Archive for the ‘Social Search’ 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

What is “Universal Search”? – SEO Basics IX

Monday, January 31st, 2011

In 2007 Google began displaying “Universal Search” results . This was a big change in the way search results were delivered to viewers and it affected all web site owners that depend on Google traffic for their business.

What is Universal Search and why does it matter?
In the past, when a search term was entered into Google’s search field, the SE returned the web sites that best matched the query. So a particular site competed only with the other web sites vying for placement with the same keywords.
With the introduction of Universal Search, Google began displaying results that included other digital content such as video, images, news, books and blogs. Now the competition for valuable first page real estate grew much more fierce as websites not only had to compete with other web sites but also with digital media of all types.
Since Universal Search was introduced websites have a broader and more competitive playing field. To be successful with Universal Search, website owners need to broaden their reach to viewers using digital media such as Images, Video ( YouTube) , News ( Press Releases) , Social Media ( Facebook, Twitter) and Google Maps.
In the new era of Universal Search, business need to be proactive in using these opportunities to stay ahead of the competition.

All Searches Are NOT Created Equal

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Why Facebook Surpassing Google in Search Volume May Mean Very Little to Business

This morning, BusinessWeek posted an article on this and many other Google woes. While Google may indeed have other issues, in my opinion, search isn’t one of them. Here’s why. (more…)

The Right Tool for The Right Job

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

I may be a total girl when it comes to actually using most of the tools in anyone’s garage, but I absolutely love them. I love the magic that happens when a painstaking task becomes effortless thanks to a brilliantly engineered device. Since I like to nerd-out about my favorite things while talking about SEO, let’s see if I can draw some parallels between my three favorite actual tools, and their theoretical SEO counterparts!

The “mini power tool” (shown in the photo) that was developed and used by NASA for the last repair of the Hubble Space Telescope combined with the fastener capture plate developed for many uses on the same mission is an awesomely specific and effective combination. The mini power tool was developed specifically to allow astronauts to remove tiny screws from one panel of the Hubble telescope. It had to be made smaller than previous power tools in order to gently remove the small screws, and a light was installed in the front of it so astronauts could clearly see them. The fastener capture plate allows for the screws to be removed cleanly, capturing all the screws as they are removed so they don’t drift off into space… or worse, inside the telescope.

This tool reminds me a lot of Yahoo! Site Explorer. It is an invaluable tool to SEOs for either evaluating your own backlinks or looking at the backlinks of a competitor. There’s really no better tool for the job. SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer is a close replacement, and certainly offers some nice metrics in addition to links, but we’ve found that it doesn’t give as complete or accurate a list as YSE. We are devastated with the thought that it might go away. Both of these tools are great examples of tools engineered to a very specific purpose. However, they also both share a ginourmous fault – being a one-trick pony. Yahoo! Site Explorer only shows us backlinks – why not also show local citations and reviews? Why not allow an option to see social media citations? Yahoo could also take a page out of SEOmoz’s book and show some trust rankings. My next favorite is a much, much more versatile tool…


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.