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monitoring online reviews

Online Review Management: Google My Business Strategies

The popularity of review forums, sites and apps have forced businesses to invest in web visibility and online review management. Google My Business streamlines B2C opportunities within Search, Maps and Google+. By optimizing these platform, small businesses can improve both online and foot traffic. And the more advanced the profile, the more inclined visitors will be to choose your business over competitors.

Online Review Management Devices

Profile Creation:

  1. Create a Google My Business account. The business manager or owner should have admin priority. Then, other co-workers or agency employees can be added with their Gmail accounts. Granting additional employees, rather than sharing this login, will give sufficient control to the right people.

  1. Update your profile. Now that you have a Business account, post as much information as possible. Google will let you choose to include your address, phone number, hours and categories (up to ten). Be sure that NAP consists with the website.

  2. Optimize photos. Share high quality photos of your business and products. Think of what you would want to see as a consumer in your industry. Hotels can share lobby and room photos for specific locations. Restaurants can share pictures of food and atmosphere. Event spaces can photograph spaces and amenities. Take at least 15 pictures for users to scroll through.

 

SEM Strategies:

  1. Include keywords: Stick with SEM efforts and include keywords that would naturally complement your profiles. This holistic keyword strategy will only strengthen its effectiveness. And get used to thinking about your keyword strategy- from your Google My Business dashboard you can directly go to your Adwords and Analytics.

  2. Report false information: Outdated or misinformation should always be reported to Google as an online review management necessity. Likewise, Google will report your false information. Make sure that any keywords and descriptions directly relate to your business or services.

  3. Aim for the Local 3-pack: Google’s Local 3-pack refers to the three businesses that appear on the first page, if matched with searcher intent. Local 3-pack may be the top result, after advertisements or one or two organic results. It’s a great opportunity for web visibility. While the searcher’s IP address will affect results, Google tends to benefit those with Google+ profiles and reviews, rather than using competitors sites. It also looks like Zagat ratings can optimize profiles. So for example, TriBeCa Restaurants will populate:

Online Review Management:

  1. Encourage Google reviews: While business typically have more Yelp reviews than Google, encouraging Google reviews may better serve your SEM goals. When visitors attest to a great experience, asking for a review can bring long-lasting benefits to business and web strategies.

  2. Monitor reviews: Respond to reviews from the Google My Business Account. This will demonstrate that your business cares about consumer insight. Regarding online review management, Google advises,

Become an active presence on Google and respond to reviews. Your customers will notice that your business values their input and respond with more reviews.

When visitors click into the local 3- pack, rather than going to the businesses’ website, a map opens with 20 competitor profiles listed. So if the searcher’s location didn’t list you in the top three, your business may show up here.

However, because reviews are the most prominent factor featured in the local card, online review management and strategy can really make or break your business. Star ratings appear under the listing name, but again in an average rating out of 5. So next time you encourage reviews, try to encourage Google specifically.

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Five Best Practices for Monitoring Online Reviews

There’s a lot wrong with the muddled world of online reviews. They can make or break a business, but when it comes to mitigating the sting of negative reviews — or of not being reviewed at all — business owners often feel helpless. And as a result, many of them turn to the dark side. Owners manipulate the system by either paying people to write fake positive reviews, or paying reputation management firms to place fraudulent reviews on popular review sites like Yelp, Insider Pages, Google and CitySearch.

While fake reviews may not be too disastrous for customers lured to try a new restaurant, coffee shop or even hair salon, what about a doctor? Luckily, our justice system is starting to catch up with the culprits.

  

 

Still, the question remains: What’s a badly-reviewed — or not-yet reviewed — business owner to do? Most of the review sites out there don’t make it easy. Here are five best practices to keep in mind that can profoundly (and legally) make your brand shine in the unpredictable realm of online reviews:

1. Respond: Don’t just cross your fingers and hope for positive reviews. Get in there and talk to your customers. And talk to them like a friend, not a salesperson. It’s not always intuitive, but there is a way to respond to reviews on every major review site out there.

2. Embrace the negative review: Negative feedback is a great opportunity to show other potential customers reading the review that your brand values their experience. Take a deep breath, thank the angry reviewer for their feedback, apologize, and provide a follow-up option when necessary.

3. Be nice and don’t get personal: There are real people behind each review (most of the time) and if you’re nice to them, they’ll reward you. Reply in a way that addresses the overall experience, and remember: it’s not about you.

4. Keep it short and sweet: Users are looking for useful and genuine information about your business and are easily overwhelmed by a long response. Keep your responses succinct.

5. Encourage feedback: 70 percent of people consult reviews before making a purchase and they’re 63 percent more likely to purchase a product from a site if it has product ratings. If you want your business to thrive, you need online reviews. But how you encourage those reviews makes all the difference. Don’t be aggressive. Encourage engagement instead by posting Yelp check-in offers, including links to review sites, or finding other creative ways to incentivize your customers to leave a review.

 

Treating your customers like the humans that they are online will build trust, boost sales, and save you hundreds of thousands in legal fees. Take the reins the right way.

This post was originally published on Location3 Media’s blog.

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