LinkNow Media | Customer Reviews

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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!

5 Reasons Your Company Should Use Glassdoor

Usually, when businesses think of online review platforms, they think of the client-centric ones like Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp. The whole idea is to give customers the ability to speak their mind about your products and services. Review platforms create a space of open communication and transparent dialogue that forces companies to be accountable to consumers.

But what about the employees who make it all possible? That’s where Glassdoor comes in. Glassdoor is a review platform that forces employers to be accountable to their employees. It helps create a culture of transparency, openness, and honesty. It builds your brand. And most importantly, it helps companies attract (and hold onto) the talent they need to thrive—and grow!

Join us as we explore why your company needs Glassdoor and how to make the most of Glassdoor.

1. Use Glassdoor to Communicate Your Company Culture

The first thing to know about Glassdoor is that everyone’s reading it. And not just the reviews, either. Glassdoor gives candidates the opportunity to read about your company’s workplace culture in a more transparent way than you might find on their own website.

Make the most of your profile by including a succinct mission statement, outlining objectives, and explaining exactly what you do. But be honest! In 2019, it’s not just millennials who are looking for employers that respect their values. Everyone is. And if your goal is to build a team that works well together and sticks around for the long-haul, you should be looking for candidates who align with your values too.

Glassdoor is the perfect way to make it happen.

2. Show Current Employees and Candidates that You Stand By Your Values

Employment in 2019 is all about authenticity. Do you hold true to your values? Do you stand by your policies? Do you treat your employees with respect?

Glassdoor makes it impossible to keep things ‘behind closed doors’. Not fulfilling your promises? The secret will get out! This is what makes Glassdoor such a trusted source for people on the job hunt. Anything false or misleading could end up getting you called out in the reviews located just below. Ideally, every review confirms what you say about yourself. Communicate a strong sense of identity and workplace culture through Glassdoor’s Overview section.

3. Post Jobs on Glassdoor and Make Them Searchable with SEO

About 89% of Glassdoor users use it to find jobs. Make sure you’re getting the best applicants by making your open positions accessible to job seekers. Best of all, posting jobs on Glassdoor is free!

Make sure that when you write your business descriptions, reply to comments, and post job descriptions that you’re optimizing everything with keywords that are relevant to job seekers. This will help them find your company and the jobs that you’re offering.

4. Don’t Get Stressed About Revealing Salary Information

You might want to keep salaries a secret. But everyone else is dying to know. Accept the fact that average salaries and salary expectations are already widely available online. People are talking. Plus, your candidates are going to find out eventually. Wouldn’t you rather weed out the disinterested parties before going through the entire interview process?

5. Take Feedback Seriously and Show that You Care About Growing

Sure, financial growth is important. But so is internal growth! At LinkNow Media, we want our employees to criticize us. We’ve made it a point to hire strong-minded, hardworking, critical employees who are not afraid to offer feedback. It’s not about negativity either. By opening our doors to constructive criticism, we’ve created a culture of communication.

The idea is to take criticisms and learn how to grow from them. Glassdoor is the perfect forum to show to future candidates and current employees that you take their feedback seriously. Don’t think of it like employees airing your dirty laundry. Think of it as an opportunity to show the world what kind of company you are!

 

Interested in working at LinkNow Media? Check out our Glassdoor profile! Join the conversation and apply now!

How Does Yelp’s Review Filter Work?

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

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

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

What Is Yelp’s Review Filter?

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

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

Why Does Yelp Filter Reviews?

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

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

How Does Yelp’s Review Filter Work?

Yelp’s review filter divides reviews into two categories:

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Can I Do to Improve My Yelp Reviews?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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!

4 Reasons Reviews Are Better for Conversions than Ads

In Part 3 of our reputation management series, we explore the idea that reviews convert better than ads.

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

For Part 2, click here to control and improve your online reputation!

The digital age has made it easier than ever to access information and yet it often feels impossible to find the right information. With the sheer volume of marketing data that Google churns out on a second-to-second basis, it’s no wonder business owners struggle to navigate those great swaths of information to create an effective advertising strategy.

Fortunately, a safe and reliable solution exists: reviews!

While advertising is still a cornerstone of any sound marketing strategy, generating reviews is more important than ever these days. Plus, it’s an easy and cost-effective way to expand your reach without having to spend exorbitant amounts of time and money on advertising. Here are four reasons why you should prioritize generating reviews over advertisements.

1. Reviews are Free Advertisements

Your reviews are a showcase of your achievements. Each one you receive advertises your services and the value you offer to your customers—free of charge. And by letting Google know of your recent activity, they help build your online footprint, improve your business’ online searchability, and generate clicks on your website.

2. Consumers Trust Reviews

82% of U.S. adults read online reviews before buying something for the first time. By and large, consumers consider reviews a trustworthy and reputable source of information. The same cannot be said for ads, which are often perceived as too biased to inform one’s decision-making process. In fact, it’s often unclear what impact—if any—a particular advertisement has on a consumers’ decisions and on a business’ conversation rates.

The way people search for information online has only further cemented this behaviour. More and more, people these days search for reviews when looking for a service. Consequently, Google tends to rank those review pages higher, which makes your business easier to find and more reputable for consumers.

3. Reviews Improve Customer Relationships

Reviews let you open a direct line of communication with your customers. By thanking customers for positive reviews, you show them that you value their support and help build a lasting relationship with them. And by addressing negative reviews, you demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction and improving your business model. Reviews help you start a clear dialogue with your customers, in turn cultivating meaningful long-term relationships with them.

4. Reviews Help You Improve

Online reviews are a way for you to solicit genuine constructive feedback for your business. While not all of them will necessarily help you improve your business model, you are bound to find kernels of truth within them that do help. You’ll discover not only what you’re doing right, but also what you can work on to improve your business and make it more marketable to consumers.

Reviews will also help you reflect on the true value of your services. You’ll be able to find out what your consumers want out of your service and how to set yourself apart from your competitors. That way, you can continue to develop your marketing strategy to better reflect the needs of your customers.

Altogether, generating reviews is a reliable, safe, and cost-effective solution to generation leads and building trust with your clients. If you want further information about improving your business’ online reputation, feel free to leave a reply below!

Click here for Part 1 of our reputation management series.

Click here for Part 2 of our reputation management series.

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!

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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