, the consumer and industry-specific reviews sites could be for you.

While both options will combine your happy customers’ reviews, it’s up to you to decide where you want them placed and what the goal is of your company.
In conclusion, we suggest building a balanced presence on multiple review sites. If your company opts for a self-hosted option, be sure to make yourself visible on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook, as well. Also, be sure to supplement your efforts and existence on industry-related online review sites. This will help your business have a higher likelihood to be found and be visited by potential customers.


Request a demo to see how Elevatie’s efficient, mobile process can help your business collect 15x more reviews than traditional platforms. This will, in turn, improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.


Author: Susan MillerSusan is an accomplished graphics designer, published author, and writer with 2 different publishing companies, & over 5yrs of experience. She is Elevatie's online content manager and graphics designer.
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