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Everyone who owns a business has dealt with one or two bad reviews at some stage… and then there’s those who have dealt with more than just a few. It’s unpleasant and overwhelming to say the least. Some reviews are warranted while others aren’t. According to Moz, whether you have experienced negative reviews or not, the most important thing for a business is to have a strategy for, if and when the time comes. Why? Because often when we receive negative feedback our very first response isn’t always the most intelligent.

Negative Reviews aren’t THAT bad…

Even though it might feel like a kick to the stomach, negative reviews aren’t the end of your business – don’t shut up shop just yet! A few negative reviews can actually have a positive impact on your SEO, yep you read right… a positive impact! Here’s why Negative Reviews aren’t as bad as you think:

  • The more reviews you have on Google and Web Design Brisbane, the better it is for your local ranking. So, good or bad, it’s still another review and will still positively impact your Search Engine Optimisation. In saying this, if the negative reviews, were positive, this would obviously be better for your SEO and reputation management.
  • According to Search Engine Journal, too many overly positive reviews can create suspicion. Have you ever seen a bunch of dramatically positive business reviews and thought… hmm this looks a little fishy? As reviews are such a huge decision determinant in this digital world, people know that there are fake reviews, there are employers who get their employees to write reviews and of course there are businesses who tactically try to take down their competitors by reviewing them unfavourably. Basically, a couple of negative reviews in the mix, can increase credibility. And, much to your surprise, people do know that nothing is ever perfect and mistakes can happen!
  • Negative reviews, or rather, recurring negative reviews are an opportunity for change. Even if you take it as an opportunity to connect with customers more and offer your apologies and perhaps something for their troubles, this is still a positive change. It’s very important that you let negative reviews fuel you positively. Don’t let them cause you anger or frustration, remember you are a business owner – it’s not always going to be smooth sailing. It’s not about what comes your way, it’s about how you deal with it and this is exceptionally true when it comes to dissatisfied customers.

How to Cope with Negative reviews

1. Take Control of the Situation:
As previously mentioned, responding to reviews is crucial. This means regularly monitoring and managing your Google My Business and Social Media accounts and staying updated on your review activity. According to the Google My Business support page, businesses should “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”  This statement is then followed by “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.

Further, a 2018 study by Trip Advisor, show hotels that responded to reviews received 12% more reviews and their ratings increased by 0.12 stars. However the Local Search Association recently reported on a 2018 consumer loyalty survey that found most consumers expect a brand to respond within 24 hours. So, as we said, regularly monitoring your Online accounts is extremely important.

2. Learn from your Mistakes! 
Receiving a negative review is always an opportunity to grow as a business! Identify the root cause of this customers review, how, why, when and who it involved, and take steps to improve this area of your business. Perhaps you might discover a flaw in your employee training, or a miscommunication somewhere along the line which can be a lesson learnt for everyone involved. Another cool way to see the silver lining is to source inspiration from your negative reviews for social media/blog content. If you’re noticing a recurring complaint, and it’s something that people are perhaps doing incorrectly or can do differently for a better result, turn it into posts and blogs and teach people.

2. Remedy Remedy Remedy:
If there is some merit to a bad review you have received, offering something for their troubles shows people that you acknowledge their disappointment and are willing to right your wrong. However, even if you don’t believe there is any merit to a negative review, it is still crucial that you reply. Inspired by Moz, here are some of the Do’s and Dont’s of responding to bad reviews:

Don’t
  • Blame the customer
  • Shift blame onto your staff
  • Accuse the customer of lying or exaggerating
  • Refuse to apologize
  • Refuse to be accountable
  • Use unprofessional language
  • Write a long-winded response
Do
  • Apologise
  • Empathize with the distress they express
  • Accept complete responsibility if you believe there is merit
  • Offer something you think might make amends if the customer would be so kind as to give you the chance (a refund, a meal on the house, a replacement product)
  • Express your commitment to fixing any issues that have been raised and explain what you will do/have done to remedy them
  • Be as transparent and honest as possible about the cause of the mistake
  • Let the customer know you eagerly invite further in-person complaints and feedback because of your commitment to offering them a great experience
  • Keep it brief but sincere

Removing Fake Reviews

Removing fake reviews isn’t always straight forward and can require different levels of persistence case by case. Here’s a general step by step guide that we have used to remove some of our clients fake Google My Business reviews:

1. Respond 

As we have mentioned, responding is the first step. In the case of it being a fake review however, explain that you know it’s a fake review, with evidence and that you are taking matters further as this is not a true representation of your business or services.

2. Report the review

Click on the flag next to the reviewer’s name to get to a page where you can report the review as a violation of Google’s TOS. Fill out the form, using your business email address for the contact information. This works better if you can flag the review on a number of different Google Accounts.

3. Contact Google

If within 24 hours the review has not been removed, call Google to get results.

4. Go the legal route

If by this stage, nothing else has prevailed, fill out a legal form request. You can find this at support.Google.com/legal. Be persistent, and continue following up and eventually you should have success.

 

So, hopefully by now, we have calmed your fear of negative reviews and you can see that if dealt with properly, they can actually be an extremely useful and productive learning curve for your business. Get in touch with the SEO savvy team at YDS for a free consultation to chat about how you can optimise your Google My Business and stay on top of your reputation management system.

Learn more about the changes to Google’s pricing and billing by going through the following general questions and answers:

General Pricing Questions

  • How exactly has the pricing plan changed?

There’s a new pricing plan for Maps, Routes, and Places which is now in effect. It lets you have control on the way you use Google’s APIs and pay only for what you use monthly regardless of how much or little you use. Also, there’s a new pricing plan for Maps, Routes, and Places products. Check out the API-specific Billing Changes review and the guide to Understanding Billing for more detailed information.

  • What do Premium Plan customers need to do to switch to the new pricing plan?

Premium Plan customers can transition to the new Google Maps Platform pricing plan as soon as their current Premium Plan contract terminates, for more information check out, Maps Platform Migration Guide.

  • Is the Google Maps Platform still available for free?

Certainly. Once you enable billing, you are given $200 monthly free credit for Maps, Routes, or Places. Most of Google’s Google Map users continue using the Google Maps Platform free of charge with this credit.

  • What products exactly does the $200 monthly free credit apply to?

You can use Google core Maps, Routes, and Place products with your $200 monthly free credit

  • What is the pricing plan for those who exceed the free credit?

You simply pay for what you have used. Go to your Google Cloud Platform Console to review rates and your spending. Plus, you can protect from unexpected elevations by adjusting daily quotas. Similarly, you can set billing alerts to get notifications once the charges reach a threshold predetermined by you.

  • How can I roughly calculate my future bill?

First, check out the email Google would have sent you if you are already using an API key. The email will provide you information on whether your future bill will change. Then, go to the Google Cloud Platform Console and look into the Billing Reports section for a better understanding of your current usage by SKU. Finally, calculate your costs based on your usage with the help of the pricing calculator and the SKU information in the guide to Understanding Billing.

Moreover, make sure you are aware of the new SKUs that have been introduced including Dynamic Street View, Directions Advanced, Distance Matrix Advanced, Places Details, Find Place, and Autocomplete by Session.

  • Can I use other APIs or SDKs free of charge?

Yes. Apart from the $200 monthly free credit all of our users are given Free Maps for Embed and Free Maps URLs.

  • Can I try Google Maps Platform before purchasing it?

Of course. You just need a billing account, but remember, you’ll be given $200 monthly free credit first. And, if you want to ensure that you don’t exceed this credit, you can set usage caps.

  • Am I required to have a credit card or billing account?

Namely, all Google Maps Platform services require a billing account or credit card although you get a $200 monthly free credit. This is needed to cover the costs if you exceed the free monthly usage.

  • When do I need an Enterprise account?

An Enterprise account is needed for businesses who are looking for volume pricing discounts (since they already have a high-volume usage), enterprise-grade customer support, and/or offline contracts.

  • How is the pricing plan designed for the Maps product?

Depending on whether the map load is static or dynamic or static or dynamic Street View load, there’s a pre-load cost. But, customers can zoom in and out, pan, or change layers free of additional charge.

  • What will happen with the nonprofit (or other) organizations that currently have Google grants? Will they continue to receive Google Maps Platform grants?

Certainly. All of the nonprofit users who receive Google Maps Platform grants will migrate to Google Maps Platform credits. And, additional Google Maps Platform credits are available through these programs:

  1. Google for Nonprofits – for nonprofits
  2. Google Cloud Startup Program – for startup organizations
  3. Crisis Response efforts – for crisis response organizations
  4. Google News Initiative – for news media organizations
  • Can I use my new Google Cloud Platform credit for Google Maps Platform?

Yes. All users can apply their GCP $300 credit to Google Maps Platform.


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Brisbane seo consulting company

Your customers are one of your best assets. One word can make or break a brand, if it’s spoken by someone loud or influential enough. Review sites are saturated with horror stories and fairy tales alike. To avoid that one star review, ask yourself: are you doing any of these five things?

 

 

  • Study data

Some businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) strategies to review their  interaction with shoppers. The goal of these strategies is sales growth: getting new customers and keeping the existing ones.

CRM approaches can assist businesses in ‘predicting’ what their customers want based on their activity. Look at the data on your website and other channels. What was engaging? Where were the most bounces? Have you gotten any unsubscribes from offers or newsletters?

 

  • Be responsive

Don’t leave your customers hanging! On Facebook Business pages, ‘response time’ indicators on the side tell customers how quickly staff respond to messages. The faster, the better. These days we live in a world of instant gratification, especially in digital. You’ll disappoint some people if you can’t reply right away.

What’s the best response time? No longer than a day, if you can help it. Customers pay for customer service, and they feel at ease knowing their situation is getting handled.

 

  • Be honourable

Customers remember promises, especially the ones that don’t get honoured. And they’ll tell their friends, who pass the word on. Bad CRM = decline.

If you want to turn your customers into your cheer squad, follow up on whatever’s outlined in your service policy. When you promise to investigate, do it. Honour the commitments you made and get back to them quickly. This isn’t just good service, it also builds trust.

 

  • Think about the gaps

Look at your competitors. What are they doing that you aren’t. And can you do it better? Customers love free stuff, like downloadable content they can review later. How-to guides, newsletters, and birthday offers are great to keep the customers coming back.

Also, create incentives for them to bring their friends to you through some kind of marketing campaign. If you create a ‘bring a friend for points/rewards etc’ offer, you’ll keep your existing customer base while expanding on it.

 

  • Invest in your business

Train the staff you have in CRM, and hire some customer service superstars that live and breathe to make their lives easier. Get some automation software if you have to and make sure you know how to use it properly.

Turning your customers into your brand’s cheerleaders takes effort, but the result is worth it. People remember amazing customer service and will recommend you to their friends based on their experience.


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Brisbane get found online

A couple of weeks ago we spoke about Aussie innovation. Innovation comes about because someone is not happy, and they can see a better solution. So unhappy customers must see a better solution too, right?

Well read on because they do! After working with clients on finding their unhappy customer moments, we are finding that it leads to a blind spot you never knew you had, but unfortunately your customers knew all about it. Great news is you can then get on and fix it.

Find your blind spot

We have used the following thought starters to find blind spots to help our clients’ business’ grow. By making a group of unhappy customers happy, we have made the experience for all of their clients better.

Look for the “Friction”

Look for where customers get stuck, frustrated or they simply miss out on some benefit they expected.

1. STUCK: Customers get “stuck” in all sorts of ways. They are typically informational type issues and great spots where digital innovation can help. Approaches such as Six Sigma can help to identify how to improve perform here.

What to look for in your business; Depends on what customers are looking for. Where is your address to collect my order, when is my order arriving, are you open today or what time do you close, do you have this item in stock? This information has to be on your website, it must work on mobile, has to be correct and it has to be updated at public holidays.

2. FRUSTRATED: Points of frustration are where the promise we made to our clients in our marketing is too far removed from what we delivered. This can be in a product feature or in a service delivery. The promise can be made on the packaging or via our sales staff. And hey, we all over-promise at times, getting sales is hard, but overplaying our hand rarely leads to loyal customers (readers of last week’s column on branding should know this). And I think Aussies especially like to call out any BS they see in excess hype.

What to look for in your business; A great example is fast food photographs on the menu board, compared to what actually comes out! Take away their frustration by lending an ear, provide a feedback point such as a “service quality” email address or via social media to capture this sentiment and listen for how you are going.

3. UNMET EXPECTATIONS: Another common friction point is where we are not meeting customer expectations. The hardest thing with these expectations is they can be set by your competitors, and customers that shop around know about them, and they don’t necessarily tell you, they just disappear.

What to look for;  Failing to deliver fully on service promises can be hard for management to track. Ideally you run constant customer feedback surveys. These can be online or via tear sheets that go into delivered goods and services. The best companies do these for every customer interaction because they want to know and understand the problem for one customer today is a growth opportunity for many customers tomorrow.

Turn those frowns upside down

So start looking for the unhappy customers, not dodging them. Actively listen to their frustrations and as you turn those frowns upside down, you might send your revenue line up as well!

 Next week we will cover off how we consciously innovate around the opportunities we have uncovered.

 

Mark Jones is managing director of Your Digital Solution.

If you have a question for Mark, email streetsmarts@yourdigitalsolution.com.au

As first published in Townsville Bulletin, February 11, 2016 12:00am – Used with permission.

If you want to learn more tips about digital marketing read below…

How To Choose Keywords In Competitive Markets

Long Tail And Search Engine Optimisation

Google changes of Feb 2016 have changed how we should compete

6 Tips How To Use Email Marketing Effectively

Why Google My Business Is So Important

Fatal Social Media Mistakes

4 Simple Ways To Keep Communication With Customers

Six Writing Hacks for Better SEO Content

Google Rankings Make or Break Tips

Fast Getting Faster Change For Business

Three Measures of Marketing Success

Get More Customers With Online Marketing

Yoast Search Engine Optimization WordPress Plugin

Never Stop SEO

Faceboook Ads Get You Found

Online Marketing Strategy Brisbane


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Brisbane online marketing

Avoid the Grinch, Gremlins AND the Ghostbusters this Christmas

Did you know security risks double each year at Christmas? The primary reason is the hacker community know that you and your IT help are all about to go on holidays. They literally double their efforts to breach your security and have some fun while no one is home.

Take a few preparatory steps this week to reduce the chance that this happens to you and ease the pain if it does. And by ensuring the following three areas are clear you will be assured of a peaceful break.

The IT Grinch will steal your Christmas – don’t let him

Don’t let a major IT security issue steal your Christmas. Prepare ahead of time. Batten the hatches before you go away and be sure to return to work with all as you left it.

Two areas to check that will ensure your security is good to go are;

  1. Update your passwords
    1. Most security breaches are human in origin. Someone, somewhere has a password to get into your systems and they shouldn’t. This week why not update your passwords to key services and ensure only the people that should have access still do.
  2. Ensure you have back ups?
    1. Having a security breach is often not a question of if but when. And when it happens the next question is how long before we are back up and running.
    2. Ensure your website, databases, customer records and files are backed up off-premise.

Keep out the Gremlins – Whitelist friendly access

  • This means ONLY certain computers or devices are allowed to access your servers and network. In this way you can exclude and almost reduce to zero the chances of an unwelcome and unfriendly visitor.
  • If this is too hard, consider restricting admin or server rights to overseas traffic, just this will reduce the access to 99% of harmful efforts to access your systems.
    NOTE: Before you do be sure to check your network access is never routed via off shores services.

Know “Who ya gonna call” – not the Ghostbusters?

Now before everyone (including Elvis) leaves the building, have yourself a list drawn up of who you need to call inside or outside of your organisation in the event of an issue. In most businesses there are 3 to 4 key players who have the keys to most cabinets. You need to know how to reach them.

Simple advice is often the best

Now I know this advice is pretty basic, but every year we will get at least one client calling to get help on a system that we can’t get access to or can’t raise the people we need to help them get it fixed.

This year may not be your year to suffer at the hands of the Grinch, Ghostbusters or Gremlins – but if it you can send me my Christmas card thank you via this column!

Have a wonderful festive season, relax with your IT in good hands and we will see in the new year for more business marketing, technology and growth tips.

 

Mark Jones is managing director of Your Digital Solution.

If you have a question for Mark, email streetsmarts@yourdigitalsolution.com.au

As first published in Townsville Bulletin, November 12, 2016 12:00am – Used with permission.


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Brisbane online marketing

WHERE we find a business operating in a mature segment against well-established competitors in their core (or obvious) keyword phrases, we may need to seek out Long Tail keywords that have higher value, but not necessarily the greatest volumes.

What this means is we begin to look for terms that are more obscure, but still relevant to the topic. The terms we start to look for are not searched for by users thousands of times, they may only be searched for by users 10 times per month. This means that to acquire traffic of any significant volume for the client we need to be managing and targeting a larger number of these keywords phrases.

For example if we are targeting search traffic for the phrase “family lawyer” we might find the cost per click for advertising is anywhere up to $100 or more. Given that almost half the traffic to our sample site bounces (returns to Google by the back button), this makes it almost $200 per user to simply have a look at our website. You can see this is going to get expensive very quickly, and Google loves that!

So instead we need to break down our family law business into segments, and if we find enough of them the ‘sum of these segments’ will provide sufficient volume to meet the level of inquiry we need. These might be Separation, Divorce, Child Custody, etc and within each of these categories we can look to find a myriad of lesser searched phrases, but the cost per click will now be below $10 and heading toward $5.

Another way to get outside the obvious, highly competed-for phrases is to go upstream or downstream. By this you need to think about what the searches might be for a user before or after your product and target them. For example, our Family Lawyer might target “relationship difficulties” or “counselling” prior to Divorce, as people might search for these before they feel they get to the end of the line with their relationship. But our family lawyer can still build some awareness at a far lower cost given lower competition.

By adopting these two approaches we can more economically test our traffic, and we are also confident that more targeted users will be closer to making an inquiry and more likely to convert.

In all SEO work be sure to adjust your site so the landing page (the page your link points to) for the content fits the new targeted phrases, and even your ads and navigation labels will want to be aligned to your target audiences. These all help your site to appeal to you various target segments.

Be sure to keep in mind the balance between core search terms and long tail search terms to ensure that your spread of phrases are giving you the volume of traffic that you require, and these users are converting into actual customers when they do get through to your website.

In this way you will be able to appeal to and capture enough traffic to your site despite significant competition.

See our other posts with SEO and digital marketing tips below…

Long Tail And Search Engine Optimisation

Google changes of Feb 2016 have changed how we should compete

6 Tips How To Use Email Marketing Effectively

Why Google My Business Is So Important

Fatal Social Media Mistakes

4 Simple Ways To Keep Communication With Customers

Six Writing Hacks for Better SEO Content

Google Rankings Make or Break Tips

Fast Getting Faster Change For Business

Three Measures of Marketing Success

Get More Customers With Online Marketing

Yoast Search Engine Optimization WordPress Plugin

Never Stop SEO

Faceboook Ads Get You Found

Make Unhappy Customers Loyal Customers

Brisbane SEO

Mark Jones is managing director of Your Digital Solution.

If you have a question for Mark, email streetsmarts@yourdigitalsolution.com.au

As first published in Townsville Bulletin, November 12, 2016 12:00am – Used with permission. To view the original article click below:

http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/business/street-smarts-with-mark-jones-long-tail-search-terms-and-when-to-chase-them/news-story/96c462015c0814ae1b32e5aed708708b 

 


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web design seo services Brisbane

Are the Google changes to ad placements the “adpocolypse”* some feared?

In late February 2016, Google made the decision to kill off their right side pay per click (PPC) ads, which left many wondering how this would impact the performance of advertising with Google via Search Engine Marketing (SEM). To date the impact has not been extreme for the big players, but we are seeing that it might be affecting the small business owner more than many realise.

So what happened?

web design seo services Brisbane

Click to see an example landing page here

The change saw the total number of ads that can appear in a desktop Google search reduced from eleven to seven, with a maximum of four ads at the top (see example image) and three at the bottom of the free, organic results.  This meant the first FREE ad was now coming after four PAID ad positions. Moving it down one spot probably doesn’t sound like a big deal. But what if you knew that fourth spot used to be free and it captured as much traffic as the last 3 positions on the search page combined? Not only that, your competitor can now pay to capture this traffic and take it away from you; a loss in real terms of 16.4% to make it back.

Let’s work through how this changes things…

Thanks to the great work by the team at http://www.analyticsseo.com/blog/seo-click-through-rate/ we can see the changes in action. Traditionally the list of results was something was as per the table below.

Table of Google clicks

The Percentage of “clicks” earned by the search ranking achieved on a search result page.

What is important here is the 4th position used to be FREE if you could optimise your website and content for the user search. This position resulted in 8.7% of traffic. Now that traffic belongs to Google to SELL to the highest bidder, quite likely your competitor. See the image below where the first ad for help with Google is from Bing, evenGoogle struggles with a competitor being the top bidder for advertising on Google!

Even Bing competes with Google

How ironic if you are Google!

This is even more important on mobile

Astute readers will have noted that on mobile even more traffic goes to the first few results. This is because on a smaller screen the organic search results are pushed even further down the page than ever before. On mobile we already see in many search categories, that only paid listings are visible above the fold. Not a bad trick if you are Google, as they own the majority of the mobile advertising market place. Well played Google.

So what can we take from this?

Small business owners up against a big brand have to fight harder and smarter. Big brands dominate the first three results due to familiarity with users who are in a rush and scanning for the first result that might solve their problem.

Smart marketers need to understand, monitor and test the impact of these changes to efficiently keep getting seen by their customers on Google and other online advertising platforms. As the difficulty and/or cost of one platform goes up, we all start to explore other avenues. In truth we should be doing this anyway.

Keep exploring and experimenting with your advertising spend and content marketing online. Think hard about how you pay to play in this new layout, where playing for free is getting more difficult. The big advertising platforms have to get bigger to meet shareholders’ demands, try to make sure it isn’t any more of your hard earned than it needs to be! And if in doubt seek expert help.

Learn more about search engine optimization and digital marketing by reading our other posts below…

6 Tips How To Use Email Marketing Effectively

Why Google My Business Is So Important

Fatal Social Media Mistakes

4 Simple Ways To Keep Communication With Customers

Six Writing Hacks for Better SEO Content

Google Rankings Make or Break Tips

Fast Getting Faster Change For Business

Three Measures of Marketing Success

Get More Customers With Online Marketing

Yoast Search Engine Optimization WordPress Plugin

Never Stop SEO

Faceboook Ads Get You Found

Make Unhappy Customers Loyal Customers

Brisbane SEO

Mark Jones is Principal of Your Digital Solution, a Brisbane-based digital strategy agency. Mark contributes to various media outlets as a contributor on business strategy, marketing and technology. This article first appeared in the following group of newspapers in Mark’s weekly column:
Daily Mercury – Mackay, The Morning Bulletin – Rockhampton, The Observer – Gladstone, NewsMail – Bundaberg, Fraser Coast Chronicle, The Gympie Times, Sunshine Coast Daily, The Queensland Times, Warwick Daily News, The Northern Star – Northern Rivers, Daily Examiner – NSW North Coast, The Chronicle – Toowoomba.

Got a question, get in touch: mark@yourdigitalsolution.com.au


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