LinkNow Media | Customer Reviews

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Tag: Online Presence (Page 1 of 3)

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!

Use Reviews to Boost Your Ranking on Google Maps

Online reviews have forever revolutionized the way businesses operate.

Each time a prospective client or consumer searches for a service your business offers, they’ll be met with a multitude of different choices— all in their vicinity. Whether good or bad, your reviews will summarize and highlight your business’s products or service in the interest of informing future customers.

And not only is there a strong correlation between good reviews and new leads, but there’s also a connection between the way businesses rank and the kinds of reviews they get.  While you may not be able to control the tone of your business’s reviews—other than offering clients the best service and the best products you can—there are little things you can do to make sure your reviews get you the ranking you need!

Let’s have a look at a few ideas.

1) Positive Reviews Will Help You Rank

Offer the quality of services and products your clients will be delighted to rave about!

Reviews are formatted in the traditional one-to-five star ranking scale. While you obviously can’t specifically solicit great reviews, if you run the best business you can, the reviews will speak for themselves.

Here’s the thing: you’re much more likely to hear from unsatisfied customers than from satisfied ones. That sounds like an incentive to me!

With an array of glowing, five-star reviews, the clients will come flocking in!

2) Long (Positive) Reviews Make You Appear Trustworthy to Google

Did you know that reviews with words rank better than those without?

Long, detailed reviews will do more than inform future clients about the quality of your products and services. They’ll also show Google that your products are worth a conversation. The simple fact that someone has put their time and energy into writing a detailed positive review, makes your company appear trustworthy for Google.

3) Encourage Your Clients to Become Local Guides for Google

Google lends more weight to reviews left by active users. Google calls these active reviewers Local Guides. By acquiring reviews from these Local Guides, you’ll start ranking a lot faster!

Problem is, it’s not like you can go out there looking for Local Guides to review your product. So, encourage your clients to leave reviews on other businesses as well. With as few as 3 reviews, a Google user will become a trustworthy source in Google’s eyes.

4) Encourage Your Clients to Be Specific About the Services They’re Reviewing

Like the content on your business’s website, online reviews have keyword ranking potential. That means that when your clients leave reviews with specific references to the products or services you offer, you could actually improve your ranking for those keywords.

The more detailed, pertinent, and industry-relevant your business’s reviews are, the better.

5) The More Reviews the Better

This one’s really simple: the more reviews you get, the more likely people are to trust your total rating. The same applies to Google. The more people that are engaged with your Google My Business account, the more authority you’ll build up.

6) Google Loves Reviews with Images

Most of us are visual people. For this reason, it’s wonderful for your business and for prospective clients for your customers to enclose a picture or two with a review. It’s common enough for restaurants where taking pictures of food is practically a subculture—but it applies to all types of businesses!

Are you clients bursting with pride over their stunning new landscape or their gorgeous kitchen remodel? Have them show it off— and with it, your business’s craftsmanship!

7) Respond to All Your Reviews—Fast

Most importantly, interact with your reviews—and your reviewers. Not just the good ones!

The promptness of your reply and the quality of your response are both criteria that Google uses to rank businesses in local search. Be polite, detailed, and concise.

In the case of a complimentary review, thank the client for their patronage and for taking the time to review, and tell them you look forward to serving them again.

For a not-so-complimentary review, offer a genuine apology and seize the opportunity to remedy the situation. It will look so much better than an unanswered post!

Need Help Managing Your Google Reviews? LinkNow Media Can Help!

 At LinkNow Media, reviews and reputation management are our specialties! After almost a decade of success in digital marketing, we have the answers you’re looking for. Ask us anything in the comments below or give us a call at 1-888-667-7186.

Let’s work together to get ranking!

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.

How to Take Control and Improve Your Online Reputation

In Part 2 of our online reputation series, we give you the tools you need to take control of the conversions about your business.

For Part 1, click here to learn how to use reviews to generate leads.

For Part 3, click here to find out why reviews convert better than ads.

If you are new to the world of SEO and online marketing, you might think your company’s reputation is completely out of your hands. When so many people are just typing whatever they want into their computers, how are you supposed to stop them from writing a negative review about your business? How are you supposed to persuade them to write a good review?

If there’s one thing to be learned from our line of work here at LinkNow, it’s up to you to manage your online reputation. It is determined by how you handle every situation—good or bad.

Here are a few ways you can improve your company’s online reputation.

You Received a Negative Review. Now What?

Did you wake up to discover that a customer of yours has penned a negative review about your business? Maybe your team had a bad day and underperformed with the client. Maybe there was some misunderstanding. Maybe the client’s criticisms are unfounded and simply unfair.

In these situations, you might feel attacked and scared for your business. Your gut response might be to respond heatedly and tell this customer just how wrong they are. I mean, they’re attacking your business after all. That business is your livelihood!

We’ll tell you the same thing we tell all our clients at LinkNow: Don’t respond negatively to a negative review! Don’t lose your cool. Doing so might lead to the online equivalent of a shouting match between you and a customer. Is that something you’d want people to see when they walk through your door? Probably not.

Respond Positively to Negative Reviews

Whether they’re right or not it is always in your best interest to do two things:

  1. Publicly respond to the negative review if possible
  2. Be positive and receptive to the dissatisfied client.

Let the customer know you hear their complaints, criticisms, and concerns. When customers air grievances, they might expect a lot of things in return. While you might not be able to turn back time, you can at least let them know they’ve been heard and acknowledged. Let them know that the problem will be addressed with your staff and will not happen again.

Every business gets a negative review every now and then. If you handle it professionally and graciously, customers will chalk the issue up to a misunderstanding or isolated incident.

Ask Newcomers and Regulars for Reviews

Like we said, every business is bound to get one or two negative reviews. What helps is when there are many positive reviews on your Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook pages to make those negative reviews seem less representative of your company.

If your business has been operational since before the advent of social media, asking clients for online reviews might seem kind of strange. You might be worried that you’re being pushy. Don’t be! In the age of ‘Buy Local’, people love supporting local businesses. What better way for them to show their support than to post a glowing, thoughtful, and honest review of your business?

A Reputation Built on Reviews

Before you get customer reviews, you need an online presence. For some business owners, that is especially difficult. At LinkNow Media, we’ve helped over 10,000 small business owners spread the word about their services. Once we’ve established your online presence, you’ll have the customers you need to get those important reviews!

Click here to read Part 3 of our reputation management series!

Get Leads with a Reputation Management Strategy for Small Business

In Part 1 of our online reputation series, we look at how your reputation can be turned into a lead generating machine.

Click here for Part 2 and learn how to take control of your online reputation!

It’s no secret that doing good work and building a good reputation will help your small business. It’s always been that way. Well before the internet was ever even an idea, business owners needed to develop solid relationships with their customers. And those relationships translated to leads.

But with the invention of the internet, it suddenly became impossible to escape your reputation. Your marketing, your reviews, your engagement with clients—it’s all recorded and visible for everyone to see.

In the online world, managing what people read about your small business can mean the difference between success and failure. Join us as we explore the ins and outs of reputation management for small businesses.

What is Reputation Management?

When most small business owners think of managing their online reputation, they think reviews. And while reviews are a good place to start, it’s really just one small part of your digital reputation.

Everything you do online contributes to your reputation. Your content, your marketing, your engagement with clients, your reviews, your business listings, the articles written about you, the comments mentioning you on social media platforms. The list goes on and on.

That’s why it’s important to think of reputation management as an essential part of your digital marketing strategy. Ironically, it’s not about you. It’s about making your clients feel valued. It’s about showing your clients that you care what they think.

Reviews Are Conversion-Ready Free Advertisement!

If you haven’t already, sign up for Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook. These three review sites offer small businesses a platform to establish connections with their clients. By filtering fake reviews, each of them has become an authoritative place to learn about a business. People trust what they read there.

Think of reviews as free advertising. People will spread the word about your business often without even being prompted. Ideally, you do good work and your clients leave great reviews. However, even bad reviews can be to your benefit. How?

It’s not always about what the client says. It’s about how you respond to it. Thank people for the good ones and try to find ways to calmly mitigate the bad ones. And don’t leave anyone out!

Studies show that 77% of consumers read reviews before buying something. That means reviews are also an important conversion factor. They are one of the last things a consumer will check before buying a product or service. Many consumers even use filter tools to look view only the 4 and 5-star businesses. Make sure you’re up there with them!

Comments Help You Connect With Your Clients

Are you using social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook? Make sure you keep up-to-date with them by keeping your notifications on. When someone leaves a comment for you, respond to it as promptly as possible.

This will not only show that many people are interested in what you’re offering, but it will also show that you care. Establishing strong lines of communication between yourself and your client-base will make them feel good about spending their hard-earned money on your services rather than your competitor’s.

Advertising and Content Tells Clients What Kind of Business You Are

Ever go to a website and find yourself closing window after window of pop-ups? It sucks.

Certain kinds of advertisements can create the wrong impression of your business. Make sure that when you’re developing your marketing and content strategy, you’re thinking long and hard about how you want to represent your business. Assume that clients will read everything they can find about you online.

Reputation Management From the Pros

If you have a feeling that your business is being mis-represented, contact a reputation management expert for a consultation. At LinkNow Media, reputation management is our specialty. We cover everything from local business listings, to reviews, to comments, to social media posts, to blogs—everything that contributes to your reputation online.

Got a question about managing your reputation, give us a call or leave us a comment below!

Click here to read Part 2 of our reputation management series!

How To Encourage Employee Feedback Online

Creating a comfortable work environment for colleagues and employees is something that every company strives for. Some companies have a harder time achieving this than others. At LinkNow Media, on the other hand, we feel we’ve created the kind of environment that makes staff feel comfortable expressing their complaints and concerns.

What’s the secret formula behind a happy workplace? Unfortunately, there isn’t one. There’s no short-cut to cultivating a space where employees feel comfortable providing feedback. But that doesn’t mean it’s difficult either. A workplace with open dialogues and considerations given to every employee comment comes with patience, understanding, and mutual respect—just like in any relationship or team environment.

The Importance of Employee Feedback

When employees give feedback, it shows they have a more-than-active interest in the company. When their feedback is taken into consideration, they only feel more invested in the workplace. What employer would want to stifle that sense of dedication? Not us!

Employee feedback, whether within the office, or online via review/recruitment sites like Glassdoor, isn’t just great for morale—it’s great for your brand and future recruitment efforts. By promoting anonymous review platforms like Glassdoor, you give your employees the chance to make their opinions heard without fear of repercussions. It’s a great resource, not just for prospective employees, but also employers looking to improve their company culture and management style.

Here are some helpful tips courtesy of LinkNow Media.

Tips on How to Encourage Employee Feedback Online

There are few recruitment tools as valuable as Glassdoor. That’s because Glassdoor has the option to for employees to leave anonymous reviews. These reviews can be as detailed as one wishes, or brief and to-the-point. How can an employer or team manager persuade their teammates to leave reviews on these online review platforms like Glassdoor?

Fostering a workplace environment where employees feel comfortable speaking their mind is only half the battle. To get clients to take time out of their day to type out their feedback? How’s that supposed to happen?

Here’s a scenario: If your company is looking to fill a position in a certain department, having reviews and information on Glassdoor about the position is incredibly helpful, isn’t it? And having the right people apply for the job is especially important for employees, right? Regardless of qualifications, if someone doesn’t ‘gel’ with their employees, it can be a recipe for disaster.

How can you make sure potential applicants know whether they’d be a good fit with your team and vice versa? Ask your teammates to write up-to-date explanations of their job on Glassdoor! When
the goal is building the right team, every employee should feel invested enough to leave employee feedback and online reviews.

Online Employee Feedback and Reviews from Newcomers

Another great approach to getting employee feedback is by asking newcomers. New to the job, they’re likely energized and wowed by your company’s accommodating atmosphere. Asking them to write about their first day of work on Glassdoor should be no different than writing a customer review on Yelp.

These are but a few of the ways companies cultivate a workplace where employees feel comfortable—even eager—to leave online reviews. At the end of the day, it all comes down to having a work environment with a reliable Human Resources team to deal with confidential complaints, excellent team leaders, and an office that feels like more than just a workplace.

December Fake Review Attack Affects Hundreds of Small Businesses

Throughout the past months, we’ve been writing a lot about the ways that review platforms like Yelp and Google control fake reviews. Google, for example, began systematically deleting anonymous reviews last spring in an effort to make it more difficult for black hat SEOs to do negative SEO attacks.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite solve the problem. Although Google users can no longer post anonymously, they can still create fake profiles and use them to target the competition.

This is exactly what happened in early December, when small businesses across the U.S. and the world were suddenly bombarded with fake 4-star reviews.

Read on if you want to learn how to protect yourself from the next attack.

What We Know About The December Fake Review Attack

Although no one knows who was behind the fake review attack or what their endgame was, we do know a few things.

It appears that around 37 fake profiles were used to leave over 3 million 4-star Google reviews. When you divide it up, the average profile left around 81 000 ratings—in a matter of days. The small business owners affected by the attack were left confused and worried about their rank on Google.

After all, even though the reviews were all 4-star, many business owners speculated about whether they’d be punished for artificially inflating their rating.

Luckily, the sheer scale of the attack was enough to set Google in motion straight away. Within 5 days they had taken all (or nearly all) of the fake reviews offline. But even though the ratings returned to normal those affected still don’t have the answers they need.

Possible Motives For The Attack

After reviewing the affected businesses, it’s still unclear why they were targeted and not others. In many ways it appears to have been random. The only thing that connects all the victims together is that they were typically small businesses.

Many people asked why 4-star reviews were used for the attack rather than 1 or 2-star reviews. Perhaps it was an attempt to veil the attack in the hopes that Google would punish many of those businesses for inflating their ratings.

Although it’s pure speculation, there’s also the possibility that this was a kind of test operation—an attempt to work out a plan of action for another attack that would be subtler and on a larger scale. It’s hard to say exactly, but we’re happy it’s been taken care of.

It could’ve also been an attempt show that Google reviews are not so legitimate as they’d like them to appear. Vulnerabilities like the ones the attack made visible, serve to disrupt Google’s own trustworthiness­­—and the irony isn’t lost on us!

Why Is It Important To Understand Fake Reviews?

At LinkNow Media, reviews and ratings form a large part of our reputation management strategy. From the point of view of conversion, we know that most clients will check Google reviews before making a purchase.

The problem is not just related to conversion either. It’s also about trust. A lot of web traffic is the result of business listing website clicks. Business owners with untrustworthy reviews may experience sudden traffic drops simply due to clients opting for the competition.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Google establishes rankings with the trustworthiness of your online presence in mind. If you have fake reviews on Google (and elsewhere), you could find yourself running into problems with your rankings.

Conclusion

Keep track of who is reviewing your listings and what they are saying. Be vigilant. All the time. Every day.

If you notice suspicious activity, report it to Google. Take a look through SEO blogs to see if anyone’s talking about an attack. If you’re not sure about it or would like some advice, call LinkNow Media to speak with one of our SEO experts!

How to Get Positive Online Reviews from Your Clients on Boxing Day

There are few industries in the world that have an easy time getting positive reviews from their clients. Getting positive reviews during the busiest time of year is no exception either. Negative reviews? Sure. Some customers will leave negative reviews for the most minor of offenses—or for no offense at all. Those reviews, however, are not the kind we’re talking about.

We’re talking about honest, positive reviews. Thoughtful reviews, or just reviews that consist of the briefest of compliments. There are few companies that don’t struggle to get glowing (and unincentivized!) reviews. Even the companies who’ve never failed to provide with customers with complete satisfaction can’t seem to get a single 5-star review on their Yelp or Google listing!

At LinkNow Media, we talk with a lot of business owners. Most of them, at first, have this very same dilemma. They do great work day-in, day-out, and every customer always leaves their shop with a satisfied smile on their face—but alas, their Google and Yelp review sections are blank.

How do we help our clients get out of this slump? How can you get your clients to spread the good word about your high-quality customer service during the holiday season?

Here are a few of the suggestions LinkNow Media provides to our clients.

Ask Your Clients to Leave Reviews!

That’s right. Just ask them! Despite how hectic holiday shopping and Boxing Day sales may be, people are still imbued with the Christmas spirit. It’s the season of giving! They’re eager to reciprocate warm feelings and generosity. Any time you have a positive experience with a client in person this holiday season, just ask them to leave a little review!

You might be wondering, “Is it OK to ask for reviews?” For Google at least, the answer is 100%, “Yes!” Ask away!

Yelp, on the other hand, has made it explicitly clear that no company should incentivize clients and customers to leave reviews. What does that mean? In short, it means that your customers should be leaving reviews because they genuinely want to spread the word about the business or help you out. The same rule should apply to any other review platform as well. You should want EVERY review to be genuine and sincere, after all.

Asking in person might seem stressful or pushy, but it really isn’t. A good customer interaction should be professional, yes, but it should also be personable and good-natured. If you have a friendly rapport with your client, asking them for a review should not seem pushy.

There is no better time than the end of a sale to ask your client to leave a review. They’ll have just been helped out by you, so they’ll be eager to help your business out and spread the good word.

The “Buy Local” Campaign

Now more than ever, people love supporting local businesses. Small business owners are a valued part of any community. If your clients see your business as a community-oriented company that is “local” in spirit and practice, they’ll be more inclined to leave you a positive review.

The “Tip” Method

Another great approach for gathering more online reviews is the “tip” approach. After you’ve had a great Holiday interaction with a client let them know that if they leave a positive review mentioning the name of the person that helped them, the company will give them a tip or “holiday bonus” for their great service.

We’ve seen this method work time and time again. Many clients see it as a way of “giving back” to their service providers and local workers. And all that’s required of them is that they leave a genuine and honest review!

There are other ways to accumulate positive online reviews, but they all require one thing: Quality customer interactions! If you’re not providing your client warm, friendly, and first-rate customer service this holiday season, they’ll be more inclined to give you a lump of goal over a good review.

What Are Yelp and Google Doing to Fight Fake Reviews?

What are google and yelp doing to fight fake reviews?

Being a consumer has never been easier—and more deceiving.

Long before booking an appointment, hiring a tradesman, or ordering a meal, prospective buyers can gleefully browse through pages of listed companies offering exactly what they want.

They’ll find much more than just the basics of the business— locations, rates, contact info.

By way of the Internet, consumers can now scrutinize a company’s reputation in the form of online reviews. They’ve used the services, purchased the products, and have now gone to the trouble of reviewing their experience.

But just how trustworthy are online review sites like Google and Yelp?

What Are Fake Reviews?

As the name suggests, fake reviews are inaccurate, slanderous depictions of a business.

Fake reviews usually come in two forms. Either, they are positive reviews designed to artificially inflate a business’s reputation for the better. Or, they are negative reviews left by black hat SEO companies, jealous competitors, or disgruntled employees aiming to ruin a business’ reputation.

Fake reviews are misleading at best, and at worst, can ruin a business both on and offline.

Do Review Websites Try to Fight Fake Reviews?

Fortunately for businesses and consumers alike, review aggregators like Google and Yelp are several steps ahead of these dishonest keyboard warriors. These market giants are coming up with increasingly clever ways to detect and remove fake reviews.

It is, after all, in their interest to show only trustworthy reviews. If consumers couldn’t trust the reviews, they simply wouldn’t use the site. If consumers are checking reviews to figure out whether a business is trustworthy, the review site itself better be trustworthy too!

How Does Google Deal With Fake Reviews?

In the spring of 2018, Google began systematically removing all anonymous reviews from Google My Business. The idea behind the move was that anonymous reviews were more likely to be untrustworthy.

Of course, not all the anonymous reviews were fake—and there was a backlash because of it. But since reputation management is something we’re concerned with at LinkNow Media, we think this was definitely a move in the right direction. If you’d like to learn more about, you can read our article on it.

If you are a business owner, Google is unlikely to remove a review unless there is clear evidence of spam patterns. The Google My Business forum is a resource for business owners who feel that a review has been inaccurate. It’s generally a long process and one that will require a significant amount of evidence, simply because no one likes negative reviews. If you can’t lay out clear evidence of being spammed by fake reviews, Google must assume that the reviews have been left by real customers.

How Does Yelp Deal With Fake Reviews?

What sets the Yelp reviews apart from Google, is that Yelp has built an algorithm that’s designed to weed out untrustworthy reviews before they are displayed on a listing.

The algorithm decides whether a review should be recommended or not recommended. If it is recommended, it ends up as part of the total rating that’s visible on every business’ Yelp profile. If it is deemed untrustworthy, the review will end up in the ‘Not currently recommended’ section of the business listing. These reviews are still visible to the public, but you have to scroll to the bottom of the page and follow a series of links that lead to them. They are hidden.

Yelp determines whether or not a review is trustworthy based on a number of criteria. While that criteria is kept under wraps, it’s possible to make some educated guesses about what goes into it:

  • When did the reviewer sign up for Yelp?
  • How active is the reviewer?
  • How many reviews do they have?
  • What kinds of reviews have they left?

Notice that most of these are related to activity on Yelp. Yelp is a social media platform and they generate profit by having active users.

This is why, as a business owner, Yelp can be challenging to work with. If your clients are not active Yelp users, their reviews may not appear in the recommended section.

At LinkNow Media, we’re very familiar with this side of Yelp. Being a B2B online digital marketing agency, the LinkNow Media reviews are particularly susceptible to having our client’s reviews end up in the ‘Not currently recommended’ section. If you want to see over a hundred hidden 5-star LinkNow reviews, take a look at our Yelp profile!

All things considered, Yelp is making every attempt at limiting fake reviews. And this is something that’s needed to protect business’ online reputation and give consumers the information they need to make good purchasing decisions.

Yelp also enforces consequences when they find that businesses have left fake reviews on their own or their competitor’s profiles.  Yelp issues ranking penalties and monitors listings for more fake reviews in the future. They can even go so far as to remove the listing altogether.

Yelp also has what they call a “don’t ask” policy aimed. This policy is designed to punish businesses that offer discounts or other incentives in exchange for positive client reviews. For Yelp, it doesn’t matter whether the client has or has not had a real experience with the business. If clients are not willingly choosing to leave the review, the review can’t be trusted.

How Businesses Are Taking Action Against Fake Reviews

Regardless of Google and Yelp’s activities, business owners can take control of fake reviews. The best way to go about this is through professional, well-mannered replies outlining the inaccuracy of these reviews.

No business wants a bad review. Discerning between negative but truthful and an inaccurate review is no easy task, for humans or algorithms— especially given the emotionally-laden tone of many reviews.

As an SEO company specializing in managing online reputations and reviews, LinkNow Media is constantly following Google and Yelp’s review policies. So, if you have any questions regarding fake reviews on your business listing, feel free to give us a call. Our reputation management experts in the SEO department will be happy to answer any of your questions!

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