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Tag: Customer Appreciation (Page 1 of 4)

DIY Tricks to Get Rid of Bad Reviews (that SEOs Don’t Want You to Know!)

Bad Reviews? No Problem.

Sure, you can always get an SEO company to bury those pesky negative reviews. With the help of a professional targeted strategy, they’ll boost the right information to the top and allow the rest to go unnoticed. What most of these companies don’t tell you is that there are also simple actions you can take on your own to improve your online rep.

Most SEO companies don’t want you to know this – but I guess it’s a good thing we’re not most companies, right?

Read on to get insiders tips on DIY fixes for your online reputation.

Respond to Negative Client Reviews Calmly and Rationally

When someone leaves you a bad review, it’s easy to get heated. But wait. Take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts before sending an emotionally charged response. Instead, answer calmly and show that you value the client’s opinion.

Even if you’re not quite sure why they’re upset, it’s always best to apologize. The customer is always right, after all. Try to take an empathetic and understanding approach. If you’d like to go the extra mile, ask them to reach out in private to discuss the situation. There might be an opportunity to make things right, and they might even leave you a new positive review in return.

Take the Conversation Offline for More Effective Communication

You can’t control the reviews people leave, but you can control how you respond to them. After you’ve left a polite and professional public reply, leaving contact information can allow you and the dissatisfied client to hash things out in private if they so choose.

Taking the conversation offline can help you communicate more effectively, as tone and nuance are better conveyed over the phone. You might even find that the customer isn’t as unhappy as they seemed in the reviews—especially now that you’ve reached out to them.

Keep Track of What People Are Saying About You Online

Whether you like it or not, people are going to talk. And when you have a company, it’s important to be in tune with what people are saying about it, and where and how they’re saying it. With the help of online tools like Google Alerts, you can track individuals that mention your business online.

These tools will monitor the web and notify you when your company name is brought up. This way, you can always stay in the loop, regardless of whether the conversation is good or bad.

View Common Complaints as Constructive Criticism

Are you seeing a pattern in the negative reviews you’re receiving? It might be time to lay down the groundwork for some change. Ultimately, you should be dedicated to customer satisfaction and always want to better your services.

So, pay close attention to what your clients complain about—especially if you often receive similar complaints. Take it as constructive criticism and an opportunity for improvement. If you put in the work, you can only go up from there!

 

There you have it, folks. The secret (not-so-secret-anymore) online reputation management tips that can help you turn those negatives into positives—all on your own. Still, if you find yourself needing more expert advice, or if you’d like to boost your rep even more, drop us a line at website@linknowmedia.com or call us at 1.888.667.7186.

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Can Fake Reviews Hurt My Business?

Getting online reviews is one of the fastest ways to improve your web presence. Getting fake reviews is one of the quickest ways to ruin it. Whether the fake reviews are positive or negative doesn’t matter. They’re both bad. Either way, they can destroy the trust your clients have in you, ruin your reputation with Google, and lower your ranking in local search results.

Read on to find out why and learn how to protect yourself by reporting fake reviews!

The Two Types of Fake Reviews

We can divide fake reviews into two categories: positive and negative.

The positive ones tend to originate internally. Someone within a company will write a slew of glowing reviews praising the place and padding their online score in the hopes of making themselves look better than their competitors. In some cases, companies will even buy fake reviews from a shady third-party provider on the net.

The more nefarious—and notorious—type is the negative fake reviews. A single one-star review isn’t of too much concern. Sure, it can be unsightly, but it won’t ruin your reputation. Heck, a few bad reviews can even be good for business. More frightening, however, are the smear campaigns set up by rival companies.

In such instances, a competitor will set up multiple online accounts on a review platform so that they can bombard their opponent with bad review after bad review, sabotaging their reputation and careening their business. As was the case with false positive reviews, some competitors have also been caught paying a third party to write negative reviews.

What Can Happen If I’m the Victim of a Fake Review Campaign?

Fake reviews pose numerous problems for business owners, namely:

  1. They destroy trust. Generally, consumers tend to weigh negative reviews more heavily than good ones. If you’ve been hit by a slew of bad reviews, you can expect customers to think twice before choosing you. To make matters worse, readers are usually much better at spotting fake positive reviews than fake negatives. However, with the rise in fake reviews over the past 10 years, users have, on the whole, gotten much better at distinguishing between the genuine and the fake. It’s par for the course if you’re an active internet user in 2019.
  2. They damage your online reputation. Reviews are an essential aspect of your online reputation. If you solicit fake reviews, or if you’re hit with a negative ad campaign, your reputation as a service provider will suffer. Not only will your clients not trust you—neither will Google. Which leads to our third problem…
  3. They can lead to penalties and fines.Google penalizes businesses that do not play by the rules. If you’re found guilty of violating their policies by requesting fake reviews, you may find yourself removed from local search results listings. Offenders can even be fined. In a New York sting operation, the attorney general charged fake review companies with $350,000 in fines.

To sum up: If you’ve been thinking about writing or buying fake reviews, think again. Don’t do it. It’s unethical, it’s impractical, and it won’t pay off. Just don’t.

How Can I Stop Fake Reviews from Hurting My Business?

You should report any fake reviews directly to the review platform.

To report a review on Google:

  1. Locate the review in question
  2. Hover your mouse over the review. Click the “Flag” icon:
  3. On the next page, enter your email address and the reason for the violation:

To report fake reviews on Yelp:

  1. Sign into your business account using the Yelp Business Owners website (biz.yelp.com). If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one to manage your listing.
  2. Locate the review in question.
  3. Click the Options button (three dots) and press Report Review:
  4. Enter a detailed explanation for reporting the review. Then press submit.

From there, it’s all about playing the waiting game. The more information you provide, the better your chances of having the review removed. Good luck out there, and stay safe folks!

Join LinkNow Media in the Fight Against Fake Reviews!

LinkNow Media is one of North America’s leading digital marketing agencies. With over 10,000 clients and a vast online presence, it’s safe to say that we’ve encountered our fair share of spam, fake reviews, negative ad campaigns. But through it all, we’ve persevered and thwarted every attempt on our reputation.

If you’ve faced similar problems, we can help you too.

Join us in the fight against fake reviews. To get started, leave a comment below, email us at website@linknowmedia.com, or give us a call at 1-888-667-7186 today!

How to Fix a Bad Online Reputation

Do you feel like your online reputation has suffered a blow? If someone has left you a negative review, don’t panic! It isn’t the end of the world.

Understandably, someone slandering your business online can be frustrating. But before you stress out over it, it’s important to assess the situation and take a proactive approach!

Make an Assessment of the Damage to Your Reputation Online: Is It Even that Bad?

So, is your reputation really damaged? A snide, negative comment left by an unhappy customer or jealous competitor is a bummer, but is it really that big of a deal?

Think about the review that was left. Does it look like it could be spam? Google tries to filter out these types of comments as they don’t find them relevant. Does the reviewer have any credibility? Do they mention your specific market specialties in these comments? Without an actual history of leaving reviews, Google won’t take their word for it. Plus, a negative comment can be a bummer, but if they don’t mention specifics, the review won’t hold much weight with potential clients.

Once you have a good grasp of the situation, you’ll not only be less stressed, but you’ll be able to come up with a plan of action. Try applying a combination of the following strategies where you see fit.

Emphasize the Positive with Local Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing tool used to help your business rank higher on Google and increase traffic to your web pages. It can also become an effective strategy to bring the positive and trustworthy information about your company upfront and centre. As a result, this will push everything else back, making it negligible and difficult find.

Encourage Your Clients to Leave You Reviews and Carefully Manage Them

Having good review management tactics in place can help you promote the reviews you actually want people to see all while properly dealing with the ones you don’t. Always encourage clients to leave you amazing reviews, especially if you’ve visibly impressed them. Before you know it, those negative, spammy-looking ones will seem irrelevant.

Create High-Quality, SEO-Optimized Content

One of the easiest ways to dramatically boost your online reputation is to have high-quality, professional content on your website. You can build amazing credibility like this in no time! Not only will people now find positive reviews when they search for you. They’ll also find engaging, well-written content from you that will overshadow any doubt that may have been cast by one measly bad review.

Hire a Trusted Online Reputation Management Service like LinkNow Media

In the end, it might not be the bad review that’s causing your reputation to suffer, but the lack of professional online presence. By enlisting a company like LinkNow Media to do the work for you, you’ll be allowing your business to flourish and keeping those untrustworthy reviews in the dark.

Do you need our help implementing online reputation management strategies? Want to learn more about Local SEO? For general inquiries, email website@linknowmedia.com. For more information on Local SEO, email mylocalseo@linknowmedia.com. Don’t forget to leave a comment!

Want to Run Your Business on Leads from Yelp? Here’s how!

Yelp is one of the best tools that small businesses have for marketing and generating local leads. Whether you’re using it to manage your online reputation or for local marketing, Yelp has transformed the way businesses are run in 2019. And best of all, it’s free.

So, if you’re a small business owner looking for an easy way to generate a ton of strong leads in your local area, this article will tell you everything you need to know. Read on and let us know what you think in the comments!

1. Complete Your Yelp Profile

First things first. If you haven’t created your listing already, you need to do that now! (Better yet, finish reading this blog first, and then go complete it). But it’s vital to complete all of it. Try not to leave anything blank or unfinished. Consider it this way – Yelp is asking your business these questions directly, and if you want Yelp to like your business, it’s in your best interest to answer them. Provide plenty of detail. Which leads us to our second tip:

2. Prioritize Text Over Photos on Your Yelp Listing

Pictures have their place on Yelp, but text holds more authority. And if you want to rank in Yelp searches, you need to build authority. Show Yelp that your business is relevant to its users by “programming” your profile with the right keywords.

Yelp’s algorithm depends on words to find out what your listing and your business is about. In fact, we even recommend carefully title the images you upload, so that Yelp can use the file names to categorize your photos. In the real world, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but on Yelp, a picture certainly isn’t worth a thousand keywords.

3. Use Keywords to “Unlock” Yelp Leads

In the same way that you need keywords to rank in Google searches (and get leads from those searches), Yelp’s algorithm also works on keywords. Keywords are what your prospective clients type into search engines online. If your business listing doesn’t include them, new clients won’t be able to find you.

To find keywords that are relevant to your business, try typing a general one into the Yelp search bar. A drop-down menu will appear with other related keywords that, if they are relevant to your business, you should include in your listing to improve your rank!

 

 

However, a word to the wise: be careful not to overdo it. Your listing can get penalized for keyword-stuffing. For example, don’t write: “Our massage therapists perform massage services. If you want massage therapy, call our massage specialists at our massage spa.” Keyword-stuffing doesn’t look good to prospective clients or to Yelp.

4. Always Respond to Yelp Reviews

Never, ever, underestimate the power of reviews, particularly on Yelp. We can’t overemphasize how fantastic positive reviews are for your ranking – but it’s not only having them that counts. Encourage your clients to leave detailed reviews that accurately explain your services and why they were so good.

Plus, Yelp prioritizes businesses that are actively engaged with their customers. So, make sure to reply quickly to both good and bad reviews. Three 5-star reviews with prompt responses might be better off than fifteen 5-star comments that went ignored by the business owner. Be polite, professional, and concise. Sometimes, a well-crafted reply will even counterbalance the damage of a poor review! The bottom line is, always respond to your Yelp reviews.

5. Pat Yelp’s Back and Google Will Pat Yours

Okay, while this one isn’t exactly a Yelp strategy, it’s worth keeping in mind that in the online world, everything is interconnected. Your business listing on Yelp extends far beyond the scope of one directory. Google and Yelp have a longstanding virtual friendship and Google often ranks Yelp listings in their search results.

The old saying, “A friend of yours is a friend of mine” holds true, here. If you’re getting leads on Yelp, chances are you’re beefing up your ranking on Google at the same time. So, it’s in your best interest to make your Yelp listing as attractive as possible.

 

Want to leverage your Yelp listings to pull in even more leads? Contact the digital marketing professionals at LinkNow Media by leaving us a comment below or calling 1.888.667.7186!

5 Reasons that More Reviews Will Help You Crush the Competition

Good reviews are the bedrock of a strong reputation management strategy.

Having plenty of good, high-quality reviews can make the difference between appearing at the top of Google’s search results and being buried by your competitors. In fact, evidence shows that reviews are one of the most important factors determining your local search result rankings. And at LinkNow Media, we consider them one of the easiest and fastest ways to give your online marketing to boost it needs.

Here are five reasons why:

1.      Reviews Expand Your Web Presence

In the realm of online marketing, content is king. It’s the motor that drives your web presence and expands your reach. By pumping out lots of high-quality content, you show Google that you have something important to say. And that you’re an authority in your industry.

Online reviews serve a similar purpose. The more positive ones that you accumulate, the larger your online footprint becomes. From Google’s perspective, that means your information is constantly being updated and verified by your user base: a good prospect when they’re looking to recommend you over your competitors.

2.      Reviews Highlight Your Relevance for Local Search Results

A detailed review will often include information about the company, the service provided, prices, and customer service. These are all relevant details that tell Google more about your business in the form of keywords.

We’ve already discussed how getting keywords in your reviews can improve your online search results. For the purposes of this post, I’ll offer a brief summary.

For Google, keywords are like signposts. They’re carriers of information that indicate the purpose of a webpage. Essentially, they help Google sift through your site and determine whether it is relevant to a searcher.

By expanding your number of detailed reviews, you’ll naturally expand your keyword profile. What does that mean for you? As a result, you’re likely to see your website come up for a greater array of relevant search terms. You may even hone in on an extremely competitive keyword, such as affordable plumber in Dallas.

3.      Reviews Improve Your Search Rankings

The data is clear: the more positive (and detailed!) reviews you have, the better you’ll rank online. It’s as simple as that.

One of the key areas where reviews matter is in what’s called the local pack: the top section that Google displays whenever a user enters a search for a local service. It looks like this:

Your chances of showing up in the local pack improve enormously with consistent, high-quality reviews—especially ones with keywords in them. According to one study, having keyword-heavy reviews was the single most important factor for getting included in the local pack.

Why does Google lend so much weight to reviews? Well, because…

4.      Google Trusts Reviews (More Than They Trust You)

Google likes businesses they can trust. Unfortunately, the Internet sometimes makes it difficult to find such establishments. After all, a company can say anything about itself that it wants. You can claim to be the best pizza joint in NYC all you want. It doesn’t make it true.

What businesses can’t control—at least not completely—is what others say about them. That’s why Google takes reviews so seriously: because they are a comparatively reliable source of information. Sure, some reviews may be disingenuous, solicited, or falsified. But taken as a whole, they’re an effective tool that allows Google to “cross-examine” information and find the most trustworthy businesses to recommend.

5.      Consumers Trust Reviews (More Than They Trust You)

Like Google, consumers find reviews much more persuasive than what any business owner has to say about themselves. One survey found that a whopping 93% of consumers consult online reviews before making a purchasing decision.

Ultimately, the goal of your marketing campaign is to convert your target audience into a loyal customer base. Getting plenty of positive reviews will help you achieve that aim. In the eyes of potential customers, it’s the most persuasive argument you can provide.

A lot has changed since the digital age. Especially for small business owners, the Internet has revolutionized the way we do business. Nevertheless, one thing remains the same: a good recommendation goes a long, long way.

Need Help Generating Reviews? Give the Team at LinkNow Media a Shout!

With over 10,000 clients, it’s safe to say that we at LinkNow know a thing or two about managing an online reputation. We’ve helped garner hundreds of rave reviews, building a strong web presence for ourselves. Not to mention for our customers, too.

If you need help coming up with a solid review-generation strategy, consider giving us a shout! Leave a comment below, email us at website@linknowmedia.com, or call us at 1-888-667-7186. After all, we’re here to help

5 Reasons You Need Reviews on Your Website

In the age of digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization, there’s no shortage of ways for small businesses to attract customers. You can create an easy-to-navigate website, submit it to search engines, implement Google Analytics, and create a slew of social network business profiles.

But at the end of the day, the most significant determinant for whether a client will waltz into your store or walk on by isn’t something a savvy marketing agency can buy. It’s the customer review.

Here at LinkNow, we’re firm believers that every business owner should embrace the power of the customer review and its persuasive powers.

1. Consumers Trust Other Consumers

Studies show that 84% of consumers trust a company’s online reviews as much as a recommendation from their own friends.

This might surprise you but trust us when we say it’s true. And it makes sense. When a customer posts a review online, they don’t have any agenda other than to share their own experience. Clients trust this, and it shows.

2. Show, Don’t Tell: A Customer Review Shows Other Consumers How Great You Are

Any company in the world can say they’re the best at what they do. In fact, every single company says that, don’t they? When you look at these over-the-top claims from the vantage point of a consumer, they seem a little generic and fluffy, don’t they?

Consumers are smart, and they know that it is in your best interest to say you’re the best plumber in the area. What they want is proof that this is true. And what’s better proof than a 5-Star review from a satisfied customer?

3. When You Embrace Customer Reviews, You Are Embracing Honesty and Transparency

74% of consumers polled in a 2016 study show that positive reviews make a business seem more trustworthy. Transparency is incredibly important to customers these days. And when you ask clients to leave reviews for your business and share reviews on your website, you’re embracing transparency to the fullest. You’re letting those who have first-hand experience with your company do all the talking (and advertising!) for you.

4. Online Reviews Have a Positive Impact on Your Revenue!

A 2016 Harvard Business School study reveals that as your Yelp rating rises, your revenue follows suit.

To not promote your Yelp and Facebook page—and those many glowing reviews—through your website would be a major oversight.

5. Good Reviews Inspire Good Reviews

Lastly, we tell all our clients that there is no shame in politely asking a customer to share their experience on Yelp or Facebook. Everyone does it and most customers are happy to oblige.

However, if clients happen to come across your business profile online, they might feel inclined to leave a review on their own volition—especially if everyone else already seems to be doing it.

Want Reviews on Your Website—LinkNow Media Can Help!

The customer review is the greatest asset in the world of marketing. If you’re sitting on pages of positive reviews you’d be foolish not to place them front and center for the world to see!

Already have a LinkNow website? Why not ask your web designer to add some reviews to it? Don’t have a LinkNow website yet? Why not speak to an SEO specialist and get the leads you need to succeed!

Give us a call at 1-888-667-7186 or send an email to website@linknowmedia.com. And if you have a comment or question, leave a reply below!

3 Tricks to Improve the Online Presence of Your Business

The accessibility, precision, and sheer scope of the internet has forever changed the way businesses operate.

To say that everyone is online nowadays is neither stereotype nor hyperbole – that goes for clients and enterprises alike. A business’s online presence has become equal parts storefront and calling card, permitting degrees of promotion and engagement that yesterday’s proprietors could only have dreamt of.

With the right content and approach, you can advertise the very best of your products and engage with the people interested in acquiring them.

In other words, instead of staging a presentation, start a conversation.

Just to help you out, the SEO department at LinkNow Media has assembled a simple list of three steps businesses can take towards developing their online prowess. And don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments!

1) Establish Your Presence and Maintain It

By now, you’re well aware of the power and potential of the online world. Websites, social media, and email lists are the norm among business owners.

But it doesn’t end there.

A website devoid of content, or a Facebook page without a single post, is the online equivalent of a new car without gas. It looks great—but won’t get you far. And while you’re lagging behind the competition, your clients are going to go elsewhere.

Update and maintain your website and social media profiles with the same care and regularity as you would a storefront.  Give your customers a window into your best work by taking photos and posting them online! Write blog posts, social media posts, and continuously add new landing pages to your website. Don’t forget that content is king in 2019!

It can be internal, too – feature posts about additions to your inventory, changes to offered services, or even profiles on new employees! When you keep your customers abreast, you can forget the rest.

2) Be Receptive and Accessible to Your Clientele

One advantage small businesses have against corporations is a sense of intimacy. Your clients can put a face to your name. Seize this advantage and engage with everyone who’s following your business online!

Respond to good and bad reviews promptly and in detail. Answer inquiries you receive, on your pages or via email, in an equally timely manner. Acknowledge compliments and attempt to resolve complaints.

You’ll be amazed at what you can learn about your clientele—and about your business itself. Take the feedback to heart and listen attentively to what your customers have to say.

Above all, be consistent and maintain a constant and reliable presence. By showing customers that you care about what they think you’ll forge meaningful connections that can be turned into leads.

3) Reward Existing Customers and Incentivize New Ones

The importance of repeat business and customer loyalty depends on your industry.

For instance, showing up for a one-time lawn care appointment could lead to years of frequent lawn maintenance.

Regardless of where you find yourself, acknowledge the customers who have stuck by you since day one. Consider the VIP approach and offer exclusive referral bonuses, discounts, or even a newsletter for regular customers.

In the same vein, always be on the lookout for new clients. Consider untapped markets. And never sacrifice one for the other.

Maintain online engagement with your current customers, and you’ll be opening the door to new business!

Should You Ask Clients for Google Reviews?

By now, everyone knows how important it is to get their customers to leave positive, thoughtful, and detailed reviews on Google. But the rules for soliciting reviews remain foggy at best. Part of the problem is that different review sites have different rules and many people conflated them accidentally.

Today we’re going to clear the air. We’re going to explain, as precisely as possible, Google’s rules around asking for reviews.

So, let’s be clear. Should you ask your customers for Google reviews?

Yes, You Should Ask Your Customers to Leave Google Reviews

In fact, if you look up Google’s own policy on soliciting reviews, you’ll find this:

“Remind your customers to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews on mobile devices or desktop computers.”

Pretty clear, I’d say! Google uses reviews to find out whether businesses are trustworthy or not. It uses that information to rank businesses on Google Maps searches and to rank webpages on their regular organic search. That’s also why they value reviews that are detailed, include keywords, and identify excellent services in direct and concrete ways. It all shows that you are running a business that they can be comfortable pushing on their platform.

Ask for Google Reviews by Email

The easiest way to do it is to ask for reviews by email. Whenever you do work for somebody, send them an email thanking them for choosing your company. This shows your clients that you care about their experiences. And just when they feel appreciated, gently ask them to leave their feedback on your Google My Business page.

Say something like:

“If you enjoyed working with us, please take a moment to leave us your thoughts on Google. 60 seconds of your time will help us continue delivering top-quality service to others just like you! Follow this link to our Google page.”

If they’ve had a great experience with you and feel appreciated, they’ll be happy to leave a review that will help you out.

Ask for Google Reviews in Person

Although it can feel a little bit weird to ask for a review in person, it’s the surest way to get those reviews on your GMB listing. Don’t think of it like you’re bothering them or being sleazy. We live in a time when reviews can make or break a business. If you don’t ask for reviews from clients that know you and respect your work, you’re not taking the necessary precautions to protect and manage your online reputation.

Don’t be shy! It’s just business in 2019.

Ask for Google Reviews on Your Website

This one takes a little bit of tact. You don’t want to make it appear like you’re offering an incentive for people to leave reviews. You want to remind people that leaving a review will help you continue to provide top-quality service and improve your business.

One way that works well is to include testimonials from Google on your website. This will remind and encourage your clients to leave their own review. A simple phrase like “Liked our service? Let us know on Google!” is all you need to increase the number of daily, weekly, and monthly reviews.

Do Not Incentivize Reviews

Offering high-quality service should be incentive enough! But offering compensation for reviews will get you into a lot of trouble with Google. A Louisville, Kentucky law firm offered their clients a chance to win a contest for a review. When they got caught, Google removed 100 online reviews. No mercy!

As we repeat over and over, Google’s whole business model depends on being a trustworthy source of information. Artificial or fake reviews damage Google’s reputation. That hurts their bottom line. And they don’t like that too much.

Need Help Managing Your Online Reputation?

The local SEO experts at LinkNow Media are here to help! If you need help managing reviews, review responses, and your online trustworthiness generally, get in touch with us. We work hard to ensure that our clients turn their online presence into leads! Call us at 1-888-667-7186 or email us at mylocalseo@linknowmedia.com.

Do you have some advice about reviews and reputation management? Leave us a comment below!

How Does Yelp’s Review Filter Work?

The best way to market your business is by managing your online reputation. It’s free. It’s easy. And all you have to do is provide high-value products and services.

For anyone who’s invested time and money into their online marketing, understanding the way review algorithms filter the trustworthy from the untrustworthy is crucial. And with the ever-increasing popularity of Yelp, it’s become more important than ever to understand how their review filter works.

With that in mind, we’re here to de-mystify the whole process and help you build your online reputation. Here’s what we currently know about Yelp’s review filter.

What Is Yelp’s Review Filter?

Yelp uses a set of criteria to weed out reviews that they deem untrustworthy. Yelp does not publish any details about their criteria, so what we do know is largely based on inference and third-party research. Nonetheless, we can be reasonably sure of the accuracy of this research.

According to Yelp, their algorithm is based on three principles: “Quality, Reliability, and User Activity.” Yelp also reports that they filter out roughly 25% of all reviews, though recent evidence suggests the figure could be considerably higher.

Why Does Yelp Filter Reviews?

Like other review-aggregating platforms like Google, Yelp uses its filter to improve the quality of its review system. By hiding untrustworthy or fake reviews, Yelp helps businesses manage their online reputations in a more effective way.

Ultimately, the goal is to make Yelp more trustworthy as a review platform. If it were filled with fake reviews no one would trust it. No one would use it. That would be the end of Yelp. Yelp doesn’t want that.

How Does Yelp’s Review Filter Work?

Yelp’s review filter divides reviews into two categories:

Recommended Reviews: are reviews that contribute to the overall rating of a business. They are also the most accessible as they’re shown on each business’s Yelp profile page.

Not Currently Recommended Reviews: are reviews that have been filtered out by the algorithm. They don’t contribute to the over all rating. However, it’s still possible to view the ‘Not Currently Recommended Reviews’ by scrolling to the bottom of the profile and clicking the link that reads “other reviews that are not currently recommended”.

One of the interesting parts of Yelp’s algorithm is that it hides reviews until it deems them to be trustworthy. And vice-versa. That means there’s always the possibility of improvement over time.

Yelp looks at each user’s activity and reviewing patterns to decide whether their reviews are trustworthy or not. The following are some of those considerations:

  • Has the reviewer’s profile been created recently?
  • Has the user written any past reviews?
  • What is the quality of the user’s past reviews?
  • Does the review contain any misinformation? Or hateful or bigoted language?
  • Is there evidence that the review was solicited?

By taking account of these criteria (and, undoubtedly, much more) Yelp determines the overall relevance of each review. The best case scenario would be if all of your best customers were also active, trusted Yelp users. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

What Can I Do to Improve My Yelp Reviews?

The best course of action is to provide amazing service and amazing products every time. That way, your clients will be inclined to leave amazing reviews without being asked.

After all, Yelp does not encourage you to solicit reviews. And while you can try work around their policy to generate reviews, you may find yourself in deep water if Yelp decides to punish you for it.

Another trick is to ask your clients to be more active on Yelp. Not by leaving reviews on your business, but by leaving reviews for other businesses. It may seem counter-intuitive but it will lend more clout to their reviews and make it less likely for Yelp to filter them out. That way, the reviews that best reflect your business will have a greater chance of landing on your page.

 

Do you have a story about your Yelp reviews or a fresh perspective on Yelp’s algorithm? Leave a comment below!

And if you need a hand with managing your online reputation, get LinkNow’s local SEO team on the job!

How to Respond to Negative Google Reviews

As a company, generating good online reviews is a great way to drum up business and showcase the value of your services. Of course, not all the reviews you get will be positive, and it’s essential to develop a reputation-management strategy that lets you effectively respond to those that are less than favourable.

With that in mind, we at LinkNow Media have devised the following 5-stage process to help business owners respond to negative reviews.

Five Steps to Writing a Successful Negative Review Response

1.      Evaluate internally

Before responding to a negative review, it’s first important to evaluate its validity. Discuss it with your colleagues: Does it contain any constructive criticism that may help you improve your business practices? Is there anything you could have done differently to change that person’s experience? Even if the reviewer has embellished some aspects of their review, there might be a kernel of truth that could help you improve your business.

By developing an internal evaluation procedure, you’ll be able to approach such reviews with a clear mind and a cooler head. It’ll stop you from posting whatever first pops into your mind. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on the potentially valid criticism a reviewer might have and respond to it appropriately.

2.      Respond publicly

As enticing as it might be, don’t start by reaching out to a reviewer privately. Other viewers need to see that you are addressing such reviews so that they understand you’re trying to redress the problem. Ultimately, it’s best just to respond to the negative review directly on your Google My Business page.

Accessing Your Google My Business Reviews:

  1. Go to business.google.com and sign into Google My Business.
  2. Click on the three horizontal bars in the top left-hand corner of the page.
  3. When you find a review you want to respond to, click “View and reply” (or “Respond now” if on a mobile device).

3.      Empathize

Customers can tell when your response is half-hearted. If you all you post is fluff without substance, they’ll take notice. Worse still, they might think you don’t care about your business.

Show reviewers that you care. Address them by name, thank them for their review, and if possible, highlight something positive they mentioned about your business. If necessary, apologize when you could have done something to improve their experience.

4.      Offer solutions

It’s important to offer customers a solution to their problem. We’re not saying you have to bend over backwards with discounts and full refunds, but you should provide them with something that’s actionable. At the very least, give them the opportunity to reach out to you personally and address their grievances one-on-one.

5.      Move the conversation offline

When you’re offering solutions that require further discussion, it’s best to move the conversation offline. Leave the customer your contact information and let them get back to you. With the ball in their court, you’ve done everything that you can—at least for the time being.

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