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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!

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!

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.

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!

Why Google Likes Businesses It Can Trust

Would you buy services from a company that you couldn’t trust? No. Probably not.

So, when Google decides who’s going to rank before who on their search engine, they promote trustworthy businesses above all others. Google’s goal, after all, is to provide users with relevant, trustworthy results for their searches. If they didn’t, that would be the end of Google. And Google wouldn’t like that too much.

We know that trust is important for Google. But how do you show that you’re trustworthy? In this post, we’re going to look at a few proven tricks to make your business trustworthy online.

Expertise, Authority, Trust: Google’s Quality Evaluator

If there’s one thing you need to know about Google’s page ranking system, it’s E-A-T.  This stands for “Expertise, Authority, and Trust” and it’s a fundamental part of how Google ranks your business on their search engine. The higher you rank, the easier it is for people to find you. If Google finds that you have strong E-A-T, they’ll be happy to promote you before your competition!

As we noted last November, while expertise and authoritativeness are crucial for SEO, trust has proven to be the most important piece of every SEO strategy. It’s what we, here at LinkNow Media, have used to build our results-driven local SEO and organic SEO strategies.

Positive and Detailed Reviews Prove that You’re Trustworthy

The best place to start is by getting lots of detailed reviews from your clients.

Reviews make your business legitimate in Google’s eyes. They make a business more than just an online entity. It makes them real. And although good reviews are always best, having lots of reviews can help your business seem more trustworthy. They show a pattern and build a reputation, which in turn builds trust.

Make sure you ask every client (who’s happy with your work) to leave you a review online. Make it easy for them by bringing a tablet or smartphone with you to the job site. Or, send them an email once the work is done. Encourage your clients to leave a detailed review that says what they liked about your work. The more specific details, the better!

Write Content that is Honest, Upfront, and True

It might surprise you to learn that Google reads all the content on your website. They do this to figure out whether your webpages might be relevant to their searchers.

If you’re selling a product or service, don’t hide your pitch in a bunch of information. Come out and say it! If someone is looking to buy, they’ll know they’re in the right place—and be convinced at the same time. By being honest about selling something, you tell Google that your page is relevant to buyers. The result is that Google will help turn your page into a lead generating machine.

Finally, make sure that all your claims are true. Don’t exaggerate the benefits of your product. Google has indexed nearly all the information available online today. And their algorithms are designed to look for scams, schemes, and tricks.

Be honest and reap the rewards!

Increase the Trustworthiness of Your Business with the Help of a Digital Marketer

If you’re looking to build trust with Google, the most effective way to do so is to hire the expertise of a digital marketer like LinkNow Media. We help small business owners with reputation management so that Google will rank them better.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments—leave us a note below, and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Or if you’d like to speak to an SEO expert, send us an email at website@linknowmedia.com.

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

Do You Need Reviews to Rank on Yelp?

These days, ranking well on Yelp is nearly as important as ranking on Google. And just like on Google, good reviews are a fast-track-pass to ranking on Yelp.

What do people have to say about you and the service you provide? Are people raving about one common thing? Do they have anything to say in the first place? The answers to these questions could have a major impact on whether your company will rank well or not.

Read on to learn how to get the kind of reviews you need to rank on Yelp!

Positive Yelp Ratings Will Improve Your Ranking

Want to pop up first when people search for a service on Yelp? The proof is in the pudding and the answer is in the reviews. The more reviews you have overall, the better it is for your ranking. So, whenever you can, casually remind your clients to leave you a Yelp review and easily reap the rewards.

Your reviews are a good reflection of your reputation. Although it’s true that it’s better to have people talking about you than not talking at all, it’s obviously best for your business to have positive ratings. This way, when customers refine their search results to show the “Highest Rated” businesses for a certain service in their area, you’ll want to be a top result.

You should encourage all your clients to write you reviews on Yelp, but especially those you’ve just wowed with exceptional service. They’re way more likely to write you a great review!

Rank Better on Yelp with SEO-Optimized Reviews

SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is an essential component to ranking on search engines and business directories on the Internet. Try to encourage your customers to insert specific keywords related to the services you provide in their Yelp reviews. Studies have shown that the frequency of relevant keywords in reviews can have a significant impact on your Yelp rankings!

For example, if you’re a roofing contractor, reviews that specifically mention roofing repair or roofing installation are what you’d be going for. It’s especially important that the keywords used, match with the business category you’ve selected on your Yelp listing. If you’re a plumber and have selected plumber as your business category, having the word plumber in many reviews is very important for Yelp!

So, what’s the best approach for getting keywords into reviews? Ask your clients to be specific and detailed about the services they received. Make sure they describe the quality and what they loved about it. Detailed reviews will almost always be filled with relevant keywords that will help your rank!

Climb the Rankings with Elite Yelper Reviews

Although Yelp’s review filter algorithm remains something of a mystery, we know that active users are much more likely to be included in the overall rating than inactive or new users. The idea is that Yelpers who leave a lot of reviews are more likely to be trusted sources. In turn, Yelp gives their reviews more weight in the overall scores.

So, if you know that a client of yours hasn’t left many reviews, ask them to leave reviews for other local businesses while they’re at it. That’ll make it a lot more likely for them to count in your overall rating and get you ranking—fast!

 

Want more tips and tricks like the ones in this article? Get in touch with us at website@linknowmedia.com to keep up to date with our posts and leave us a comment below.

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!

How to Build a Solid Reputation Management Strategy

In the competitive world of business, reputation is everything. Starting a business is one thing, but continued success and growth are made possible through a well-planned digital marketing program. And when it comes to digital marketing, nothing is more important than reputation management.

To this end, we have compiled this list of helpful tips your enterprise can take towards building a rock-solid online reputation.

1) Maintain Your Website

In this day and age, your prospective customers will search you up long before they call you up.

The precision of the Internet ensures that they will find what they are looking for— whether it’s from you or from another business in your area and industry.

Place due consideration on the importance of your website, both for recruiting new clients and for informing existing ones. Don’t just slap on a web page and call it a day! Update it frequently so that it reflects your current products and services, changes to inventory, and general information about your business.

Consider your website as your online storefront and see to its upkeep accordingly!

2) Keep an Eye on Your Competitors

Are you ahead of the pack or trailing behind?

Your services might be superior in every way to your competition— but none of that will matter if you don’t have the web presence to back it up! Check out your competitor’s websites and social media presence. Find whether they have any advantages over you and take action!

Maybe a more modern site, higher response rate, or some lead generating reviews?

Take stock of what your competition’s doing and retool your strategy.

3) Manage Your Reviews

Word of mouth has become a whole different beast online: reviews.

If your clients are providing you with reviews online—good, bad, or otherwise, this is a huge opportunity for your business.

Seize it! Answer all the questions and address any concerns in a prompt and articulate way. Don’t just thank customers for good reviews—apologize for the bad ones and take steps towards making amends. This will prove that your business cares and makes an effort to offer top-tier customer service.

Communicate as politely and as professionally as you would in person!

4) Harness the Power of Social Media

Create Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter presences that reflect your activities and services.

For those in industries like landscaping and remodeling, visual platforms like these are the perfect places to showcase jobs well done.

Be sure to post frequently, informing your clients of specials, discounts, availabilities, and the like. Even better: create open forums of discussion where your clients can offer feedback and information.

Maintain your online reputation management, and the results will speak for themselves!

5) Hire a Digital Marketer to Manage Your Online Reputation

Here at LinkNow Media, reputation management is what we do best. Whether that’s in the form of reviews, social media, web sites, or simply being up to date on the most current resources and tools, our digital marketers are leaders in the field!

You’re busy enough managing your own business. Let us do the marketing. Contact LinkNow Media for reputation management services by calling 1.888.667.7186 or email us at website@linknowmedia.com.

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!

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