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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!

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!

Get Leads with a Reputation Management Strategy for Small Business

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

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

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

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

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

What is Reputation Management?

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

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

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

Reviews Are Conversion-Ready Free Advertisement!

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

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

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

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

Comments Help You Connect With Your Clients

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

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

Advertising and Content Tells Clients What Kind of Business You Are

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

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

Reputation Management From the Pros

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

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

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

How To Encourage Employee Feedback Online

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

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

The Importance of Employee Feedback

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

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

Here are some helpful tips courtesy of LinkNow Media.

Tips on How to Encourage Employee Feedback Online

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

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

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

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

Online Employee Feedback and Reviews from Newcomers

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

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

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!

Five Review Sites That are not Google or Facebook

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We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Online reviews are one of the most important tools for businesses online. Reviews help clients to communicate with your company, promote you, and attribute to a decent chunk of SEO as well.

The facts are as follows:

  • 92% of consumers now read online reviews.
  • Star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business.
  • 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations./
  • On average reviews increase sales by 18%.

Reviews are important, and on average, a consumer will look at over 10 information sources before making a purchase. When we think of review websites, the two that are most often in our faces are Google and Facebook. However, having your business on multiple review sites will count for citations, and boost activity to rank you higher. So what other sites are out there to gather reviews?

Yelp

The go-to for most business reviews, Yelp has an average monthly unique visitor count of 145 million. 135 million reviews are posted per year, and most people you run into on the street will have the app on their phone. In fact, 70% of Yelp page views come from mobile devices.

Any variety of business can be posted on Yelp, and for consumers on the go it’s an easy-to- use, and reliable review site. If you’re not already listed on Yelp, you should make it top priority!

Foursquare

Foursquare currently has 10 million users with three million check-ins every day. Being one of the 400,000 business owners that use Foursquare as a marketing tool won’t just get you reviews, it will get you noticed. The way it works is users can check into a location as many times as they like and every time they do, their friends will know where they are. Users can become “mayor” of locations they are at the most, and fight for this title adding a fun, competitive aspect to this marketing tool—all of which will cost you nothing!

TripAdvisor

Users looking for the best places to go on a vacation or in their own city can rely on TripAdvisor. With 390 million unique visitors, 500 million reviews and opinions, and over 4.2 million business listed, like Yelp, this is a highly useful tool for review-gathering.

Better Business Bureau

To be a part of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), you will have to pay for a yearly membership. One of the oldest review and rating sites, the BBB is an authority on many businesses in North America. Listing detailed information including inception dates, a high rating relies on a list of factors including:

  • Type of business
  • Time in business
  • Complaint volume
  • Transparent practices
  • Competency licensing

The BBB is known for holding business accountable.

Consumer Affairs

Not only can you gather reviews with Consumer Affairs, you will also gain access to a wealth of resources to help you learn more about reviews, increase revenue, find brand ambassadors, and learn how to convert negative customer experiences into positive ones.

There are other prominent websites out there such as Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, and GlassDoor, however these are focused on serving specific purposes or industries. If you are in the world of home renovation, Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor are important. If you’re hoping to gain a reputation for future employees, GlassDoor is your best friend.

In the world of online marketing there is no shortage of online review websites, but getting your business to appear on those that are most viewed is your first step to business and SEO success.

Online Review Stats in 2017

online reviews

Every year surveys come out with percentages and detailed information regarding just about everything online. At LinkNow Media, we’re always interested in anything that affects SEO.
When it comes to online reviews, your reputation is pretty important, and the latest information confirms it. We’ll give you the “too long didn’t read” right now and say: reviews still matter in 2017.

So, don’t think you can get out of encouraging and monitoring them any time soon.

Who is Reading What?

In 2016, 95% of consumers were using the internet to look up local businesses. If you think that’s high though, 2017 has seen a 2% increase, up to 97%! If you currently run a business that doesn’t have an online presence, you’re making a big mistake.

Half of these consumers are looking for local businesses online at least once a month. Imagine how much business you’re missing out on if you’re not there to be found!
But, maybe your industry doesn’t really do that whole online thing? We doubt it. Among the top industries that have their clients reading reviews are:

    • Restaurants
    • Hotels
    • Healthcare
    • Clothing stores
    • Car dealerships
    • Tradesmen
    • Pest control
    • Cars for hire
    • Accountants
    • Locksmiths

And that’s just to name a few. So, where should you be collecting reviews? Facebook and Yelp unsurprisingly tied at 20% of consumers trusting them the most, followed closely by Google at 16% and the Better Business Bureau at 15%.

And, how many of these browsers turn into conversions? 68% of US consumers are more likely to use a business with positive reviews, with 40% citing negative reviews as a reason not to frequent a local business.

Best of all, the number of consumers who will actually visit a business after reading a review has grown by 10% from last year, to 17%.

Focus on Quantity and Quality

Factors that have also grown in importance since 2016 are the quantity and quality of reviews. There’s no way you can just sit back and coast when it comes to this powerful SEO builder.
54% of consumers rank star rating as the most important factor, with quantity coming in second at 46%—up 11% from last year. Consumers also want to see you getting involved. Up 10% from 2016, 30% now want to see you responding.

Therefore, our best advice to you is to keep doing what you’re doing. But do it a lot more. You still need to be drumming up reviews and monitoring them, providing professional responses to both positive and negative, but the importance of review building and etiquette has only become more important.

Feeling overwhelmed? You can always put the reins in the hands of an experienced SEO team like the one at LinkNow Media!

Can I Review my own Business?

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In the world of online reviews, many business owners like to start the ball rolling by leaving their own company a star rating or a little review.

Sounds innocent enough, but is it?

Whether your intentions are good, or shady, reviewing your own business is a bad idea.

Nearly 80% of consumers rely on online reviews before hiring a service or purchasing a product. In fact, peer reviews are trusted as much as recommendations from family or friends. With this in mind, it can be easy to get greedy and impatient when you’re just starting out.

However, you need to keep in mind that fake reviews are unethical, and even illegal. That’s right—you can be sued for posting fake reviews. It is called “astroturfing” and websites such as Google, Yelp and Amazon have been known to sue over it.

But you might be thinking: “How is it a fake review if I state that I am the business owner, or don’t say anything and just leave five stars??”

In the case of a five-star rating, it’s true you can probably get away with it. But if anyone realizes you are the business owner, your credibility is shot. If you reviewed your own company with five stars, who’s to say you didn’t talk other friends and family members into leaving biased reviews, or even pay for fake reviews?

    A fake review can be any of the following:

    • Asking someone who is not a customer to write a review.

    • Paying someone to write a review, even if they are a customer.

    • Asking an employee to review your company (it’s different if they review and state that the review is about their experience as an employee).

    • Creating a fake profile to review your company.

    • Reviewing your company as yourself, the business owner.

    That’s right, even if you state that you are the business owner and you’re just stopping in to leave a positive review, it’s counted as fake.
    Why?

    Because you have added to your rating. Whether you’re up-front about who you are or not, you have successfully altered the rating of your business and that is the goal of fake reviews.

    In 2016, Amazon sued 1,000 fake reviewers in an attempt to crack down on this practice. They stated that these false reviewers were tarnishing their brand with inauthenticity.

    No one is invulnerable to this sort of crackdown.

    So, how do you get started with reviews? There’s nothing wrong with suggesting that clients leave a review. Mention it on your website by linking to your business page, or put a sign up in your brick and mortar business.

    But next time you’re considering somehow leaving a review for your own business, just say no.

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