Category Archives: On Line Reviews

Is Google Penalizing Sites for Profile Behavior

Is Google Penalizing Sites for Profile Behavior?

I think it’s true, Google is a profiler. Your back link profile, and timing of it all.

  • It appears to me that Google is now Penalizing sites based on Back Links showing up in unnatural “Batches”.
  • It seems logical that Google is grading your entire Back Link profile based on new logic that includes when and how often Links are acquired, not only the source of those back links.

If your web sites back link Profile looks like this: with the line representing a week or a month interval with very little new back links in between those intervals, you look pretty unnatural don’t you?

_____30 links__________27 Link___________30 Links ___________27 links

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 06: Brian McClendon, ...
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 06: Brian McClendon, Google VP of Engineering for Google Maps, speaks during a news conference about Google Maps o

Let’s say you’re Google. You really dislike any attempt to manipulate your algorithm.  So you want to build in a bunch of signals that will tell you when a site is trying to unnaturally manipulate its rankings in your search results.

So you bring together your very talented spam group, and some of the best engineers in the world and come up with what you would consider sure fire signs and signals that a web site is trying to game the system, and you  make some pretty big (and good) changes to how you rank sites.  Many of you know these changes as “Panda”, and “Penguin” up dates.  You can search either to find an abundance of SEO information about this. It rocked some of the SEO world.

But something that hasn’t been discussed recently showed up in a blog post at http://blumenthals.com/blog/ and written by one of the Internets best “local SEO’ guys, Mike Blumenthal.

It relates, in this instance to “Local SEO” and how Google perceives reviews posted in bunches. Basically there have been all sorts of problems recently where a business has several clients’ review them and it never shows up on their Google Places Listing. The Blog I linked to above, and response from Google explains that when they see a bunch of reviews come in at once, or over a short period of time, it can flag them as spam reviews because they assume the business has sent out a request for those reviews. Google wants reviews to be a natural occurrence. So reviews are good, requesting reviews are bad, and that’s how they assume you have requested reviews from your customers. And that is (in my opinion) exactly how Google feels about back links to a web site.

Now, those of us how have been in Internet Marketing and Web Promotion for long time understand that if you just throw 1000 links at a page over a short period of time, that you may get a nice ranking for a day or week, but the “bounce” effect will pull that ranking down pretty fast,  nothing new there,  but what does seem new to me is not only will throwing a bunch of links at one time hurt your rankings, but building links in “batches” may hurt your rankings as well. Isn’t that the same premise as getting a bunch of reviews at once… it’s just not natural.

Now clearly this will depend on the type of back links.  It is natural, one would assume that if your blog gets picked up by a national site, or distributed by them to their national audience, that you will get a “Batch” of back links. Seems natural right?  Happens to our site now and then, and we never see much happen in the negative way. Those back links all come from Internet Marketing type sites, and all quote the same blog or information.

But….. (drum Roll)….If those “batches” of back links are from less than high quality sites, (like free directories), or low value blog’s, or low value blog comments, or completely unrelated sites, or social bookmarks, I would assume Goggle may ignore them, or actually penalize your site rankings.  Yes, I think they are now penalizing for Profile Behavior, as much as for the Back Links to your site.

And it seems to me that a profile penalty is about the hardest predicament to overcome. It’s kind of like having to walk around town with a convicted felon sticker on your head and Google is the Police.

So it all goes back to doing web visibility and  PR as if Google Didn’t exist. In many ways the last year of changes to how Google ranks sites have changed how an SEO or a web master should view rankings forever. If your SEO is using 2011 tactics, you may be heading in the wrong direction.

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Google Plus for business (Places) Reviews Are Crap

Why Google reviews are crap.

Yes, I know, I am the one who for years has been promoting the importance of getting your customers (or your clients customers) to write reviews on your Google places page, now Google plus for business, and soon to be ???.  From a SEO stand point it has always been helpful, and more importantly from a on-line reputation concern.  But I recently returned from a long weekend with my wife and younger children to the Manitou Springs area of Colorado, and this has changed my view on how valuable Google reviews are.

Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator)
Google 貼牌冰箱 ( Google reviews are crap)

You see, during the trip we took advantage of the touristy sites in the area, and they are many! Some lived up to their reputations while others didn’t. As a long time follower of Google reviews and other on-line reviews I found it odd that several of the attractions we visited seemed completely out of wack with the Google reviews we had read. And yes, I actually plan out the visit by looking into the things we want to do by checking reviews.

Today, as I did my duty as a Web Citizen, and went and wrote reviews on several review sites for the touristy places, the restaurants and the hotel we stayed at, I noticed an interesting trend. Now keep in mind, we didn’t go any where off the beaten track, these were your normal family go to places, and as a highly visited area of our great country, most of these places had a ton of reviews.

Image representing TripAdvisor as depicted in ...
Image via CrunchBase

The trend is, some of the places that had good Google reviews had very mid to low Tripadvisor.com over all reviews, and at least in our experience the Tripadvisor reviews seemed far more aligned with the actual experience, and the Google reviews seemed, well…  like they had reviewed the wrong place! And in several cases the tripadvisor reviews were good, and the Google reviews were bad…

Now if that was the inverse it might just be the old “people who have bad experiences have a tendency to write more reviews than those that write good reviews”.  But this was the opposite. So do people who write reviews on Google just have a propensity to be happier and nicer people who would never leave a negative comment?

City Hall in Manitou Springs, Colorado. In the...<<< ( That’s The Manitou Springs Chamber office)

My theory is far simpler, as I have a simple mind, (some might say a simpleton).

I think Google is just infested with fake reviews. Why? Because  it had become so important to small businesses that many made the decision to write their own reviews or entice others (and at times pay others) to write them for the business, a form of Internet prostitution if you will. I would even guess that Google knows this, and has taken extraordinarily stupid steps with their new review system to steam the tide, making it difficult to even get a real review published, and making it harder to understand the overall ratings by using a format that makes no darn sense to the average American when they acquired a restaurant review service, and applied it to every type local company. Insane? Details here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zagat

I was going to show you screen shots of it, but I want to stay on point, and that point is Google reviews are crap.

Now, should small businesses stop asking for Google Plus for Business reviews because Google reviews are Crap?  NO. You can’t. What has been created is a bit of a monster for businesses whose prospects search their services out on the Internet.  I do think we all need to complain and whine and do what ever we can to encourage Google to find a better way. I did a blog recently making the simply suggestion that Google verify reviewers the same way they verify business listings on Google places, through a postcard or phone call. I think that would go a long way in cleaning things up.

And frankly they may be doing the American public a great service if they just delete every review currently on Google places, send them to the respective business if they would like to post them on their site, and be ride of the problem for ever.

Can you tell I am upset over spending $75.00 at a tourist trap that (in my opinion) clearly either had false reviews, or completely insane customers who write delusional reviews after they get back to the hospital?

Now add into that the oddity that our hotel had pretty poor Google reviews, but pretty good tripadvisor and yelp reviews.  What’s that about? (I feel lucky not only because I married the most perfect woman on earth), but also because I read the tripadvisor reviews first.

I can only surmise that the Google reviews once again were written by the same bus load that stopped at the aforementioned tourist trap, or a competitor had these reviews posted, a nefarious tactic far more common than the public knows about, but will surely be uncovered more and more as time goes on.

So in closing, (thank god) as a consumer, check several sources for reviews. As a business encourage your customers to use several different on line review site. Tripadvisor, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, City Search, Angies list and many more.  Spread the good word around the entire on-line community!

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

How Google Can Fix The Fake Review Problems

Penrose Library Google Places QR code
Penrose Library Google Places QR code (Photo credit: DUPenrose)

It seems pretty simple. If Google is interested in improving what many consider the massive problem of fake reviews posted on Google Plus for Business listings (Google Places and Maps) they could separate reviewers by verified and non-verified reviewers.

To verify a reviewer they could use the same process or a similar process to how a business is verified on Google Places. Just send then a code to their cell phone, or send them a letter with that code to their postal address.

Imagine the improvement in quality of reviews! Google could then at least list the city a reviewer is in for the public, and the “reviewer” would then have at least some sense of accountability. In the very near future it is highly likely you will be hearing about businesses suing other businesses over fake reviews (negative in nature) and Google being forced to release IP and other information on a reviewer.

If Google is truly concerned with the value of these reviews, they could implement this in a week. What are your thoughts?

Enhanced by Zemanta[schema type=”organization” orgtype=”Organization” url=”www.salesjumpstart.net” name=”My One Call LLC” description=”A Denver area SEO and Sales Acceleration Firm” city=”Lafayette” state=”CO.” postalcode=”80026″ email=”info@myonecall.com” phone=”303 500 3053 ext 1″ ]

Google Places (Google Plus for Business) now showing competitors Zagat ratings.

Google Places ( Google Plus for Business) now showing competitors Zagat ratings.

Google Plus for Business and Google Places listings are now showing not only the similar places information on listings, but are now also showing the review scores of some of those similar places (or you might say competitors).

You can scroll down to the screen shots at the bottom to see several examples.  I started this blog to see what other review sites the Google places listings show for some top ranked (in Maps)  listings. The basis was just to update and see if anything had changed. Doesn’t look like it has. You can see the usually suspects below. These are sites you should actively seek reviews from your customers on.  All are based in a top 20 market  ( Okay it’s Denver)/

Top Ranked Local Sites and review mentions:

Chiropractor:  Reviews from around the web: insiderpages.com (7)yahoo.com (3)citysearch.com (1)

Chiropractor 2: Reviews from around the web: citysearch.com (54)dexknows.com (20)insiderpages.com (3)

Denver Dentist 2: demandforce.com (28)citysearch.com (2)dentalelements.com (68)

Denver Custom Home Builder: Reviews from around the web: kudzu.com (1)

Denver Remodeling:

judysbook.com (1)

But here is what really caught my eye:  Under similar places for a basement finishing company Google is now showing the scores for the competitor’s listings.  That’s new for me, and another good reason to monitor your business reputation, and ask your customers for reviews.

It also should be noted that the main reason I was going through this exercise was based on the issues Google seems to be having even getting real reviews from your real customers posted. Our clients are reporting reviews not showing up after posted. It just doesn’t get any better than that. But in all things Google Plus (Places) patience is the main attribute needed to maintain one’s sanity.

Here are some screen shots.

From a Basement Finishing Search and Google places page: https://plus.google.com/109113884867743336579/about?hl=en

 

From A Search For Top Rated Dentists:

I could add more, but you get the picture. Let me know what you see and we will continue to keep our eyes on how the new world of Google Plus for Business may affect your Internet reputation and marketing.

 

Mike: 303 500 3053 ext 1

Google Places Reviews and Rankings

There is far more to Local SEO in for Google places than just the ranking of your web site. The reality is, even if your site is in the first or second position for three of four keywords, you will still end up in the 3rd or 4th position for other relevant keywords.

 

Take our Friends At Vivax Pro Painting. Their site is ranked in the first or second position for just about every search you can imagine related to house painting ______ < add a city around Denver. But for a few searches they fall to 4th or so.

They still will get a high percentage of the clicks for one reason They have 6 reviews  and therefore have the “Stars”  on the SER places listing. This will draw people to click. If they had 2 reviews, or none, they wouldn’t stand out, and would lose about 75% of the possible clicks to their site because they are in the 4th position. The first three listings will get about 85% of clicks in a all things being equal situation. But by providing the searches with something that clearly makes your listing stand out, you can pick up a larger share of clicks, and therefore customers.

LOCAL SEO’s who focus only on rankings are not doing the best job they can… and their clients may be losing out on revenue.

That’s way we provide a turn key system to clients to get their customers to go to and review their services on Google and other important sites. It’s not SEO, it’s PR  and conversion tactics.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Do Not Fake Google Reviews

I just got this email:

comments = Google is now using business reviews to
determine
business ranking. People are trashing companies with
reviews, Complaint sites and Blogs.

We can help you defend your company by posting positive
 Reviews, Blogs and creating Websites to take over
Search Results and control what people see about your company.

XXX-XXX-1347 

   for Review Posting Service
  for Reviews and Reputation Service

How does posting positive reviews help in your businesses
 Google ranking?

1. Positive reviews increase your business rank by
linking important and relevant websites to your website.
2. A constant stream of positive reviews improves your
online reputation.
3. Positive reviews drive traffic to your business.
4. Positive reviews restore a tarnished reputation
by
pushing down negative reviews and links.
5. Helps protect against competitors or anyone else
from attempting to run your ranking.

This service makes no sense. When you are on their web
site it seems to imply they are going to write fake
reviews for you. People can spot these from miles
away, and by posting fake reviews you muck up the entire
trust people may have in on line reviews.

The best system for on line reviews (and they are important)
is to let your real customers post them. Just send them
an email requesting that they go to your Google Places or
any other on line review site, and tell the world how you
did.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Importance of Google Places Reviews

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Google Places Reviews:

If I could only give one piece of advice for a local business owner about getting good exposure on Google, it would be:

Get as many reviews as possible for your Google places listing. It does so much good in so many ways.

First it’s going to help your rankings. Second its going to help your reputation, and those two things will lead to more sales.

Send each client or customer an email which includes your Google places URL. Give basic instructions on how they write a review once they get to your Google listing. Thins like where to click, and how to set up a Google account if they don’t have one.

You can also suggest they review you on other sites using the same methodology. Yahoo, Insider Pages, and yelp are all great sites to get reviews on, and Google places may pick them up.

Make a plane today. Ask for one review a day. Get ranked!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why your Web Site Rankings Change

I recently had an email from a client asking about his Google site rankings moving a little bit over the last few days.  I thought the answer might be of interest to anyone asking that same question. So here is my response.
The things that impact your organic listings are:

  • Your site content
  • Your Back links
  • Other sites content
  • Other sites Back links and improvements to their sites
  • Google making changes to their methods of ranking sites by keyword.

So, in the world of organic listings you will see your site move a little from time to time.  As we only control 2 of the factors, we can only react to the others. I never get to concerned with a ranking moving down for a week or two. We need to let things “settle” a bit before we assume what’s happening.

The monthly web managed services program will help and should, over time, continue to both stabilize your rankings as well as move them closer to the top.
Google Local has a tendency to be more stable once you’re established (at least so far). We think that’s based on the current ranking methods which are not SEO based, but specific to Local. Many SEO firms don’t even consider the LOCAL box and therefore fewer changes seem to be made to those listings.

This of course is changing every day as more firms realize how important that piece is. Google also has a test going on in CA. giving Local companies the ability to buy a simplified version of PPC and placing it above the Local Box.  Seems to be little doubt this will get rolled out in one form or another nation wide over the next few months or quarters.  How that effects site traffic will remain to be seen.

In general, Google would like SEO tactics to disappear, and allow what ever systems they employee to completely dictate rankings. So, they continue to make moves to discount traditional SEO tactics, and encourage better Web site structure instead.  They continue to move to content being king and simple tactics like Meta tags, Keyword stuffed domain names, individual page name changes, and unrelated links becoming less important.
That’s why our monthly maintenance program makes sense. The first priority for us is to make sure we understand what’s changing every month, and then apply that knowledge to your Internet Visibility program. It’s also the reason we spend so much time on research and reporting.

For those of you interested in more information on our web visibility programs, or web managed services you can find more information on our site.  www.salesjumpstart.net