Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

Search + Social: Why Reviews Matter

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Testimonials and Recommendations matter!

This is simply a fact for any business be it word of mouth or online reviews. Personal recommendations are extremely powerful with regard to growing your business and bringing in new clients and patients. Are people leaving your business positive reviews? Do enough people look closely at what is said in reviews to help your online business grow?

The Role of Online Reviews

google-local-denver-dentistOnline review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Places, and Bing Local give people fast access to location facts and ratings for local neighborhood businesses.  Every year, a growing number of online visitors are using reviews to build their trust in local businesses.

According to a BrightLocal study done in 2013, 85% of consumers said they read online reviews for local businesses.  79% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  And 73% of consumers said that positive reviews online make them trust a local business more.  There is no denying that customer reviews help you engage with your potential clients and also help you understand potential customer needs.  Reviews also help you improve your online visibility in search results by increasing trust and click-through rates for your website.  This actually helps push your site higher in the rankings if enough people continue to engage with the content they find on your site.

The Role of Social Media

So, how do search engines use reviews in their search results?  At first glance, it’s easy to see that Google and Bing both show the amount of reviews a business has in its local results. With the growing popularity of social networking websites, online searchers have more access than ever to attitudes, opinions, and viewpoints of people who have interacted with a business.  Search engines are realizing how trustworthy and useful this information is by incorporating activity on these sites as favorable ranking factors.  Google utilizes +1s in its algo.  Bing recently rolled out their new Smart Search feature which incorporates reviews from places like Facebook, Mapquest, and Yelp in local results.  Reviews are increasingly becoming more about personal interactivity on social platforms, and sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are playing a bigger role in how a website ranks in search.

How to Best Leverage Social & Online Reviews

With social and review sites in mind, what is the best way to incorporate those reviews and interactions into your greater web marketing plan?  First, if you don’t already have listings or pages on these sites, then, you will want to actively work on claiming and optimizing those listings.  Make sure your business name, address, phone number, business hours, and website url are up to date and current so people can find you and contact you.

Create an outlet where you can expertly provide advice and information about your business.  Promote your special services.  Offer something that “the other guys” do not.  What makes you stand out from the crowd?  Create value, and share it on these pages with potential new clients and customers.

Share and engage with your audience, don’t just spew information (I call this “soap-boxing” – this will lose you followers faster than it will gain them).  When customers feel engaged, they tend to be more loyal to your products and services.  Loyal clients become advocates for your business. With social media, engaged clients and patients can (and probably will) endorse your company for everyone to see.  When that happens, it can be a very powerful tool to enhance your online presence.

Denver Dentist Search Results on Google (with reviews)

Additionally, local businesses with negative reviews will want to respond openly to negative reviews.  A bad review is not necessarily a bad thing.  If used the right way, it can become a positive influencer.  Use the opportunity to reach out and change that reviewer’s experience into something positive.  If the reviewer is not interested in responding, it at least shows future visitors that you are concerned about the experience people have when visiting your business or using your products.  It also shows that you are willing to go that extra mile to make amends.

You will also want to continually generate new reviews from happy clients promoting what you do best.  In doing this you can drive any negative reviews further down the page and keep the newer, positive reviews higher up.  Reviews don’t just affect the impressions a potential client has on your business; it can affect how your business website ranks on Google, Bing, and Yahoo search.

by Tammy Smith SEO Analyst, Page 1 Solutions, LLC

Top Five Google Plus Features

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

With the recent roll out of Google+ three weeks ago, there has been much talk about Google’s attempt to stomp all over Facebook and other social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. So far the Google+ platform is available by invitation only, as they are still tweaking the system and working out the bugs.  I was able to set up a Google+ account two weeks ago and so  far I really like what I’m seeing.

Keep in mind that at this early stage, Google+ works only with Google accounts that have an active Google profile. If you haven’t created your Google profile, you will not be able to sign up for Google+. Judging from the feedback I’m seeing from other users, there are people who love what Google is doing, and then there are those who doubt Google’s ability to create a social media platform that will actually work well and catch on with the Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter crowds.  After all, say the doubters, this is Google’s third attempt in the social media realm.

This time, however, I think they are on to something, and have created a powerful social media tool with a great deal of potential.  G+ integrates what I like most about the other platforms and adds a bit more.

Here are my personal Top Five Favorite Google Plus Features:

#5 – Hangouts – Hangouts is a great way to communicate face to face with anyone via video chat.  It is very easy to set up and, in my experience, works better than Facebook’s Video Chat feature. The interface looks good and is incredibly easy to use.  You only need to download a simple plug-in the first time you initiate use, and you are ready to chat!

Google Hangouts

#4 – Sparks – Sparks is a feature that enables you to find, create, and ultimately share topics of interest and use them like a news feed source for information.  Topics can be broad like the pre-set categories “movies”, “gardening” or “comics”.  You can also create targeted topics like “1950’s Horror Films”, “Growing Tomato Plants”, or “X-Men” by using the Find stuff you’re interested in… search bar.

#3 - Photos / Instant Uploads from Android – For someone like me who is always forgetting to dump the pictures out of my phone, this feature makes photo uploading unthinkably easy!  All you need is the Google+ for Android app and your photos automatically upload themselves to your G+ account immediately after they’ve been taken.  The app is much easier to use than Facebook's upload interface and the photos are quickly uploaded into a private album, by default.  You can set to share them with one or more circles when you upload or you can keep them private and share later. So simple.

#2 - Mute Posts – The Mute post option came so close to being number one on my list. It is a simple thing, but oh, so necessary.  If you have a topic on your Stream feed that no longer interests you, or a conversation that you don’t care to follow, you have the ability to get rid of it via the mute, report, or block options. Link To is also an option in the menu if the conversation is something you want to pass along to others.  Mute post is the kind way of saying "shut up" or "not now" to someone on Google+!

#1 - Circles (and Streams limited sharing capabilities) – Circles is definitely my favorite feature of all!  Circles allow you to add people to different groups and categorize them.  For instance, I currently have a few different Circles categories:  friends, work, family, & following.  Each of these are groups of people I interact with differently.  For instance, I probably wouldn’t share pictures of my weekend exploits with my family or work circles, but would with my friends circle.  I can use the family circle to keep up to date on the upcoming family reunion, and I can chat with co-workers about the latest and greatest SEO happenings in my work circle.  The best part is no one has to read conversations from me that do not pertain to them.  Each circle sees only what they need to see.  No superfluous junk!  If you do happen to  have a big announcement you want to share with everyone, you can easily do that as well.  You do not have to be in your Circles to segregate your posts, you only need to designate who gets to see what right from your posting bar in Stream (via Share what’s new…).

In a not so tiny nutshell, those are my top five favorite features that Google+ has to offer right now.  Keep in mind that what we are seeing in these early stages is Google+ for the individual. With the scheduled roll out of Google+ For Business later this year, Google has the means to integrate much of what they already excel at (search, Google Checkout, advertising, analytics, mapping, and communication) and bundle everything together in one tidy and potentially powerful package for business entities. More on that when Google releases it!

by Tammy Smith SEO Analyst, Page 1 Solutions, LLC

Why Facebook Places is doomed

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

When Facebook launched its new geosocial check-in service one week ago, I was convinced it was going to blow its stand-alone competitors completely out of the water simply because it lives where the vast majority of social networking addicts already spend large chunks of time. That would make it hugely accessible and convenient – no need to leave Facebook to broadcast your location such as is necessary with Foursquare or Gowalla. Why go out of your way when it was already right there?

As an SEO, I was excited about it. Check-ins provide another avenue of brand exposure for my clients, and Facebook was telling business owners to claim their profiles. We scouted out the process for our clients by claiming our own company profile.  Now, a mere week after Facebook Places was launched, I am ready to predict that it is doomed to fail without some fairly major adjustments. Here’s why.

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Friday Link Love: 8.20.10

Friday, August 20th, 2010

If you are a Droid user like many of us here at the SEO team, take the time to put down your new Froyo OS and read our link love. And then comment. And then return to your Droid.

John’s Link:
This week I really was interested in Rand’s I’m Getting More Worried About the Effectiveness of Webspam. This is a topic that is thrown around a lot by our clients who are trying to get the best rankings, but without caring about the consequences.  It’s frustrating to explain to those outside of SEO that Google will come down hard on these web spammers, even though for the time being they are in that #1 organic spot. Google, please  back up your guidelines and the information that you repeatedly feed us, even though you forget to follow through.

Becky’s Link:
What are the implications for SMBS of Google Integrated Local Search Result Tests?
As soon as news of Google’s integrated local search tests hit the blogs, we were asking ourselves what it would all mean for SEO. Mike at Blumenthal’s has a lot of great thoughts on the subject.

Patti’s Link:
Oh, I got a great chuckle out of this one: Foursquare Experiences Record Signups After Launch of Facebook Places. A lot of folks were speculating what may happen to Foursquare with the official launch of Facebook Places. Would Facebook kill Foursquare? Clearly, that is not the case. Another win for Foursquare.

Another Day, Another Facebook Privacy Controversy

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Disclaimer: This is my personal take on the recent spate of Facebook security issues, and does not reflect the views of Page 1 Solutions, LLC as a company.

A number of news sources have reported today that 100 million Facebook users’ information can no longer be made private. Of course, this has launched yet another wave of outrage from privacy proponents and security experts.

What I’m about to say is going to be extremely unpopular, but I hope it serves as a wake up call.

In the span of about ten minutes with nothing more than your name and a few clues gleaned from blog posts about your location, I can find your address, phone number, who owns your house, how much the county assessor thinks it’s worth, pull up satellite photos of your house, download photos of you, your spouse, your friends, and probably can even find out where you work, who your boss is and where you went to college. And pictures of your little dog, too!

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March SEO News Wrap Up

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Around here, we call it “The Scallion.” It’s a play on The Onion, but slightly less clever. Every month I gather together the news that I’ve found around the web about SEO, the search engines, and the internet in general. I put it all in small, easy-to-digest niblets that I send around in a newsletter to the whole company – web designers, writers, account managers, etc – so that they can keep up without having to spend hours reading the same articles over and over.

This month, I’m sharing it with you.

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Getting Creative with Link Building

Monday, March 8th, 2010

As the competition for first page listings, web traffic and business leads keeps getting tougher, optimizers are always looking for new ways to get inbound links and authority and credibility for their clients’ sites.

The fact that results from search queries now increasingly include real time search results , it’s becoming imperative for us to craft strategies above and beyond the traditional link-building methods.

While making sure that the fundamentals like custom Title tags, compelling descriptions, high quality content and user friendly interfaces remain the cornerstone of our work, we can successfully use some strategies to boost the presence of our sites.

  • Publishing targeted blog posts, interacting with the viewers and syndicating blog via feeds.
  • Making sure Google Maps and Bing Local listings are verified and updated with the latest media rich information about the site.
  • Finding Local directories to add sites and create a presence within a smaller, more focussed geographic area.
  • Using Twitter and Facebook to build a brand following for your site, thus proving the popularity of your site to the search engines.
  • Using e-PRs , articles and press releases to target specific key phrases through latest updates.
  • Using Video especially YouTube to build a strong presence for your site.

These strategies will bring definite advantages to our sites, helping us get an edge over competition in the search engine rankings and potentially bring in high quality web traffic and business leads for our clients.

MySpace is Being Included in Google’s Real Time Search…Where is Facebook?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Google released the news yesterday that they had reached an agreement with MySpace, and now MySpace will be available in their real-time search results. I find this interesting, since MySpace is a dying social network by most accounts, but what I really find interesting is that Facebook still isn’t being included. Why do you suppose that is?

Well, I think it’s because Google is a Bitter Betty.

Yep. I said it.

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