Google Rolls Out Olympics Update Across Search, Assistant

Google has launched Olympics-themed features across Search, Assistant, YouTube, and more in a bid to engage users worldwide during the event — as well as aiming to make Google the go-to source for Olympics news over its competitors.

When users search for “Winter Olympics,” they’ll see the latest events and winners automatically at the top of search results. Google will pull in content like medals won by country, as well as suggesting a “daily recap video” from YouTube right at the top of the page.

Finally, Google Assistant is now prepped to answer questions about the PyeongChang games, allowing enthusiasts to ask everything from names of medal winners to event air times.

“No matter how you’re asking — on your phone, speaker, TV or other enabled device — the Google Assistant can keep up with all the important Olympic details,” Google said in a blog post.

And while this update is primarily aimed at keeping people engaged and in the know during the Olympics, the way Google is pulling in content from YouTube and other platforms — and moreover, displaying information in the knowledge card at the top of search results — underscores the way that search has evolved from a list of blue links to a platform for delivering structured answers such that searchers don’t need to click through to a webpage at all.

If businesses fail to present their information accurately, broadly and comprehensively such that they show up in the knowledge graph, they risk missing out on customers and sales — after all, approximately 80 percent of customers prefer to turn to a search engine when it comes time to look up information about local businesses.

For marketers who may not know where to start: Read more here about ranking in the knowledge graph and about featured snippets and why they matter to marketers.

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How To Get More Reviews – Increase Ranking & Grow Your Business

Get more reviews – it’s one of the easiest ways to build a positive online presence, protect your reputation, and increase the visibility of your business.

Now more than ever customers are sharing their opinions with literally anyone and everyone who will listen. Compliment or complaint, people are searching for and listening to real customer experiences with your products and services before making their purchasing decisions.

How to Get More Reviews SM

Do You Need to Get More Reviews Online?

Online customer star-rated reviews and testimonials are shaping how your business is perceived by consumers, laying the foundation for your brand, and influencing current and potential customers.

Consistently having great reviews posted online also contributes to higher positioning on search engine results pages. This is where star ratings can show with your business listings making you stand out from the competition.

On review sites, higher ratings and consistent raving reviews put your business at the top of their local results lists. So besides inspiring trust with potential customers, your reviews are helping your business stand out among the rest when prospects are searching for the types of products and services your company provides.

If you want to see an increase in new customers, more positive exposure for your business and higher conversion rates, you need to get more reviews and monitor reviews online to protect your reputation.

Next Customers Online Get More Reviews

How to Get More Reviews and Drive Customers to Your Business

Let’s start with a foundation of high-quality products and services. Knowing that a good product and excellent customer service makes happy customers, if you have any shortcomings in those areas, concentrate on that before worrying about encouraging reviews because you won’t like the reviews you get. But if you are wowing people with your service and can’t keep your products on the shelves here are some ways to get more reviews.

Utilize an Easy Reputation Management System

You may feel your business doesn’t have a budget for reputation management and online review monitoring. That it’s not the right time to hire a team dedicated to monitoring, gathering, and promoting customer reviews. But there are inexpensive and highly effective online reputation management software options that can handle the process for you. And you can’t afford to leave the reputation of your business at the whim of customers who are largely more passionate about posting unsolicited bad reviews than positive reviews when left unmanaged. Don’t use budget restraints as an excuse not to make customer reviews a priority.

If you’re determined to DIY your reputation management, use a plan that includes a consistent schedule (at a minimum weekly) of monitoring and responding to your online reviews:

  • Create a simple checklist to remind you to monitor the sites that matter most to you with a frequency that keeps you in the know.
  • Set up a simple (and free) tool like Google Alerts to notify you of mentions of your business on the web, so you know what is being said outside off of your selected review sites.
  • Have a strategy for responding to less-than-stellar reviews to turn bad ratings into opportunities to show you care about your customer’s experiences and expectations.
  • Read “Five Ways to Find the Good in Bad Online Reviews” to learn more about what to do with bad reviews.

Don’t Be Shy – Tell Customers How Much You Appreciate Reviews

Don’t forget to ask for the review. There are so many opportunities when a customer interacts with your business to let them know you value their opinion. If a customer tells you how great their experience was, you’re presented with an excellent opportunity to communicate how much you value their opinion. Let them know how much you’d appreciate if they could share that opinion on the review site that matters most to your business. This is something an automated online reputation management service can do automatically when it reaches out to your customers through email or SMS.

Ask for Reviews Get More Reviews

Make Leaving a Customer Review Easy

Your customer has already invested money in your company by paying for your product or service. Don’t expect that they also want to invest a large chunk of their time in leaving a review. Make leaving a review a fast and easy process for your customers to get more reviews.

Make sure you are listed on the major directories and review sites, so customers can leave reviews where they are most comfortable and have the most influence. Put clear and ever-present direct links to your business profiles on the top review sites on your website and email communications, so all your customers are just a few clicks away from leaving a review for your business.

Automate your Review Monitoring and Reputation Management

Knowing how powerful good reviews are in bringing new customers and increasing exposure, you’ll find that allocating a part of your marketing budget to review monitoring and proactive reputation management through services like Reputation Loop is an easy decision.

Prioritizing the process gathering and monitoring online reviews by selecting an affordable online reputation management service, you save precious time, get more reviews, and gain peace of mind knowing your reputation is monitored and protected.

With automated online reputation management services your customers are asked for their feedback, you are notified of dissatisfied customers before they get to review sites, and your best reviews are promoted on the review sites and social networks that matter most to your business in an almost hands-free automated process.

Customer Reviews Play a Big Role in the Growth and Success of Your Business

Encourage reviews, intelligently respond to negative feedback, and manage online reputation to earn more sales and higher rankings on review site and search engine results pages. Get more reviews, and you’ll see how priceless a five-star review really is.

 

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USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post How To Get More Reviews – Increase Ranking & Grow Your Business appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Falling in Local Search Rankings? 3 Questions to Find Out Why

Have you seen your business listing falling in local search rankings?

Local search rankings can be so complex it’s near impossible to tell why your business listing has fallen in search engine results at first glance. But there are some key questions you can dig into that will likely shed light on where the problem lies.

Once you’ve determined where problems lie, you can get to work on getting back on top and outranking competitors.

Learn about white label reputation management with Reputation Loop.

Falling in Local Search Results SM

3 Questions to Figure Out Why Your Business is Falling in Local Search Rankings

We’ve covered how to raise your ranking in local search a lot here on the ReputationLoop.com blog, and you can check out these articles to help you with raising your ranking:

These following questions specifically cover how to determine what could be happening when you’ve done the work to optimize your business listings to rank at the top of search results, but you’ve seen a fall in rankings.

Q1. Has Google done an update that affects local ranking?

Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms and formulas to create search results that are as relevant and useful as possible. Dozens of updates can happen in any given month, and they usually won’t affect hard-earned rankings. But sometimes they’ll throw out a change or uncover a bug that needs fixing, and your ranking falls because you didn’t know that some search optimization tactic you were using doesn’t affect ranking in the same way anymore.

To stay informed on what is new with Google there are a few reliable sources that you can check to see if an update is affecting your ranking:

Q2.  Have you violated Google’s guidelines?

Use Google Webmaster Tools (go to Search Traffic and select Manual Actions) and Google Analytics (look for drastic changes in search engine traffic) to check if Google has penalized your website.

If you’ve been ranking high in Google search results, then we’ll assume that you are consistently optimizing your Google My Business listings and publishing new or updated on-site and off-site content. Avoid falling in rankings, or worse suspensions, and make sure new web pages or content (such as reviews or business listings) aren’t spammy or misleading by Google standards.

Are you doing any of the following?

Google Organic Clicks Falling in Local Search Ranking

Q3.  Do you routinely update your Google My Business Listings?

Sometimes competitors are passing you because they are simply putting in more effort. If you ever got to the top of local search results, you must have been doing something right. Your competitors want the top spot so don’t slack on keeping your Google My Business listing fresh with new content like reviews and photos, as well as updating hours and services as they change.

Optimize and Manage Your Google My Business Listing

  • Ensure business NAP is (and stays) correct and consistent across the entire internet.
  • Have a Review Management strategy to gather and monitor customer reviews
  • Update business hours with seasonal and holiday changes
  • Pick all the best categories for your business
  • Fill out your listing in its entirety
  • Optimize images with local identifiers

HOT TIP: Use Google Posts to keep fresh content on your listings – Google and search user LOVE those.

Why Did My Business Fall in Local Search Rankings?

You’ve optimized your website, content, and listings and as a result, ranked high in local search results. To remain at the top, you need to consistently put in a little work to monitor and maintain your standing. Asking yourself these questions is the first step in figuring out why your business listing may be falling in local search rankings. Stay ahead of competitors by staying on top of how you are optimizing on-site and off-site towards local search ranking factors.

 

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USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Falling in Local Search Rankings? 3 Questions to Find Out Why appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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White Label Reputation Management – Next Step to Huge Profits

Looking for a way to easily add another revenue stream to your business while providing a new suite of valuable services to your clients? White label reputation management software lets your business deliver more services and take all the credit while an established platform, with expert support, provides the service. If you are a digital marketer or agency with clients, it’s the next logical step in the quest to do less work and make more money.

How does this sound?

Your business could be earning monthly recurring income while providing the reputation management solution your clients need to build and monitor their online reputation.

By using a white label reputation management solution, you get everything you need to introduce and maximize a new income stream that benefits your clients and your bottom line.

But… let’s back up and clarify what “white label” means.

What is a White Label Service?

A white-label service is a product or software as a service (SaaS) from a third-party that you purchase, rebrand with your own branding or company name, and then resell as your product. Specifically, here we are talking about white-labeling the Reputation Loop reputation management software, making it look like a service run by your business or agency and selling that service to your clients.

White Label Reputation Management

White labeling reputation management has immediate and long-term benefits

Offer an additional valuable resource to your clients

Expand your current service offerings and meet existing client demand for reputation management. With a new service, you will also increase client retention and draw in new clients who are looking for more full-service options.

Your clients will benefit from the ability to:

  • engage with their customers through automated email and text
  • gather feedback, address issues, and make improvements
  • encourage customers to leave reviews where they matter most
  • monitor review sites to quickly respond to negative reviews
  • monitor business directories for accuracy and consistency
  • rank higher in search engine results by building a 5 Star online reputation

Adding a steady income stream without the massive investment of developing a new product

White labeling an established reputation management software allows you to offer new and necessary services to your clients without diverting time and manpower towards researching, developing and deploying a new product.

Ability to focus on your core business while increasing revenue

Launching and supporting a new service can be incredibly time-consuming, but not if you are white-labeling an established reputation management platform. Grow your customer base and increase revenue without diverting resources like sales and admin from your core business.

Access to the technology and expertise of the white label provider

As a white label reputation management reseller you customize the entire platform with your own branding and URL and have full access to our platform.

Reputation Loop supplies a full suite of marketing materials and training for our white label resellers to get up and running quickly. These include professional sales videos, powerpoint presentations, flyers, postcards, business cards, email scripts, phone scripts, and traffic strategies.

Grow and enhance your reputation with branded services

Offering a service that your business has white-labeled as your own branded solution means you retain the perceived value of that service without having to give credit to another brand. That means clients stay with you for this service instead of going to the source and handling their own reputation management.

Agencies and Digital Marketers Love Reputation Loop

White Label Reputation Management Review

Reputation Loop Review Game Changer

Reputation Loop Review Easy to Use2

White Label Reputation Management Review 5 Star

White Label Our Reputation Management Software Platform

Grow your business and increase revenue by offering a valuable solution that helps your clients by white labeling reputation management services. Reputation Loop has aggressive pricing with deep discounts so you can grow your business quick and easy. As an agency or reseller, you can use Reputation Loop’s white label reseller package and provide this multi-million dollar software as your own.

INTERESTED? Learn how easy it is to add a white label reputation management platform to your list of services.

 

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post White Label Reputation Management – Next Step to Huge Profits appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Think With Google: 5 Ways Voice Activated Assistants Are Changing Search

Voice activated speakers for the Connected Home are rapidly becoming mainstream consumer products — and those new devices are having an immediate impact on the way consumers search, Think With Google stats show.

For the 72 percent of smart speaker owners, using their voice activated assistants has become a daily routine, writes Sara Kleinberg, Group Marketing Manager, Ads Research and Insights at Google.

“Voice-activated speaker owners told us that talking to their virtual assistant—rather than having to type—helps them get things done quickly and efficiently,” Kleinberg notes. “And that means more multitasking.”

Here are the top reasons people turn to their voice-activated speakers, according to Google:

  • It allows them to more easily multitask.
  • It enables them to do things faster than other devices.
  • It empowers them to instantly get answers and information.
  • It makes their daily routine easier.

In terms of the specific implications for local businesses, the rise of voice-activated assistants have coincided with the increased importance of location management in SEO strategy — namely, that making sure that business location information is correct across platforms is key to ranking in Google’s “three-pack” of top mapped results, as is using optimal keywords.

Addressing the particulars of voice search is important in the same vein, especially considering that 76 percent of “near me” searches result in a business visit within a day. In fact,  we’ve previously reported that search volume for local places continues to grow — but explicitly stated “near me” requests are on the decline, since consumers now simply expect results that reflect their proximity.

But it’s the very essence of how people are searching via voice versus text that is most important for brands to recognize. And that’s a major reason that Google, which hasn’t typically had a major presence at CES, has one this year, Engadget notices, including a “skin” covering the outside of the CES monorail promoting the Google Assistant in addition to a booth in the event’s parking lot.

Just last week, Google said it had added more features—like Voice Match,  Broadcast and Hands-Free Calling— to the Google Assistant, which “now gives you the power to voice control more than 1,500 compatible smart home devices from over 225 brands,” a post by Rishi Chandra, VP, Product Management, Google Home, and Scott Huffman, VP, Engineering, Google Assistant, notes.

Source: Think With Google, CES 2018

Google Ups CES Presence

Even as Google remains the undisputed search leader, as Amazon Echo’s Alexa, followed by the forthcoming Apple HomePod smart speaker powered by Siri, the market is still up for grabs.

But not for long.

As GeoMarketing‘s Lauryn Chamberlain (who happens to be covering CES 2018 this week) reports, over two-thirds of consumers who currently own an Amazon Echo or Google Home plan to buy another device in the next six months — and 75 percent of Amazon Echo owners and 69 percent of Google Home owners will purchase the same brand again, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.

“This degree of loyalty may suggest that consumers are highly satisfied with the voice-activated devices they’ve chosen — or it could be simply a “recognition that the technical platforms are different and that switching would involve unwanted complexity,” Chamberlain writes. “But in either case, these findings indicate substantial consumer loyalty to one brand alone.”

Meanwhile as Google seeks to understand the changing shape of voice-fueled search, here are some of the stats that buttress previous studies that highlight the dramatic changes in the way consumers find places and products:

  • 62 percent of those who regularly use a voice-activated speaker say they’re likely to buy something through their device within the next month
  • 58 percent of smart speaker owners use it to manage weekly shopping lists
  • 44 percent voice assistant users order groceries or household items once a week
  • 52 percent of smart speaker owners would like to receive info about deals, sales, and brand promotions, while another 42 percent want to hear about upcoming events/activities featuring favorite brands

Time For A Conversation

As voice-activated assistant observers and execs have emphasized, the use of Natural Language Processing (NPL), is the most important aspect to fully connecting with consumers — something that has been fairly difficult to manage in typical product searches.

Almost 70 percent of queries to the Google Assistant are made in natural language as opposed to the “typical” keywords people type into a search box, says Kleinberg, adding that 53 percent of smart speaker owners say it feels “natural” speaking the device.

“Every industry can [add] value based on just having a conversation,” explained Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist for Alexa and Echo at Amazon, in a recent interview with GeoMarketing. “And while the technology that consumers are using to power nearly every aspect of their lives has indeed evolved, “it’s still almost like what’s old is new. We’re going to back to just having a conversation.”

And after decades of analyzing how word-of-mouth marketing has the greatest influence on a purchase, way beyond media and advertising channels, Google’s stat is particularly game-changing for brands: 41 percent of people who have a voice-activated speaker say “it feels just like talking to a friend or another person.”

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Would Google’s Sale Of Zagat Have Any Impact On Restaurant Reviews?

Years after Google has built up its formidable Digital Presence Management capabilities to connect consumers with nearby restaurants — among the full range of other local businesses — the search giant is considering jettisoning an early piece of its hyperlocal strategy by selling its Zagat reviews property, according to Reuters.

Google declined to comment when we asked about the Reuters story.

Citing only “people familiar with the matter,” Reuters’ anonymous sources tell the news service that Zagat, which Google acquired for $151 million in 2011, has gradually declined as a priority when it sought to revamp the Google+ social network as its “local places” hub in 2013.

The Zagat purchase was also considered a pet project of Marissa Mayer, following her promotion from VP of Google Search Products and User Experience to run the Local, Maps, and Location Services division at the end of 2010. (Mayer left that post to take on the role of CEO of Yahoo in the summer of 2012. She resigned as the head of Yahoo in June 2017 following Verizon’s acquisition of the web portal.)

Zagat’s Stars Fade

As Google Maps has been the primary way users experience local reviews, the Zagat brand has been largely eclipsed, even though it still powers consumers’ restaurant comments and photo sharing.

In the meantime, platforms that share a range of vital business data for restaurants including hours of operation and even unbranded searchable menu listings across Google, Yelp, Facebook, Bing, Foursquare, AllMenus, delivery.com, MenuPages, and more, have made the focus on reviews something of an anachronism.

“Wait. So Zagat’s still exists?” quipped Andrew Shotland, CEO of Local SEO Guide.

“I don’t think this means anything other than Google doesn’t need, and likely never did need, to own Zagat,” Shotland added. “It was a business development deal that I am guessing Marissa [Mayer] thought would jump start their local reviews effort to compete with Yelp, which looked like the big gorilla at the time. Perhaps it did help get Google started but I am betting that it pretty quickly was of little consequence.

“Perhaps there is still some appeal to the brand for someone targeting either the restaurant industry or the corporate gifts business (I think that was Zagat’s main business — investment banks used to give copies of their books to customers). But from what I understand of their IP, I am guessing the restaurant inspector would not give Zagat a passing grade. Avoid the sushi.”

Duane Forrester, VP, Industry Insights, Yext, agreed with Shotland that there is little reason for Google to continue to run Zagat. (Full disclosure: GeoMarketing is a division of Yext. More details on that relationship here).

“No, Google doesn’t need their own review site — they collect data from across the web, so there’s little upside in ‘owning’ their own small slice of the pie,” Forrester said. “In fact, it could be argued (and likely has been) that it’s a conflict of interest.”

It would be interesting to see whether the separating of Zagat from Google would spur a licensing deal between the search giant and another reviews source for Google Maps.

Given what the NYT termed as a “grudge” between Google and Yelp, it would seem unlikely that the two would strike an alliance. But the absence of Zagat embedded would seem to at least open the window to third-party reviews provider. And Yelp, which has over 127 million business reviews, would certainly be hard to top when it comes to supplementing comments made on Google Maps and local delivery marketplace Google Express.

As it stands, Forrester and Shotland don’t expect any impact to restaurants from a sale of Zagat.

“It’s highly unlikely [that Google search results would be impacted] as Zagat was bought originally partly because of its brand and the quality associated with it,” Forrester said. “That hasn’t gone away with time, and when we factor in the spread of news like this being so slow to reach actual street-level businesses, it’s not likely to do much to change their minds, though it might spur a cycle of raised awareness and get restaurants to focus on their reviews for a little while. And that’s always a good thing.”

The Reviews Revolution

The local marketing space, particularly for restaurants, has changed dramatically since Google bought Zagat.

Although reviews are a crucial point of discovery as brands seek to use online commentary to burnish their reputation and drive foot traffic and sales, reviews alone are less sustainable as a business proposition.

Consider the fact that Yelp, in evolving its identity as a local guide platform, often highlights its ability to drive transactions as opposed to merely serving as a repository for patrons’ “thumbs up or thumbs down.”

“The landscape is almost entirely different [in 2011]; about the only similarity is that as a concept, reviews are still with us,” Forrester said, when asked about the changes since Zagat was acquired by Google.

“From the accessibility consumers enjoy, to being able to leave reviews, to the sheer number of sources open to record a review, to the importance of reviews and their impacts on human behavior and algorithmic choices, reviews have a prominence today that never existed seven years ago,” he added. “Back then, it was still more of a word-of-mouth linked scenario. Today, everyone has access and with a human’s innate skew towards complaining versus complimenting; it’s trickier than ever to extract value from reviews.”

Simply put, people are likely to complain about small negative things and never leave positive feedback for small positive things, Forrester explained.

“Given the importance of reviews today in how a search engine ranks results, though, it’s critically important that businesses do whatever they can to cultivate positive reviews,” Forrester said. “This includes digging in when someone complains. Being ‘seen’ trying to solve a problem is often as powerful as actually solving a problem.”

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Putting Customer Reviews to Work in 2018 – Build a Better Reputation

As 2017 fades we find that consumers are relying more and more on social proof such as online reviews to make their buying decisions. You know how important your online reputation is for growing your business, that’s why we’re going to show you how to leverage your online reviews to show customers you are the right choice, right now.

Customer Reviews are Even More Important in 2018

Positive Customer Reviews Influence Buying Stats

Nearly all consumers (90%) look at online reviews when making buying decisions. All the creative marketing and advertisements your money can buy won’t persuade a customer if you don’t have a stellar reputation online where consumers research their purchases.

Putting your reviews and star ratings where people can see them on your website and review sites is a valuable source of highly-effective marketing generated by your customers and trusted by your consumers.

Reviews also give you the customer feedback you need to improve your customers’ experience.  A recent study by Temkin Group showed that companies that are focused on customer experience have more than a 16% advantage over competitors in willingness to buy, reluctance to switch brands and likelihood to recommend.

Get Recent Customer Reviews Online More Often

Consumers are researching to find the best services and products, relying on online reviews and ratings to help guide them. With the explosion of mobile web searching and increased development of review apps, consumers are making their spending decisions on-the-go and faster than ever.

Here’s How to Get More Positive Reviews Online More Often

  1. Have a great service/product and provide excellent customer service. No business is perfect, but if you give your best, customers will recognize it. In appreciation, many will leave a great review where they would have otherwise not reviewed at all. Make a great first impression, follow through on your promises and customers will want to share that experience with other people. 
  2. Make it easy for customers to complete and submit reviews. Keep the review process short and easy. Provide star rating systems and enable comment functions on your websites. Provide links or clickable images directly to your pages on the popular review sites they are accustomed to using such as Google and Yelp. Remember to provide a few options for where they can leave a review for better conversion.
  3. Make your presence known while monitoring and moderating review channels. Pay close attention to the sites you want your customers to review your business on and ensure a prompt response to issues or problems to handle any negative reviews. Make sure your business is listed on any third-party sites your customers might be visiting. This also applies to major social media sites, as younger demographics tend to voice their opinions on their preferred social media networks.
  4. Ask for a review and send reminders if you have the customers email address. Some business owners are embarrassed to ask for a review but as the saying goes, “closed mouths don’t get fed.” Be honest and say you are trying to grow your online exposure and reviews really help other customers find your business so it would mean a lot if they could take a minute to leave a review.
  5. Time your review request promptly after the service or purchase. Your best chance of getting feedback from people is right after the transaction. The longer you wait, the completion rates for reviews quickly declines. If your business captures emails, this is the best way to connect with customers immediately to request a review.

Local Customer Reviews StatsShow Customer Reviews on Your Website

Showcasing reviews on your website not only helps you acquire new customers by detailing what your users love about your business. Displaying a steady flow of recent reviews also factors into showing up higher in search engine results because Google likes fresh content.

Build Trust in Your Business

Letting website visitors see what your customers think about your products and services increases transparency. With so much advertising and marketing forced on us, consumers look for transparency to know who to trust. When your business demonstrates they have nothing to hide, buyers are more open to listening to your message of why you’re the best choice.

Increase Engagement for Higher Conversion Rates

Customers want to see reviews. When they get to look at those reviews to see those reviews on your site, they are more engaged and stay on your website longer. When users stay on your site longer your conversion rates go up. Give your website users what they want by giving them the recent reviews they are looking for.

Keep Fresh Reviews Continuously Posting Online

According to Search Engine Land, 69% of consumers think reviews older than three months are no longer relevant. A Vendasta list of stats on customer reviews shows around 44% of consumers say a review is only relevant if it was written within the last month.

Additionally, how recent and how many reviews are found factor into the reviews algorithm Google uses to rank websites. Businesses that keep a steady stream reviews keep credibility with both consumers and search engines.

Learn How to Leverage Online Reviews to Grow Your Business

Prioritize the process of reputation management to save time, gather more five-star reviews, and gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are building and protecting a positive online reputation.

If you’d like to learn more about online reputation and automated customized review management, you can click through Reputation Loop’s features and blog.

When you know how powerful good reviews are in bringing new customers and increasing exposure, you’ll find that allocating a part of your marketing budget to the professional management of customer reviews through services like Reputation Loop is an easy decision.

 

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Putting Customer Reviews to Work in 2018 – Build a Better Reputation appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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2018 Local SEO Strategy Planning Using 2017 Lessons Learned

As another whirlwind year comes to a close let’s take a look at what changed in Local SEO in 2017, the lessons we learned, and how we can use that information to create a winning 2018 Local SEO strategy.

With the number of changes that happened in search engine optimization, especially on the local level, there are new factors to take into account when planning for more effective Local SEO in 2018.

Local businesses owners won’t need to make significant changes, as traditional local SEO tactics are still useful. However, businesses that recognize and capitalize on new and better ways to optimize for local search are the ones who will rank above competitors in key local search results.

2017 Local SEO Lessons Learned & 2018 Local SEO Strategy Planning

Take advantage of the opportunity to grow your business using lessons learned from Local SEO in 2017 to build a better 2018 Local SEO strategy.

2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors

Many Business Aren’t Optimizing for Local Search or Doing It Wrong

As we worked through 2017, small and local businesses became increasingly aware of the importance of showing up in local search results, and the colossal impact ranking high in search and map results had on earning more revenue and growing their business. Though business increased their local marketing budgets, they still lagged on using location data to optimize their product and services web pages for search.

Ranking low in search results, or not ranking at all makes a business invisible.  That means no new customers, no growth, and a declining customer base who has or will find another business on their next search.  The winners in 2017 were businesses who knew how to use location data, business listings, and reviews to let search users know that they were close by, open for business, and loved in their community.

ADD TO YOUR LOCAL SEO STRATEGY:

Location data such as city, address, neighborhood, and landmarks should be consistently and accurately be a focus of all on-site and off-site local search optimization activities. 

The first priority for showing up in local and map search results is to optimize your Google My Business Listing by filling it out in its entirety, adding photos with your location in the tags, and getting continuous positive reviews posted to your Google listing. 

When a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are inconsistent on different online directories search engines, don’t want to use that business in results and possibly give their search users bad information.  That means your business won’t rank in local searches if your business listings are inaccurate.  Ensure your business listings are accurate, consistent and everywhere they need to be.

Online Reputation Isn’t Solely Under Your Control

Your business’s online reputation isn’t solely under your control; this is probably why they call it Reputation Management and not Reputation Control. Your “brand” and the perception of your business is no longer made up of the marketing messages you create internally. With the dozens of platforms available for customers to review and rate your business with ease, you have to MANAGE what is said and displayed about your business.

2018 Local SEO Reviews Important

One customer can turn a five-star reputation into a low-rated nightmare.  With the influence of user-generated content and social proof becoming stronger and stronger as more people rely on internet searches to do research and make buying decisions, businesses need to understand the importance of having a positive and persuasive online presence.

ADD TO YOUR LOCAL SEO STRATEGY:

Reputation Management has to be a part of your local SEO strategy going forward.  Ensure you have a Reputation Management process in place that gathers feedback from customers, handles negative experiences before customers hit review sites, and pushes your happiest customers to leave reviews on sites that matter most to your business.

Reviews are a high ranking factor for local search and also factor into appearing in the local pack on Google results pages, right below those top ads.

2018 Local SEO Mobile Searches

Mobile Smartphone and Tablet Users are Increasing – and They Demand Mobile Friendly Experiences

You’ll remember the big fuss around “Mobileggedon 2017” and how the world was going to end if you didn’t have a mobile-friendly website.  Websites that didn’t join the mobile-friendly movement were given fair warning that Google would not continue to rank their clunky websites as mobile search engine use grew to be more than 50% of all users.

As mobile use continues to grow, especially in local searches, mobile-friendly sites dominate search results.  Businesses who cater to local mobile audiences with their SEO efforts are also reaping the rewards of marketing focused on literally “being where your customers are.”

2018 Local SEO Mobile Offers

ADD TO YOUR LOCAL SEO STRATEGY:

We’ll work on the safe assumption that almost every single one of your customers have a smartphone (or 5) in their household.  Go beyond mobile-friendly and make your website an ever-mobile-loving marketing tool.  Optimize all aspects of your website for a pleasant experience for people on their smartphones looking to spend money today.  While you’re at it save some trees and figure out a cost-effective way to add digital coupons for mobile users to your POS system.

Planning your 2018 Local SEO Strategy

Traditional search engine optimization techniques are still going to work for your business in 2018.  But as SEO evolves, especially with local searches, there are multiple opportunities to increase search traffic and get your business in front of paying customers with organic search results, map search results, local packs, searches on review sites, and even paid ads.

As you develop your 2018 marketing plans and budget, take time to reflect not only on the lessons learned in 2017 across the local SEO landscape but also weigh and measure the effectiveness of your business’s search optimization activities over the past year.

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t?
  • Which activities gave you the greatest push in raising your local search ranking?
  • What is the top-ranked local competition in your industry doing that you aren’t?

Use this information to plan out a 2018 Local SEO strategy that puts your business at the top of local search results where new customers are going to find a highly rated service or product they want to do business with.

 

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post 2018 Local SEO Strategy Planning Using 2017 Lessons Learned appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Holiday Local SEO To Do List – Get Found Fast This Season

It’s that time of year when everything is centered around your holiday plans.  That includes how to best market your business to local customers looking to spend vast amounts of money not only to give gifts but to make any part of the hectic season easier, faster and more pleasant.  If your business can meet the needs and solve the problems of holiday shoppers, you need to get seen in local search results. Make sure you’re getting found first with this Holiday Local SEO to Do List.

Your Holiday Local SEO To Do List

[  ] Check Business Listings in Local Directories

First thing on your Holiday Local SEO to do list: Make sure your business listings are live, accurate, and consistent across local business directories.  Be sure to include Google My Business, review sites, and social networks locals use to find your business. Managing and monitoring your business listings year around is essential, but especially around the holidays where traffic is high, and hours change, you don’t want any potential customer having difficulty reaching you.

Accurate Business Listings Reputation Loop

Inaccurate, duplicate, out of date, or differently spelled business listings can lead to a long list of problems for search users such as:

  • Not finding your business in search
  • Driving to a wrong address
  • Calling a disconnected number
  • Showing up when you’re closed because you didn’t update holiday hours
  • Location pins in the wrong place on navigation maps

Avoid all of these problems by updating your local listings with holiday hours and verifying that your Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) are correct and the same across all networks. Don’t stop in the New Year though – make sure you are monitoring and managing your business listings throughout the year.

[  ] Update Your Holiday Hours on Local Online Listings and Your Website

Many businesses change their hours over the holidays. Look at the hours on your listing and make sure they are set for your holiday hours. Updating your hours on various days over the holidays may seem like a lot of work as you change but mobile search users are given this information when they are looking for somewhere to spend money.

This is especially important for Google My Business accounts. Navigating with Google Maps, and selecting a business that Google believes is closed or closing soon, you will be asked if you still want to go to this location even though it is closed or closing within the hour. Don’t lose customers because you have wrong hours listed. While you are at it, update your payment options if they have changed to avoid disappointing paying customers.

[  ] Calendar Google Posts to Highlight Your Specials and Events

Google My Business introduced Google Posts as a way to share fresh content with people who find your business through Google Search.  This new Google My Business feature lets you create posts with content you want to be displayed to customers when they find your business on Google.  Most businesses aren’t doing this yet, so here is just one area where the Holiday Local SEO to do list gives you massive leverage over the competition.

Google My Business doesn’t allow you to schedule out your posts, and they only stay live for a week to keep the content fresh.  You should create a calendar where you can pre-write and schedule your Google Post to make sure you always have something showing in search results for your business name. Publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search in the Knowledge Panel and Maps to let search users know what is going on with your business right now.

HOLIDAY LOCAL SEO TO DO LIST GOOGLE POSTS

Promote your sales, holiday hours, specials and events with Google Posts.  You can learn about Google Posts and how to leverage them for your business here on the Reputation Loop blog.

[  ] Promote Your Best Reviews on Social Networks and Your Website

The social media world is fast-paced and has a very short memory. Consistency is key with your profile postings and interactions if you want to keep your audience engaged. Posting your best reviews on your social media profiles puts the information consumers really want right in front of their faces.

The reviews you post are not only part of the feed seen by your connections, friends, and followers, but they are also part of your timeline. If prospects search your social media networks for your products/services by your business name or your locality, they will see these five-star reviews.

Another SEO win is when people do online research on your business name, your social media profiles are usually part of the top results. Those prospects who discover your social media profiles can also travel back as far as they want in your posts stream and see not only the smart content you’ve posted but real reviews, by real people who think everything your business does is fantastic.

social_media_shares_reputationloop

The best way to raise your social media ROI is to automate many of the tasks associated with maintaining and growing your social media presence with software that will automatically post your five-star reviews to your social media profiles on the major networks.

[  ] Have a Review Management Plan in Place to Handle Bad Reviews and Complaints Immediately

Customer Review Management is a real thing; it is vital to the success of your business. Monitoring and responding to reviews is especially crucial during the holiday season where competition for business is high, and consumers are relying on reviews to make fast purchasing decisions. A customer’s holiday spirit can deteriorate quickly during a season many people find stressful. That could lead to bad reviews for your business.

Having a Review Management Plan in place lets you leverage good reviews and handle bad reviews with equal ease.  Read “Handling Negative Reviews by Creating a Process” when you get a chance but here’s a quick tip list on how to responding to negative reviews.

Responses to negative customer reviews should:

  • Be prompt, short, and to the point
  • Customized to address the issue specifically
  • Offer an apology for the negative experience
  • Provide a resolution or improvement when possible

The Holiday Local SEO To Do List – G.S.D.

Check off this Holiday Local SEO To Do List and get off the local optimization naughty list. Maybe this is the season you get everything you wanted.  Imagine higher ranking in local search, an increased click-through-rate to your business website, more sales, and a better search engine and purchase experience for the user all wrapped up in a pretty bow just for you.

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Holiday Local SEO To Do List – Get Found Fast This Season appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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What Were the most important Local SEO Trends In 2017?

Unlike any year in recent memory, 2017 has generated more dramatic changes for brick-and-mortar businesses seeking to manage their discoverability and engagement strategies when it comes via search.

Search consultancy Local SEO Guide looked at 200-plus search ranking factors in 150 cities covering keywords, website landing pages, reviews, citations, photos, link profiles, and more, and found that businesses are making consumer connections differently than previously.

The report, 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors, surveyed search performance, noting that reviews are becoming much more important versus traditional SEO drivers such as citations and listings. (That said, “inconsistent” citations and listings are a major issue that local businesses ignore at their peril, according to CDK Global, an integrated marketing company focused automotive dealers across 27,000 retail locations in over 100 countries.)

Overall, as businesses examine their SEO strategies for the holiday season, we’ve noted that retailers have remained challenged by search.

For example, SMBs generally have been shifting SEO and advertising towards greater spending on social media marketing, perhaps de-emphasizing search in the rush to expand efforts across Facebook/Instagram and Snapchat.

“Many of our clients still view social and search as totally separate marketing strategies,” Josh Markham, SVP of Digital Media Products at local marketing platform ReachLocal, has told GeoMarketing. “We believe local businesses should be viewing their marketing efforts comprehensively (not as silos) so they can understand which programs work best together. When businesses rely on only one marketing tactic, they are likely missing out on consumers in a different phases of their buying journey. In addition, consumers have different preferences for consuming information, so the combined effort is more effective than a singular effort.”

For the most part, the changes impacting search are determined by an obvious player, notes Andrew Shotland, founder and CEO of Local SEO Guide.

“The data suggests that Google, while attempting to shift to more engagement-based and locally relevant factors for its Local algorithm, is still susceptible to the traditional organic SEO tactics,” Shotland says. “The immaturity of the Local algorithm combined with the power of a focused SEO effort can yield outsized benefits for smart location-marketers. This study illustrates the foundational building blocks of a Local SEO campaign with the goal of helping marketers prioritize their investments in tactics that will move the needle.”

We caught up with Dan Leibson, Local SEO, VP of Search for Local SEO Guide, to get deeper look into the company’s findings and what the implications are in 2018 for local businesses and search.

GeoMarketing: What were the most important local SEO trends in 2017?

Dan Leibson: I think the most important thing we noticed in the 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors study was the continued movement towards non-traditional local rankings factors. Traditionally, things like citations have played an overwhelmingly large part of ranking in Google’s local search results, though now that seems to be shifting largely to traditional organic ranking factors — like links —  and newer factors, like reviews.

In terms of whether Google has shifted away from “traditional” local signal, what kinds of new signals are emerging? And how meaningful is the shift for local businesses?

Most importantly, I think that it means that local businesses need to focus on SEO holistically. This means having a solid organic search strategy, and also working on a review strategy. Both of these will return dividends for most location based businesses.

What is “Google My Business (GMB) spam?”

I’ve actually written a bit about this. Well, most of the “spam” people talk about on GMB isn’t actually spam. Google and some local SEO’s have taken to calling Google My Business profiles that violate Google’s Guidelines as spam. I’m not a fan of this at all, spam is generally black-hat or illegal tactics, not things that are basic terms of service violations. This type of “spam” is akin to jailbreaking or unlocking a cell phone.

How important is GMB for local businesses versus offerings from Facebook and other platforms?

Google is almost exclusively the only game in town. While Yelp does have a commanding second place position in some markets (major metro) and some verticals (hospitality/retail/service) they are far from being a true competitor to Google. Facebook has a lot of potential in the space, and make starts and stops of really going after local discovery, but again don’t have the kind of across the board adoption of Google search (at least in local).

Are local search marketers embracing voice-activation via Alexa, Okay Google, Siri, Cortana, Bixby?

I think marketing technologists are embracing voice-activation because they see the potential in the future. Right now though, there really isn’t much to do.

What are you expecting (and what would you like) to see more of — or less of — in the local search space in 2018?

With the recent relaunch of Facebook’s local product, it’s setting the stage for a really interesting year. Other than that, I would expect marketers to continue to market voice search. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see some pivots & consolidation in the local tools market, as the dominance of a few key players (like Yext) will likely cause some companies with competitive products to re-evaluate their long term plans. [Full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here]

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