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Category: Reviews (Page 1 of 4)

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Keywords Help SEO, But What Keywords Should Be in Customer Reviews?

When customers leave reviews that include the keywords you need to rank for on your Google My Business listing, it’s more likely that you’ll rank higher for those keywords.

Let us clarify that for you – getting customer reviews on Google that include your keyword phrase will actually help you rank better when people search for that phrase.

Unfortunately, you can’t require customers to provide particular feedback in their reviews.

It’s not allowed by most sites, and it could also break the law too.

With that in mind, a review needs to be an honest account of what happened from the customer’s perspective. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t use a little psychology to encourage them in the right direction.

Make it Easy for Your Clients to Leave a Detailed Review

There is a simple process for soliciting reviews from happy and satisfied customers.

We recommend sending them to the review page on your site, which should link out to your various review profiles.

There should be a message on that page saying, “Thanks for doing business with us! We appreciate it if you would leave your review of our company now.”

Next, there should be a list of links to your reviews.

Now, you can prompt your clients to leave their thoughts and suggestions for future clients.

Wondering how to get your clients to write a helpful review that will boost your page range in SERPs?

Ask them to answer these questions:

  • Did you purchase a new or pre-owned product?
  • Where are you located, and did you opt to choose our services over other shops that might have been closer?
  • Who helped you make your selections today, and did they meet your expectations for the level of service you deserve?
  • How did your experience with us compare to your experiences with our competitors?
  • Do you have any words of advice for future clients?

Be sure to let your reviewer know that it’s ok if they are pressed for time and would rather leave a brief review. We figured, why not make it easy for your customers to give you high ratings? That way, they can still contribute if they’re in a rush and don’t have time to leave an in-depth review. Most customers will take the time to write long reviews with detailed answers to your questions.

When you lead a reviewer with detailed questions, they’re much more likely to volunteer answers than if you leave a blank space they have to fill out.

Here’s a good example: Say you’re a car dealership.

If the client leaving you a review mentions their car is used, that word will now be in their review. If they mention where they came from or which location they chose to visit, you’ll get better visibility in that town. If they mention what work was done, it’ll boost the visibility of that service.

Using this system, you can encourage your clients to leave reviews that outline the keywords that help you stay on top of Google’s search results.

It’s that easy.

Conclusion

Reviews are a great tool because they give potential customers a better idea of who you are and what you have to offer.

In addition, creating more detailed reviews (by asking clients specific questions) helps your business stand out from the competition when people search for businesses like yours on search engines like Google.

The bottom line is that getting your clients to use keywords in reviews can be the leg up your business needs to dominate the top search results. Are you ready to invite your clients to leave higher-quality reviews? A few simple tweaks to how you invite them to do so are all it takes.

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Top Reasons You Need Reviews on Your Website [Updated for 2022]

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.

  1. 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?

  1. 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.

  1. Online Reviews Have a Positive Impact on Your Revenue!

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.

  1. 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.

Why Reviews Are So Important From The Customer’s Perspective

Customers are looking for more information and guidance when they’re making a purchase decision. They want to know what other customers think about the product and whether their needs will be met. Online reviews provide this guidance. When customers read online reviews, they are looking for insights into a company or product that they may be considering. Reviewers write them to share their honest opinion about their experiences – good or bad.

Know What Customers Think

Just think about it. Why wouldn’t you want reviews? Over the years, we’ve heard clients tell us they’re worried about clients writing bad reviews. Well, if you’re providing good services, you have nothing to worry about.

Reviews give you an inside look at what your customers think about your services. What could be better than that? It’s a free way to learn first-hand the pain points your customers are having with your business or the things you are doing well on the other side of the coin.

While you’re at it, you can use this opportunity to look at your competitors’ reviews. See what their clients are saying about their businesses. Learn what they’re doing well and what they’re doing poorly.

Shape Your Goods and Services Around Reviews

This is the logical conclusion of using reviews to your advantage. Take all the information you’ve learned from what clients are saying about your and your competition’s businesses in reviews and shape your services.

You should always be adjusting your services in a positive direction. Improvement is key to sustainable growth, and there is always room for improvement.

Your clients’ reviews will be a storehouse of ideas you can use to improve your business. This a precious resource that should not be wasted and should be greatly encouraged.

Reviews are Low Effort for Business Owners

Perhaps the best part about reviews and getting them is that it is as close to effortless as can be for the business owner.

To start getting reviews, you must find a way to ask your clients to give you them. This could be as simple as sending an email or asking every client to leave you a positive review if they enjoyed your service. If you continue encouraging clients to review you or make it easy on them by sending a link to your reviews in emails (another good strategy), you will succeed in getting reviews.

Your Potential Clients All Consult Reviews First

Another important thing to keep in the back of your head while considering reviews is that nearly all of your clients consult reviews. A prominent marketing poll once stated that around 95% of potential customers generally consult reviews. And 72% percent of potential customers will not take any action until they’ve consulted reviews.

This means that reviews are one of the most prominent marketing tools. Period. And surprisingly, they are free to use.

If you have an online presence, you should start telling your clients to leave you positive reviews. The more positive reviews the better.

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 Reasons You Still Need Online Reviews in 2022

Background shows two businesspeople shaking hands. Text says: Get reviews. Build trust.

If you have any experience with digital marketing in the last decade, there’s a good chance you know about the importance of online reviews.

With the web becoming increasingly sophisticated and more people turning to online search engines for the information they need, reviews continue to provide consumers with reliable testimonials and a personal touch to their online queries.

In 2022, online reviews remain one of the most important factors for businesses looking to expand their reach and build credibility for their brand. If this sounds like what you are trying to achieve, continue reading to learn more about why you should care about reviews.

Here are 3 big reasons you need to get online reviews in 2022:

1. Online Reviews Directly Affect SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the name of the game when it comes to online marketing. It’s no secret that the overwhelming majority of internet users turn to search engines to find what they need online.

Google and other search engines are constantly tweaking their ranking factors, but reviews are almost near the top in terms of importance. Location-based searches are trending upwards, and more people are turning to places like Google to find local products and services. This means that Google is attempting to cater to its userbase by highlighting reviews and promoting top-rated businesses.

Quality and quantity are both important when it comes to boosting your SEO through reviews, so it makes sense to have a review generation strategy if you want to rank highly in your area.

2. Your Audience is Looking for Reviews

According to recent studies, about 93% of consumers claim that online testimonials influence their purchasing decisions—the majority of which also say that they trust reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

This means that your online reviews can have a tremendous effect—both positive and negative—on your audience. Managing your online reputation is a great way to improve your lead generation and conversion rate, especially if users see authentic reviews praising your business.

3. Online Reviews Help You Build Brand Equity

Although it’s easy to focus on the numbers and your place in the search rankings, online reviews also provide you with less tangible but just as important benefits.

Feedback from real customers allows you to build credibility with your audience. Nothing helps you earn trust quite like testimonials to the quality of your services or products. Plus, by taking your reviews to heart, you may find helpful suggestions about how you can improve your business. Reviews can be a treasure trove of  insights into your customer base: what they want out of a business like yours. What they expect from a business like yours. What they appreciate about a business like yours. Even negative can offer an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, and responding to them demonstrates that you truly care about your business.

Bottom line? Reviews are a crucial component to any business’s reputation, and getting good ones is a monumental first step to building a stellar web presence. Before you do anything else to market your services or grow your customer base, you should ask yourself: Am I doing enough to get online reviews?

Need to Level-Up Your Online-Review Strategy?

LinkNow’s Here to Help

Whether you need help getting more reviews or managing your online reputation, the team at LinkNow is here to help. Our innovative digital solutions make getting reviews from customers as easy as clicking a button. Save time, money, and effort—and see your business soar like never before.

Call us at 1.888.667.7186 or email website@linknowmedia.com for a free consultation.

 

How Reviews Give Your Business a Natural Boost on Google

Picture of a cartoon rocket ship taking off. Caption says: Get a natural SEO boost with online reviews.Most business owners know that getting reviews online is important. But do you know how important?

In this post, you’ll learn just how important they are–and how they can even give you a natural boost on Google.

Read on to find out how reviews can help you improve your search rankings, and read to the end to learn our top tip to getting more reviews for your business.

What Is a “Natural Boost”?

First things first: What do we mean when we say reviews can give you a “natural boost” on Google?

Having more positive online reviews than your competitors can help improve your ranking in local search results. It’s a natural boost because it improves your natural search ranking.
Why do reviews help? Online reviews contain keywords, which Google crawls to identify search terms and find relevant results for user’s search queries. What’s more, Google wants to show the most reputable, trustworthy sources first. If you have lots of 5-star online reviews, Google is more likely to see you as an authority. And in turn, they’re more likely to rank you more favourably.

Google’s Algorithm Prioritizes Thoughtful Reviews

Google doesn’t just look at the number of reviews. It also analyzes their content.

Google prioritizes thoughtful, detailed reviews, and it’s those kinds of reviews that will give you the most significant search boost. The more thoughtful, detailed, and praiseworthy your reviews, the better your ranking.

Google Searchers Rely on Reviews More and More

This update in how Google provides search results is with the searchers’ tendency to consider reviews before deciding on which business to choose.

Essentially, Google would be silly not to adjust to the searcher’s tendency to consider reviews because it inevitably leads searchers to more reliable results.

The moment Google is no longer a reliable search engine, it goes kaput.

Key Takeaways

It’s time to get some reviews on your Google Business Profile.

You might be asking yourself how on earth to do that. The answer is very simple:

Ask your previous clients to review you.

This might sound tedious, but having past clients review your business and services will pay off in dividends once they start rolling in.

And it’s not as much of a chore for your clients as you might think. In many cases, if you send an email asking them to review your business or the experience they had with you, they’ll be happy to make the time.

Long story short, there is no harm in asking your clients – and having more positive reviews about your business on your business’s profile will be very positive for your business.


Looking for more wayson how to get reviews on Google, and how to ask clients for reviews? Check out our blog post Should You Ask Clients to Review You on Google for some killer insider tips.

Click here to read the post!

Should I Ask Clients to Use Keywords in Reviews?

A business woman talks to a client, both sitting at a desk. Caption says: How to ask for reviews the right way.

Did you know keywords in reviews can significantly improve your local search ranking?

Research consistently shows a strong connection between keywords in reviews and improved rankings on Google. One study even called it the number one way to boost local search results.

So, should you ask clients to use keywords in their reviews?

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. Asking clients to use specific words or phrases can make their reviews feel inauthentic or forced—which is never a good thing.

So what do we recommend?

Don’t Ask for Keywords. Ask for Details.

Simply asking your clients for detailed reviews can get them to naturally use keywords that will improve your local search results. It may seem foreign and a little awkward at first, but it will come naturally with a bit of practice.

When you ask your clients to leave detailed reviews face to face, you gain the opportunity to coach them on the type of review that would benefit you the most.

While you are not trying to influence their opinion, you should ask them to use specifics to clarify what services or products they liked the best and how your business went above and beyond to deliver exceptional quality and attention to detail. The more detail, the more your reviews will naturally incorporate keyword-heavy language, in turn boosting your search rankings.

Here are two examples showing you the difference between a serviceable review and a review that hits it out of the ballpark in richness and detail:

Example 1: 

Exceptional work. Professional and fast.

Example 2:

John arrived on time and brought all the electrical equipment he needed to install my new panel box and do some re-wiring safely. John’s customer service and level of attention were very much appreciated when he explained how to check the breaker panel and why the old wiring was not up to par with local building and safety codes. As far as electricians go, John’s rates are very reasonable. The turnaround times were so reasonable. I would recommend this company to anyone!

The first example doesn’t provide enough information to give Google a good sense of which services the client liked the most. From a consumer’s perspective, it’s not the most compelling review, either.

By contrast, the second example includes specifics like the electrician’s name, a handful of the services they received, and what made this electrician stand out from the rest. Notice how the text naturally incorporates industry-specific keywords, such as breaker panel, wiring, and electricians.

It’s not hard to see why the second example is preferred. But it can be hard to get your clients to leave such detailed reviews.

Read on to learn more about how to ask for longer reviews like a pro.

Prompt Your Clients for Detailed, Long-Form Reviews by Asking Questions

Using a template to ask for long-form reviews is a great way to get your client’s honest feedback while ensuring a more robust and full review that attracts Google’s attention.

Instead of just providing your clients with a blank forum to fill out, why not ask them a few questions that prompt them to be more descriptive?

You can ask questions like:

  • What services did you receive today?
  • Which of our locations did you visit?
  • How did our technicians do?
  • Was there a specific technique that you’d like to recognize here?
  • What aspects of working with us did you like most?
  • Is this your first interaction with our team?
  • Have you experienced other services we have provided?
  • How do we measure up against the competition?
  • Do you have any tips for us?

Be sure to let your clients know that you’d still appreciate a short and to-the-point review if they don’t have a lot of time.

While long-form reviews are ideal, the quantity of positive reviews you receive also plays a part in your ranking success.

What Is The Best Way to Ask for a Review?

If a follow-up email is already a regular part of your business, why not attach a link to the invoice you’re providing that takes your client to your business’s review forum?

This can be the perfect opportunity to politely request a review without putting too much pressure on the client.

In addition to this, you can use your social media platforms to request reviews and have your technicians let your clients know that while not required, leaving a review would be the perfect way to show appreciation for a job well done.

You could also put together a direct email, which you can send to clients on your mailing list.

How to Craft an Email to Ask for a Review

Do you have questions about how to craft an email to ask for a review?

We have answers.

Below, you’ll find a list of pointers that will help you create the ideal template you can go on to send to all of your preferred clients:

  • Personalize the subject line with something attention-worthy
  • Ask them directly to leave a review
  • Provide a direct link to the review forum

Here is an example that will show you how each piece comes into play:

Subject: Hello Mark, we need your help!

Hello Mark,

It was our pleasure to complete your electrical panel box installation recently.

Thank you for choosing us.

Online reviews help us bring our reasonable electrical services to more households and businesses like yours.

Could you take a moment to leave us a review?

Follow this direct link to let us know what you liked about our services: <link>

Here are some things you could touch on if you need some inspiration:

  • Specific services or products provided
  • Location of services provided
  • Did we meet your expectations?
  • Did you work with a particular person who went above and beyond?
  • Would you recommend our company?

We appreciate you taking a minute to leave us a detailed review, but short thoughts are also appreciated if you only have a second to spare.

Thanks for your help,

John

Now that you know that robust customer reviews can boost your site’s visibility in SERPs, you can craft a strategy that aligns best with your business model.

Looking for More Review-Management Tips?

LinkNow to the Rescue!

Liked what you read? Feel inspired to rework your review-management strategy? Leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

If you’re looking for more tips to manage your online presence, LinkNow’s here to help. We develop data-driven solutions to help you build your brand, grow your audience, and manage your reputation online.

Discover how we can help you in a free consultation. Contact us to website@linknowmedia.com at (888) 667-7186 to get started today.

 

Top 5 Sites to Get Reviews and Grow Your Business

Man holding a heart sign. Text says: Top 5 sites to get reviews.

It’s no secret: Getting reviews is super important to growing your business. And online is the best place to make happen.

But with so many different websites and apps around to get reviews, it’s not always easy to determine where you should be directing your clients to leave testimonials. What platforms should you focus on? How can you maximize the impact your reviews make?

In this post, we’ll look at the 5 best websites to get reviews. If you want to grow your business, these are the 5 review platforms you have to target.

1. Google My Business

If you had to focus on only one review platform, Google would be it. The undisputed champion of search engines, Google reviews can have a significant effect on the credibility of your business and how high you rank in local search results.

Many consumers put a lot of trust in Google reviews, which appear on many of the company’s apps, such as Search and Maps. This means that you get a lot of potential value from collecting reviews on Google and should typically be putting the biggest emphasis on this platform when asking for testimonials.

2. Facebook

Another reliable website for spreading word of mouth about your business is Facebook. This social networking giant has well over a billion users, making it a powerful resource for small business owners.

Facebook provides you with a great opportunity to connect with your client base and your community. Reviews on this platform can help you gain the trust of your target audience and improve the organic reach of your business.

3. Better Business Bureau

The BBB is a non-profit organization with the mission of helping consumers find businesses and charities that they can trust. For over 100 years, people have put their faith in this organization for honest and accurate information.

A high rating on this platform implies that you are a reputable business that can be trusted for top-notch service, so reviews here will do wonders for your credibility. An A+ rating on the BBB is a common selling point for many companies, and sharing testimonials from this platform can help earn the trust of your audience.

4. Yellow Pages

Years ago, when you wanted to find local businesses, you would just open the Yellow Pages. Although the print version has been scrapped in favor of online listings, the Yellow Pages is still a great place to promote your business.

It is a good idea to claim a free business listing on this website to manage the reviews you receive.

5. Yelp

Yelp is a name that people commonly associate with business reviews. Users can leave ratings and testimonials about local businesses in their area, with an emphasis on providing accurate information about their experience.

Yelp is also known for providing information that helps teach small business owners how to appropriately respond to reviews, which will serve you well across the other review platforms.

Looking to Grow Your Business with Online Reviews?

LinkNow Has You Covered!

If you could use some extra help with managing your online reviews and other aspects of digital marketing, LinkNow Media has you covered.

We invite you to contact us at 1.888.667.7186 or website@linknowmedia.com for more details.

Do Online Reviews Matter in 2021?

Man in suit scratching his head with caption: Do reviews even matter?

Countless online marketing studies indicate that most consumers will read reviews before hiring a service, visiting a restaurant, or shopping online. Consumers read reviews because they want to know what they’re getting and recognize that there are many businesses to choose from—and they see the value of their dollar.

But if you provide quality services and have developed an excellent reputation by word of mouth, are online reviews really important?

Short Answer: YES!

In short, if consumers are reading reviews online, you should be encouraging your clients to write them. You should also be interacting with these reviews directly, be it on your Google my Business Page, Yahoo Reviews, or Facebook – why you may ask? Let’s take a look.

Reviews Boost SEO

For starters, online reviews can really help online traffic and SEO – and isn’t that what we’re all here for?

Google, the Internet’s most prominent and essential review platform, prioritizes customer experience. Because so many people read reviews, especially when searching their local area, Google has included these reviews as a local search ranking signal.

The bottom line is the more reviews you have, the better your search results will be.

Reviews Are Key to Customer Service

Though it may seem awkward to ask your clients to leave you an online review, most will be happy to do so as long as you let them know how. Expressing interest in feedback also bodes well for your business, as it exemplifies your commitment to the customer experience and its betterment overall.

Responding to reviews is also important as it allows the client to feel heard and understood by the company, making it more likely they’ll return for more business in the future.

Reviews Help You Improve Client Experiences

Reading reviews and receiving feedback is also perhaps the most valuable way to learn how to improve your business moving forward.

If you are getting the same kind of complaints over and over, you’ll know you’re doing something wrong. Customers who are invested in your business may also have great suggestions for changes you can make to modernize the operation or make it more accessible to different demographics – just to name a few examples.

Reviews Help Build Community

Building a community is a huge part of building a business. Having customers comment not only on your products and services but also on your approach to client care, the atmosphere of your commercial space, and how they feel will give people a richer understanding of the culture of your business.

Question and answer interactions can also play a significant role in developing community ties. Responding to negative reviews can give potential customers an idea of how you deal with conflict resolution.


Overall, online reviews play a significant role in your business, and they shouldn’t be overlooked. So start reading, replying, and asking your customers to write their own, especially when they have a great experience.

Convinced of the power of reviews? Got any review-generation tips yourself? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below! And if you need help managing your online reputation, contact LinkNow at 888-667-7186 or website@linknowmedia.com.

Understanding the Yelp Review Filter

In background, a woman works on math equations with a laptop. Text in foreground says: Cracking the code on Yelp's Review Filter.

In our last post, we looked at everything you need to know about Yelp Reviews. This week, we’ll look in more depth at Yelp’s review filter and how it works.

Yelp is one of the most popular online review platforms, with almost 100 million unique visitors last year.

It’s also one of the most notorious.

Why?

Yelp uses a proprietary algorithm to identify, filter, and remove fake reviews. The Yelp review filter removes scores of reviews every day. In theory, it sounds admirable that they go to such lengths to combat fake reviews. But in practice, it proves complicated.

Let’s look at how the Yelp review filter works, why some love it, and why others detest it.

First: The Power of Reviews

First things first: Why are fake reviews such a problem to begin with?

The reason’s simple: Reviews are a powerful tool.

87% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase.

The influence reviews have is enormous. They can compel shoppers to try a new brand, buy a new product, or look the other way. They inform customer decisions on a vast, global scale, leading some brands to soar and others to crash.

That power means review platforms like Yelp have some responsibility. It means they need to monitor their reviews and ensure they’re truthful and authentic, not fake. Otherwise, a slew of fake reviews could hurt the user experience—especially if those users get conned by a false word or two.

Fake reviews can put a brand like Yelp’s reputation at risk. But Yelp has a strategy to stop them.

The Yelp Review Filter

To filter out fake reviews, Yelp uses a proprietary algorithm it calls its “recommendation software.

Yelp’s recommendation software filters reviews based on several factors, including:

  • The reviewer’s user profile
  • How active the reviewer is on Yelp
  • The content in the review

After reviewing that information, Yelp will make a decision either to recommend the review or not recommend it.

Recommended reviews automatically appear on a business’s Yelp page. They also count toward the business’s rating on Yelp.

Unrecommended reviews are not immediately visible. They’re hidden from most users’ sight, and they do not factor into the business’s Yelp score.

Yelp hides unrecommended reviews, but they never delete reviews. Instead, they hide those they deem unworthy. You can read unrecommended reviews by following the link at the bottom of a business’s Yelp page:The bottom of a Yelp review page, which shows "161 other reviews that are not currently recommended."

How Does the Yelp Review Filter Work?

Yelp’s review filter considers several factors to identify and hide potentially fake reviews. It’s overzealous by design, removing anything with even a hint of phoniness.

Yelp doesn’t release many details about its recommendation software because they don’t want people trying to cheat it. Still, we know the software considers several factors when evaluating reviews. Three of the most important are:

  • The Reviewer’s User History. One way that Yelp filters reviews is by identifying established users – users that review often. The software works to syndicate established users’ reviews onto business pages for the world to see. While reviews of less active users are never deleted, they may seem more suspicious to the algorithm and not pop up on the business’ site.
  • The Content of the Review. Yelp’s recommendation software examines reviews’ content, including their length and style Reviews that are shorter, overly glowing, or less detailed are often flagged as fraudulent and tend to be removed. Likewise, reviews that are overly combative, hinting at a conflict of interest, may also be removed.
  • Solicitation. Unlike Google, Yelp strictly forbids any sort of review solicitation. If they suspect a business asked a customer to review them on Yelp, they will hide that review. Yelp wants its review system to replicate “word of mouth” as much as possible, and according to them, solicited reviews diminishes that word-of-mouth experience.

The Yelp review filter is constantly evolving. The reviews it recommends (and doesn’t recommend) may change from day to day because it’s always evaluating new signals. As such, you may notice reviews “disappear” then “reappear” from time to time. According to Yelp, it’s not a flaw. It’s a feature.

Why Does Yelp Filter Reviews?

Yelp filters reviews to combat malicious reviewing and give the consumer a more genuine understanding of a business’s reputation.

Yelp and its competitors know how critical authentic reviews are to the overall reliability of their site, and it’s in their best interest to ensure they’re as genuine as possible.

What’s the Problem with Yelp’s Review Filter?

If you’ve read up to here, you might have already noticed some problems with Yelp’s review filter:

  • It hides real reviews as well as fake reviews
  • Removing genuine reviews can hurt a business’s reputation
  • The number of hidden reviews is constantly changing (and feels arbitrary)

Yelp says its review filter is supposed to capture the word-of-mouth reputation of a business. But there’s a problem with this:

Some industries feel the Yelp review filter’s effects far more than others. 

Meanwhile, others are not nearly as affected.

Take the service industry, for example. Restaurants are one of the most regularly reviewed businesses on Yelp. They tend to acquire many reviews from dedicated Yelp users.

Those Yelp users might visit dozens of restaurants, leaving a detailed review for each of them. And because the Yelp review filter prioritizes reviews from regular Yelp users, those reviews will all look authentic and stay unfiltered.

But other industries can’t count on their customers to be regular Yelp users.

Consider the general contractor. A contractor might take on 1-2 jobs a month. Already, they’re at a disadvantage because they have far fewer customers.

Worse yet, the contractor’s clients are far less likely to be regular Yelp users. They might only write a review on Yelp as an afterthought. They might even have to create a Yelp account because they’ve never used the platform before. And because those reviews are coming from new accounts, they’re far more likely to be filtered out.

Plus, that contractor can’t ask clients to write a review: That’d be against Yelp’s policy. So, if you’re a service provider that targets a certain demographic—such as the older, not-so-tech-savvy crowd—you’re left in a bit of a catch-22: Your clients might not think to leave you a Yelp review, yet you can’t remind them, either. And even if the occasional one remembers to write a review, it’s at a much greater risk of being removed anyway.

We Still Have Much to Learn

Deterring fraudsters and making review pages more reliable is a worthy pursuit in the internet age. While we still have a lot to learn about navigating downfalls and ironing out discrepancies, using algorithms and communication analytics to monitor reviews is a step in the right direction.


Have you had a run-in with the Yelp review filter? Got a tip for how to overcome it? Leave a comment below! And if you need help managing your business’s online reputation, don’t hesitate to reach out to LinkNow at 888-667-71864 or by emailing website@linknowmedia.com.

Yelp Reviews: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Everything you need to know about Yelp reviews.
It’s no secret that online reviews can make or break a business—and Yelp is the undisputed king of dedicated review sites.

Most business owners in 2021 will have likely already heard the name Yelp, but they might not be aware of just how large a role it can play in their success. Founded in 2004, Yelp has maintained steady growth and a consistent user base, many of whom take the platform’s ratings as gospel.

The result? Yelp can be a powerful tool, or a thorn in your side. Here’s what you need to know—the good, the bad, and the ugly about Yelp—to make the most of it.

The Good

Making the Most of Your Yelp Page

Though you can’t directly control the feedback that your customers provide, you can use Yelp to promote positive reviews for your business.

By taking the time to give your Yelp page some attention (and by providing good service overall), you can increase the likelihood your customers will leave you a glowing testimonial.

Follow these three guidelines, and you’ll be on your way to Yelp greatness.

1.     Claim and Manage Your Yelp Page

First, activate your business page on Yelp. If your business is already on Yelp, claim your page so you have ownership. Doing so is essential, giving you the authority to make changes and respond to reviews.

After you have claimed or created a listing for your business, take the time to add photos, phone numbers, and hours of operation—it will make you look more professional and provide customers with all the information they need.

2.     Advertise That You Are on Yelp

Customers will be much more likely to leave you a rating on Yelp if they know you are on there.

Yelp offers many different ways to promote pages, both physically and digitally.

Posting a “Find us on Yelp” sign on your door or inside your establishment is a great way to subtly advocate for reviews. You can also add a Yelp QR code to your storefront, or a digital badge that links your website to your Yelp page.

3.     Respond to Yelp Reviews

Receiving reviews on your Yelp page—positive or negative—provides a great opportunity to show that you care about your business. Taking a few minutes to acknowledge people’s experiences will show you take all feedback seriously.

You might not be able to resolve all the issues that appear in your reviews, but by replying, you can prove that you are passionate about providing the best service possible.

The Bad

Avoid These Yelp Blunders

You might be eager to start promoting your Yelp page, but there are some important things to note first.

There are a few rules for advertising your business on the platform that should be followed to avoid any penalties. Yelp is strict with scammy, spammy, and unsavvy behavior, so don’t get yourself caught doing something against their guidelines.

Above all, heed the following:

1.     Do Not Offer Rewards for Reviews

Never advertise any discount or deal in exchange for Yelp reviews. It is perfectly acceptable to request reviews from your customers, but they must never be bribed in order to do so.

2.     Do Not Ask for Positive Reviews

Yelp clarifies that while it is perfectly okay to remind your customers to leave reviews, you must not specifically request positive reviews. Instead, you should focus on providing the best experience possible and hope that the feedback you receive accurately reflects your hard work.

3.     Do Not Buy Yelp Reviews

Paying a review-generating service to bump up your rating on Yelp may seem like a fast track to the top, but it is absolutely not worth the risk. Not only is it dishonest—it could result in a large warning being attached to your Yelp page to alert customers of your shady reviews.

Buying fake reviews is never worth it, least of all on Yelp. Their review filter is notoriously strict, removing almost any review that has even a hint of phoniness.

The Ugly

Dealing with Negative Reviews

If your business is available to be reviewed online, it is only a matter of time before you receive your first negative review. That being said, you don’t need to panic just because you noticed a 1-star rating.

No business is perfect, but it is important to acknowledge your mistakes and move forward as gracefully as possible. It never feels good to receive a negative testimonial, but you can mitigate the damage and put a positive spin on things by keeping the following tips in mind.

Remain Calm

Your first instinct might be to push back against your unsatisfied customer, but this will never help your situation. Instead, take a moment to reflect on the review and why the person left it before drafting your reply.

By taking a level-headed approach and treating your reviewer with respect, you can highlight your professionalism to prospective customers in the future.

Acknowledge Criticism and Promise to Do Better

Negative reviews don’t always have to be a bad thing. They provide a great opportunity to reflect on your customer service and improve on any shortcomings.

If you receive complaints about a particular aspect of your business, try to empathize with the person leaving the review and offer solutions about how you can make things right.

Focus on the Good

It is also a smart idea to highlight any positive content in the bad reviews you receive.

Did someone receive poor service at your restaurant but enjoy their food? Take a moment to apologize for the bad experience and express your pride in your product and invite them to give you another shot.

Read more on how respond to negative online reviews

Using Yelp to Your Advantage

Yelp is a fantastic platform for increasing awareness of your business and showcasing your top-notch service. But it’s not the only factor that determines your success.

Your primary focus should always be to provide the best experience for your customers—do this, and everything else will fall into place. Give good service, and your standing in Yelp will follow. Think of your Yelp as the result of your hard work rather than the goal you strive for.


 

Have your own Yelp story to share? Got any tips that worked for you? Leave a comment below!

If  you need help managing your online reputation, the digital marketing masters at LinkNow are here to help. Contact us at 1.888.667.7186 or website@linknowmedia.com for more details about what we can do for you.

How to Respond to Negative Google Reviews [2021]

US - How to Respond to Negative Reviews in 2021

As a company, generating positive online reviews is a great way to drum up business and showcase the value of your services.

But not all the reviews you get will be positive. When the time comes, you need to know how to respond to those not-so-savory reviews, so you can maintain your reputation.

Here are 5 steps you can take when responding to negative reviews online.

Five Steps to Writing a Successful Negative Review Response

  1. Evaluate internally

Before responding to a negative review, it’s first important to evaluate its validity. Discuss it with your colleagues: Does it contain any constructive criticism that may help you improve your business practices? Is there anything you could have done differently to change that person’s experience? Even if the reviewer has embellished some aspects of their review, there might be a kernel of truth that could help you improve your business.

By developing an internal evaluation procedure, you’ll be able to approach such reviews with a clear mind and a cooler head. It’ll stop you from posting whatever first pops into your mind. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on the potentially valid criticism a reviewer might have and respond to it appropriately.

  1. Respond publicly

As enticing as it might be, don’t start by reaching out to a reviewer privately. Other viewers need to see that you are addressing such reviews so that they understand you’re trying to redress the problem. Ultimately, it’s best just to respond to the negative review directly on your Google My Business page.

Accessing Your Google My Business Reviews:

  1. Go to google.comand sign in to Google My Business.
  2. Click on the three horizontal bars in the top left-hand corner of the page.
  3. When you find a review you want to respond to, click “View and reply” (or “Respond now” if on a mobile device).
  4. Empathize

Customers can tell when your response is half-hearted. If all you post is fluff without substance, they’ll take notice. Worse still, they might think you don’t care about your business.

Show reviewers that you care. Address them by name, thank them for their review, and if possible, highlight something positive they mentioned about your business. If necessary, apologize when you could have done something to improve their experience.

  1. Offer solutions

It’s important to offer customers a solution to their problem. We’re not saying you have to bend over backward with discounts and full refunds, but you should provide them with something that’s actionable. At the very least, give them the opportunity to reach out to you personally and address their grievances one-on-one.

  1. Move the conversation offline

When you’re offering solutions that require further discussion, it’s best to move the conversation offline. Leave the customer your contact information and let them get back to you. With the ball in their court, you’ve done everything that you can—at least for the time being.

Tips for Wording Your Review Response

Now that we’ve covered the steps you should take when your business receives a negative review, let’s go over some tips to make your response as effective as possible.

It pays to formulate a well-thought-out reply. Just responding to a negative review isn’t enough. You have to say something meaningful to resolve the conflict.

By adhering to the following guidelines, you can avoid fanning the flames and ensure future customers are willing to give your business a chance.

Personalize Your Reply

After having a negative experience with a company, the last thing that someone wants is to be brushed off or treated like a cog in the wheel. By taking the time to address your customer by name, instead of using generic replies such as “dear customer,” you can make your response feel more sincere.

Remember Your Industry

A response that someone would expect from a restaurant is different from what they’d expect from a contractor, so you should always keep your industry in mind when responding.

Think about why that person came to your business in the first place and put yourself in the shoes of potential customers who might be swayed by the way you respond. It also helps to research successful businesses in your field to see how they deal with negative comments and then basing your approach on this.

A Little Grammar Goes a Long Way

By making an effort to proofread your reply before posting it, you can avoid grammatical mistakes or oversights. A well-structured response will reinforce that you are a professional business owner who gives full attention to their customers. Keep it personal, but keep it professional.

Avoid Over-Apologizing

Although offering your sympathies is important when responding to negative reviews, don’t be too aplogetic. It can come off as unprofessional, as if you’re grovelling to claw back that customer. Keep your apologies brief and instead focus on your commitment to excellent service and the steps you will take to make things right.

Follow the Trends

When all else fails, a good strategy for responding is to follow what is effective for other businesses. Utilize what has proven worthwhile for successful companies and structure your reply around the most common topics.

In descending order, here’s what’s most often done in review responses:

  • Thank the reviewer for their feedback
  • Focus on customer service
  • Encourage the reviewer to contact directly
  • Discuss the customer experience
  • Inviting them to return
  • Apologizing

By The Numbers: The Importance of Responding to Reviews

45% of consumers say they are more likely to visit a business if they respond to negative reviews.

That figure just goes to show you how essential responding to negative reviews can be. If you ignore the feedback you receive, you could be leaving money on the table. Up to 45% of it.

By taking a few minutes to address your negative reviews in a timely manner, you can show that you truly care about providing your customers with a first-rate experience.

Need Help Managing Your Online Reputation? LinkNow to the Rescue!

Negative reviews can be intimidating—we know. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

If you would like some professional assistance with managing your business on Google, consider getting in touch with the specialists at LinkNow Media. Reach us at 1.888.667.7186 or website@linknowmedia.com to learn more about what we offer.

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