google-places

We’ve covered reviews on Ripoff Report, reviews on Yelp, and reviews on Angie’s List in the last few parts of this reputation management guide. This section is about the specific nuances of reviews on Google Places. Since we’ve covered a lot of information about handling negative reviews in previous sections, I strongly recommend you review those posts as much of the information about handling negative reviews and generating more positive reviews is also relevant to Google Places.

What Is Google Places?

Google Places is a Google product that provides a company profile in its search results. The profile contains the local business’s address, phone number, website link, menu, Zagat information, and hours. It also shows images of the restaurant, helps potential customers where the business is on the map, and allows customers to read and review the business and have it show up on the profile page.

According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Since Google is the largest search engine, most of those queries will return their own search results from Google Places. In fact, Google Places is often a dominant result on the search results page, often at or near the top of the page and sometimes even featuring on the right-hand side of the page by itself. That’s why it’s important to learn more about Google Places and make sure that your company or brand is being represented in the best possible light.

In addition to your profile showing up whenever someone searches for your company name, you may also show up in broader searches that contain keywords related to your business. For example, if someone in San Francisco typed in “spa market street,” they will get listings for the most popular spas in this area. Signing up for Google Places can also drive highly-targeted and relevant traffic to your website, so your profile can be used as a lead generation tool in addition to a reputation management tool.

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angies-list

In this series on reputation management, I’ve covered reviews on both Ripoff Report and Yelp in depth. This section about Angie’s List rounds out much of what you and your business needs to know about handling and addressing negative reviews at the three major sites that may cause the most grief. If you haven’t already read part 11 and part 12 of this guide, those will provide additional key insights on this topic.

What is Angie’s List?

Angie’s List is a review website co-founded by Bill Oesterle and Angie Hicks in 1995 with the aim to help individuals find quality service providers in their area. While the site covers a variety of service provider areas, including home improvement, pet care, auto repair, and health care, their primary audience consists of homeowners who are looking for service providers to take care of plumbing, electricity, and home renovations.

Businesses can benefit from Angie’s List because they provide referrals to people who are searching for service providers in a local area. Reviews by Angie’s List members are the main driver of the list and who places at the top of it.

Similarly to Ripoff Report, Angie’s List does not allow anonymous reviews and does allow companies and providers to respond to any reports so they can tell their side of the story. They also have certified data collection, which keeps fake reviews from competitors or companies themselves from destroying or lessening the credibility of the review system.

Similarly to Yelp, Angie’s List builds relationships with local businesses to offer advertising, but also charges members a monthly fee to subscribe to the list. The thinking is that Angie’s List members can save a ton of money by getting the real story on service providers who might handle huge, expensive projects around their home, while putting up a membership wall keeps out anonymous reviewers who might be shilling for a company.

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yelp

When we talked about Ripoff Report in the last lesson, we gave specific information about how to handle reviews on the site, since each review site has different community styles and best practices. In this lesson, we’ll go over what Yelp is, why your business should be concerned, how to claim your business on Yelp, and most importantly, how to respond to and improve the reviews on your page.

What is Yelp?

Yelp is a business directory that helps people find and review local businesses in their area. It has some social networking features and has over 100 million monthly unique visitors (as of Jan. 2013).

Yelp can either help or hurt your business, depending on your rating and your ability to generate positive reviews. I want your business to succeed, so let’s talk about how to master Yelp’s review system and get this site working for your business rather than against it.

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rip-off

Throughout this reputation management guide, we have used Ripoff Report as one of the main examples of how review sites can cause serious damage to a company or personal brand. In this lesson, we are going to explain exactly what Ripoff Report is, how people use the site, and how companies and individuals can deal with Ripoff Report should they find a defamatory report on the website.

What Is Ripoff Report

Ripoff Report is a site that allows people to publicly out companies that have malicious business practices or are taking advantage of customers. In concept, the site is extremely useful to users because it gives people a platform to tell others about a really bad experience they had with a company. Since the site ranks high in Google search results, these posts are front and center whenever someone searches for a business, unlike a personal blog or social media post, which might rank significantly lower in search results due to a low page rank. Ripoff Report provides a tool for users to avoid scams.

Unfortunately, some users abuse Ripoff Report. The problem with the site is that there is no way to check the legitimacy of a user’s claim. Did the user truly receive horrible service? Is the user posting to warn others, or does he or she have a personal vendetta against the company? Which claims made on Ripoff Report are actually true?

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9 minute optimized blog

I started my first blog back in 2007.  Throughout the years, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work; I’ve learned what drives traffic, what drives pageviews, and what increases time-on-site.

How this applies to Reputation Management

Though I’ve started many companies and blogs, the site structure for my sites have stayed relatively the same.  I’ve found the quickest and easiest way to deploy an optimized blog and start writing content immediately.

When it comes to reputation management, it’s important to build a powerful web of ancillary sites that you can point to your main sites to build their page rank and establish their online authority.  I’ve built hundreds of ancillary sites for my clients: to accomplish such a tremendous task, it’s important to maintain a structured methodology to building blogs and maximizing pageviews.

In addition, your main blog must be optimized to capture as many people as possible into your funnel.  Whether you’re funneling people into your email list or driving people to pick up the phone and dial your phone number, it’s critical to maximize the opportunities on your blog.

This is how I build an optimized blog for my clients and how you can do it too in under 9 minutes.

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reputation management company blog

In part 9 of this series, we’re shifting gears a bit so we can dig into how to create great content for your company blog. In this lesson, we’re going to show you a number of examples of great company blogs, give you a ton of ideas for blog post topics, and teach you our five secrets to writing great content in less than two hours. We’ll also give you hard data that you can use to know exactly when to publish and how often you should blog.

Examples of Great Company Blogs

The first thing I wanted to share in this lesson are some of the best examples of company blogs that are out there today. These are my top five personal favorites, and I’ll share with you specific examples of blog posts (in the links) so you know exactly what I like about each one.

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google auto complete

What is Google AutoComplete and why does it matter? If you go to the Google homepage, you’ll notice that the minute you start typing in a keyword phrase, Google will begin to offer you suggestions that finish the phrase. This functionality is called Google AutoComplete and is a great tool for doing research or for coming up with better phrases to search for. It’s also good for when you’re looking for something that might be a longer keyword phrase because often, Google is able to figure it out and you don’t have to type the entire phrase in.

Unfortunately, Google AutoComplete can work against you in a big way when you’re dealing with reputation management for your company or personal brand. In this lesson, we’ll go over the history of Google AutoComplete and also talk about how companies have, in the past, gotten Google to remove AutoComplete suggestions from their search results.

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asset linking strategy

In the last lesson, we talked about how you can create a number of assets, including WordPress installs, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, Blogger blogs, and number of other websites and social media accounts you might need to build a strong reputation online. In this lesson, I will teach you how to develop your asset linking strategy, which will help your SEO tremendously by helping you interlink your websites to increase your Google PageRank.

As we touched on in a previous lesson, it’s really important to get your linking strategy correct. Google is very good at ferreting out people who try to use linking strategies to game their system. One of the most important factors Google uses to determine where your page should rank is the number of backlinks you have to your site. This means that you have to be cautious when creating backlinks through social media profiles or any websites you own because there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. If you do it the wrong way, Google will penalize you in search results and may even deindex your website, which means that your website won’t show up in Google search results at all. This could cost your brand a ton of traffic, and since we obviously don’t want that, we’re going to teach you how to link to your websites in a way that improves your search engine rankings.

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online asset creation

In traditional SEO, the goal is to create one very powerful site that ranks at the top for your target keywords.  The goal is to generate leads through this site and convert at a high level.  In a way, it’s easy in its simplicity because you only have to focus on this one site: all external links to one site and it’s internal pages to make it as powerful as possible.

While a similar strategy is applied to reputation management, SEO is only the tip of the iceberg.  The goal of reputation management is to protect your online identity from those who wish to do it harm.  To accomplish this goal, you need a plethora of online assets on the front page of Google, not just one.

Why you need a myriad of assets

Lets say your company.com ranks at the front page of Google for athletic shoes.  This is great because you’re going to get lots of leads and customers with this keyword.  But what if right below in the 2nd and 3rd position of Google there are two negative reviews about your site.  Even though your main site ranks well, you will still lose customers because the next two results on Google are negative.  This is where reputation management comes in and positions you to control the top 10, 20, and even 30 results of Google.

Strategic online asset creation is about creating the right assets that will rank for the right keywords to occupy the first 3 pages of Google.

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keywords

So far in the series, we’ve talked about how important Google search results are to reputation management. You understand the importance of ranking well for specific keywords, but you might be wondering how to find the right keywords in the first place. In this lesson, we’ll cover exactly how to find the right keywords for your company and how to know which are the most important to rank well for. We will also cover keyword analysis and strategy for reputation management vs. for SEO and share a case study of one of our clients who created an additional 5 figures in revenue with just one strategically designed piece of content! Let’s dig in.

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