The Importance of a Balanced Review Diet – How One Company Got 75 Reviews in One Month

The Importance of a Balanced Review Diet – How One Company Got 75 Reviews in One Month

It was our operations manager who discovered the problem. One of our biggest clients, a large tire and auto repair facility in West Los Angeles, had over 500 Yelp reviews but only 22 Google reviews. I decided to reach out to the owner and explain the situation to him.

Having over 500 Yelp reviews, he was no stranger to the concept of getting reviews. So he immediately understood when I explained to him why it was important to have a more balanced review profile. After all, one of the reasons he partnered with us was to help his auto and tire repair shop get more business from online searches.

The owner wasn’t different from many of our other customers. He knew how important Yelp was and spent years building his 500 plus reviews. While he knew that Google had its own review platform, he didn’t realize how important it was. If you’re trying to rank higher on Google, their review platform is the most important platform in the world. If you want to rank on Google, it’s a good idea to play the game that Google has made. Google’s review system is based on its “Google My Business” platform. And getting more reviews on GMB is just the start. GMB is a full-fledged social channel for businesses. Business owners would be wise to participate in all aspects of it, not just the reviews.

Google rewards businesses that use their platforms. Their reviews are arguably the most important. The reason they are important is they’re a search ranking factor. They are also important for converting people into customers. It can look fake if a business has dozens or hundreds of reviews in one place, and almost none anywhere else. Having a balanced review profile is the end game.

So what is a balanced review profile? A balanced review profile is a natural pattern of reviews. People use a variety of platforms to find and interact with businesses. It makes sense that they would also write reviews in different places. These reviews can be anywhere from Trust Pilot to Yahoo, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Super Pages and many more. The big three for most businesses are Google, Yelp, and Facebook. 

The takeaway is that if you’re a small business trying to get more reviews, don’t put all your review eggs in one basket. Ask for reviews on “The Big Three” and when you get each of them sorted and balanced out, then start asking for reviews in different places to keep them more balanced. The more places your business has reviews, the better.

The more review diversity a business has, the better it is for their search engine rankings. It’s also better for their consumers. Most people use a variety of different places to find what they’re looking for. It’s important to have reviews in as many places as possible, as long as it makes sense for your particular type of business. For example, an attorney might want to get many reviews on avvo.com. Reviews on avvo.com don’t make sense for a tire dealer.

Which, brings me back to the customer this story is about. One of the things we do for our customers every month is to send them a review flow report. Our review flow reports show every single review ever written about a company. We like to see our customers getting at least a few reviews every month. I was blown away when I read the review flow report a month later for the tire and auto repair facility. They received 75 reviews on Google in one month! That amounted to an average of 2.5 per day. We have customers that struggle to get 2.5 reviews per month. Here’s this amazing business owner who was getting up to 5 reviews per day. Within two months they had well over 125 reviews, and their review profile was becoming more balanced each day.

Naturally, their Google rankings surged to an all-time high. I might mention that the owner of the tire and auto repair shop had a little help. They used a review management platform that made it easy to get reviews. Nimbus Marketing offers the same type of review management platform. For $75 per month, our system automates the review process. If you’re interested in learning more about automating your review process and getting more reviews per month, reach out to us at nimbus@nimbus.market.

Learn why online reviews are so important for your online marketing strategy. 

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

How to do SEO Yourself in 2020

How to do SEO Yourself in 2020

Are you an SEO newbie who is hell-bent on learning how to do SEO yourself? Whether you are self-employed, a business owner, or at a new marketing position, SEO is a valuable skill for your toolbox. The thing is, the SEO landscape is frequently changing, so you’ll need to keep up with modern techniques. This list is up to date and helps you prioritize your tasks as well.

If you want to learn how to do SEO, start with Keyword Research

Do keyword research. The first thing search engines do is to establish relevance. The keywords you want to rank for must be as strategic as possible. Keyword research is only as good as the person who does it; If you’re not prepared to learn how to do high-quality research, hire someone great and pay as much as possible to get your keyword research.

Why? Because without excellent keyword research, you’ll be flying blind. If you don’t research the value of the keywords you’re targeting, you might get page one for a keyword that doesn’t result in any rewards. Conversely, if you target keywords with high competition, you may not stand a chance at ever ranking on the first page. The goal of keyword research is to find the highest volume and lowest competition keywords possible.

Its also important to make sure that you are targeting keywords with purchase intent if your goal is to get more sales. What this means is if you’re trying to rank a sales page for a keyword that users are using for education, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for more sales. So focus on the user intent of your keywords to make sure they align with your goals.

Once you have prioritized your list of strategic keywords, use your keyword list to optimize your website, social profiles, blog articles, directory listings, and much more. Try to commit your most valuable keywords to memory and use your keywords when you’re commenting on forums and blogs or anywhere else that can be found online such as replies to customer reviews and blog comment replies.

You should also use your keywords in your social media posts, emails, and chats, among others. Even if the digital medium you’re posting on isn’t crawled by Google, like emails, the exercise of using them everywhere possible is a great habit to make. The goal is to make your business synonymous with the keywords your’e targeting.

Website Optimization Is The Next Step

Try your best to optimize every aspect of your website. There are many signals you send to Google with your website. These include the title tags for your website, the way you use your H tags, your image alt tags and file names, your paragraph content, and more.

On-page optimization is the first place you should start once you’ve determined your keyword list. The reason for this is that your on-page optimization establishes relevance to your keywords with Google. If Google doesn’t know your website is relevant to a keyword, they won’t rank it for that keyword. The usage of synonyms and keyword variations on your website is another great way to establish more relevance. You may also want to find LSI keywords and Entities to include on your website as frequently as possible while still keeping your content readable.

Don’t forget About Your Content

Make sure your content is readable and relevant and ensure there’s enough content. Try to make your content more readable by including bullet points. Its also helpful to use bold and italic texts as well as resource links. This helps readers who skim content. User experience elements like bullet points are a search engine ranking factor, but more importantly, you want your users to read your content, not just Google. Check out this blog posting checklist for more in-depth advice on creating content.

Say Hello To Sitemaps

You need a sitemap. Sitemaps help users and robots alike by literally providing a map to the pages on your website. There are two ways to do this, by using an XML sitemap, or creating an HTML sitemap. On WordPress and other common website platforms you can find plugins like Yoast or Rankmath. These plugins help with multiple elements of your optimization, including sitemap creation. With a plugin like this you can easily create an XML sitemap. These are great if your site is changing pages often because they update as you change your website. HTML websites don’t update automatically, so you’ll need to update them yourself whenever they change.

Check Your Website Speed

Google says page speed is a ranking factor, and of course, they weren’t telling the whole truth. What they meant was the time to first byte (TTFB). TTFB measures how quickly a web server can respond to a request. It gets kind of technical here, but the idea is faster is better. A site like bytecheck is great for finding out your TTFB.
Its important to optimize your web page load time, because this is a user experience factor. User experience is just as important, if not more important than rankings. Without a fast user experience, you could end up wasting those #1 rankings. A site like GT Metrix will measure all page speed factors, and even grade a website against the average.

Build High-Quality Links and Citations

Links (also called “backlinks”) have always been the most important, or one of the most important factors for search engine rankings. Google views links to your business as endorsements. The more endorsements you have, the better your site must be. But be careful!

Endorsements from seedy websites will hurt your reputation with Google and can cause you to lose ranks instead of gaining them. Imagine if a known mobster started talking about how great you were. That wouldn’t be good for your reputation, would it? There are services like Rhino Rank that you can hire to get links placed on your website.

If you have the time, a service like HARO, Help a Reporter Out is a great way to get links to your business. Reporters post to HARO looking for people with certain experiences, and if you can respond quickly enough and contribute to their article, you can a link.

Citations are mostly for local businesses. A local citation is a mention of your business’ name, address, phone number & website on another website. There are a few kinds of citations like local citations, general citations, niche specific citations, and unstructured citations. Its important that all citations have consistent information.

Be on the lookout for our upcoming citation guide for a comprehensive guide to building citations. In the meantime, sign up for the biggest directory websites like Yelp, BBB, Chamber of Commerce, and of course, Google My Business. Make sure all the information you use is the same on each website.

Work On Your Blog

Google loves new content, and your blog is the easiest way to publish new content. Additionally, keeping a consistent and useful blog is a great resource for potential customers. Start out by writing about the basics of your business’ industry. If you’re in furniture, talk about how to identify quality or counterfeit furniture, for example. Once you’ve covered the basics, move on to new topics. If you can think of a topic that no one, or very few people have written about, that is ideal, as long as its something that people are actually searching for. You can find out what kinds of articles people are searching for on many websites such as Answer the Public. Professional tools like SEMRush do even more. It might be hard to find topics that have not been written about  if your industry is already mature or highely-competitibe, but you can still think of a new angle to approach a topic.

Plenty of posts talk about how to choose exercise clothing, but there might not be many people writing about how to choose exercise clothing for pregnant women. Even if there’s less traffic on a more niche topic, it’ll be easier to rank on the first page of search engines. Its better to get a little traffic from a smaller keyword than no traffic from a bigger keyword. Fresh content will do something else for your website, it will establish relevance to your industry. The more you talk about your industry, especially with a keyword strategy, the more Google knows what your entire site is about.

Promote Your Blog

If you find one that applies, you can use your blog articles in HARO responses. Otherwise, be sure you’re sharing your articles on all your social media profiles. You can use press releases to promote your blog posts as well. Even if it doesn’t seem too newsworthy to you, you can pay a press release service to send it out.

Take Advantage Of YouTube

Linking an active YouTube channel for your brand is a powerful signal to Google. Its also great for customers. Video has 7 times the engagement, on average, compared to written content. You don’t need to create viral or groundbreaking videos, just post videos of your work, or of advice you have to give, or anything that might be helpful to your potential customers and the general public. These videos can be optimized like anything else on a web page, and with videos showing up in search results, it gives you another opportunity to dominate the first page for the keywords your’e targetting.

Remember when talking about your products or services, to focus on the the benefits as well as the features, and not just the features. People don’t buy a new security fence just to have a fence. They buy it for the security, or the privacy or to beautify their home. They might buy it for peace of mind. Don’t brag, but instead be humble. Anyone can say they’re #1 but showing that you’re #1 goes much further. Finally, make sure to list your business name, address, phone number, and website are included in the description of each of your videos. You may also wish to include links to your social media accounts and your other videos.

Test, Measure, Test, Measure, Ad Nauseum

It’s Marketing 101. Everything you do should be tested. Then you measure it, and create a new test based on the results. This is especially important with SEO, so you know that your hard work is paying off. You can sign up for services like Ahrefs or BrightLocal to track your rankings, and services like Callrail or Callsource to track your phone calls and form fills.

As far as rankings go, if you’ve got more time than money, you could do the checks yourself manually right in the search engines, but these may be a bit skewed. Just searching the keywords is time consuming, and Google will tailor the results to your location. Sometimes its best to leave testing and rank tracking to the professionals.

If you’d like more information, please check out our other article on how to get your business to the top of Google

 

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

The #1 Way to Destroy Your Company’s Reputation? Argue with Customers Online

The #1 Way to Destroy Your Company’s Reputation? Argue with Customers Online

Reputation Management is crucial to an online marketing campaign. Customers look at your star-rating to see if you’re reliable, and often they’ll look at individual reviews too. Replying to reviews shows potential customers that you’re engaged, and care about the quality of your service. What happens though, when you’ve got an angry customer writing bad reviews about your company? The one thing you shouldn’t do is respond angrily, even when the negative review has nothing to do with you, or it’s false. Here you’ll find a cautionary story, showing how arguing with a customer never helps and could potentially reflect negatively on your company.

A good story starts at the beginning

We were about six months into an online marketing campaign for a holistic health care center. Everything was going well until we got some bad news from our customer review monitoring system. Our client had just received a bad review that could ruin her reputation management on Yelp.

The review was unreasonable 

The review itself seemed a bit unreasonable. So the business owner responded to the review and told the customer how irrational they were being. This conversation escalated into an argument that spiraled out of control. There were accusations, threats, and name-calling on both sides.

It’s understandable to be upset when you get a bad review that’s partially or entirely unfair. It’s only natural to try to defend your company’s reputation. But by doing this in a public forum, it can cause a much bigger problem than just the negative review itself.

Never sink to their level

When you argue with a customer on a public forum, it looks terrible. Though the customer’s expectations may be out of line, as a business owner, you have no choice but to keep calm and show that you care. From a potential customer’s perspective who may have just wandered into the online argument, the situation looks like trouble. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. Potential customers just see trouble and its very easy for them to just steer clear of the whole mess and look elsewhere. From their perspective, the upset customer who write the bad review could be in the right. The casual onlooker has no way of knowing. All they can see is that 

there is a situation where the business owner is not offering great customer service to an unhappy customer.

That potential customer has no way of knowing who’s right and who’s is wrong. All they can see is an argument that will leave them thinking to themselves,

what if I’m unhappy with their service? Is this business owner going to argue with me and call me names too? For this reason, in delicate situations such as a scathing review, the business owner needs to take the higher ground. A study done by BrightLocal  shows “22% of customers are driven away with just one negative review”

confrontation can ruin your reputation management
Poor reputation management shows in low star-ratings

When they go low, we go high

What needs to be demonstrated is a reasonable business owner doing whatever it takes to make a customer happy, no matter how unfair the customer is being. Saying things like, “we’re sorry you were unhappy with our service” or “we want to offer you a refund”, or even “we apologize for your bad experience and we’d like to provide you with a free service to make things right. It may sound counter-intuitive to pander to a customer who’s being unfair, unreasonable and downright abrasive. However, it’s the only logical choice when responding to a negative review on a public forum.

Not all stories end well

I wish I could say this story has a happy ending but it doesn’t. Despite our advice that the business owner delete the comments and replace them with only kind works, empathy, and an offer to make the customer happy, the business owner defended her position and refused to budge. She insisted that she was right and that the customer was crazy. The owner would not back down. Her Yelp profile now has a permanent record of her sinking to an unreasonable customer’s level by arguing and name-calling.

They say the customer is always right. While I don’t agree with that in some cases, when it comes to reviews, a company’s online reputation is at stake. Arguing online with a customer who writes a bad review no matter how unfair is a great way to destroy your company’s reputation.

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

The Best 7 Tips to Optimize Your Google My Business for Auto Repair

The Best 7 Tips to Optimize Your Google My Business for Auto Repair

Google My Business for Auto Repair is the solution for many auto repair shop owners that are looking for a way to increase the number of customers who visit their shops. Many of them are in a fierce battle competing with larger businesses online, and their online marketing strategies are in no way working for their business.

If you own an auto repair shop, you should know that people now search online for almost every product or service they need, primarily through their mobile devices. This has made mobile phone searches the dominant method through which people find and locate local businesses.

What this means for you is that to increase visitors to your shop and increase sales, you’ll need to make yourself more visible online. Perhaps the best way to do this is to optimize your website and Google My Business (GMB) page. By optimizing both your website and GMB, you’ll be giving your customers a better experience and increases the chances of them finding you online whenever they search for your services.

Verifying your GMB page is the first step to bringing more customers to your shop. In this article, we’ll offer some essential tips on how to optimize your website and your GMB page.

Tips to Optimize Your Auto Repair Business GMB Page

#1: Get Your Information Right

Thеrе аrе different раrtѕ оf your Google Mу Business listing, ѕо lеt’ѕ ѕtаrt with your core buѕіnеѕѕ information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Website
  • Description
  • Category
  • Attributes

Google My Business will request your name, address, phone number and website (which is otherwise known as NAP) to begin the listing creation process. This information will be indexed by Google search and Google Maps, providing a foundation for your local SEO.

As much as possible your information should be consistent with what’s currently listed on your website. Inconsistencies between your website and your GMB information can negatively impact your search ranking.

When entering your address, make sure it matches with the correct coordinates on the map and includes the same zip code (5-digit vs. hyphenated 9-digit zip) provided on your website. You’ll also want to use a local number instead of a national or call center number.

After you’ve provided your NAP, the next part to focus on is your business category and company attributes. You can add as many categories as you’d like, however you can only choose from among Google’s pre-made list of categories. Use as many as apply, but don’t use any irrelevant categories.

You should consider your keyword strategies when adding your business category and attributes. However, you need to do this with care so that you won’t be stuffing your listing with keywords.

#2: Update Your Auto Repair Shop with Events and Holidays

Google doesn’t want to send customers to your business when you’re closed, so you want to make sure your hours of operation include holidays. There is an option for you to set special hours for holidays and events in advance. Once logged into your GMB page you’ll head over to your dashboard, from there you’ll go to the info tab and on the left side will be a place for you to edit the special hours.

#3: Research Potential Keywords

Keywords are groups of words that people use when looking for your services. This is one of the essential tips for optimizing your GMB page. You must identify potential keywords related to auto repair in your area.

Keyword research is an entirely different subject, but if your GMB listing has been around for a while, you can use it to get a basic idea of your keywords. Go to your GMB dashboard and click on Insights. Here, in addition to seeing how much traffic your GMB listing created, you can see the search terms people are using to find your listing already. This can give you an idea of the types of keywords you should focus on.

Assess the recent queries by setting the date range to the previous three months, which will give you the most information. Then check the queries that seem to be the most popular based on the number of users searching for your services.

One exciting thing about Google My Business is that its metrics are based on unique users, unlike Google Search Console that reports on impressions. This means your auto repair business can easily note popular phrases most people use to find your website, and on an individual basis.

#4: Ask For Reviews and Respond To Them All

Reviews are the lifeblood of local search. It’s a simple equation. When you’ve got good reviews on your business page, your potential for getting more customers goes up. There are some instances where bad reviews can also present you with a golden opportunity. This may sound counter intuitive, but when users read a gracious response from the owner, they know that even if things go wrong, you’ll make sure to fix it.

most people like a second opinion — a good reason why 90% of people read reviews before making a purchase. A recent study done in 2018 found that 68% of consumers search for local businesses at least once a month. That’s a 10% increase from 2017.

So, how do you get reviews from your customers? It’s simple. You ask them! While some sites may discourage this, Google My Business actively recommends it. You can send a link to your customers in a few easy steps.

  • Go to your Google My Business dashboard.
  • Click on Info.
  • Select the @ symbol to create your GMB Shortname.
  • Click on Home.
  • Find the section that says “Get More Reviews” and click “share profile”
  • Copy the link and send it to your customers by email, text message, or other instant messaging apps.

While the best time to ask for a review is right at the time of service, make sure you share with your previous customers by sending the link via email or text.The worst that can happen is they don’t write you a review.

After you start to gather reviews on your listing, you’ll need to respond to all of them. Even the ones that are bad – especially the ones that are bad. Take time to write a message to each reviewer using the Google My Business dashboard. 44.6% of people say they would be more likely to visit a business if the owner was responding to negative reviews.

If your reviews are arriving with a perfect 5-star rating, this is your opportunity to turn a customer into a passionate supporter of your business.

Pro-Tip: Use keywords in your responses to show Google you’re relevant. For example, if someone writes you a 5 star review, say “Thanks customer, it was a pleasure doing your brake repair in our city.”

#5: Use your Google My Business Messager

What if your customers have a question they want a quick answer to? How will they get in touch with you?

The simple answer is “They’ll call the number on my GMB” but that’s not always the case. Many people, especially younger people, prefer text based communications. Google knows this, and that’s why they implemented the GMB messenger. If you use the GMB App on your phone, you can enable instant messaging straight on your GMB listing.

Google My Business for auto repair can use the GMB messenger

#6: Use Google My Business for Auto Repair to add posts and share business updates

Google added the posts feature back in 2017. This feature allows you to share content about your business, much like a Facebook post. You can use text, photos, and even add a call to action button.

As soon as you’ve verified your GMB listing, you can begin creating posts. Click on the posts tab of your GMB listing and click the one of the different types of posts:

  • Add Update: You can create a regular social media style post here with text and images and a CTA button.
  • Add Event: If your business is doing something special, you can create the event on your GMB page so it will show up on Google.
  • Add Offer: Got a sweet discount you’re offering? You can add it to your GMB lsiting so when users find your business they see it right away.

#7: Track Customer paths through Google My Business Insights

As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to measure thei mpact of your Google My Business listing on your auto repair business. And the good news is that Google has built-in tools to help with that.

Google My Business Insights can tell you:

  • How customers are finding your business – direct vs. discovery searches
  • Where on Google your customers are finding your listing – Search vs. Maps
  • The actions your customers are taking on your listing – visiting your site, clicking on directions, browsing the photo gallery, or calling you
  • Total phone calls and time when customers are calling

Google My Business tracks user actions in the Insights section of the dashboard, which can help you understand what customers find valuable in your listing. You can even compare some elements, like photo views, to your competitors’ performance. All of these information can be used to track your customers’ conversion path, and provides a comprehensive understanding of your customers’ actions prior to reaching your website.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways customers can find your auto repair business, but there’s no denying that Google Search is an incredible gateway to your website. So get your Google My Business page optimized and position your auto repair business where the people searching for it can see it.

Optimizing your Google My Business for auto repair is just the first step to dominating the search rankings and getting more customers. Learn how we used citations to get more customers for the largest auto repair shop in Los Angeles.