- Mar 15, 2016
Open House: A Glimpse Inside Angie?s List?s Unlocked Community
The online review ecosystem has become increasingly competitive, and stalwarts like Angie?s List need to evolve if they want to remain in the conversation. We don?t know how much ground Angie?s List has lost to new review sites in the home services niche like Thumbtack and Porch. But Angie?s List recently made a change to their business model, which could have a massive impact on the popular site.
The greatest benefit (or danger?) for service providers is now that the site isn?t hidden behind the membership paywall, one might think that search engines like Google will index those Angie?s List business listings, because they will now be open to anyone. Right?
Well, not yet. It?s important to note that the public listing for a business on Angie?s List today shows a couple of reviews?without the ratings. In fact, the public listing is not very informative compared with the logged-in versions of the listing.
Here?s a listing showing 2 of 19 reviews, and no ratings when not logged in:
Take a look at the differences on the listing page when we are logged in:
While we can see the total number of reviews in the non-logged in version, we can only see two specific reviews and no aggregate rating, the kind of data that would typically be used to encourage Google and others to show those aggregate ratings right in the search results. But even with Angie?s List being free, the specific details are ?locked?:
Here?s the more detailed review information provided when we?re logged in to the site:
We can see specific breakdowns of the grade details, ALL of the reviews, and the grade distribution from A-F.
The differences are stark and highlight how despite the site now being ?open,? there?s still gated content.
And how might this affect SEO?
If the reviews are marked up with schema markup but without the ratings, as they are today, they are not likely to yield ratings stars in the SERPs.
Notice how a Yelp listing has the star rating, whereas Angie?s List does not:
We therefore shouldn?t get too excited about the changes at Angie?s List from an SEO perspective, but the fact that 20-year-old Angie?s List is evolving and could open up more at some point? that is what makes the hype worth paying attention to. Nobody can rest on their laurels in the reputation business. The ecosystem is always evolving.
Whether you?re in favor of removing the membership fee or not, for home service providers, Angie?s List continues to be an important community where you?ll want to have a strong presence. The site currently brings in 12.6 million views per month on desktop and mobile.
If your company doesn?t have a listing on Angie?s List yet, you?re missing out on some excellent leads.