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Tag Archives: reviews

GOOGLE LEAVES OUT LOCAL BUSINESSES REVIEWS FROM ITS GOOGLE+2.0 SCHEME OF THINGS

reviews

It seems like Google now wants to focus more on the bigger markets and that’s the reason why local business reviews no longer figure in Google’s revamped Google+ scheme of things.

In fact, the Google+2.0 version that was launched recently seems to focus more on its most popular features such as Communities and Collections and in the process got rid of the local display of business reviews, including other local information such as NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) citations.

Here’s a glimpse of the changes brought about by the search giant in Google+ 2.0 version:-

Google+’s older version looked like

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Google+ 2.0 version looks like this

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Let’s see what Google’s Community Manager, Elizabeth Powers has to say in her Google post on the changes brought about in Google+’s dashboard - Reviews will no longer be shown on Google+ Pages in the new Google+ design. But are still accessible on Google Search and Maps which have always been the primary way that users find business reviews.

This drives our point home that Google indeed would want to focus on businesses with bigger market presence and that’s why it’s showing the backdoor to the SMEs. There’s a separate management of business listings taking place on the Google “My Business” page. The scrapped business review feature worked on a simple dashboard functionality by recommending Google+ subscribers to visit business pages only when businesses have something new to share as part of their content marketing strategy.

With that gone, let’s see what one of the local search marketers Mike Blumenthal has to say on the subject.

Over the past two years I have discussed the parting of the ways between local and Plus but through all of that Google had retained the essence of tabbed business pages and given the owner the ability to add a description, photos, videos and provided a place to send customers to see and leave their reviews.

That is all gone. In focusing on content, communities and collections Google has hung out a new and bold sign.

If you haven’t gotten the message yet it should finally be clear in the release of their new and improved G+: BUSINESS UNWELCOME.

Local business marketers are faced with many such issues that Mike Blumenthal and others have raised, one of them being the concern over a permanent forum to post local business reviews. And that seems to be confusing not only the local search marketers, but also the search giant. That’s why Google has now brought the curtains down on the local business feature. In the meantime, if you are looking for some other similar options then Linda Buquet has something in-store for you.

What are your views about this new change by Google? Please let us know by writing to us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free) directly.

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BRAND’S CREDIBILITY FROM FAKE MARKETING REVIEWS

reviews

Customer loyalty is not something you own in a day but is achieved after years of quality customer service. Brands, who have achieved bigger things in their search for excellence, will vouch for that. But today’s technology savvy marketers are doing almost everything it takes to achieve short-cuts to entrepreneurial success. In an attempt to out-do their competitors, many new start-ups and even established SMEs are looking for short-cuts to score some brownie points and in-turn run the risk of jeopardizing the reputation of their company. Well, the popularity of generating “fake reviews” is fast catching up with a lot of companies, who utilize them as a short-cut to boost the sales margin of their company. There is no doubt that such fake, intended reviews influence a large number of consumers’ buying behavior. But there is a pool of consumers, who have doubts over the credibility of such reviews as seen below:-

Talking about stats, nine out of 10 consumers say that online reviews do affect their buying behavior. On the contrary, around 70% of US and UK consumers have doubt about their trustworthinesswhich is rather disturbing.

A lot of consumers look for these online reviews before actually making a purchase and in turn, benefiting a company. But the degrading marketing credentials of fake reviews is spoiling the game for a lot of genuine online retailers.

In fact, Amazon, last month, came out hard against these fake online review writers by taking appropriate legal action against them. This was followed up by demands of verification of the genuineness of reviews by users of the online firm TripAdvisor. This is ultimately killing the feasibility of such consumer-driven content.

But there’s no denying of the fact that this consumer-driven content forms the basis of several marketing campaigns. Consumer driven content not only helps shopping communities, but it actually provides further insight to companies about the existing drawbacks of their products/services. This in turn helps them to fix the existing loopholes in their products/services and revamp their marketing strategy.

And when there’s a breach of trust about the genuineness of such claims, is the moment the consumer desists himself from participating in such avenues. It ultimately hurts the ROI of the company. The rise of such anti-trust issues hurts even more since a lot of companies place consumer-driven content at the center of their marketing campaigns – that’s why it’s important to restore the faith of the consumers.

Probably, the time is right for companies involved in generating such consumer-driven content to take action against fake review generators so as to bolster consumers’ trust in the credibility of consumer-driven content.

Look for solutions to track fraudulent behavior

As a part of the industry, it’s important for us to restore faith in consumer-driven content so that customers trust the content before making a purchase.

This becomes an important step, especially after the Word of Mouth Marketing Association issued its own set of ethical guidelines for use of consumer-driven content, which even the FTC recognizes. In spite of that, our industry has failed to garner the much needed support to implement the code. This has somewhat added to the increase in fraudulent behavior, resulting in low credentials for consumer-driven content.

But the next important step that we as a part of this rapidly growing industry need to take, in today’s fast changing tech-savvy world, is to stand firm on the issue that is currently spreading like a wild fire. Maybe we need to learn a thing or two from Amazon, who acts tough on such kind of behavior. Now, the onus is on us to act in accordance or we might have to face the consequences!

Track the offender. In order to get started, we need to track the original source of content submission. It will help us identify the suggestive patterns of such fraudulent behavior. Most companies are familiar with these preventive measures.

The next step would be to get a hold of the submitting server’s IP address, which can help us track devices used for carrying out such practices without revealing the user’s identity.

Are you a verified buyer? As a part of the tech-savvy industry, we are well equipped with modern day technology, which can help us track fake user-ids, passwords, robotic submissions and other fraudulent ways to compromise credibility.

Probably, we can make use of the verified purchase mechanism to check whether the review writer is also the actual buyer of the product/services. This is being suggested as one of the measures by users of the TripAdvisor community forum as a part of their existing campaign #NoReceiptNoReview.

Look beyond technological solutions. We need to look beyond technological tools and solutions to track the human hand involved in such acts. And only human mind can decipher whether the suspicious content has been created by mechanical bots or if there’s a human angle involved in it. To be on a safer side, we can probably use a combination of both, the tools and our instincts to decipher such fraudulent acts.

Stand for authenticity. A clearly outlined company policy guarantying the authenticity of such consumer-driven content is well appreciated by all; including the consumer. It also strengthens their trust and belief in your brand. This is enough of an incentive for firms to deliver products/services based on quality and performance. Remember, brands aren’t built in a day. It takes years of quality craftsmanship and service to carve out a name for yourself. And you wouldn’t want to spoil it.

Call for collective action to protect your credibility

A collective effort is what’s needed in order to bring forth a conclusion to this never ending problem. The time is right for us to come out supporting a single set of standards so as to instill confidence into the minds of consumers about authenticity of reviews. Besides WOMMA and FTC, we need to take some cues from the authenticity standards adopted across France, Australia and New York, which gained popularity for their stand against fake reviews a couple of years ago.

As a small business owner, you should be aware that negative reviews almost ensure that customers will never buy from you. Buying positive reviews is illegal according to US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and most online companies have negative reviews. So how do you filter the negative reviews and push for more positive reviews?

Introducing our Review Widget, which will give you a chance to get more positive reviews on Google and Yelp for your business. This will help not only your Local SEO efforts but also attract new business. The best part is, you can filter negative reviews from the back end. So if someone leaves a positive review, you can request them to post the review on Google or Yelp. If the review is negative, we don’t ask them to post their reviews on third party sites and handle the customer in a way that it does not become a bigger issue.

Quick Features of Our Review Widget Tool –

  • Get Genuine Reviews on Google & Yelp
  • Positive Reviews Get Featured on your Website
  • Filter Negative Reviews.
  • Absolutely FREE for Agencies using our Dashboard.
  • Completely Customizable
  • Designed for Mobile and Tablets so Users can Access it from Any Device
  • More Reviews Means Improved Local SEO Rankings

Improved Brand Reputation

So what are you waiting for! Help your business benefit from our review widget. To get started, just email us at sales@ebrandz.com or directly call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free).

HOW TO LEVERAGE TESTIMONIALS FOR YOUR SEO NEEDS

testimonials

So, what do you feel is the strength of your online presence? Great responsive landing page, rich and engaging content, solid link building structure, well planned social media presence or your user’s enriching website experience. While the presence of all these qualities are great have one particular website but if you don’t have any Testimonials or Reviews from your industry specific people pertaining to the overall quality of your service then it may act as a major downfall in terms of the bottom line of your business existence. In this rather brief article, we’ll try to explain the necessities of such testimonials and how they can actually improve the bottom line of your business.

The Basic Premise of Testimonials

A lot of businesses come out with testimonials on their official pages lack more of clarity and doesn’t look the part as such. But they more or less do their job in terms of improving your sales figures. This is what testimonials are meant for in the first place.

But more than anything else, a good testimonial must talk about the USP of your business value and how it added value to their existence. This is more than half the job if you get it right. Besides that, you can even leverage testimonials for your latest discount offers and money back schemes. This will give out positive signals to your prospective click-throughs that all your products and services have been commercially successful.

However, there are some concerns with testimonials that extend beyond your product reviews. Instead of doing harm, it further boosts your sales margins with more customers actually searching for your products online to make a purchase.

In short:- It adds value to the promotional aspect of your products by informing your potential consumers about the benefits on making a purchase.

How to Leverage Testimonials

Testimonials can be leveraged to create a friendly environment not only in terms of your online presence but also for your offline needs as well. It’s been found time and again that positive customer feedback can actually surge your profit margins. In fact, it instills a sense of belief in the online visitors about your online presence. But again, it will take time for your testimonials to weave its magic of trust around your click-through visitors and evoke a sense of trust about the overall credibility of your online presence.

But in the hindsight, don’t just delete the negative comments of your customers, which can actually be leveraged to create a better impression on your potential customers.

For instance, you can make use of some negative comments to further improve your services and then highlight it on your website that you actually had acted upon your customer’s concerns about your products and services.

This way you can probably kill two birds with one stone and that will further strengthen your online authority and reputation. Hence, it’s all the more important that reviews must look real and trustworthy and not the fake one.

Get creative with your Testimonials

In recent past, a lot of business ventures took to storytelling just like a duck takes to water. This craze caught up with every alternative business, who went gung-ho about it. This practice became a sort of rage with a lot of business owners because research evidence supports the fact that the stories do have a positive influence on the customer’s perception about a particular product or services. In fact, stories that resonate well with your audience can inculcate intent of purchase in them.

The Use of images with Testimonials

Similarly, images were associated with the trustworthiness of your website. In fact,  research conducted some three years ago found that pictures irrespective of their relevance, impact the buying behavior of your target audience. On top of that, some studies were of the opinion that images help instill the lost faith in your nonperforming, poor quality of products & services and vice versa. Even Worse – the reaction to your products/ services may vary depend upon the ethnicity of your target audience.

But in general, it’s not a rocket science stuff to know that Images with testimonials increase the credibility of your business but the results may vary depending upon the nature of your business. Test it know it for yourself.

The HALO Effect

Testimonials from influential public figures, who are an expert in their field of work, can actually make a difference to the bottom line of your business. This according to Wikipedia is due to the HALO Effect of Marketing. Hence, it’s clear that testimonials from influential figures do positively influence your target audience’s buying behavior as such. But there’s certain limitation in terms of use that needs to be followed to make its maximum impact. For instance, you can’t have a Pop diva of the status of Madonna pitching for the benefits of your SEO services. That won’t be much of help, ain’t it?

Get right with your placement

Testimonials are indeed a great way to influence the behavior of your target audience, but they will do their bit of magic only when they are visible to your visitors. Hence, their location on your page is just as important as their presence. So, having them on your landing page or around your CTA buttons that can actually do a world of good to the bottom line of your business.

Conclusion

Having said that, it’s up to you to make the best use of the testimonials when leveraging them for your business needs. And in case if you haven’t used this form of marketing or finding it difficult to use it then just help us to help you out with a FREE Analysis of your website highlighting major local, on-site, offsite and social metrics OR email us your concerns at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free) for help.

FACEBOOK PREFERRED BY YOUNGSTERS. OLDER LOT STILL PREFER “WORD OF MOUTH” AS THE MOST TRUSTED SOURCE OF MEDIUM

So, how much of a role does your social media presence play in influencing the purchase decisions of your potential customers? On the basis of Local Consumer Survey 2015 conducted by Bright Local, listed below are some actionable takeaways on the basis of their age group, thought pattern and how they react to these online reviews on local businesses as such.

Based on the survey results, it was observed that more than 90% of consumers refer to these reviews as compared to more than 85%, who referred them last year. Moreover, the results showed that consumers are quickly forming their opinion about businesses with 40% of consumers admitted that they read about more than two reviews as compared to last year where only 29% of consumers were quick to form their opinion.

The above-mentioned observations are pretty much consumer specific and can be utilized by the local businesses and the SEO’s to further improve the bottom-line of their business.

Segmenting your Consumer on the basis of their Age groups

In order to better understand the consumer’s needs, the study was further carried out by segmenting the consumer’s needs on the basis of their age group. The data was classified on three age group categories to see whether the young consumers form their opinion faster than their older compatriot, which is done as below

1)      18-34 Age Group

2)      35-54 Age Group and

3)      55 plus Onwards Age Group

How much internet savvy your target audience is?

facebook-brightlocal1

Brief Observations:-

  • More than 55% of consumers aged 18-34 have been online at least once in a month
  • As compared to more than 40% of consumers aged 35-54 have been active at least once in a month
  • With more than 25% of consumers aged 55 plus have done so at least once in a month

Analysis

The above observations clearly indicates a huge difference between the click-through behavior of the younger as compared to the older lots of consumers, wherein the younger consumers were found to be more active online. Let us analyze their click-through behavior in detail.

18-34 Age Group

More than 55% of these online customers search at least once in a month, while more than 40% of searchers do it once in a week followed by a massive 21%, who do it on a daily basis.

So as a business owner or from your client perspective, it becomes all the more important for you to have strong online visibility across all the popular social channels.

35-54 Age Group

Almost 50% of this age category can be found searching online anywhere between 1 to 10 times a year. They are behind their younger compatriots of 18-34 age group but still 31% remain active on a weekly basis.

55 Plus Age Group

The least active of the online searchers come from this age group, wherein half of them are active up to 5 times per year followed by less than 20% of folks, who do it only once or never on a yearly basis.

After knowing, which among the age groups are mostly seen browsing real time, it is still not clear whether they do study these online reviews or not.

How knowledgeable your target audience is about your local business’s online reviews?

facebook-brightlocal2

Brief Observations:

  • More than 95% of consumers aged 18-34 study these online reviews for local businesses
  • As compared to more than 90% of consumers aged 35-54 study these online reviews for local businesses
  • While more than 85% of consumers aged 55 plus study these online reviews for local businesses

Analysis:

This brings us to the conclusion that more or less consumer of all ages study these reviews as such with the younger ones reviewing them a regular basis while more than 85% of the older age group(55 plus) frequently or occasionally studying them.

It’s a great news for all businesses alike, who are targeting all age groups to conclude that it’s highly likely that your potential customers will study these reviews.

Studying these business reviews is altogether a different thing, then knowing the fact that to which extent the consumer study these reviews and do they actually believe them.

What is your Target Audience’s preferred mode of communication or device to study local business’s online reviews?

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*NOTE: respondents were asked to select as many answers as they want

Brief Observations

  • The older consumers prefer to study these reviews on their PC(desktop / laptop)
  • While the young searchers prefer to study them on their smart phones or tablets

Analysis:

The difference in age group shows up in the above observations with the younger lot often seen to be active on their smart phones frequenting these reviews through the mobile browsers and apps.

More than 60% aged 18-34 studied these review through their mobile internet with more than 30% aged 35-54 as compared to more than 10% aged 55 plus online searchers.

On the basis of the preference of devices for the above-mentioned age group segments, we can make the following assumptions as below

PC / desktop:

It was observed through surveys that more than 70% of all consumers had studied these reviews on their PC (Desktop/ Laptop). This makes PC as the most inhabited medium, which is most frequented by the older lot than younger ones aged 18-34.

Smart access through mobile internet:

It was observed that more than 35% of the consumers preferred their mobile internet to study these online reviews.

The younger lot aged 18-34 were the regular online visitors in this category with 35-54 age group coming a near second position while the 55 plus age groups were the infrequent visitors of the lots.

Mobile apps:

Using Apps to study these online reviews follows similar pattern as above with rather less consumption of review

Tablet:

Surprisingly, Amongst all the mobile device options, Tablets seems to grab the attention of the 55+ age group consumers. This is due to the fact that they seem to prefer larger screen size to search or research particular websites.

It also becomes evident from the fact that if given a choice they are more likely to pick up a tablet than a small screen mobile device.

What does your target audience prefer as the most trusted source of medium?

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Brief Observations:

  • More than 30% of 55 plus age group don’t make their decision on the basis of these reviews as compared to personal recommendation.
  • While Consumers aged 18-34 are more likely to make purchase on the basis of these reviews as compared to other age groups.
  • Whereas all age groups prefer to completely trust these online reviews.

Analysis:

It was observed from the above surveys that around 80% give equal weightage to reviews and recommendations while more than 70% of consumers also agreed to follow the suit if it matches their requirements.

This brings us to the conclusion that there is certain correlation that exists between the age groups and the trusting levels of the respondents with the younger lot more likely to trust reviews as compared to the older ones.

Still that trust factor is hard to come with a large chunk of consumers pointing certain conditions to be met before they actually trust them completely.

How many online reviews does your target audience actually go through before making their decision?

facebook-brightlocal5

Brief Observations:

  • A major chunk of all age group consumers don’t go beyond 10 reviews to make their opinion.

Analysis:

On the basis of the full survey report, it was observed that consumers are forming their opinion at a faster rate with more than 85% don’t go beyond the tenth review to make their final decision, which is irrespective of the age difference..

Moreover, a large percentile of 55 plus age group consumers don’t study any reviews since they aren’t active searchers.

The percentile of consumers studying 1-10 reviews is as below

  • 18-34 – more than 80%
  • 35-55 – more than 77%
  • 55+ – more than 75%

Since consumers of all age groups form their opinion after going through a handful of reviews. This makes all the more important for businesses not only to have positive reviews on their sites but also update the new ones on a regular basis.

In past one year, through which medium your target audience have reviewed or recommended to the people, about the local businesses?

facebook-brightlocal6

Brief Observations:

  • Younger lot of searchers are more likely to counsel a business through many channels
  • With more than 85% of 18-34 have done so through their social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Google+)
  • while more than 65% of 55 plus age groups did so through informal medium like word of mouth publicity.

Analysis:

It was observed that more than 85% of 18-34 age group reviewed about local businesses through Facebook, Twitter or Google plus social media profiles. As compared to the half percentile of the 35-54 age group consumers with over 20% of the 55 plus age group leveraging their social media presence. This brings us to further conclusion that social media is more preferred medium for the younger lot of searchers with more than 65% of 55 plus age group prefer the informal medium of communication such as word of mouth. All in all, Facebook and the informal way communication are the two most preferred medium of communication with the ratio depending on the age group of consumers as such.

 

Conclusion –

From our above observations, it can be concluded that consumers of all age groups will either review or refer local businesses largely on the basis of their age group and preferred mode of communication. But as a Business owner or SEO, you need to ensure maximum brand visibility across all the popular social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc. and at the same time take care that they are creating a good first impression on your target consumer which is more than enough to take care of the bottom-line of your business.

Don’t want to be left behind? Check out our social media packages to give your business the lead among your competitors. You can also request a SMO Audit Report Worth $249 for FREE. Just email us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free) to get started.

BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO REVIEW MANAGEMENT

review-management

No matter who you are in the world of business, managing reviews is a highly essential part of one’s online presence. Any corporate sphere that completely lives online must look forward to management review.

Review management is important for local businesses since a good word of mouth is what they basically live upon. And more traffic would only head in with intensified marketing.

But getting reviews is most important. Let us look at the points below that’d help us get reviews.

Make your presence be felt in the most important local directories. Have your business listed in the top directories by running through sites in the most cohesively crafty manner. In the process, watch out for all the holes in your presence online.

STEP 1: Keep an eye on each of your review

You won’t have to wander across websites to do so. It’s quite easy since you’d simply have to use a review monitoring system to keep track of all of your reviews. You could do this for free on sites like Google, Foursquare, Yellow Pages etc.

STEP 2: Customer encouragement for reviews

The statement is quite obvious, isn’t it? A good word of mouth is always a positive for any business. It could be from friends, clients or any individual. And reviews are the source of positivity that’d propel your business.

There are a handful of ways in which you can encourage customers. Newsletters are a fine way to do so, by asking customers what they think about the services. This would simply draw in reviews.

Impressive post cards could do the trick. You could either post ‘em via mail or display them as posters with QR codes. Doing so would make it easier for users to post in reviews.

A pop-up on your website would have eyes poppin’ out. A limited array of pop-ups would certainly draw in attention, leading to reviews.

Check-in offers for physical visitors can also bring about positive reviews.

STEP 3: Ask your walk-ins

An impressive round of business with clients or customers would certainly leave both ends with a smile. And such a phase should bring about questions from your end for the customers that’d bring about reviews.

STEP 4: Respond Back to Reviews

Reviews aren’t always all smiles. Many occasions do come forward that bring along bad reviews. You can’t just pull your blanket after reading them. Rueful review responses are required to get your business back on track with a list of good reviews.

STEP 5: Optimize review sources when ‘help’ comes calling

One bad review doesn’t mean you have to shut the door. Negative reviews arise on both, big & small sites, but are prominently present on smaller sites.

So don’t sweat over a miniature mess. Be responsible and encourage positive reviews to overshadow the negative ones. This way, the horizon would only seem lit up.

If you are on the lookout to get more positive reviews for your business, check out our Review Widget, which will give you a chance to get more positive reviews on Google and Yelp. This will help not only your Local SEO efforts but also attract new business. The best part is, you can filter negative reviews from the back end. So if someone leaves a positive review, you request them to post the review on Google or Yelp. If the review is negative, we don’t ask them to post the review to third party sites and handle the customer in a way that it does not become a bigger issue.

Need a demo? Email us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll Free) to connect with our representative.