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Tag: Positive Customer Reviews (Page 1 of 5)

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.

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.

Improve Your Google Ranking Fast with Keyword-Optimized Reviews

As we’ve written elsewhere, it can take a long time to start ranking for new content. Google’s timelines can be really frustrating! So, what do you do if you want to improve your Google ranking fast?

Research has shown that there’s a strong connection between keywords in reviews and improved local search results. One study named it the number one way to boost local SEO. Not NAP clean-ups. Not GMB posts. Not a 5-star score. Keywords.

So, getting them is a great way to improve your search results. But should you do it? Should you start telling your clients to write “best plumbing repair service Atlanta” in their review?

Well… not exactly.  You don’t want to force your customers into writing something they otherwise wouldn’t say. It may, however, be wise to steer them in the right direction.

Do I Need Keywords in My Reviews?

Keywords are like signposts: they point people (and search engines) in the right direction. From Google’s perspective, keywords show that a text (reviews, website content, blog posts, etc.) is relevant to searchers. When a Google user enters a search term, Google wants to display the most relevant results at the top of the page. Keywords help Google sift through and find them.

This goes for the landing pages on your website, as much as for the reviews on your GMB listing. Google likes it when a review includes keywords. It shows that your landscaping company actually provides the landscaping services you advertise. And that someone out there really believes they are the “best landscaping company in San Diego!” Who wouldn’t want to rank for a keyword like that?

Should I Ask My Clients to Use Keywords in Their Reviews?

At LinkNow Media, we do not recommend that business owners ask their clients to include specific keywords in their reviews.

Why not?

  1. It’s inauthentic. You want your reviews to be truthful. Google does, too. If you ask your clients to use specific phrases and keywords, their reviews will feel scripted. Forced. Fake.
  2. It’s unconvincing. Positive reviews are supposed to be convincing. They should show that you are an authority in your industry—a professional that consumers can trust. By asking clients to follow a script, you’re limiting the potential of your reviews. Ultimately, they’ll be far less convincing than if they felt natural.
  3. It’s risky. Google doesn’t like SEO trickery. They’ve clamped down on previous SEO “hacks,” and they’re bound to do the same for future ones. If you try to game the system by shoehorning keywords into your reviews, you risk being penalized by Google down the road.

The bottom line is that Google values keyword-optimized reviews because the business owner has no control over them! They’re spontaneous, authentic, and truthful. They’re the perfect reference.

How Do I Get Keywords in My Reviews?

You want keywords in your reviews. But you also want your reviews to sound natural. What can you do?

The best course of action: ask your clients to leave detailed reviews. Give them some guidelines. For example, if you’re a plumber, you may want to ask your customers to leave reviews that mention:

  • The service you provided
  • The time it took for you to respond and complete the job
  • Pricing information
  • The quality of customer service.

By doing so, keywords will naturally appear in your clients’ writing. Plus, it’ll sound more convincing for readers.

Consider the following two reviews from LinkNow Media’s Google My Business listing:

Pretty bare bones. Not a whole lot of information. Let’s look at the second one:

Notice the keywords: SEO services, company’s web presence, design assistant, as well as our company name. The client was not asked to use these terms. Rather, they came out naturally because the reviewer provided ample detail. Plus, it also makes the review much more convincing for reviewers.

In short: Ask your clients to leave reviews. But give them more to go off. Ask them to provide details of the services you provided, how long it took, so on and so forth, and you’ll see keywords naturally arise in your reviews. That way, you’ll help build a solid online footprint—and trustworthy reputation. Two birds with one stone. We like that.

Need Help Managing Your Online Reputation?

With over 10,000 clients, we at LinkNow Media know a thing or two about reputation management. Over our many years, we’ve built a strong online presence—not just for ourselves, but for thousands of business owners across North America.

If you need help proving your worth to the world and drumming up business, give us a shout at website@linknowmedia.com, or at 1-888-667-7186. Oh, and don’t forget to 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!

3 Tricks to Improve the Online Presence of Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

1) Establish Your Presence and Maintain It

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

But it doesn’t end there.

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

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

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

2) Be Receptive and Accessible to Your Clientele

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

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

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

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

3) Reward Existing Customers and Incentivize New Ones

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

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

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

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

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

Should You Ask Clients for Google Reviews?

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

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

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

Yes, You Should Ask Your Customers to Leave Google Reviews

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

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

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

Ask for Google Reviews by Email

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

Say something like:

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

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

Ask for Google Reviews in Person

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

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

Ask for Google Reviews on Your Website

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

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

Do Not Incentivize Reviews

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

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

Need Help Managing Your Online Reputation?

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

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

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!

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