#388 - Local SEO Pitfalls - Part 4
Best SEO Podcast | EWR Digital

Video Transcript

Join Matt and Chris as they discuss more “out-of-this-world” SEO tips! This is a 5 part series on Miriam Ellis‘s awesome article, “45 Local SEO Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them.” TRANSCRIPT:

Chris: Hi and welcome to the SEO Podcast: Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing. My name is Chris Burres, owner of eWebResults.

Matt: My name is Matt Bertram, your PPC Specialist.

Chris: PPC Specialist! Welcome back to another fun-filled edition of our podcast. This is the post-Harvey podcast. Yes, we have survived Harvey. Everything worked out good, we’re alive. This is podcast number 388. As always, we have a tip from our previous podcast and that tip is–

Matt: “Follow local business platform guidelines or risk getting your NAP listing suspended.”

Chris: So the last think you want. So that NAP listing is really the thing– and we’re talking about Google My Business specifically, but also all of your NAP listings. You don’t want to lose those listings. If you don’t follow their guidelines, you could lose their listings. And just one example that fits for the podcast today is: if you’re actually driving reviews on some of those directories and platforms, it’s against their guidelines. So do not do it. You don’t wanna get banned.

Matt: It just depends how you do it, for sure.

Chris: Yup.

Matt: Yup.

Chris: Subscribe. Follow.

Chris & Matt: Boom!

Chris: Alright. I think we should say – man, it’s been, you know, the podcast – the hurricane has me kind of out of sorts, so we’re getting back in things.

Matt: Absolutely.

Chris: What I’d like to do is start off with a review. We do have a review, so there is no tear tattoo. This review says, “One of my favorites.” It is, of course–

Chris & Matt: 5 stars!

Chris: It says– it’s by Wifimanhey.

Matt: I like it.

Chris: I like it. “I’ve been listening to your podcast for a couple years now and still get excited when a new episode comes out. Thank you for making online marketing fun and easy to understand. Double punch to the face to you both!” Punch in the face to you, which is a good thing, and yeah, it’s stupid.

Matt: Why would you say that?

Chris: You’ll find out. You’ll find out later.

Matt: Alright. Oh, interesting.

Chris: That’s kind of a teaser. So the teaser for our article for today– this is actually, I think, part four of this, “45 Local SEO Pitfalls & How to Avoid Them.” The article’s by Miriam Ellis. Phenomenal article, Miriam, hopefully you’re actually tuning in on Facebook. If you are, go ahead and send a comment so that we know that you are. And we actually have this one and one more to go.

Matt: Yeah, let’s tag her.

Chris: Already done. Already done. She actually hit us up and said, “Great.” I told her that were about to start talking about her in our podcast.

Matt: Fantastic, alright.

Chris: So yeah, she’s awesome and this article is awesome.

Matt: Yes, it is.

Chris: If you’re interested in getting like– I don’t know, what’s a good number? Is 17 a good number?

Matt: 17’s great.

Chris: 17’s a great number. If you want 17 SEO tips from our podcast, you can get those tips. All you need to do is go to eWebResults.com/SEOTips and that will take you to a page where you can fill out a short little form and you can get your 17 tips.

Matt: Or you can go to our homepage and there’s a big button on the middle!

Chris: Oh, yeah! The previously big button that was for our comprehensive website profit analysis – which has just been moved up a little bit – has now been replaced with that 17 tips. So make sure you get those 17 tips. It’s a great document that links to videos, and memes, and the audio file, everything. So excellent. So if this is the first time you’ve ever listened to a podcast: howdy, welcome to the podcast. If you’ve listened to this podcast before, you know what we are going to not skip. We’re not skipping it today. We gotta go over it. So we run a contest. This contest happens every week, that is the punishment. If you’re watching, you understand the punishment for not succeeding in the contest. The contest is: we need to get 10 shikos.

Matt: Do we?

Chris: Yes.

Matt: A like, a follow, or a share?

Chris: A share, like, or follow. Yeah. Right words, wrong order. So close. We need to get 10 shikos and a review. It could be a negative review or a positive review – I’m about to talk about a negative review – and then we will not tell you how to leave us a review. It turns out, we got a review, we just didn’t get our 10 shikos. So we’re gonna tell you how you can leave us a review. There’s about three, four platforms that we would like you to leave us reviews on. We’ll go through them real quickly. Stitcher, it’s easy to get to Stitcher, it’s eWebResults.com/

Matt: Stitcher.

Chris: Stitcher. Exactly, that takes you there. On iTunes you could go– Go onto iTunes, create an account, just search for SEO and then select the category of podcast. You will find us. And there you wanna – you’ve created an account – write a review. Hopefully you will make that review–

Chris & Matt: 5 stars!

Chris: Next we’ve got G+. This is actually Google My Business. We would love a review there. We’ve made it really easy for you; all you have to do is go to eWebResults.com/G+ and that will take you there.

Matt: That’s a really popular platform, by the way.

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: Yeah, and it really actually impacts your SEO.

Chris: It does.

Matt: Yeah, like, people forget about it, but it’s actually–

Chris: Very important.

Matt: Yeah, very important.

Chris: And it can be hard to navigate from the business side of things, but it’s worth the time that you spend there. You’re having a Pro Tip before we even get to the meat. Alright, and then finally, if you could leave us a Yelp review, we would really appreciate it, especially if you have left lots of Yelp reviews in other places.

Matt: Yelp Yelp Yelp…

Chris: Because Yelp tends to hide a review if it’s the first time you’ve ever left a Yelp review, they don’t really give it any credible–

Matt: It hides it?

Chris: Yeah, that’s their algorithm. But if you– hey! Nolen, punch in the face to you for tuning in. So you can find our Yelp profile just by going to eWebResults.com/Yelp

Matt: Yelp!

Chris: That’ll take you there. Now we would also like shikos: shares, likes, and follows. So we need two things in order to not go through that piece. We need a shiko and a we need a review. We covered how to leave us a review. You can us leave us shikos – again, shares, likes, or follows – on the following platforms. We’ve made it easy to find them, you can do G+, which is eWebResults.com/

Matt: eWebResults

Chris: G+

Matt: G+. Yes.

Chris: On that one.

Matt: You’re confusing me!

Chris: No, no. I’m on the wrong thing. I messed up, I’m sorry.

Matt: I know my lines.

Chris: Man, this is all wrong.

Matt: I know my line.

Chris: Our Facebook profile is Facebook.com/

Matt: eWebResults

Chris: You’re right. Then we’ve got Instagram.com/

Matt: eWebResults

Chris: Twitter.com/

Matt: eWebResults

Chris: YouTube.com/

Matt: eWebResults

Chris: And then we’ve got the last one. Man, how did I get this all switched out? That’s wrong.

Matt: It’s just been – the flooding, like, mixed it up. It’s been crazy.

Chris: Yeah, and finally LinkedIn.com/company/

Matt: eWebResults

Chris: All of those will take you to our profiles on those platforms. Please shiko us while you’re there. If you’re a PHP genius or a WordPress guru, we are probably looking for you. Please call and leave an audio résumé. It’s an easy process. Call and find out what it’s about. It’s kind of interesting. 713-510-7846 and I’m trying to speed up here ‘cause we’ve already taken a while. If you would like a free website profit analysis, you can get that by going to eWebResults.com. In the upper corner you can actually see – have a button for that.

And then we’ve got a little bit – I’ve actually printed out something but I’ll share it with you. We’ve got some PITFs. I had a little bit of news. Some of the news is Harvey – by the way, if you’re watching, I’ve actually got the goatee happening. I’m calling this the hurricane Harvey hair, ‘cause that’s when it happened. Irma’s right behind it, hitting Florida, so we’ve got friends there. Man, we’ve got friends in Houston that have been flooded. Houston’s still flooded. What, we’re 3 weeks out now?

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: Parts of Houston, traffic’s all jacked up. It’s just crazy here and now Irma’s heading towards Florida, Jose is right behind it, and there’s Katrina – no – something… Katerina or something is in the Gulf.

Matt: It’s really an active hurricane season, for sure.

Chris: Absolutely. So hearts and thoughts and prayers to everybody who’s been affected and could possibly be affected. I read an article today that the Google app – so the PC and Mac version of the Google app is gonna be shut off, and I was like, “Oh, God, I just started using it.” This is – no, I’m using Google Drive, right? To access Google Drive, there was a Google app which was a software that you can install, they’re gonna turn that off.

I made my first Bitcoin purchase and yeah, boom! And we actually paid– we’ve got a contractor who’s in Venezuela. Punch in the face to you, she’s actually our transcriptionist also. So, Vicky, punch in the face to you, and yeah, she’s getting paid with Bitcoins. Kinda cool.

Next! We’ve got lithium batteries resist exploding and catching fire. They’ve made lithium batteries that don’t explode or catch fire. I think–

Matt: That’s a really good thing.

Chris: I’m in favor of that.

Matt: Yeah. Glad they did that.

Chris: I’m in favor of that. And I think no one’s more in favor of that than Samsung. Next is our review. The title of the review is, “Why?” And it is 1 star. Wah-wah. The user is by User female, interesting that is the title. It says, “Why do they say ‘punch to the face?!’ Completely stupid…” Right, and my only response is, aside from the response that Matt gave to the video.

Matt: Is there anything else?

Chris: It is, in fact, stupid. I feel like we’re okay being stupid – we’re trying to add some levity. SEO can be so dry and all of these horrible things. So yeah, we will probably continue to be a little bit stupid.

Matt: I’m trying to be serious here.

Chris: Yeah. Oh, now – if you’re watching the video.

Matt: I’m gonna be serious for the rest.

Chris: The rest of the podcast? I doubt that. Next! We’ve got Miriam Ellis. Actually the author of the article we’ll be talking about, she tweeted us! She says, “Sincerely hoping that @mattbertramlive and Chris Burres @bestseopodcast / @eWebResults in Houston are okay. Hoping your friends & family are safe.” Punch in the face to you, Miriam. We really appreciate that.

Matt: Yeah, we appreciate you.

Chris: Yeah, and then there’s another one. This says, “Hey, I’m a big fan of the podcast. I too do SEO and digital marketing in general and I have roughly two year’s worth of experience in digital marketing via PPC, social media, email marketing, automation–”

Matt: Nice.

Chris: “Content curation and SEO. I really enjoy your podcast and your help. You help keep my career fun and vibrant. Thank you, guys. Punch in the face to you.” I didn’t get his name, he sent a note in.

Matt: I like that, yeah. Very well-rounded.

Chris: And it continues to say, “I just also wanted to reach out because I know that recent hurricane that hit Houston has hurt a lot of people down there in Texas. I’m trying to reach out to show my support and to let you know I’m hoping the best for you guys.” He’s up there in NYC. “So a lot of props to you and good recoveries in case something has happened to you guys in Houston. Best of luck to you all Houstoners–” Well, Houstoners. It’s Houstonians! Punch in the face to you. I didn’t – I need to get his name.

Matt: That was a great comment, yeah.

Chris: Very nice, yeah. We really appreciate it. Glad you’re working in our industry and getting some good value out of what we’re doing. I don’t know if our podcast died or something, ‘cause…

Matt: Podcast check. Testing, testing.

Chris: Alright. And then we’ve got the punch in the faces. I don’t know if you wanna – this was one that was somebody kinda checking in with us and then Miriam Ellis, and I’ll get this fixed. Those last two PITFs.

Matt: More.

Chris: Literally that’s the tweet. More. Well, and then it’s like lots of hashtags and some of that.

Matt: Yeah no, I appreciate it. And we’ll keep it up. Sorry about the inconsistency. We’ve had a lot going on, we’ve had to juggle some stuff and you know mother nature does some crazy things. Yeah.

Chris: Odd things, yup. And then Miriam Ellis also retweeted. She said that she was so flattered that the Best SEO Podcast tuned into her particular article, five parts. Actually it’s gonna be seven parts, and that’s frankly partly because it’s such a lengthy article.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: And mostly because it’s such a good article. Like I have no – we were – normally we wouldn’t do a seven-part piece on one article. Usually it’s like one or you know–

Matt: Yeah, now this is– I can’t say enough good things.

Chris: Complain about anything.

Matt: Yeah, enough good things.

Chris: So that is the potatoes of the podcast. We are getting into the meat. This piece. So here again, the article is, “45 Local SEO Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them.” And just a brief recap. We’ve talked all the way back to the fundamentals of the Business Plan and local SEO mistakes you can make related to starting the business.

Matt: Yes.

Chris: Right, so that’s pretty important. You can go back – I think that’s four podcasts ago – and check that out. Next was the website. Had a lot of parallels, right? Choosing your business name, choosing your website name, choosing your business location, choosing your– for the purpose of your website, I think all of that’s really good. Obviously it’s a great article because we’re still covering it.

Next it was Local Business Listings, right? So your NAP listings and how important those are, and that was the last one. Now we are getting into Reviews, which are kind of, in some ways, kind of integral with local business listings. Most of the listings that are really important are also places people could leave you reviews, like Yelp and Google My Business. So, yeah.

Matt: And just really quickly.

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: We were looking at some stats actually this morning about the different weighted averages of some different things, and, you know, they’re all pretty equally divided, but reviews is one of those–

Chris: Those key ones. So it’s interesting, I love data, I dig into data. My background’s actually in mechanical engineering, so I pulled up this list and it was a 1 through 6 list, right? And I’m like, “Look, Matt, it’s only number 4 on the list, so that’s not that important.” And then he goes, “Well, it has the same weighting.” And I’m like, “Duh.” No, you’re exactly right! I hadn’t really noticed the rating, I was like, “Yes, it’s number 5, but like number 1 is 19%, number 2 is 18%, number 3 is 17%.” In terms of importance, like they’re all the same.

Matt: No, I mean I think the biggest thing – and we talked about that a little bit and maybe I’ll put together an article – but the big push right now is social, right?

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: Everybody wants social.

Chris: Yeah, everybody that thinks they need social, should be doing social, and they should, right?

Matt: Yes, yes, but it’s really interesting ‘cause one of the articles I was reading was saying 45% of budgets for small business are going towards social. I think it’s due to deliverables and things like that, but actually 4% weighting.

Chris: So on that article we were looking at? Yup.

Matt: And that was a separate article. So it’s interesting what’s out there.

Chris: Yeah, and we’ll have some comments on that. I think we are gonna put together an article on that and then we’ll cover that article in this podcast ‘cause – how focused are you on social media? Or you, the business you’re working with, or whatever, and why? And how much value does it actually return? From, you know, an SEO perspective.

Matt: All things have a place.

Chris: Absolutely.

Matt: That’s where I’ll leave with this. All things have a place and all things try to achieve a different goal, and some things work way better than others. And social is fantastic for a lot of things, and kind of as we’re getting into it, we can talk a little bit more about social and social reviews, and where people are talking about you online.

Chris: Yup.

Matt: But I think everything has it’s place and it’s good to know what that place is.

Chris: Yeah. To be clear, we do social here.

Matt: Yes.

Chris: Social media is part of our strategy from an SEO and performance perspective.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: And always remember our two rules. We have two rules as it relates to social profiles, right? And we’ll just say Facebook. Rule number 1 is: you need to be social on your profile, right? So you have a profile, you need to be social. And rule number 2: if you don’t have time, make the profile anyway and then see rule number 1.

Matt: Well, so it’s like a listing basically?

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: Right? It’s kinda like a listing to create the profile, but then also make sure it’s not a ghost town.

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: Yeah, you know? And engage.

Chris: Have things on there. Alright so the first sentence she starts off the review section – again, this is Miriam Ellis. By the way, if you’re in a position to, you have some sort of electronic device, why don’t you go ahead and tweet and say, “Listening to Miriam Ellis–” and her handle is @Miriam_Ellis_ and there’s one more underscore after the S in the name. Go ahead and tag, “Listening to #SEOPodcast 388,” and tag us @BestSEOPodcast and @eWebResults. Let Miriam know that you’re enjoying us talk about her article.

She starts the review section with, “Reviews aren’t opt-in. Your customers are telling the story of your business whether you create a profile or not.” Yeah.

Matt: Could you say that again, Chris?

Chris: Do you think – is it worth saying?

Matt: I think it might be worth saying again.

Chris: Alright, I’ll say it again. “Reviews aren’t opt-in. Your customers are telling the story of your business whether you create a profile or not.”

Matt: Be a storyteller.

Chris: Yeah. Well, we talk about on the podcast – maybe not regularly enough – that storytelling is really important, storytelling gets past sales filters, it actually is how we absorb information the best. And so if you think that’s true – and if you don’t, you need to read some more books – and you understand that you customers are telling stories about your business, then you kinda recognize how important it is that you be involved in that conversation.

Matt: Be part of the story, yeah. Don’t let other people tell your story for you.

Chris: So her number 1 thing under Reviews – and again, these are 45 local SEO mistakes you could make and how to avoid them, or pitfalls specifically, ‘cause that’s part of the article. Number 1 is “Too few reviews,” right? So it says that “84% of people trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation.” I’m absolutely on that, there’s actually a really good–

Matt: Infographic?

Chris: TED talk.

Matt: Okay, okay.

Chris: There’s a really good TED talk that one of the founders of Airbnb gave the TED talk, and he had a chart. Think about Airbnb, right?

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: You’re putting people in your own home and then you’re going and visiting somebody else’s home, right? Visiting somebody else’s home, you know what kind of person you are, you’re probably not that worried about, but allowing somebody else into your own home is a different thing, right?

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: And you gotta have trust. How do you get trust through a platform? And he had this chart of how many reviews and they had queried their customers, and what level of trust did that particular stayer, Airbnber have based on the number of reviews that that Airbnber had. And it was like 1 not so much, 2 not so much, 3 not so much. And then at 5 it really popped. It really jumped to be about, I don’t know, it was like 8 times or something, higher. I tried to find the article. It wasn’t easy to find. We’ll go off of my rough memory. But go check out that TED talk.

And then after that, after 5, it continued to increase to about 10 or 11, but then really tapered off. It didn’t increase much more. So if you’ve got decent reviews for – again, this is somebody staying in your home versus like am I gonna trust this business? You know, depending on your products. Is it a $100 product versus thousands of dollars?

Matt: So I have a quick little story.

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: It ties into storytelling, it ties into Airbnb, and loosely ties into this, but I think for you guys out there that are in the startup phase, I think that this might be interesting. Check out Y Combinator and Airbnb when they launched. They almost didn’t get funded and get part of the incubator program, because there was some uncertainty about could you sell somebody–

Chris: Of course! I probably wouldn’t have– I would have probably poo-pooed the idea, “Really? You want me to let somebody else stay in my house?”

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: Like I’m not of that whatever.

Matt: They weren’t sure about that, and if you look up Airbnb and Cap’n Crunch, that’s where the story comes in and it’s really kind of interesting.

Chris: Cap’n Crunch, one of my favorite breakfasts. Anyway go check out that Airbnb. You need reviews. You don’t need, like, a massive amount. It used to be the case that Google and Google My Business– so in your search result page wouldn’t show any stars unless you had 5 reviews, that’s no longer the case.

Matt: Interesting.

Chris: It can be as few as 1, but there’s criteria that have to be met in order for that to happen. So go ahead, make sure you have more reviews and we’ll talk about different ways to get reviews as this goes through. The second way is– that you can cause problems. So this is an SEO local pitfall that you can avoid: is that you get reviews too fast. Right, so one of the things that– and this is true of–

Matt: Everything.

Chris: Everything, right?

Matt: Everything.

Chris: Of reviews, and backlinks, and additional articles, and whatever, there’s an acceleration that Google’s keeping track of and most of the search engines and platforms are keeping track of. So if you’re on Yelp and you haven’t received a single review, or you got one review three years ago and this month you get 10 and next month you get 20 and 30, they are suspicious. Actually those numbers probably were reasonable. This month you got 100, next month you got 100 and it just stayed at 100 because you purchased some service. That’s what they’re gonna assume, that’s what the algorithms assume. So make sure that if you’re gonna ramp this up, do it in a legitimate way and at least kind of keep track of– like don’t overload those platforms too quickly.

Matt: I would agree with that. I mean I think that the– when you’re doing anything, right?

Chris: Right.

Matt: Like the numbers tell the story.

Chris: Yup.

Matt: And when you look at the numbers, is it organic? Right? That’s what they wanna–

Chris: Does it look– yeah.

Matt: Does it look organic? Does it look real?

Chris: Does it look legit? Yeah.

Matt: Like if you go from 0 to 100 reviews. You know, unless there’s some event and then you can petition Google if they delist you or ding you, to get that back. But usually unless something like that happens that is pretty abnormal. Right? Yeah.

Chris: So it’s just easy to spot. The next one is, “Guideline non-compliance,” right? So this actually has a parallel to– in our last podcast we mentioned: if you’re gonna have local listings that you better– also, “Guideline non-compliance,” right? So for your local listings, make sure you adhere to the local business platform guidelines or you could risk suspension and public shaming. This is the same situation. You’ve gotta make sure that you’re following guidelines. For example, did you know that Yelp forbids business owners from asking for reviews.

Matt: I did know that actually. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, I didn’t until I read this. So I would’ve readily– in fact we just did, readily void their guidelines. So we will probably pull the request for Yelp reviews out of podcast. Yeah.

Matt: Well, no no. You can ask for them, but you can’t ask for them like right after they buy. Like where it pops up.

Chris: Yeah, let’s read it, right?

Matt: Yeah, let’s read it. Yeah.

Chris: We’ll go read it, ‘cause Google actually has kind of flip-flopped and I’ll talk about that here in a second ‘cause it’s another thing, but make sure you know the guidelines. So in this case we’re gonna go do some of our own research and figure out the Yelp guideline and see if we can actually do that.

Matt: Yeah, I mean think that that’s interesting and there’s gotta be a delineation between can you– so you can’t ask for them at all?

Chris: So I think–

Matt: I thought it was like a pop-up like right after you buy something, right?

Chris: Dude, this is Yelp.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: They have been an interesting organization especially as it relates to reviews for a very long time. So yeah, we’ll double check that. Get that back to you. Let’s see. Across the– “Review sites prohibit paying for reviews,” right? So that’s like across the board, Google doesn’t want you to do it, Yelp doesn’t want you to do it, other places don’t want you to do it. Incentivizing them, whatever conflict of interest, you’ve just got to be careful.

Matt: Sure.

Chris: And you’ve certainly– and that’s paying for reviews versus– I wonder what the demarcation of ‘cause it could be– you could incentivize people in some cases, versus just paying for it. “Hey, you’ve never used my service, but get me one,” that’s paying for it. “Hey, you just might use my service, I’ll give you a $5 coupon,” check the rules.

Matt: You know, I think it’s an ethics thing, and I think that there’s a line. I know that we offer a service where we can go do a survey. Survey, here’s people that have bought them before, good, bad, everything, mixed bag… But we can solicit getting content but we’re not asking them what to write and I think that’s a big delineation of like paid reviews. Like I’ll pay you 10 cents to give a review.

Chris: Well, so I think it probably breaks down into two. So this is by the way–

Matt: We’re having a discussion, why?

Chris: We’re absolutely throwing this out, and that’s kind of the value of this podcast is. So definitely they don’t want you to just say, “Hey Joe.” or Apu, ‘cause that’s where you might buy reviews, right? Over in India ‘cause it’s less expensive. Just to hire somebody and pay them to write a review who hasn’t experienced your service.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: How does that delineate from kind of incentivizing, “Hey, I’ll give you a 10% off coupon to your next visit”? I’m sure there are some platforms that allow that, I’m sure there are some platforms that don’t. Maybe in general they all say no to all of it.

Matt: I think that’s an interesting forum discussion. To see what people are saying and what’s going on, and I really can tell you that’s probably some murky water.

Chris: So here’s something that you can do, right? So while that’s in the air, can you do it? Can you not do it? We’ll kind of find that out. Here’s what you can do: you can incentivize your team, right? I’ll give $5 to every team member who secures a review, right? So you’re a hostess, you hand out a review, it’s got a tag so they know it was you. And you get a review and you get $5. I don’t know of any platform that bans that. Alright, that’s enough of that.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: Next is, “Lack of an acquisition plan,” right? So this is interesting. The stats are– she says, “91% of consumers read online reviews.”

Matt: I do. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. Which ones do you go first, the positive or the negative reviews?

Matt: All negative.

Chris: Yeah? All negative. ‘Cause I’m really kinda looking– are the negative reviews stupid or are they legit?

Matt: ‘Cause I already wanna buy whatever I’m looking at.

Chris: Yeah, yeah. Trying to figure out, why not? Yeah. This is interesting, “82% of people–” No the next one’s interesting, “82% of people visit a review site because they intend to purchase.” Right, so by the time they’re looking at the reviews, they’re already just like you just described, in the purchasing mode. And this is a number I don’t believe, “7/10 customers will leave a review if asked.” I don’t believe that at all and I’ll tell you why, because it is so hard to get reviews. Like even in the process– and we’ll go into more details about our process. We call people, we follow up with people and we don’t get 7/10. That’s proactively chasing people to leave reviews and we don’t get 7/10.

Matt: I actually– it’s funny that we’re doing this, but I recently read this study where this data’s coming from. It’s all coming from actually one study.

Chris: Oh really? Yeah?

Matt: I can show it to you after this, but yeah I thought that number was pretty high as well.

Chris: So here’s a situation where it may be different: Uber. Right? Because you hop out of the car, it’s asking you, you gotta hit the 1 star or the 4 star and you’re done. You’re technically leaving a review. But I think we work with our customers to get good reviews and so just these email follow-up processes, they don’t have 7/10. They don’t.

Matt: Well you know, you can always get reviews from good customers and put them on your website. There’s no rules against that.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Matt: And you want testimonials on your website, yeah.

Chris: Absolutely. Absolutely. “Each company should try a variety of techniques.” Time-of-service, so when they got the service ask for the review. Send them an email, send them some sort of print, send them a social tag to get those reviews. Next is, “Lack of monitoring.” Right? So, “No brand would want to face a 33% decline in revenue or the closure of 13% of its stores,” but outcomes like these come about when people are posting bad reviews. So imagine– she gave a couple really good examples. You know, imagine you own a number of restaurants and of them, like they start getting negative reviews about wait times.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: Right? So if you’re not monitoring that, you don’t fix it, that restaurant closes. Like that’s what ultimately will happen, that’s what she’s talking about. 30% decline in revenue because of bad reviews or ultimately 13% of the stores closing. Yeah, think of reviews as providing free quality control.

Matt: I like it.

Chris: Right? You could pay somebody go do like secret shopper, or you could just make sure you monitor reviews. But you must either manually monitor them and Moz Local has a service that actually monitors your reviews for you.

Matt: There’s a number of like social listing stuff.

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: Social mention that’s out there that can like help you track, and even Google I think has a free service. It’ll give you alerts if you show up.

Chris: Oh yeah, Google Alerts. Yeah, absolutely. So that was number 38. number– excuse me 36.

Matt: [indiscernible]

Chris: Number 37 is, “Lack of owner responses.” So this really– many owners when you’re looking at platform it, “Signifies direct reputation management, free marketing, free advertising, damage control, and quality control.” I have a question for you, Matt.

Matt: Alright.

Chris: Alright. The question is: how low – so 1 to 5 stars – how low in terms of a star rating should you absolutely put a response to the review?

Matt: Man, that’s a really interesting question. Do you have data?

Chris: I have no data.

Matt: You have no data? Okay.

Chris: You know the answer, it’s a trick question.

Matt: Well I mean, I think it really depends on what the content of the response is. Right, and I think that it’s all about–

Chris: So let me ask you this.

Matt: Yeah, okay.

Chris: We were visiting a client together the other day and they had a number of reviews, how many of those reviews did you say they should respond to?

Matt: One, the 1 star.

Chris: I thought it was all of them.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: Right, ‘cause even when you get a positive– so the answer is: all of them.

Matt: Well yeah.

Chris: So that’s a trick question, right? I set you up for that. So even if it’s 5 stars, you should go in and say, “Thank you! We’re glad to be of service.” You know, “Grab me next time you’re in and I’ll give you a free donut.” Whatever you can do, because that just shows that you’re engaged, right? It makes your positive review look even so much more engaging.

Matt: Well, yeah. So I mean, when you’re doing anything online, right? You want to respond and that creates engagement, that creates conversation.

Chris: Right.

Matt: That’s one of the best ways to–

Chris: I think that creates free marketing, free advertising. Yeah?

Matt: It does, but it also– Facebook is now networking.

Chris: Right.

Matt: Right, and so if someone comments on your stuff, comment back on theirs.

Chris: Yup.

Matt: And then maybe direct message them and start a dialogue, and really there’s a lot of ways to sell on Facebook and that’s one of the best ways. Now you know it’s hard to understand all this stuff and how it fits together, but it all is based on like authority management. Like are you– you know, how are you viewed online and how are you responding to people and how are you engaging?

Chris: Right.

Matt: Right? And so I think it just really truly depends what you’re going for, what you have time for.

Chris: Right.

Matt: Where automation plays into that. There’s a lot of different factors, but absolutely, I think 1-star reviews you have to respond to them, right? You know?

Chris: Oh, yeah yeah. So if you only have time to–

Matt: You should respond to all of them.

Chris: Yeah, all of them. Yeah. So I guess if you look at it, “Should I respond to this one? Or that one?” the answer is you should absolutely respond to anything low. Really go ahead and just say thanks, right?

Matt: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: Even to the 5-star.

Matt: Or like it.

Chris: Absolutely. Alright, so next, and this is a big one. We’ve all seen this, right? “Poor owner responses.” Man and her article actually linked to a pretty interesting one that was just like– the owner response was just the absolute opposite of what you should do. I was trying to find some really good– just checklists, like 5 points or whatever. We probably could do a whole podcast on what are the actual correct podcast to reply to. Not podcast, but what are the correct way to respond to a negative review.

Matt: I would say probably like if I was to start with a list, was like: if it’s a bad review, don’t get on there immediately and respond, like respond with a cool head.

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: And like think about what you’re gonna say.

Chris: Don’t press send, yeah.

Matt: Yeah, so I think that that’s–

Chris: What was it? I think we gave advice, maybe it was during this podcast or prior, we were like, “Go ahead and write the meanest, nastiest, ugliest review you can come up with, right? Where you’re spitting at them and fire and they’re morons and all that, and send it to your secretary. Right? Don’t post it, don’t push it out live. Just say, “Hey, I needed to get this off my chest,” and then come back the next day and take all of the stuff that was emotional and negative out of it and you’ll be in good shape. Really, there are a couple factors, right? You need to apologize, you need to acknowledge the mistake. Well, first acknowledge the mistake, “Yes, we’ve made a mistake. It appears we made a mistake from what you’ve described, we’ve made a mistake.” Even if you know it’s not true, right? This is what’s out there, apologize, “We’re sorry this mistake happened. We’ve already put in systems to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” You know, and then offer something. You know? Offer something like, “Come in and I’d like to make this right.”

Matt: Well I actually really love it, like the quality control that we were talking about, it actually gives you an opportunity to really make it right and develop a loyal customer because they know you care.

Chris: Yup.

Matt: And I mean the biggest thing with all of this is just get in the conversation. Be part of the dialogue and engage them, because that what it is, that what Twitter is, right?

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: I mean that’s– you tweet about it if you’re upset.

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. And a lot of sales books that I have read talk about how perked up a high-level sales guy will get when there is a problem ‘cause then he’ll run at that problem, fix the problem, and now the company is the hero and you actually end up driving better reviews after fixing a negative problem.

Matt: It’s opportunity I think.

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. So what you do wanna avoid is, lack of an apology, lack of accountability, rude language, blame shifting and certainly you wanna get out of dishonesty.

Matt: Yes.

Chris: I like this. So she put this indent, “Complaints give you the chance to act, but silence leaves you in the dark.” I actually think complaints give you the chance to act, but silence shows you don’t care.

Matt: Hmm, indifference.

Chris: ‘Cause it’s just you don’t care enough to respond. Alright, next, “Poor staff training.” So really this is– you know, if you’re getting negative reviews, you got a customer service problem. You know, if it’s delays at the restaurant, if it’s you know, your plumbers aren’t dressed appropriately, too much butt crack, whatever it may be. Right? Then that’s just a training issue. So again, use reviews as the opportunity for quality control and then take care of it. You just wanna make sure you got support documentation, detailed employee guidelines, and regular staff training sessions.

Matt: What’s the best like staff training program company that you’ve ever seen?

Chris: Staff training program company. So you mean just a company that does a great job?

Matt: Well, like where you get the consistency and everybody knows what they’re gonna get, served over a million. Those golden arches.

Chris: So two come to mind, now that you threw some images in my mind. The first one that comes to mind, even though they don’t interact with that many of their customers, is Zappos.

Matt: Zappos is great.

Chris: Now but Zappos is about the right culture that’s focused on delivering a great result. You’re right, McDonald’s is the one that’s about delivering the same result over and over and over and over again.

Matt: Well, how we answer our phones, I mean that was the first thing as we hire new people is train–

Chris: Here’s how you answer the phone, yeah.

Matt: Yeah, quality. Right? And Ray Kroc did a great job in honoring that.

Chris: Amazing.

Matt: Great books on what he’s done.

Chris: Alright, so item number 40 on 45 SEO pitfalls that you should avoid or could avoid, and how to avoid them. This one is, “Review kiosks.” So if you don’t know what a review kiosk is, imagine you’ve got an iPad sitting in your office and as somebody comes out after getting your teeth cleaned, you say, “Hey! Why don’t you review us right here.” There is no platform that says this is okay. Actually, none of them. Current guidelines specifically prohibit. Now, there’s a little confusion because Google used to allow it and now no longer allows it, right? So it’s a little confusing.

Matt: I just had this image in my head of like, you get done with the service and–

Chris: Like, “Here! Here! Here!” Before you leave, yeah.

Matt: In your way, yeah. Like before you leave like, “Here.”

Chris: Punch in your 4 star review here. To open the door. Right, that would be a cool technology. There are some anecdotal evidence of even reviews getting removed if the customers were using the same IP address. The Wi-Fi in the store.

Matt: In the store, yup.

Chris: And there’s even other anecdotal reviews of it getting removed because now Google knows where you’re at, right? So even if you’re on your phone and you’re not on the Wi-Fi, you’re on a cellular connection.

Matt: You get the conversion but not the review.

Chris: Right, yeah. So don’t do review kiosks. I think it’s better to– what she described is, “Better to collect emails at the time of service and then write to the customer within a few days.” I believe actually– you know, our process or thought process here at eWebResults is that that’s actually not enough. We’ve got– our process Matt was talking about is called CSSR, Customer Service Survey and Reviews, and here’s what we do with that: on each month our customers will send us about 10 clients. Hopefully they’re gonna send us– ‘cause our goals is reviews. Hopefully they’re gonna send us 10 clients who have had really good experiences, and we’re gonna call them and ask them about three survey questions that we’ve brainstormed. By the way, you’re welcome to use this technique. You gotta get the scripts right to make this work, but welcome to steal all of these ideas. So you get 10 of them, we call them up and we’re like, “Hey, we’re the marketing company for XYZ. We’re just asking three short survey questions.” Boom. Boom. Boom. If it looks like they had a good experience then we ask them if they’d be willing to write a review, and that we could send it to them and confirm their email address. If they do, we send that email and we get– here’s the Pro Tip.

Matt: The magic.

Chris: Really the magic. And that is: we get their permission to follow up with them in seven days. So when we call them in seven days, statistically speaking, and they haven’t yet written a review– we’ve already gotten the permission, “Remember you gave me permission to call? I’m calling. I wasn’t able to find that review, did you have any problems leaving that review?”

Matt: If you get the commitment from somebody, people tend to follow through.

Chris: Absolutely.

Matt: Yup.

Chris: Yup, and so you got this reminder. so that’s our process CSSR, if you’re interested in us kinda doing that for you. Yeah, except we wouldn’t do it for Yelp until we confirm that it’s okay with Yelp.

Matt: Yeah, I think we need to do some real research. The landscapes continue to change on what you can and can’t do. And really I like the Google police but at the same time, like it’s sometimes challenging but only like I think 20% of all websites are even standardized.

Chris: Right, right.

Matt: And they’re just trying to kind of get everybody on the road.

Chris: Right. Yeah, yeah yeah.

Matt: I get it, you know?

Chris: We actually had a client who was using a service where they did the iPad in their office, they didn’t have them submitted directly to G+. Then the company was actually creating a brand new G+ account and then submitting a review about our client.

Matt: Wow.

Chris: And I was like– I was like, “I would not do that.” And she goes, “Well, it’s working for here and here.” And then it was actually working for her, and I’m like, “Okay. I would not do that and that could– all of those reviews that you’re paying good money for–” like that’s what you’re paying for, is the reviews, “Could disappear overnight.” I think they did. I think Google went in and swept out.

Matt: Really? That’s a horrible story.

Chris: Yeah. Well and she was just going off of this doctor had done it, that doctor had done it. So I think it’s okay, and yeah.

Matt: You gotta be careful who you trust. There’s so many people out there that are doing so many different types of things and it could work temporarily, but you might be a short-term client for them and you don’t know what’s happening under the hood.

Chris: And you might get short-term value.

Matt: You might just get short-term value. That’s I think the point I was trying to make.

Chris: Yeah, the scary part of it.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: Alright so that wraps up the meat of our podcast. Again, if you guys could tweet out to Miriam Ellis and let her know that you’ve been listening to her article on our podcast, we would much appreciate that. So would she, she’s been very interactive with us. Our tentative goal is to have her on.

Matt: I like it.

Chris: I think we should do it.I think it would be really cool and maybe we’ll tell her, “Look. There’s 45 of them, what are your top 5?” And we’ll kinda discuss them and how important they are.

Matt: Or we could try to have her go through all of them.

Chris: We need to–

Matt: And the time of it.

Chris: You do have that timer, right? We’ll flip it, like each section 1 minute. So if you liked this podcast, please go ahead and tell some friends and also tweet. You can tweet her. Again it’s @Miriam_Ellis_ make sure you tag us #SEOPodcast, this is number 388. So go ahead and share that with a couple of friends, people that you know in the industry or business owners who might get value from this. You know, we certainly have a lot of business owners that we talked to who had challenges with internet marketing companies, and so they really need to have some level of education to understand what they– how do you critique an internet marketing agency, what should you be looking for? And we definitely did a podcast on that, and then each of our podcasts just give you more and more information.

Matt: I think that that’s another– could be another article as well.

Chris: Yeah.

Matt: So I mean, that’s really something that people need to think about is how you choose you agency. Is it a long-term relationship?

Chris: Yup.

Matt: Like what are your goals? That sort of thing.

Chris: How long have they been in business?

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: What kind of results have they gotten for their clients. We actually have a checklist that we share with people that we’re talking with. Look if you’re looking to grow your business with the largest, simplest marketing tool on the planet…

Matt: The internet!

Chris: Call eWebResults for increased revenue in your business, our phone number is 713-592-6724. If you have a referral, that is somebody who’s interested in internet marketing for their business. So that’s website, social media, pay-per-click. Whatever it is, if it’s online, we’re probably doing it or about to do it ‘cause we’re about to do a whole lot of new stuff.

Matt: We are.

Chris: So go ahead and send them to us, when they pay their bill, we pay you. We have that referral program in place. We also have a program called Instant Leads Guaranteed. Go ahead and fill out the– actually they can’t fill out that green button, they gotta fill out the one on the upper right.

Matt: Contact Us page.

Chris: Or just hit the Contact Us page and ask us about our Instant Leads Guaranteed.

Matt: We are doing some new things at the website as well.

Chris: We’re making it work better, it’s pretty cool. Pretty exciting stuff. If you do networking in Houston, make sure you come out and check UP Social Network. Actually go to UPSocialNetwork.com, I’d love to see you at one of those events.

Matt: Yes.

Chris: If you’re a member you actually get great content. We’re encouraging all of our customers to be members of UP Social ‘cause of the content that they get. And then is that it? Let’s see? Yeah. Do you have anything?

Matt: B-B-B-Booom!

Chris: Boom! Alright, so remember we were filmed live here at 5999, West 34th Street, Suite 106, Houston, Texas, 77092. If you would like audio, video, or a transcript of this podcast, you can find it at our website eWebResults.com. We are the #1 internet marketing podcast on iTunes, that is because of you. He actually has the #1 kind of sitting on his head right now, if you’re watching it. Watching the podcast, this is probably one worth checking out. It’s because of you, so we appreciate you. Downloaded in more than 100 different countries. If you’ve got questions, go ahead and hit us up. Our email is podcast@–

Matt: Podcast@

Chris: eWebResults.com. Go ahead and send us a question, we can answer that on air. Sometimes he can answer it on air, sometimes I can, and then there’s other times where we have discussions about it on air, which is–

Matt: We can answer over the phone too.

Chris: Which is of great value.

Matt: I think people like the dialogue.

Chris: I think it’s important.

Matt: I think it’s important–

Chris: It’s such a dynamic industry, it’s changing all the time. So the fact that you read an article sooner or more recent than I did, or vice versa, or it’s a different article, like that’s the whole point, right? And so, you know, dig in and understand and try and–

Matt: I mean I think that our conversations here on a daily basis are something that people should be interested in.

Chris: Yeah, yeah, I think so. Like what strategy is gonna work for this client.

Matt: Because this is a lot of– what we’re doing a little bit on the air is what we do behind the scenes, and get on the same page and the best way forward when we we get with clients.

Chris: Yup.

Matt: You know? So you get to see some of the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Chris: Behind the scene Pro Tips! So thank you very much for making us the most popular internet marketing podcast. Please make sure you leave a review. I don’t need a tear tattoo and also make sure you share, like, and follow on our pages. Punch in the face to you. Actually Glenda punch in the face, Patrick, Marcus and Nolen, punch in the face to all of you. Until the next podcast, my name is Chris Burres.

Matt: Matt Bertram.

Chris: Bye bye for now.

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