Why You Should Respond to All Online Reviews

A good online review management strategy should consist of three parts. Cultivating relevant and current customer reviews, monitoring them when they go online – and replying to both the good and the bad. Even if you have 20 or 30 great reviews of your business, it’s not enough to just sit back and feel smug about it.  Naturally,  it’s great that your business is getting good feedback from satisfied customers and of course this  will have a positive impact on your business – but by responding to reviews you will take their impact that one step further.

Why should you respond to reviews?

  1. It’s what customers want. According to Neilsonwire survey, 81% of customers said that it was important that reviews be acknowledged and responded to by businesses. 52% of review posters expect a reply within 7 days, while 25% expect a response within 3 days. This is an acceptable time frame for positive reviews but I highly recommend that you respond to negative reviews within 24 hours to minimize their harmful impact.
  2. It shows that you care about customer feedback. Joining the conversation on about your business on review sites and replying to every customer review shows that you value your customers’ feedback and what they think of your business. You value their feedback because it helps you build on your strong points and make improvements where necessary, which also shows that you’re committed to customer satisfaction.
  3. Key to your search engine ranking: Sites like Google, Yelp among others actually determine how and where your business appears in their search rankings based not only on the number of your reviews but also on your responses to reviews. The more presence you have online interacting with your customers, the more these sites will like you.
  4. It’s a great marketing tool. This one is more appropriate for positive reviews, where you can take the opportunity to plug an upcoming event at your business such as a sale, special offers or discounts. For example: “Hey Sam; thanks for the feedback and glad you enjoyed doing business with us. Don’t forget to check our website for our upcoming sale next week!” Needless to say, a customer who has just left a critical review does not want to know about that in your response!
  5. Creates customer loyalty. Responding to reviews is a great way to connect with customers outside of your business. The personal interaction with customers will make them feel that you are much more than an impersonal business and will encourage their loyalty.
  6. It’s an extension of your customer service strategy. Let’s face it; in the end, many businesses and products are more or less similar in the services and products they offer. The key factor that distinguishes one from the other is outstanding customer service. Showing existing and potential customers that you value their feedback, both positive and negative, is proof of your dedication to customer satisfaction on every level.

Replying to customer reviews is easy and actually fun and you can do it all from within the ReviewerPro.com dashboard! It doesn’t require a lot of effort or time, unless you are getting a dozen reviews a day. To follow are some best practices for answering your good and bad online reviews,

Good reviews:

  • Make your response to good reviews as personal as possible. Address the customer by their first name; thank them for doing business with you. Never use one templated reply to respond to good reviews. Each response should be individual, upbeat, and customized to that particular review. Two or three thoughtful sentences are all you need. For example: “Hey Joe! Appreciate the feedback and thanks for doing business with us. Hope to see you again soon.”

Bad reviews:

Never let a bad review go unanswered for more than 24 hours. Again, your response should be personal courteous, sympathetic and contain a resolution to the client’s issue.

  • Never respond to negative reviews with anger or rudeness. If the issue is resolved professionally and promptly, you will be more likely to convince that customer to pull the review or amend it.

Take your review management strategy to the next level by responding to your online reviews. It only takes a few minutes and a few simple best practices but the impact for your business can be extremely powerful. Remember, customers will have conversations about your business with or without you so why not join the conversation, engage with your customers?  It’s good for your business and it truly requires hardly any effort, especially if you use an online review aggregation tool, like is offered as just one of the many valuable benefits of being a member of ReviewerPro.com.

Win More Customers Through Google Reviews

Did you know that 40% of prospective customers form an opinion about a local business from reading just one to three reviews?  That’s not a figure to be ignored if you are working hard to build a local business and expand your customer base. .  In addition, 90% of   prospects trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from family and friends. That’s how powerful online reviews can be.

Customer reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook and other review-dedicated platforms are essential for growing your business – but Google reviews in particular should have top priority in your overall marketing and SEO strategy.

Why are Google reviews important?

  1. Google loves reviews. Customer reviews will show up on your Google My Business profile, Google Maps and in search results, boosting your business’s online visibility and presence. The more visibility and presence you get through a steady stream of reviews, the more Google will love your business and raise you in its search rankings.
  2. Google is the most popular search engine on the planet. It may be equal in functionality and features to other sites like Yelp but Google simply outstrips them all when it comes to popularity. Quite simply, your business needs to be listed on Google, if only for the sheer number of visitors it gets. Many of those will be potential prospects searching for local businesses, including yours.
  3. Google My Business is the best search engine for local businesses. It is the place almost every prospect will go to first when searching for a business in their area. Google’s many local business-friendly features like Google Maps and Google My Business posts are simple and free tools that attract new prospects and interact with current customers.
  4. Google is highly trusted by users. Google’s powerful filtering algorithm and strict review policies ensure that spammy or fake reviews do not go undetected for long. Readers trust Google in this respect because they can be pretty confident that the reviews they are reading are honest and organic. Yelp comes in a close second.

Tips to get customers to give you great Google reviews

  1. Ask your customers. You’ve probably read this in a dozen different places before but really, it is the easiest and most straightforward way. Start by asking your best customers if they would leave a review on your Google My Business profile. Your best customers are obviously your most satisfied customers, so you can be sure that the review will be a good one. Whenever possible, try to do this in person and convey to the customer how much you would personally appreciate their feedback. Nine out of ten times, that customer will be more than happy to give something back for the great service they’re getting.
  2. Train your staff to ask for Google reviews after positive transactions. It should be easy for them to know whether a transaction has been successful or not and whether the customer has had a positive experience with your business.

The best way to accomplish both of these tasks is by incorporating a robust but inexpensive software, like ReviewerPro.com to help do most of the heavy lifting.

  1. Create a direct link to your Google My Business Reviews. Some customers are pros at giving reviews, but others have no idea how to go about it. Use ReviewerPro to create links, make them user-friendly and also to track their usage. The easier you make it for customers to review your business, the more likely they will be to do so. Place the links wherever you can; on your website, your receipts, under your email signature and in your newsletters. Some businesses print little flyers which they hand out to customers following on-premise transactions. You might consider doing this as well. An example would be, “We hope you enjoyed doing business with us and we look forward to seeing you again. Would you consider leaving us online feedback?” After which relevant links would be added. ReviewerPro has a text, email and print option that gives the customer various effort-free ways to review you.
  2. Handle bad reviews professionally. The occasional bad review is inevitable but the way you handle it affects the impact it will have on your business, Address negative reviews promptly, professionally and politely and offer a resolution to the customer’s problem, or inform that the problem has been dealt with. The way you handle bad reviews can actually be a benefit rather than a bane. It is your chance to show readers that you are a reputable business that cares about customer satisfaction and resolved issues quickly, professionally an efficiently. Using a service like ReviewerPro has a built in feature that helps keep the bad reviews out in the first place – which many have found to be invaluable!
  3. Be worthy of great reviews. The best way to ensure great Google reviews is to earn them by providing outstanding service. Ultimately, it’s your commitment to customer satisfaction that will guarantee good reviews and keep them coming in. All the tips and tricks in the world will not help if your business and your service do not meet customer expectations.

Finally, do online reviews really matter? Can they make or break a business? Absolutely! At the very least they certainly do have an impact on conversion rates and ultimately, a business’ bottom line. When you consider that customers turn to online reviews before making purchasing decisions and that consistently good reviews build trust in prospects then yes, online reviews in general do matter – and Google reviews in particular are vital for any local business that wants to stay ahead. Just remember not to put all your eggs in one basket. As a matter of fact, Google will think there’s something fishy going on when you have reviews only on Google My Business. Google reviews are a must but in addition, you need to cultivate reviews on other sites as well for maximum exposure and visibility.


How Google My Business Posts Can Boost Your Local Business

Google My Business has revolutionized the realm of local search like no other digital platform. It is the place to be for any local business looking to promote its services and attract more customers. Optimizing your Google My Business listing is one of the most effective local SEO strategies out there. The marketing and promotional features offered by the site should play a big role in your marketing efforts, as they have the potential to benefit your local business in many ways.

Local businesses often ignore the Google My Business post feature, preferring to interact with customers on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms.  Yet this commonly overlooked tool is far from being just a way to interact with users; it’s much more powerful than that and should be part of your overall SEO strategy.

What are Google Posts?

The concept is simple. From your Google My Business dashboard, you can access the post feature, which lets you choose various “Call to Action” or CTA buttons. You can choose just one – or several or all of them – to create a post. The buttons you choose depend on the nature of your business and what it is you want to promote, announce or inform your readers about.

So, how are Google posts different from regular, social media interactions? When users search for your business online, your Google posts are then displayed as small cards that appear in the search results. They will be displayed in the knowledge graph on the right-hand side of the search page.

A Google My Business Post can contain a URL (to your website or a specific landing page), a call to action promoting special offers or events and/or a photo. Written text will appear in the business knowledge graph. While you have the option to write up to 300 words, only the first 100 characters will appear in the panel.

Posts show up with your name, address and phone number, giving your business more exposure.

How can Google posts boost your business?

  1. They are a creative and easy way to enhance customer experience. When users searching for your service or product see your Google post on the search page and if it is engaging and motivational enough, they will go straight to your website or landing page to buy or book.
  2. They can be used to promote products, offers and announce events directly through Google search and Google maps.
  3. They include great call to action buttons like “Book an appointment now”, “Learn more”, “Get offer” or “Sign up”, which can drive new customers to your business with the click of a button. If your call to action is engaging and motivational, they will click that button.
  4. They are a highly visible way to highlight new products or bestsellers and promote upcoming events.
  5. They’re a great opportunity to communicate directly with your customers.
  6. They are a great addition to your SEO strategy, since they enhance your visibility and boost search rankings.
  7. Google My Business posts are free! What have you got to lose?

Tips for writing a great Google My Business Post

Google posts are in essence mini-advertisements and hence, the same best practices apply. The only difference is that they have more limitations so the key is to make the most impact with the little space that you have. Here are some tips to help you create awesome Google posts:

  1. Stick to 80 – 100 words to ensure that all of your text will be displayed and not just part of it.
  2. Have an eye-catching title. A good title is one that will grab a prospect’s interest and make them want to learn more. Some examples could be: “Pamper your mom on Mother’s day!” “Our products are 100% natural”, “Book for 5, get free desserts”. Always keep in mind that good content is critical with Google posts because every word has to count.
  3. Include relevant keywords.
  4. When posting an image, make sure it’s centered and sized. The ideal size is 750 x 750 for a Google post to ensure that it doesn’t get cropped. Needless to say, images should be high resolution, well lit and engaging.
  5. Your text should be brief, useful and contain a clear message that will motivate customers to act.
  6. If you are sending readers to a landing page, make sure it is eye-catching, informational and meets readers’ expectations.
  7. Always preview your post to see how it will appear to others, especially if you are including an image.

Don’ts: Good posts should not contain commercial or technical slang, or come off as bogus cheesy sales pitches. Don’t use exclamation marks after every sentence and never use all caps. Keep your content real and engaging.

Note: Posts should not include more than one offer/promotion.

If you are not using the Google My Business post feature, why not start today? It’s free, simple and almost always guaranteed to generate more customers for your local business. It’s a powerful way to give your business maximum visibility on search pages as well as convey information to customers and prospects in a timely manner. Google Posts may be just what your business needs to attract more customers.

Create a Review-Driven Culture in Your Business

Online customer reviews are one of the biggest endorsements for your local business. Today, they have become a vital factor for the success and growth of any business overall, whether online or offline.

One of the best ways to get customer reviews on a regular and consistent basis is to create a review-dedicated culture in your business.  A review-oriented business is one where soliciting reviews from customers becomes a priority of every single person on your staff.

A review-oriented culture is meaningless if your business is not built on one key foundational premise.  First and foremost, you should be providing excellence and outstanding service. Your staff must be trained and educated to dazzle customers with superior service and exceptional experiences that will make customers willing to review your business online – and give glowing feedback. With this premise in place, you are ready to proceed with bringing your staff onboard to solicit customer reviews.

Define your mission: The first thing you need to  do is meet with your staff and clearly communicate your mission; engaging with customers, delivering awesome service and soliciting feedback. Each and every employee must understand and work towards this goal. And remember – it works both ways. While your staff should be trained to solicit customers reviews, those reviews should also be seen as a measurement of the level of service your staff is providing.

Design a system for soliciting reviews. This consists of guidelines and best practices for soliciting reviews. Customize the system to your particular business and the service you offer. For instance, a system for a restaurant, clinic or hair salon where personal engagement takes place between staff and clients would be different than that of an online service. Layout your protocol in a bulleted list, followed by your strategy for rewards, incentives and disciplinary measures.  Every member of your staff should receive a copy and if possible, meet with your staff to discuss and answer questions.

Guidelines and best practices your system should include

Timing is everything: Your employees should be able to gauge the right moment to ask for a review. Usually, the best timing is following a successful transaction. This could be after a meal at the restaurant where a simple, “Hope you enjoyed the meal” and the customer’s response can be a good indicator. It could be after a treatment at a spa or clinic or when the customer is settling the bill for a product – are getting great service, of course. Staff dealing with this part of the transaction should be trained to observe customer expressions and body language to decide if it appropriate to solicit feedback.

Needless to say, soliciting reviews at the inappropriate time will simply backfire. The best time s when the customer is feeling good after a great meal, a relaxing massage or getting a good deal and great service for a product they are buying. Decide what timing works best for your line of business and make sure staff is very clear on this.

When a customer is smiling and looking pleased, when they thank you or give a compliment, you can be sure that asking for a review will be positively received. Sometimes, customers will be forthright in complementing the service and in this case the reply could be, “That’s great to hear! We’d really appreciate if you could spread the word by giving us your feedback online.” It sounds simple but you’d be surprised at how many people get it wrong!

Deal with dissatisfaction. Timing is meaningless when you have a disgruntled customer who’s muttering under their breath; clearly, they are not happy about something. In this case, staff should be trained to probe politely to get to the bottom of the issue and resolve it on the spot if possible. This could be anything from summoning a supervisor or superior to speak to the customer or at the very least, carefully making a note of the customer’s complaint and getting their contact details to keep them updated.

Courtesy and sincerity: Your employees must ask customers for reviews courteously and more importantly, with sincerity, conveying to the customer that your business truly care about their satisfaction and values their feedback. If your business distributes flyers with links to your review sites, be sure they contain a polite call to action such as, “we value the feedback of each and every one of our customers”. Likewise, your links on emails, receipts, printed cards or on your website should convey a similar call to action.

Helpful tip: Role playing is a powerful method to train your staff.   Hold mock interactions where employees rotate between playing the customer and the staff member asking for a review. Encourage your team to be as innovative as they want and to come up with as many scenarios as possible. Have other staff members offer suggestions on how the situation could have been handled better.

Make it easy for both employees and customers: Your staff should always ask customers for reviews whenever possible but making it easier for both parties will help ensure that those reviews do get posted. Always have a steady supply of printed material on hand for your employees to hand to customers after asking for a review. These should contain your review site links and a short call to action. These can be printed on your receipts or on separate flyers or even on napkins for food businesses. After your staff member solicits the review, they can simply hand the printed item to the customer.

For online businesses, make sure the “review or business” button is clearly visible and are working.

Preempt a bad review: Have a policy for addressing complaints on the spot before they become a bad online review. Put a system in place for logging email, in person or phone complaints immediately and professionally. Of course, using a system like ReviewerPro.com will help fend off the vast majority of potentially negative reviews.

Walk the Talk: Having a strategy in place means nothing if it’s not backed up by concrete rewards and disciplinary measures. This will drive home to your staff how serious you are about this and will keep them on their toes. Review generating is an ongoing process, which means you need to keep your team motivated. According to your type of business you can take the following steps:

Grade your staff regularly on the number of reviews. Recognize their efforts with rewards, bonuses and other incentives.

Have a budget for bonuses for staff members who get the most reviews, or bonuses for the whole staff for X number of reviews per month, for example. Employees who are lazy or ineffective in getting reviews and employees responsible for bad reviews should potentially be reprimanded.

It’s up to you to ensure that your business delivers over and above customer expectations. Next, establish a culture where staff works as a team to keep the reviews coming in. Most customers understand the importance of online reviews – in fact, they may have decided to patronize your business after reading your reviews. Their reviews will in turn attract more potential customers and so on. Capitalize on the great customer experience you offer by training your staff to be review-oriented and your business will soon be booming.

Want to automate and simplify this whole process? ReviewerPro.com is the answer. Reviews are too important to leave to chance!

How Important is Social Media for Your Local Business?

When social media first appeared, nobody,  not even the creators themselves, envisioned that it would become such a huge phenomenon, with millions of people across the globe interacting via social media platforms on a daily basis, And when industry gurus predicted that social media would become a hugely powerful marketing tool, people were skeptical. Today, it’s very hard to find a business, local or otherwise that does not have at least three links to it social media platforms on their website or other online content.  With 5.4 billion likes on Facebook and 500 million tweets daily, more and more local businesses are leveraging social media to generate immense benefits.

On the other hand, there are still many local businesses that uses social media just because it’s what everyone else is doing. You may have visited business pages that have been stagnant for months, where customer comments go unanswered or random, spammy content is posted that has nothing to do with that business. These businesses could be doing themselves a lot of harm because sites like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn among others are a goldmine of information about customer habits and preferences. They are also a powerful tool to build an online presence, generate leads and actually grow your business.

If you own a local business, what exactly does this mean for you?

Activity on social media increases online visibility and boosts rankings. Activity on social media has become one of the key components that search engines take into account when deciding how high a local business ranks in search results. Based on that alone, it makes sense to be on several platforms where you are regularly engaging and interacting with customers and posting relevant content.

Provides valuable insight. The threads and discussions that take place on your Facebook page can give you valuable insights into what customers really think about your business, or perhaps products/services what they would like to see in future. This helps you make informed decisions about where you need to improve or expand.

Keeps you informed about your competition. Stay on top of the competition by checking their social media pages, finding out what they are up to and what customers are saying about them. Again, this can give you good insight into new offerings you should be including or other “tweaks” to help you stay ahead.

Geo-targeting. Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn offer this invaluable tool for any local business. When you run an ad campaign on Facebook, for example, you can actually target customers by location, preferences, interests and even age. Running an ad campaign on LinkedIn is great for targeting certain professions. For example, if you deal in medical supplies, you have the option to target doctors and clinics in your area.

Get information and feedback in real time.

Customer reviews are essential for your business but they can be weeks or even months old. Social media generates information in real time, where you and others can see what’s happening around your business almost instantly. An added bonus is that you can join the conversation. You also have the ability to share content faster, by posting calls to action about special offers, discounts or other events. As a member of ReviewerPro.com this process becomes automatic and seamless.

Generate customer loyalty.  Joining the conversations taking place on your social media pages builds a personal relationship, shows customers that you are interested in what they have to say, which increase customer loyalty.  Again, because these conversations take place in real time, they can be much more valuable and effective.

Which social media sites should you be on?

It depends. For example, if you are a small local business, Twitter may not be the best use of your time and effort. However,   Facebook and LinkedIn should beat the top of your list, simply because of the sheer number of users on these two platforms and, when it comes to online reviews, you at least need to be on Google, Yelp and Facebook.

Depending on your type of business, it’s up to you to decide which and how many social media platforms you want to be on.  Of course, the more the merrier, because it increases your online visibility. However, monitoring your social media and staying engaged is time-consuming work, so you may want to focus on two or three platforms that best serve your business.

As you can see, there is so much for your business to gain by being active on social media – and nothing to lose. If your social media pages have been in hibernation, go ahead and start posting some good content. Post links to informative articles or videos related to your business, or even make a shot video yourself where you announce a new product or service. Start an ad campaign targeting specific prospects. Get creative and generate a buzz around your business; and more importantly, keep the momentum going. It’s never too late to start!

Get Great Business Reviews in 8 Easy Steps

As a local business owner, you know how important it is that customers review your business online. But do you know that you can get customers to give you great reviews that will increase your visibility online and drive more customers to your business? Here are 7 simple steps to help you on your way:

  1. Ask your best customers: You probably have a number of satisfied customers who have been loyal to your business for some time. Needless to say, these are happy customers that you can be sure will give you a positive review. Simply tell them how much you would appreciate their online feedback and ask for a review. Loyal customers who love doing business for you will be more than happy to give something back for the great service they have been getting.
  2. Offer incentives: It’s totally legitimate to offer non-cash incentives to customers who post reviews. This could be a coupon or a free sample of some sort (although Yelp is a little more stringent on this point).

NEVER Pay for a review. This is an outright violation of every review site’s terms and conditions as well as blatantly unethical. Moreover, paying for reviews will highly damage your credibility in the eyes of your customers. Why not focus on giving great service instead that is worthy of great reviews?

  1. Request reviews following positive transactions. If you feel that you have provided great service to customer don’t hesitate to ask for a review after the transaction – and after every positive transaction. Train your staff to cultivate reviews as well and emphasize the importance of always asking customers for online feedback. Of course, gaging a successful transaction is easier if your business deals with customers personally. If you own a restaurant or a clinic, say, it is usually easy to gauge a customer’s reaction through the interaction and request feedback.

You may want to hand out flyers to customers who do business at your premises, with links to where they can leave reviews. Your website should also have visible and accessible “Review us” links for online customers. If your business sends out an email newsletter, make sure that also contains working links to your review sites, where potential customers can read reviews and where current customers can leave them.

  1. Ask for reviews at the right time: It’s no good sending out an email or SMS two or three weeks after a transaction, asking a customer to review you. They will probably have forgotten all about it. Remember, making life easier for your customers is key to their loyalty. That includes asking for feedback in a timely manner – and while that great experience they had with your business is still fresh in their mind. Not only will they not have to struggle to recall it, they will also be able to write a more honest review.
  2. Ask in the right way. Never ask for a “good” review. Nothing can be more damaging to your credibility. The only adjective you should be using when asking for reviews is “honest”. Actually, it’s not in your best interest that all reviews are rave ones. A mix of good, glowing, mediocre and the occasional bad one will establish more trust and credibility with customers.
  3. Respond to all reviews. Establishing a relationship with your customers is part of creating that positive customer experience for them. It’s amazing how many businesses reply only top bad reviews and ignore the good ones. Having a great relationship with your customers means showing appreciation by thanking and acknowledging those who post positive reviews, as well as resolving the bad ones. This shows potential customers that your business values their feedback.
  4. Deliver knockout service and amazing customer experience. If you and your staff make customer satisfaction your priority and deliver great service, that is your ticket to asking for reviews – and receiving great ones. It’s as simple as that.
  5. Have a review-dedicated business. There’s no way you can do this all yourself. Unless you have a team dedicated to cultivating reviews, you won’t get very far. Your staff needs to be trained to ask for reviews whenever possible and that you take this seriously. Consider a having a system through which you can reward or discipline staff when it comes to reviews. For example, if you have several business locations, you can give bonuses to locations that get the most positive reviews. Staff responsible for negative reviews should be reprimanded or disciplined.

Why is it important to accumulate good reviews?

Positive reviews make your business more visible online and bring you more customers.  A recent study has shown that boosting your Yelp rating by one star can increase your business revenues by 5 – 9%, – and Yelp is the biggest local business review site online.

Good reviews act as a buffer against bad ones and protect your business’s reputation. One scathing review amongst a handful of good or mediocre ones can really harm your business. But a bad review amongst 20 or 30 good ones will have much less of an impact.

Positive reviews boost your search rankings, tell people how great your business is, sway potential clients in favor of your product or service and ultimately, boost your bottom line.

To learn more about this please consult my book, “Killing it with Reviews”, available on this site and on Amazon and to automate the whole process use a inexpensive and time saving piece of software like ReivewerPro.

When Yelp and Google Delete Your Reviews – What You Need to Know

As a small business owner, you understand how important Google and Yelp reviews are for improving your search rankings and generating new business. You work hard and diligently to cultivate reviews. You have a consistent review management strategy and your staff is trained to go above and beyond in order to ensure your customers’ satisfaction. You are thrilled when all your hard work has paid off you receive that 5- star feedback. Three weeks later, you notice that that great review – and perhaps several others – have disappeared. Unless your customer has deleted it, it has most likely been removed by Google or Yelp

This is a common complaint from thousands of frustrated small business owners using Yelp and Google, who are wondering why some of their reviews inexplicably disappear.

In some cases, it could be a glitch or a bug (Yes, it happens even with huge companies like Google and Yelp). But the most likely reason is that they have been taken off by the review site search engines themselves.

Are Google and Yelp allowed to do that? Yes – but don’t take it personally. Google and Yelp are not out to get you. There are some conspiracy theories out there which say the Google especially will remove the reviews of people who don’t use Adwords, or the reviews of competing businesses; however, there is no real indication that this is true. The more plausible reason is Yelp and Google’s spam filters

You see, these platforms have spam filters for online reviews that filter content according to certain “triggers”. If any of these triggers are found in your review content, they will be considered spam and the review will be deleted because it has violated their review content guidelines. The following are a few examples to be aware of:

There is a duplicate review on another/other sites. Some overenthusiastic customers might be so thrilled about your business and the service they received that they will write not one but two or more reviews on separate sites. However, instead of writing an original review on each site, they will post a duplicate of the one they gave you on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Google and Yelp will often remove reviews that are duplicated.

The review contains a URL. Any review containing a URL will be flagged as spam and deleted, even if that URL is relevant to a review. Let’s say you’re a kitchen designer and a happy client posts a link to photos of the kitchen you designed for them; there’s nothing harmful in that. If anything, it’s great promotion for your business. Unfortunately, the spam filter is programmed to flag any URL as spam and that review will likely be deleted.

The same applies to phone numbers in a review, which is a big trigger for the spam filters.

All of your reviews are on one site only. Ideally, your local business reviews should be dispersed over several different sites. Google and Yelp look for “natural” reviews, meaning that the natural thing is for customers to be reviewing your business on several different sites. If all of your reviews are only on Yelp or Google, they will appear unnatural and guided and again, classified as spam.

The IP address of the of the review is the same as that of your business; meaning that it was written on your business premises. This is a big no-no for Google and Yelp because it could mean that the review was either written by someone in your business or that a client was “coached” to write it. Google and Yelp do not regard these types of reviews as legitimate.

A review is not clean, meaning it contains foul or inappropriate language. This one could actually be in your favor as these types of reviews will probably be bad ones. This is one instance where you just might be grateful for those Google and Yelp spam filters!

A high number of reviews in a short space of time. There may be nothing fishy about this at all. You might simply have had a great week or month of business where a large number of customers all posted reviews. Again, Yelp and Google do not recognize this and will flag these reviews as spam because to their algorithms it appears “unnatural”.

Reviews are not written in the first person.  A review must relate the writer’s own experience with your business and not written on behalf of their friend, colleague or mother-in-law. Reviews written in the third person will usually be caught and deleted.

There are many more reasons why your reviews could be removed by Google or Yelp but I think you get the general picture here. When you are asking customers to give you reviews, you may want to give them a few guidelines about what to avoid in order to minimize review removal.  Hopefully, we may see improvement in the future as Yelp and Google continue to make their spam filters more intelligent. Meanwhile, this is something small business owners will just have to live with. Unless you are effectively coaching your customers for reviews or your staff is writing them or some other wrongdoing, there’s no need to worry; it’s just part of the online review world.

Is Your Business Making the Most out of Yelp?

If you own a local business, being present and active on Yelp is a vital part of your success. Yelp has been described as “Google for local businesses” because of its potential to help these businesses gain greater online visibility and attract potential customers. Millions of people today use yelp to help them locate local businesses in their area and make purchasing decisions.

If you’re a local business owner then presumably, you are already on Yelp. But are you making the most of what it has to offer? How does your business currently appear in Yelp search rankings? Are you on top of your game when it comes to attracting potential customers from among the millions of daily Yelp users? Read on to find out how you can use Yelp dramatically boost your business.

The following steps will help you unleash the full potential of Yelp:

Analyze where you currently stand: Search for your business on Yelp and see what comes up. Where are you appearing in search rankings? Are your review rating positive (3.5 and above) or are they negative (below 3.5)? Is your business not listed at all or is it listed but doesn’t have any reviews? Analyzing your current standing will highlight where you need to start making improvements.

Claim your Yelp Page. Your Yelp page can greatly increase your overall online presence as well as your rankings on Google, Bing and other search engines. It is crucial that you take ownership of your Yelp business page. This will allow you to control your listings, interact with customers and other Yelp users and will make you eligible to buy advertisements for your business.

Optimize: Once you have claimed your business page, make sure it is fully optimized. An optimal Yelp page should accurately reflect the nature of your business and the types of services/products you have to offer. You can do this with a few simple steps:

  • Make sure all your information is up to date. This includes contact information, business hours and the location of your business
  • Include relevant details such as nearby parking or bus stations
  • Make sure your business information is consistent with what you have on other sites, including your website and social media pages. Consistent information across the board will be picked up by Yelp and helps raise your rankings.
  • Make sure you have a colorful and engaging photo gallery. Upload lots of photos of your business, products or services you offer. Include good exterior and interior shots of your business. Remember to include photos of yourself and even your These add personal touch because people always like to see ‘the face behind the name.’’ Consider hiring a professional photographer instead of doing it yourself. A professional can really bring your business to life and make them as engaging as possible. Ideally, your photo gallery should consist of 10 to 15 photos

Increase your exposure: Yelp listings are based primarily on exposure, which is the case with all search engines. Yelp differs in that it measures your online visibility and exposure by your customer reviews. The more reviews your business has and the more engagement you have with your customers through replying to reviews, the higher you and exposure. But your overall inline engagement is important so make sure you are interacting with customers through your blog and on social media.

Check out your competition: Not many local business owners pay attention to this but it can be a great tool. Check out how your competition is faring on Yelp. Examine their business listings and see how they display their business. Read their reviews, the good and the bad. Look for patterns or commonalities in customer feedback to gain insight as to what you should or should not be doing.

Stay on top of Yelp’s offerings. Regularly check the Business Owners’ Blog on Yelp to learn about any new tools they are offering which you can use to leverage your business.

Link to your Yelp page: Place links wherever you can. Add them to your email signature, on your website, business blog and social media pages to encourage more customers to visit your business page.

Reviews, reviews, reviews! Yelp is one of the biggest and most trusted review sites online. Potential customers will want to see what other people are saying about your business before that make the decision to buy your product or service. Having a steady stream of good reviews from satisfied customers is critical for boosting your rankings and generating business. Here are a few tips:

  • It is critical that you have an excellent review strategy for collecting, monitoring and responding to reviews (ReviewerPro.com handles this perfectly).
  • Always respond to good and bad reviews to generate more exposure
  • Always respond to bad reviews professionally and courteously and resolve any issues immediately.
  • Reviews must organic. Yelp has a smart filter that can detect if a review has been paid for or coached. Too many reviews in a short space of time will also be detected as spam and removed.

Run a Yelp Deal: This is a great way to promote your business and generate more customers. Yelp deals consist of discount coupons or gift certificates or other special offers for customers to your business.  There is no upfront payment for running a Yelp deal, although Yelp will take a small percentage of your deal sales

Millions of people trust Yelp to help them make decisions about patronizing a local business. With over 60 million registered user, Yelp Is the place for any local business. Whether you are already active on Yelp or just starting out, the tips in this article should get you on the right track to getting the most out of Yelp.

The #1 Tool to Improve Your Organic Listings Online

In today’s digital-driven culture, more and more people are using their smartphones, tablets and PCs to search for local business, purchase products or services online or make decisions to visit certain businesses such as restaurants, clinics, gyms, salons, etc. The majority of these potential customers will make their decision based on several key factors; one of them is the customer reviews your business has received. Moreover, more and more of the customers who do patronize your business will be inclined to leave reviews about your product or service.

Customer reviews are insanely powerful – so powerful that good ones can help a business skyrocket while bad ones can be extremely damaging. Studies have shown that 90% of potential customers will actually decide whether or not to do business with you based on your reviews or star ratings alone. That’s not a statistic to ignore.

The power of customer reviews extends to your search Engine rankings as well, meaning how and where you appear when people search for you online. Your ranking specifically on the top review-dedicated platforms like Google My Business and Yelp are affected by your customer reviews. Google and Yelp love reviews and the more you have, the higher your business will appear in their searches. Not having an effective strategy for managing good reviews and dealing quickly and effectively with bad ones will negatively affect your rankings and cause you to lose up to 50% of potential customers.

Let me explain how online reviews can improve your local business ranking:

  • According to a recent SEO survey by Moz, online reviews are one of the top seven factors that affect your business ranking in search results.
  • The quantity, quality, and frequency of reviews, even the authority of the people who write them are key to your rankings. The search engines are trained to filter them out regularly and rank your business accordingly.
  • The number of websites or review-dedicated platforms where your reviews are displayed will affect your ranking. Actually, Google and Yelp do not consider reviews to be legitimate if they appear on one platform only. Make sure your reviews are distributed across several sites like Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google or whatever sites are appropriate for your type of business
  • Google and Yelp favor highly rated businesses. Good reviews and high ratings are proof of your business’ reputability and authority.
  • Reviews generate more leads and traffic to your business website, also very important for your listing.
  • Google My Business is essential for improving local business listings – because the Google search engine loves reviews. The more numerous and current your reviews are, the higher your business will appear in Google’s search rankings. You of course should list your business on other review dedicated sites, but Google My Business is a must for improving local listings.

Here are some simple steps to increase your online reviews:

  • Learn from your reviews. Look at reviews as if they are an online “focus group”. Good reviews tell you what you are doing right in your business, so that you can continue doing it to get more good reviews. Bad reviews give insight into what you are getting wrong so that you can improve.
  • Display your reviews wherever you can. Link to them on Facebook, your business website or your blog.
  • Ask for reviews. Make sure you have easily accessible “Review us” links on your websites and ask customers who visit your business to go online and give their feedback.
  • Keep reviews current. A hundred reviews that date back two or three years have much less impact than 10 or 20 current ones. Make sure you have a stream of current reviews always coming in.
  • Always deal with bad reviews immediately to minimize their impact. There are numerous ways to manage bad reviews and even turn them around – but that’s another article altogether!
  • To automate as much of this whole process consider using a time saving software such as ReviewerPro in order to substantially multiply your efforts and essentially streamline the whole process.

I hope this article has helped you realize the importance of leveraging your online reviews. If you do have a review management strategy, is it effective enough? How can you tweak it to cultivate more customer reviews? More importantly, if you don’t have a review management strategy, don’t you think it’s high time you put one in place?  For more information please download a free copy of “Killing it with Reviews” available here.

Optimizing Your Online Profiles to Boost Your Small Business


With more and more customers using the internet to make choices about which businesses they will patronize and which products/services they purchase, you as a small business simply can’t afford to fall behind when it comes to your online presence. The first and key factor to a powerful and engaging online presence is your business profiles across all the pertinent review and citation sites.
A good online profile is one that is current, complete and reflects your business accurately. The consistency of your business presence across the internet is crucial to gaining customer confidence, bringing traffic to your website and ultimately, bringing you more customers. And perhaps most importantly, taking the time to ensure that your online profile is optimized will also help you attract the attention of search engines potentially boost your business.

Make sure you’ve covered the following steps for optimal online business profile:

Great photos: A picture is worth more than a thousand words – plus, it’s the first thing that a customer sees. The photos should reflect your personality business culture and be well positioned and of adequate size. They can be headshots or full-length photos, but they should be of high quality, preferable taken by a professional, so you may want to consider that investment.
Photos adds a “human” touch to your profile; when online customers can see who they will be doing business with or “put a face” to the business, they feel more comfortable.

Eye-catching logo: Logos have become standard for many small businesses that have created special brands. If you have a business logo, it should be creative and attention-grabbing. It should appear consistently in strategic places throughout your profile. The same applies to your branding.

Great Bio: You’d be surprised how many customers can be influenced by this. This should not bore the reader to tears but be informative and engaging. Wording is crucial so you may want to consider hiring a professional copywriter for this. Include when and how your business was established, important milestones or achievements and a little bit about yourself as the owner, your vision and your goals.

Don’t leave the customer guessing: Make sure you provide complete and relevant information about your business. Describe exactly what your business does, clearly list in bullet points the services it provides, any specific geographic areas you cover and why you are different from other businesses. Try to anticipate any questions a potential customer may have and make sure they are covered in your description.

Current/correct information: An outdated phone number or address will give the impression that you are sloppy, unprofessional or worse – that you have gone out of business. A potential customer will most likely go straight to a competitor who has taken the time to make sure their info is current.

1. Sell your services with credibility: In other words, don’t exaggerate and don’t be dishonest. Do not use vague statements about your services or products and make customers read between the lines. DO NOT under any circumstances list services/products you do not provide, even if you are planning to add them on in the future. When those services actually become available, you can update your profile accordingly.

2. Provide relevant links: In addition to providing a link to your website, you may want to include links to photos of your products to outstanding testimonials or reviews. Make sure your social media links are easily seen and accessible. You may also want to include links to your blog site if you have one and if it’s relevant to your business.

3. What are the potential gains to your business? Having an awesome online profile will show customers that you’re a true professional eager to do business with them. It drives more potential customers to your website, and if your website is as great as you profile, you will start getting more and more calls from clients. In other words, your business will be taken seriously.

Building a strong online presence does not happen overnight. It takes time and effort before you can get customers to trust and like your business and for search engines to put you in their higher rankings. But with more and more customers shopping for services and products online, it is well worth it. If you want to appear online as a trusted, reputable business, it all starts with an awesome business profile. Keep in mind also, once these profiles are optimized make sure you are using ReviewerPro.com to drive customers to them so they leave you more and more wonderful reviews – essentially taking care of all your online marketing concerns!