Online Reviews: One Pillar of Success in 2018

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Online Reviews: One Pillar of Success in 2018

Online Reviews: One Pillar of Success in 2018

Online Reviews: One Pillar of Success in 2018

2017 has seen an enormous shift in how Google and other search engines factor in ratings and reviews. Online reviews which were once the online equivalent of “word of mouth” have become much more. The trend continues to move and encompasses an overarching theme, that Google is working more and more on displaying the most logical results possible for any given query. Is a company who has a significant amount of online reviews a prominent player in their market? Yes, likely so.

Google has realized that online reviews have the power to shape customer behavior. So why should I listen to what a company has to say about itself? Won’t this information likely be slanted in an effort to sell to me? Within the same search, you can read what actual customers have said about their experience, and this would be a more trusted assessment of “the truth.”

Reviews, as important as they are to a small business, have gotten a whole lot more important this year. The reason can be summed up in another annoying marketing anagram, SERP. It stands for Search Engine Results Page. When you look up your company name, you get a set of results. This will likely include your Google My Business page, website page or pages, perhaps some ads for your own company or for competitors who are bidding on your name, AND the directories and review sites with your business information. This is the “SERP” for your company.

Taking a look at your search engine results and that of your competitors, it is easy to see how the online reviews have crept into those results. It is also easy to prove that more reviews mean a higher page presence on Google. Whether on mobile or desktop, you will notice that Google is now quite obviously factoring in the reviews when showing results.

Earlier this year we talked (blogged) about the “signals” that Google looks for when determining the results to show. Distance, relevance, and prominence were given as three important factors. It is now obvious that they (Google) have determined that a preponderance of online reviews, does in fact make a company more prominent within that search. In the end, it’s all about giving the best possible experience to their users, providing the best results for any given query.

Online Reviews – New Marketing Horsepower

Here at OMG National, your online reviews is a subject which we have spent thousands of man hours working through and studying. We are in the process of developing our 4th generation Review Platform. Our current platform, Review Stream 3 provides the structured data markup from Schema.org to ensure your website’s first party reviews appear prominently in search. As the process by which online reviews are interpreted, handled, and displayed continues to evolve, so will our Review Stream platform. We will ensure that your small business marketing program is leveraging the best practices for how Google wants you handling online reviews.

Bad Review? Handle It.

In the early days of digital marketing and online reviews, a business could choose to ignore reviews in the hopes that the review would disappear so potential clients wouldn’t see them. The option to ignore online reviews no longer exists.

Unless you are 100% certain that everyone representing your organization is delivering outstanding customer service, a review strategy must be established to thank users for positive feedback and resolve the negative feedback that can result in the loss of thousands of dollars in potential revenue.

Responding to bad reviews is essential going into 2018. With that in mind, we’ve incorporated a make it right button directly into our Review Stream 3 platform so a bad experience can be resolved before turning into a negative review.

What’s the best way to ensure your company is getting positive reviews? Employing excellent customer service skills every time, with everyone. Set expectations so the customer understands the extent of your service, and always listen and consider your customer’s feedback.

There’s no pleasing everyone, so in the event that your company does get a negative review, the best course of action is to respond to that review. Address the problem, clearly state your intentions to resolve the issue, and move the conversation offline by suggesting the reviewer contact the business owner directly at a specific number.

Final thought

Upcoming Webinar: Dec. 20th @ 12pm Online Reviews: The Key To Your Success in 2018

We live in a transparent marketing society. Our failures as business people are out there for the world to see in the click of a mouse. There are real dollars associated with this issue, real emotions too. Working as hard as we do on our business, we know how the sting of a bad review can hurt. It feels like someone is insulting your child. However, knowing that this transparency is a part of business life today, forces you to be a better company. So even though it can be painful to address, your online reviews can give you a road map for improving your operation, each day.

Learn more about online reviews today by contacting one of our digital marketing experts at 800-789-4619 or visit http://omgnational.com/contact

Book your spot in our December Webinar where we’ll cover the most important elements when it comes to review management. Click here to reserve your spot, and don’t forget to check out OMG University for complete access to all of our past webinars.

Reviews In 2017

We live and we market our companies amidst an ocean of online reviews. They stream in from all sides. It is available to us in heavy doses, from the time we wake up until we hit the sack at night. Consumers are searching for towers, plumbers, restaurants, mortgage brokers, and everything in between. Recent studies show that more than 85% of consumers consult and rely on online reviews to help them make the right call. These consumers have come right out and said, “Yes! I am influenced by online reviews.”

As reviews have gained importance, Google, the largest information and data aggregator in the world, is shifting the focus of their search algorithm to heavily weigh reviews in ranking search results. To understand what impact this trend has on marketing, one must realize how search engines have evolved over the past ten years. At the turn of the century, with limited information and metrics, Google took a best guess as to what a user was searching, providing a list of 10 blue links.

Several years ago, the platforms Google Places, Google Maps, Google+, and Google My Business began their evolution to where they are today. The search giant has now shifted its priority to displaying verified information first—with review content as a close second—on the Google Knowledge Graph; the helpful sidebar that highlights information when making a Google search. Location has now become the center of search, and a simple query for “flowers” will no longer just display 10 websites that are perhaps relevant (sometimes including irrelevant results such as “what flowers are native to Indonesia”). Instead, Google now provides a Google Maps and Google My Business powered map with local florists, highlighting their reviews.

Last November, our leadership attended Location World in NYC, a meeting of minds for the leaders of companies that drive the adoption of best-practices when it comes to online reviews. The consensus was clear: Google has modified search results to prioritize Google-friendly business profile information, and Google IS NOT taking review ratings from any ONE source. They have taken control by algorithmically balancing reviews from ALL Google-friendly sources, and displaying them in the Knowledge Graph.

You may be wondering, “What does that mean to us, and as marketers where do we go from here?” For consumers looking for a product or service for the first time, Yelp and Facebook— two of the leading industry lead providers—are only as relevant as their ability to prominently show up when someone is searching for said product or service. “Where do most consumers search?” Google! What this means to us is that we have a new set of rules to play by, and that we need to adopt guidelines to make our clients successful at showing up first. Knowing we need to influence Google search results, here are the most important new review metrics alongside OMG National’s new Review Stream 3.0 (RS3) solution:

  •         First-Party vs. Third-Party. Repopulating third-party reviews on your website is becoming a thing of the past, as first-party reviews now can directly affect search results. With the latest Google update, the search engine has empowered businesses to do their own review publishing ONLY when operating within Google’s Developer framework. RS3 lets you solicit and publish first-party reviews to your website, increasing the relevancy of the online property, and allowing your website to trump competitors in local search rankings.
  •         Relevancy Through Recency. Having 20 reviews in the last month on Facebook does not help you if you don’t have a single review on Yelp within the past year. RS3 helps you balance where both positive and negative reviews go to make sure reviews are distributing across review platforms.
  •         Respond Instead of Remove. The industry is flooded with review technology that specifically caters to suppressing negative reviews (our still available Review Stream 2.0 does just that!) However, you must ask yourself, is being number one on Google more important than having a 4.9 rating when someone shows up and looks for you? RS3 has a set quarantine time that gives you time to respond so that you don’t have a naked bad review online. Businesses are human, mistakes happen, it’s about how you address those mistakes that will make all the difference when someone finds you first during their next search.

OMG National is currently including the deployment of Review Stream 3.0 with all OMG Partner, Partner Plus, and Partner Premier marketing programs. Don’t forget to check out our exclusive webinar this month where we will share a whole host of tips and tricks designed to increase the right kind of reviews, adding maximum impact to your marketing plan. Don’t get left behind in 2017! Click below to reserve your seat today!

Cash In On Building Your Online Presence in 2017

By: Jesse Lubar
CEO OMG National

Follow Jesse on Twitter @onholddude

This new age of customer exploration is constantly changing. Mobile Searches are seeing unprecedented growth, and location-based local searches on mobile are growing 146% year-over-year. It sounds like sci-fi, but even self-driving vehicles will be the norm by 2021. In order to reach searching consumers in these “micro-moments” or moments that matter, businesses must be in complete control of the data that appears online. The powerful ability to edit, highlight, and advertise across your entire online presence is a key competitive advantage not to be overlooked.

For small businesses looking to succeed in marketing, education is the key, and that means staying updated on what’s new and changing in the digital space. Keeping up with topics such as search marketing, social media platforms and content ideas, plus location-based technology, is imperative.

Here at OMG National, our leadership and marketing committee stays knee-deep in the new frontier of mobile search and what it means for businesses and consumers alike. We study the current state of search, how your next customer is searching right now versus how the search engines are reading those queries. We also work diligently to keep up with all of the “science” and theory behind the major drivers of Google and friends.

We got our start 26 years ago, pre-internet. At that time, our sales professionals were tasked with educating small business owners on how they could leverage their business telephone to drive customer experience, cross-sales, and prevent people from hanging up when they were put on-hold by a busy company. It was about leveraging the tools of the day to maximize every opportunity and improve on their competitive advantage.

Today is no different. Make sure that you’ve got a firm handle on your online search, social, review, and directory sites. You can begin by identifying the most important online real estate that exists for your industry, company type, and location. Once you’ve got your list, start by claiming and/or building them out to the max. Add imagery, a well-written narrative, and be sure to monitor them for reviews and social mentions.

Your well-built online presence will ensure that you are rewarded with enhanced online activity. Follow this DIY formula, or engage an online marketing agency to handle it for you. The experts agree, your presence across these sites is one major key to your company’s future online success.

For OMG National, this is Jesse Lubar, signing off with a smile.