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Should I Ask Clients to Use Keywords in Reviews?

A business woman talks to a client, both sitting at a desk. Caption says: How to ask for reviews the right way.

Did you know keywords in reviews can significantly improve your local search ranking?

Research consistently shows a strong connection between keywords in reviews and improved rankings on Google. One study even called it the number one way to boost local search results.

So, should you ask clients to use keywords in their reviews?

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. Asking clients to use specific words or phrases can make their reviews feel inauthentic or forced—which is never a good thing.

So what do we recommend?

Don’t Ask for Keywords. Ask for Details.

Simply asking your clients for detailed reviews can get them to naturally use keywords that will improve your local search results. It may seem foreign and a little awkward at first, but it will come naturally with a bit of practice.

When you ask your clients to leave detailed reviews face to face, you gain the opportunity to coach them on the type of review that would benefit you the most.

While you are not trying to influence their opinion, you should ask them to use specifics to clarify what services or products they liked the best and how your business went above and beyond to deliver exceptional quality and attention to detail. The more detail, the more your reviews will naturally incorporate keyword-heavy language, in turn boosting your search rankings.

Here are two examples showing you the difference between a serviceable review and a review that hits it out of the ballpark in richness and detail:

Example 1: 

Exceptional work. Professional and fast.

Example 2:

John arrived on time and brought all the electrical equipment he needed to install my new panel box and do some re-wiring safely. John’s customer service and level of attention were very much appreciated when he explained how to check the breaker panel and why the old wiring was not up to par with local building and safety codes. As far as electricians go, John’s rates are very reasonable. The turnaround times were so reasonable. I would recommend this company to anyone!

The first example doesn’t provide enough information to give Google a good sense of which services the client liked the most. From a consumer’s perspective, it’s not the most compelling review, either.

By contrast, the second example includes specifics like the electrician’s name, a handful of the services they received, and what made this electrician stand out from the rest. Notice how the text naturally incorporates industry-specific keywords, such as breaker panel, wiring, and electricians.

It’s not hard to see why the second example is preferred. But it can be hard to get your clients to leave such detailed reviews.

Read on to learn more about how to ask for longer reviews like a pro.

Prompt Your Clients for Detailed, Long-Form Reviews by Asking Questions

Using a template to ask for long-form reviews is a great way to get your client’s honest feedback while ensuring a more robust and full review that attracts Google’s attention.

Instead of just providing your clients with a blank forum to fill out, why not ask them a few questions that prompt them to be more descriptive?

You can ask questions like:

  • What services did you receive today?
  • Which of our locations did you visit?
  • How did our technicians do?
  • Was there a specific technique that you’d like to recognize here?
  • What aspects of working with us did you like most?
  • Is this your first interaction with our team?
  • Have you experienced other services we have provided?
  • How do we measure up against the competition?
  • Do you have any tips for us?

Be sure to let your clients know that you’d still appreciate a short and to-the-point review if they don’t have a lot of time.

While long-form reviews are ideal, the quantity of positive reviews you receive also plays a part in your ranking success.

What Is The Best Way to Ask for a Review?

If a follow-up email is already a regular part of your business, why not attach a link to the invoice you’re providing that takes your client to your business’s review forum?

This can be the perfect opportunity to politely request a review without putting too much pressure on the client.

In addition to this, you can use your social media platforms to request reviews and have your technicians let your clients know that while not required, leaving a review would be the perfect way to show appreciation for a job well done.

You could also put together a direct email, which you can send to clients on your mailing list.

How to Craft an Email to Ask for a Review

Do you have questions about how to craft an email to ask for a review?

We have answers.

Below, you’ll find a list of pointers that will help you create the ideal template you can go on to send to all of your preferred clients:

  • Personalize the subject line with something attention-worthy
  • Ask them directly to leave a review
  • Provide a direct link to the review forum

Here is an example that will show you how each piece comes into play:

Subject: Hello Mark, we need your help!

Hello Mark,

It was our pleasure to complete your electrical panel box installation recently.

Thank you for choosing us.

Online reviews help us bring our reasonable electrical services to more households and businesses like yours.

Could you take a moment to leave us a review?

Follow this direct link to let us know what you liked about our services: <link>

Here are some things you could touch on if you need some inspiration:

  • Specific services or products provided
  • Location of services provided
  • Did we meet your expectations?
  • Did you work with a particular person who went above and beyond?
  • Would you recommend our company?

We appreciate you taking a minute to leave us a detailed review, but short thoughts are also appreciated if you only have a second to spare.

Thanks for your help,

John

Now that you know that robust customer reviews can boost your site’s visibility in SERPs, you can craft a strategy that aligns best with your business model.

Looking for More Review-Management Tips?

LinkNow to the Rescue!

Liked what you read? Feel inspired to rework your review-management strategy? Leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

If you’re looking for more tips to manage your online presence, LinkNow’s here to help. We develop data-driven solutions to help you build your brand, grow your audience, and manage your reputation online.

Discover how we can help you in a free consultation. Contact us to website@linknowmedia.com at (888) 667-7186 to get started today.

 

How Online Reviews Affect Your Local SEO

Woman raises arms in confusion. Text says: Do online reviews matter?

The importance of reviews is something that comes up a lot when discussing digital marketing. But how much do they actually impact your business?

It’s no secret that online reviews play a role in your search ranking and can influence potential customers. But you might be surprised to know that generating and managing reviews for your business can provide a big boost in traffic and sales.

Read on to learn more about the significance of online reviews and why you need to pay attention to them.

Local Search Engines Love Online Reviews

So how much do reviews matter to search engines?

As a ranking factor, review signals are huge. According to MOZ, online reviews make up 15.44% of how Google ranks you in local search results.

In other words, the more positive reviews you have on Google, the better you’ll rank. It’s as simple as that: Get more reviews, get more business.

This approach makes sense from a business perspective. Not only does it reward businesses that provide positive experiences. It also provides consumers with a reason to continue returning to the review website. Search engines gain traffic based on their ability to produce the most accurate and helpful information, so connecting people with highly-rated local businesses will make them more likely to use that search engine again.

Consumers Love Online Reviews

In addition to their role in search rankings, online reviews are often the deciding factor on whether somebody decides to contact your business. 93% of customers claim that their buying decisions are influenced by the testimonials they read, and 84% say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from people they know.

When someone is searching for a particular service or product, they typically already know what they need. Your audience will also usually have an idea of what their ideal business looks like, and testimonials can help reinforce that your company fulfills their needs. The time between reading reviews and making a purchasing decision happens almost immediately, so putting positive reviews in front of your audience will almost certainly bring more leads your way.

Managing Your Online Reputation Is Crucial

Although every business owner wishes they could maintain that 5-star rating forever, it’s hard to please everybody. That said, the way you deal with negative reviews can help highlight your composure as a business owner. It can show future clients that you value their opinions, and that you take customer feedback seriously, whether it’s good or bad.

When you receive reviews on Google (or any platform), respond to them. Keep a close eye on your review page so you can catch new reviews as they come in, and always leave a note of appreciation when someone leaves you some feedback. You never know what useful pieces of praise or constructive criticism you might find.

Looking for Help Managing Your Online Reputation?

LinkNow to the Rescue!

If you want some assistance with developing a review generation strategy or managing your online reputation, LinkNow Media is the name you can trust. We’ve already helped many business owners with their local SEO, and we would love to do the same for you.

Reach us 1.888.667.7186 or website@linknowmedia.com to speak with one of our digital marketing specialists.

Top 5 Sites to Get Reviews and Grow Your Business

Man holding a heart sign. Text says: Top 5 sites to get reviews.

It’s no secret: Getting reviews is super important to growing your business. And online is the best place to make happen.

But with so many different websites and apps around to get reviews, it’s not always easy to determine where you should be directing your clients to leave testimonials. What platforms should you focus on? How can you maximize the impact your reviews make?

In this post, we’ll look at the 5 best websites to get reviews. If you want to grow your business, these are the 5 review platforms you have to target.

1. Google My Business

If you had to focus on only one review platform, Google would be it. The undisputed champion of search engines, Google reviews can have a significant effect on the credibility of your business and how high you rank in local search results.

Many consumers put a lot of trust in Google reviews, which appear on many of the company’s apps, such as Search and Maps. This means that you get a lot of potential value from collecting reviews on Google and should typically be putting the biggest emphasis on this platform when asking for testimonials.

2. Facebook

Another reliable website for spreading word of mouth about your business is Facebook. This social networking giant has well over a billion users, making it a powerful resource for small business owners.

Facebook provides you with a great opportunity to connect with your client base and your community. Reviews on this platform can help you gain the trust of your target audience and improve the organic reach of your business.

3. Better Business Bureau

The BBB is a non-profit organization with the mission of helping consumers find businesses and charities that they can trust. For over 100 years, people have put their faith in this organization for honest and accurate information.

A high rating on this platform implies that you are a reputable business that can be trusted for top-notch service, so reviews here will do wonders for your credibility. An A+ rating on the BBB is a common selling point for many companies, and sharing testimonials from this platform can help earn the trust of your audience.

4. Yellow Pages

Years ago, when you wanted to find local businesses, you would just open the Yellow Pages. Although the print version has been scrapped in favor of online listings, the Yellow Pages is still a great place to promote your business.

It is a good idea to claim a free business listing on this website to manage the reviews you receive.

5. Yelp

Yelp is a name that people commonly associate with business reviews. Users can leave ratings and testimonials about local businesses in their area, with an emphasis on providing accurate information about their experience.

Yelp is also known for providing information that helps teach small business owners how to appropriately respond to reviews, which will serve you well across the other review platforms.

Looking to Grow Your Business with Online Reviews?

LinkNow Has You Covered!

If you could use some extra help with managing your online reviews and other aspects of digital marketing, LinkNow Media has you covered.

We invite you to contact us at 1.888.667.7186 or website@linknowmedia.com for more details.

Do Online Reviews Matter in 2021?

Man in suit scratching his head with caption: Do reviews even matter?

Countless online marketing studies indicate that most consumers will read reviews before hiring a service, visiting a restaurant, or shopping online. Consumers read reviews because they want to know what they’re getting and recognize that there are many businesses to choose from—and they see the value of their dollar.

But if you provide quality services and have developed an excellent reputation by word of mouth, are online reviews really important?

Short Answer: YES!

In short, if consumers are reading reviews online, you should be encouraging your clients to write them. You should also be interacting with these reviews directly, be it on your Google my Business Page, Yahoo Reviews, or Facebook – why you may ask? Let’s take a look.

Reviews Boost SEO

For starters, online reviews can really help online traffic and SEO – and isn’t that what we’re all here for?

Google, the Internet’s most prominent and essential review platform, prioritizes customer experience. Because so many people read reviews, especially when searching their local area, Google has included these reviews as a local search ranking signal.

The bottom line is the more reviews you have, the better your search results will be.

Reviews Are Key to Customer Service

Though it may seem awkward to ask your clients to leave you an online review, most will be happy to do so as long as you let them know how. Expressing interest in feedback also bodes well for your business, as it exemplifies your commitment to the customer experience and its betterment overall.

Responding to reviews is also important as it allows the client to feel heard and understood by the company, making it more likely they’ll return for more business in the future.

Reviews Help You Improve Client Experiences

Reading reviews and receiving feedback is also perhaps the most valuable way to learn how to improve your business moving forward.

If you are getting the same kind of complaints over and over, you’ll know you’re doing something wrong. Customers who are invested in your business may also have great suggestions for changes you can make to modernize the operation or make it more accessible to different demographics – just to name a few examples.

Reviews Help Build Community

Building a community is a huge part of building a business. Having customers comment not only on your products and services but also on your approach to client care, the atmosphere of your commercial space, and how they feel will give people a richer understanding of the culture of your business.

Question and answer interactions can also play a significant role in developing community ties. Responding to negative reviews can give potential customers an idea of how you deal with conflict resolution.


Overall, online reviews play a significant role in your business, and they shouldn’t be overlooked. So start reading, replying, and asking your customers to write their own, especially when they have a great experience.

Convinced of the power of reviews? Got any review-generation tips yourself? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below! And if you need help managing your online reputation, contact LinkNow at 888-667-7186 or website@linknowmedia.com.

Should You Ask Clients to Review You on Google? [2021]

Should You Ask for Google Reviews(1)By now, everyone knows how important it is to get their customers to leave positive, 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 conflate 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.”

—Google My Business Help

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.

Google Reviews Can Attract Clicks from New Customers

Positive reviews are important for gaining more traffic.

It’s not just about search algorithms, either. There’s a very human component too. Consumers almost always read reviews before trying any new service or product. They depend on those reviews to help them make an informed decision, and the content in those reviews is often the deciding factor.

In general, consumers want to see reviews with:

  1. High ratings
  2. Positive words in review text
  3. Many positive, detailed reviews

People are naturally drawn to businesses with those 3 factors going for them.

Search for businesses in your industry and see which Google My Business (GMB) profiles you are most attracted to, and which ones you think you would call. You’ll notice that profiles with more reviews and a higher rating are much more appealing than those without.

How to Ask Clients for Google Reviews

Now that you know how important it is to ask clients to review you, let’s look at how you should ask them.

Ask Every Customer for a Review

It’s important to ask every customer for a review. Behind Google My Business profiles, reviews are the 2nd most important ranking factor Google looks at for their local finder results. This means that the amount and quality of reviews you receive has a significant impact on the ranking of your business on Google.

If you are just getting started on asking customers for reviews, it can take some time before it has any impact on your ranking.

Our advice?

Be persistent and you’ll start reaping the rewards of your hard work before you know it.

4 Proven Techniques for Asking for Google Reviews

It’s time to start drafting and asking clients to leave you a review! Here are 4 of our top practices to keep in mind.

1. Ask for Google Reviews by Email

The easiest way to get reviews 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.

2. 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 2021.

3. 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.

4. 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.

Google Review “Snippets”

Snippets are a feature Google has implemented to make searching easier for the user.

Review snippets appear on a business’s Google My Business page, just below their contact details. These snippets provide a snapshot of one customer review highlighting a keyword in the user’s search query:

Google search results showing local heating repair companies. Highlighted is a listing with a review snippet that reads: "I had a furnace/heating issue and called Martin."

Your clients leave important keywords while reviewing your business. So, the more reviews you have under your belt, the more opportunity Google has to select from your reviews to match people’s searches. This will inevitably draw people to your business because it will make you stand out from the competition—yet another excellent reason to ask every customer for a review on your Google My Business profile.

Google Reviews are an Easy Way to Grow Your Business Online!

Consistently asking your clients to review your services will help your business grow. As Google emphasizes its reviews feature in different ways, business owners like yourself should take advantage of it.

Using these simple methods will improve your reputation and grow your business. Let us know how they help in the comments below!

 

 

 

How to Respond to Negative Google Reviews [2021]

US - How to Respond to Negative Reviews in 2021

As a company, generating positive online reviews is a great way to drum up business and showcase the value of your services.

But not all the reviews you get will be positive. When the time comes, you need to know how to respond to those not-so-savory reviews, so you can maintain your reputation.

Here are 5 steps you can take when responding to negative reviews online.

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.

  1. 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 google.comand sign in to 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).
  4. Empathize

Customers can tell when your response is half-hearted. If 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.

  1. Offer solutions

It’s important to offer customers a solution to their problem. We’re not saying you have to bend over backward 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.

  1. 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.

Tips for Wording Your Review Response

Now that we’ve covered the steps you should take when your business receives a negative review, let’s go over some tips to make your response as effective as possible.

It pays to formulate a well-thought-out reply. Just responding to a negative review isn’t enough. You have to say something meaningful to resolve the conflict.

By adhering to the following guidelines, you can avoid fanning the flames and ensure future customers are willing to give your business a chance.

Personalize Your Reply

After having a negative experience with a company, the last thing that someone wants is to be brushed off or treated like a cog in the wheel. By taking the time to address your customer by name, instead of using generic replies such as “dear customer,” you can make your response feel more sincere.

Remember Your Industry

A response that someone would expect from a restaurant is different from what they’d expect from a contractor, so you should always keep your industry in mind when responding.

Think about why that person came to your business in the first place and put yourself in the shoes of potential customers who might be swayed by the way you respond. It also helps to research successful businesses in your field to see how they deal with negative comments and then basing your approach on this.

A Little Grammar Goes a Long Way

By making an effort to proofread your reply before posting it, you can avoid grammatical mistakes or oversights. A well-structured response will reinforce that you are a professional business owner who gives full attention to their customers. Keep it personal, but keep it professional.

Avoid Over-Apologizing

Although offering your sympathies is important when responding to negative reviews, don’t be too aplogetic. It can come off as unprofessional, as if you’re grovelling to claw back that customer. Keep your apologies brief and instead focus on your commitment to excellent service and the steps you will take to make things right.

Follow the Trends

When all else fails, a good strategy for responding is to follow what is effective for other businesses. Utilize what has proven worthwhile for successful companies and structure your reply around the most common topics.

In descending order, here’s what’s most often done in review responses:

  • Thank the reviewer for their feedback
  • Focus on customer service
  • Encourage the reviewer to contact directly
  • Discuss the customer experience
  • Inviting them to return
  • Apologizing

By The Numbers: The Importance of Responding to Reviews

45% of consumers say they are more likely to visit a business if they respond to negative reviews.

That figure just goes to show you how essential responding to negative reviews can be. If you ignore the feedback you receive, you could be leaving money on the table. Up to 45% of it.

By taking a few minutes to address your negative reviews in a timely manner, you can show that you truly care about providing your customers with a first-rate experience.

Need Help Managing Your Online Reputation? LinkNow to the Rescue!

Negative reviews can be intimidating—we know. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

If you would like some professional assistance with managing your business on Google, consider getting in touch with the specialists at LinkNow Media. Reach us at 1.888.667.7186 or website@linknowmedia.com to learn more about what we offer.

3 Quick Tricks to Get More Google Reviews

Man pointing finger in background with text in foreground: More reviews, more business.

No matter the quality of your services, what your clients have to say about your business will always carry more weight than what you have to say about your business.

That’s why getting reviews is so crucial. Because customers place so much value on reviews, creating a space where clients can share their experiences should be a top priority.

With that in mind, here are 3 tips to get more Google reviews.

1.     Provide Exceptional Services and Prioritize Customer Experience

If you’re looking to get more reviews, you want those reviews to be good. So, to get good reviews you need to be providing excellent services.

While providing great services may seem like a no-brainer, there is a bit of strategy to it.

Here are a few tricks to deliver a stellar client experience:

  • Take the time to listen to your customer’s goals
  • Reiterate these goals to them
  • Involve them in the process
  • Address concerns right away
  • Go out of your way to be friendly and communicative

2.     Simplify the Process

Some clients won’t leave you a review because they don’t know how or simply don’t think of it. To counter this, make it super easy. At the very least, add a link to your Google review page on your website. We also recommend adding the link to the end of an email, on your social media, or on a physical business card.

If you cater to an older demographic, providing step-by-step instructions or screenshots of the process can also be helpful and increase the likelihood of participation.

3.     Ask Your Clients to Leave Reviews

Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to leave reviews, in person, on the phone, or in a follow-up email.

You may be surprised to know that 86% of consumers are willing to write a review, and directly asking them significantly improves your chances of receiving one.

Let your clients know how valuable their input is and how sharing their experience could help customers just like them.

Respond to Your Google Reviews, Good AND Bad

That’s right:

Respond to all Google reviews, both good and bad.

At its essence, the Google review page is a conversation between you and your clients. Not only does it allow customers to share their experiences, but it gives you the space to respond.

It’s easy to respond to good reviews. A quick “thank you!” goes a long way. But bad reviews give you a chance to show off your professionalism and flex your conflict-resolution skills—an invaluable skill for any business owner.

Respond professionally and promptly with helpful solutions that invite them to contact you again. By doing so, you’ll impress visitors who see how much you care about all customers, satisfied or otherwise.

Get People Talking About Your Business!

The bottom line is this:

The more reviews you have, the better.

Providing great services is the first step to getting good reviews. But don’t forget to follow through.  Ask your clients to review your business.

Send them a link.

Email a link.

Add a Google Review badge onto the home page of your website.

The best way to get reviews, is to ask for reviews. So ask away.


 

Found this post useful? Want more guidance? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

If you need help setting up your Google My Business or getting more Google reviews, contact us at website@linknowmedia.com to see what we can do for you.

Are Fake Reviews Still a Problem Online?

The short answer: yes.

The unfortunate reality is that fake reviews are a business—a big one. However, the small business owner should steer clear of this practice and counteract it with sound SEO practices.

Here’s how.

Positive Fake Reviews

Due to the relationship between reviews and ranking, creating fake reviews has become a lucrative business in the SEO world.

Everyone knows that you need positive reviews to improve your Google ranking. Positive reviews act like referrals from people who have hired your services. Unfortunately, positive fake reviews can harm your reputation rather than help it.

Google has been fighting against fake reviews in a decades’ long battle to preserve its credibility for being the number one review platform. Similarly, Yelp has employed undercover operations in their attempt to expose and remove review spammers. Local businesses and SEO companies who get caught are subject to hefty fines and penalties. You don’t want to be found among them.

The trouble is, a fake review isn’t always easy to identify.

How to Weed Out the Fakes from the Factual

For starters, how do you tell if a review is fake? Here are some general guidelines:

  1. This review is the only activity listed in the account’s history.
  2. The account was created around the same time the review was posted.
  3. The review has no words or is vague and lacks personalized comments.

Keep in mind, while Google will evaluate the review after you’ve flagged it, the process will take time. If Google thinks the review is genuine, you might never see it officially taken down.

So, your best defense is a strong offense. Report suspected fake reviews when you’re convinced that they’re unlawful. But more than that, make sure you have a strong review generation strategy that’s on the straight and narrow.

Long-term, a legal, sound marketing strategy will go the distance. Fake reviewing, on the other hand, is a short sprint that will either peter out quickly or backfire.

Negative Reviews

There are two sides to the fake review business: they can be used to promote or sabotage a business.

A fake 5-star review on your competitor’s site is one thing. But what do you do when a competitor posts a malicious 1-star review on your profile?

Here are the steps you should take to safeguard your reputation.

Always Respond, then Report

Although it may not be your first instinct, you should respond to the negative review. Whether it’s legitimate or not.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, one of Google’s ranking factors is business owner responsiveness. By replying, you’ll protect your ranking. Secondly, responding to a fraudulent review will showcase your professionalism to your client base.

For example, if you receive a suspect 1-star review with no specific information relating to their customer experience, you might reply as follows:

“Thank you for leaving a review. Our company appreciates customer feedback and seeks to resolve issues wherever we can. We’d love the opportunity to make things right. However, we’re unable to offer our help unless we have more information about your experience with us. If you’d like, please contact us at [insert contact information].”

A reply like this indicates that you care about the opinion of your customers while hinting to the fact the complaint may be disingenuous.

After you’ve responded, flag the review and report the violation to Google.

Resist Fake Reviews with a Solid Marketing Strategy

It’s never fun to be on the receiving end of a fake review. Make a habit of monitoring, responding to, and reporting counterfeits on your company’s profile. And don’t forget to counteract the attacks by building your own base of real reviews!

 

Would you like professional assistance managing your brand identity online? Contact the marketing strategists at LinkNow Media. Drop us a line at 1.888.667.7186 or email us at website@linknowmedia.com!

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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Why Bad Reviews Might Be Good for Business

It’s no secret. Five-star Google reviews are the gateway to effortless leads. If there’s one trick to outranking the competition, it’s getting a ton of positive reviews.

But what happens when a scathing, one-star review taints your spotless profile? Don’t panic!  It’s not as bad as you think. Just read this blog to learn how to make negative reviews work in your favor!

Your Marketing Strategy is Working

So, you got a bad review. It’s bound to happen. Here’s the silver lining though. The fact that someone cared enough to leave a negative review means your online marketing strategy is working.

It’s doing what you want—rather, it’s doing what you designed it to do. It’s generating traffic. Sure, in an ideal world, all your customers would leave raving reviews about how their lives will never be the same, and how they’re eternally grateful that they found your service.

But the reality is, bad reviews are par for the course on the internet.

Your Ranking Depends on Your Responsiveness

Regardless of how mean, untrue, or eccentric that review is, try to see it for what it is: a shining beacon of opportunity. Engage with it. Show that you care!

Google and Yelp have made responsiveness one of their ranking factors. This means that the content of your review doesn’t matter—what matters is what you do with it.

A company with twenty lousy reviews isn’t a foregone failure if the owner carefully, politely, and thoroughly addresses each of them. In this scenario, Google doesn’t see a lousy business owner. Google sees an active business owner who cares about their clients.

You can’t remove the negative, so milk it for what it’s worth! If you respond promptly and respectfully to your dissatisfied customer, you can count it as a win for your ranking.

Bad Reviews Build Credibility

A bad review isn’t the end of the world. One might argue that a rare negative review can increase your business’ credibility. Now, before you scoff at this statement and skim to the next section, consider this.

Customers that are browsing your company’s business listing expect to find faults. They may even want to know the downfalls of your services. Customers do their research—they compare what other people consider to be the pros and cons. And other people might not have the same priorities as them. A negative review for one person could easily be a positive for another!

Plus, a negative review can work in your favor by making you more relatable. Nobody’s perfect, after all! And your clients know that. As long as the overarching trajectory of your listing is positive, your clients will likely forgive an outlying piece of negative feedback.

Too Many Positive Reviews May Look Suspicious

You’d be surprised at how many people—even people who have never heard of SEO—are aware of fake reviews. Most of them are intelligent consumers that can weed out the real from the fake. So, relax a little! Give web surfers more credit, and they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Even if that nasty remark is legitimate, there’s still hope. Chances are, your clients have experience dealing with angry customers too. Or, at the very least, they’ve encountered them in line at Starbucks. Prospective consumers are usually well versed in discerning what’s worth listening to and what’s not.

The bottom line is, if you’re endlessly obsessing over a single insulting statement, stop. The majority of your clients will overlook one lackluster comment in favor of nine positive ones.

Your Prospective Clients are Waiting for Your Response

When you receive a negative review, don’t hang your head and assume the damage is done. No, you can’t remove the post, but you can redirect your customer’s attention – off the review and onto you.

Have you ever gotten into a heated discussion at work and left the boardroom thinking, “Wow, my colleague handled that really well”? The same applies online. As tempting as it might be to ignore your accuser (or snap back in anger and explain all the reasons their opinion is wrong), use your reply as an opportunity. Take advantage of the platform to showcase your stellar customer service.

You can’t stop your clients from reading the haters, but don’t forget that they’re equally interested in observing your reaction. A thoughtful reply to a mocking remark can leave your clients thinking that you’re a class act and that the rude heckler who initiated the dialogue was out of line. Your behavior as a business owner speaks volumes.

Benefit from the Constructive Criticism

Yes, there are fraudulent reviews out there. But there are also valid critiques. These can hurt. As hard as you try, mistakes can happen. Whether it’s an oversight during the busy season or employee no-shows leave you short-staffed—it’s impossible to be on your A-game 100% of the time.

When a negative review is genuine, and an anonymous customer throws the spotlight on everything you did wrong, use the criticism constructively. Be an optimist. See the reproach as a precious glimpse into your clients’ experience. Your goal is to improve that experience for the next person.

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb, is equally famous for the number of times he failed at making the lightbulb. But in his eyes, he didn’t fail. l. Instead, he succeeded at finding 10, 000 ways not to make a lightbulb. Similarly, if you find yourself facing a seemingly insurmountable 10, 000 bad reviews, consider yourself enlightened – you just discovered 10, 000 ways not to provide your service. Your next attempt could make history.

 

Want to learn more about how reviews impact SEO? Contact our marketing specialists at LinkNow Media by leaving a comment below or calling us at 1.888.667.7186.

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