Posts tagged with ‘yelp’

Google No Longer Posting 3rd Party Reviews On Place Pages

News flash! If you were relying on Yelp, Angie’s List and InsiderPages to get extra reviews on your Google Place pages, you won’t be anymore. Google, under a torrent of criticism, has stopped scrapping those sites’ reviews. 3rd party sites have long complained that Google was using their content, or content generated on their sites, to boost it’s own review service, Google Places. Yelp has been particularly vocal with their displeasure.

This has created a bit of a quandary for small business owners that benefited from having reviews of their businesses aggregated in one place. Now, if you go to a company’s Place Page, it might look a little bare. Only reviews from registered Google users will appear there.

The winners in this scenario are clearly the 3rd party sites. Google will no longer be able to piggyback off of their hard work to bolster it’s own review site. Plus, I think Google will really have to improve their user review process. The losers are users of Google’s search. It will be a bit more time consuming to do research on the companies they are looking into. I don’t think Google is affected in any particularly large way. Their place page results are still going to appear at the top of the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages).

What does this mean for business owners? It means that they are going to have to send their satisfied customers to multiple places to post their reviews. I don’t think this is a bad thing, though. For the time being, more people are engaging sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. However, do not ignore Google Places. Not only does it appear at the top of the SERP’s, but it is also gaining traction in the mobile app world. In other words, if you diversify your online presence, you won’t have anything to worry about.

3 Things You Should Be Doing Right Now To Spread Your Word

There are a few things every business should be doing to spread the word about themselves. From dental offices to neighborhood salons, business owners can and should be promoting themselves online. These aren’t hard things to do. All it takes is a little effort.

  1. Google Places – This should be the first place you add your presence online. Places takes the information about your business, and displays it on Google Maps and in search results. Within Places, business hours, address and phone numbers can be displayed. Videos and photos can also be added to further expose your business to potential customers. It’s easy to add a business to Places, and should be done by every business.
  2. Yelp & Angie’s List – Services like Yelp and Angie’s List have become invaluable as people have become more mobile. For instance, my wife and I were on vacation recently, and used Yelp to locate different businesses in the area. Similarly, we use Yelp to guide us to places within our own city. The businesses that don’t add a presence to these types of services are destined to be missed.
  3. Vertical Business Directories – By vertical, I mean industry specific directories. For instance, there are dentist specific directories that compile listings of dental offices in an area. It’s the same with insurance agents, real estate agents and medical doctors. These online directories feed search engines with information about your business, which in turn boosts your search ranking. The end result, of course, is more awareness about your business.

It’s up to you to spread the word about your business. Start with these 3 things, and you’ll be headed in the right direction!

This Is How Not To Respond To Reviews of Your Business

I’ve been talking a lot about the positive aspects of promoting your business on websites like Yelp, Citysearch and Facebook. As I’ve said before, it really helps you engage your customers. However, I’ve got an example of how not to respond to negative reviews.

Essentially, a couple was kicked out of a hotel because the manager accused them of writing a bad review on tripadvisor.com. The manager even went so far as to call the police. Naturally the police declined to arrest them as it was clearly a civil matter. However, the real question to ask is why the manager thought his business would be helped by persecuting someone who may or may not have written a bad review. These sites, including tripadvisor.com, offer the chance to respond to criticism. In many cases a problem can be diffused simply by engaging the customer proactively. The manager of that hotel decided to respond to criticism in an adversarial way. Again, not the way to go.

By and large, your customers are going to be reasonable. You never know what is going on in their life that day. Maybe they’re just having a bad day. Being defensive about criticism will only exacerbate the problem. You’d be better served by responding in a positive tone with an offer to help. You’ll be amazed at how much goodwill this will generate.

Check In With Your Customers

Mobile phones have definitely changed the way we communicate. Beyond the actual voice calls, we text, email and interact online from our phones. With smart phones now the norm (even my wife has one), people have access to information at all times. How does this affect your business?

Now business owners have to contend with customers being able to spread the word instantly. Naturally, this is a double-edged sword. If you give a customer a great service, the world will find out in a second. The same applies if the customer has the opposite experience. It’s an important thing to think about when marketing your business, becauseĀ  you want to take advantage of the customer’s ability the spread the good news quickly. Even if you get a bad review, often times you can turn that into a positive by directly addressing the situation.

Mobile phone applications like Foursquare, Yelp and even Facebook offer check-in functions. People can check-in once they’ve arrived at your business and make comments. It not only informs their friends of their location, but it’s also free advertising for your business. Many businesses offer specials to “regulars” who check-in.

Check-in’s and other types of location based apps are prevalent on mobile platforms. If you want to grow your business, you must learn to harness this technology. Because, like it or not, people will continue to rely on their mobile phones to guide them through the world around them.