Archive for May, 2014

People are Talking About You…Without You

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On May - 26 - 2014

talking-about-youNegative Reviews are the Kiss of Death
Reputation Management is a vital aspect of what we do for our clients, and Customer Reviews Management is one of the main ingredients to that recipe. So naturally when I came across this article from Blumenthals, I couldn’t resist.

They conducted a series of large scale consumer surveys of 2500 US adult internet users 25 and older asking them if they would be influenced to choose a business based on negative or positive reviews.

Essentially they found that Negative Reviews Hurt more than Positive Reviews Help. I think it goes deeper than that…


First the findings:

  • 85% of consumers indicated that they would be “not likely” or “somewhat unlikely” to choose a business with negative reviews.
  • Between 44% and 53% indicated that they were somewhat or very likely to choose a business with positive reviews.
  • There was little regional difference on the influence of negative reviews. East Coast, West Coast or all points in between. Negative reviews were overwhelmingly the kiss of death. Although folks in the Midwest were less likely to be impressed with positive reviews.
  • All age groups were equally dissuaded from engaging with a business with negative reviews, however the younger someone was, the more likely they were to influence by positive reviews.

I was always confident that negative reviews held more weight than positive reviews, however I’m equally confident that there are other forces at play.


Propensity to Leave Negative Reviews
Face it, you expect to get what you pay for. If you are like me (and you are) you are probably less likely to flock to a reviews site and proclaim to the world that a person or company just did their job or that the product worked as advertised. However if you received less that equitable treatment you will probably be significantly more motivated to make that publicly know. Unless otherwise influenced by an exceptionally positive experience or actually asked to leave a positive review, the “system” is naturally skewed to negative reviews.


The Dilution factor
The study’s underlining theme was essentially black and white without addressing the relationship between positive and negative reviews. An occasional negative review is actually quite normal as long as it is overwhelmingly offset by positive reviews. In fact, I can make an argument that the occasional semi-negative review actually validates the positive reviews. Enough positive reviews can not only dilute the impact of a few negative reviews, they can possibly push them farther down the page and out of site.


How you handle Negative Reviews counts
Calling into question the validity of the review or the person leaving it is rarely effective, and may do more harm than good. Take for example this fictitious scenario:

Let’s start with a very plausible Negative review:

The owner’s tendency might be outrage and an urge to retreat to a defensive position and strike back:

This type of response NEVER works and may in fact enflame the situation by perpetuating the debate. The objective should be to have the last word and take the conversation off-line. Take the high road and be the adult in the Room:


Which response do you think would make lemonade out of lemons?


Skewing the odds in your favor
You can be great…always… or you can ask people to tell the story when you are at least good. So how do you tip the scales in your favor?  Proactively ask for feedback from hand-picked customers who you suspect will say nice things about you. You can certainly do this yourself, but it takes a bit of effort. I feel Reviews Management is so important that we have a program for our clients to actively go out and solicit reviews from hand-picked customers.


All Reviews are Amplified:
A single review, positive or negative, takes on a life of its own. A single review on one platform can get syndicated across multiple review sites like Citysearch, judy’s book, YellowBot and more. Even more significant is that these reviews actually show up in a Google search under your company name…and that can make or break your conversion efforts.


The moral of the Story?

  • Negative reviews are the kiss of death
  • With all things being equal (and they never are), negative reviews hurt more than positive reviews help
  • Positive reviews can help negate negative reviews
  • Positive reviews can influence a consumer’s buying decision the farther along the buying cycle they are.


Final thoughts:
The Blumenthal study clearly addresses the impact of negative reviews. However what it doesn’t take into consideration is the impact of positive reviews based on the stage of your customers buying cycle. I believe that positive reviews have more of an effect on conversions the farther the consumer is in the buying cycle.

Relying solely on reviews to sell your product of service will probably have minimal impact (particularly when outweighed by negative reviews), however if the consumer was “almost” sold, positive reviews go a long way towards solidifying the buying decision.

Reviews are just one aspect of comprehensive Reputation Management program, but arguably have the single biggest influence on a consumer’s impression, and therefore their decision to do business with you.


5 Proven Methods to Boost Your Google Rankings

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On May - 20 - 2014

googlePublishers Note: Gregg Towsley is a fellow Digital Marketer who specializes in helping plumbing/HVAC companies get more local exposure on the Internet to help grow their business. Gregg’s area of expertise is with helping plumbing and HVAC companies get listed high in the search engines, but his recommendations are just plain good advice for any local business that relies on website traffic. It’s all part of a process called Adaptive SEO, which by most accounts is the only way to “future proof” your search engine efforts.


 By Gregg Towsley

Gone are the days of tricking your way to a number one position. Old tactics like multiple user accounts, keyword stuffing, and spammy content just don’t work anymore… and in fact can get you in to trouble.  Google updates like Google Panda and Penguin and Hummingbird have made it harder than ever for website owners to maintain top search engine rankings above competitors.

Today, if you want to get your plumbing/HVAC company listed high in the search engines, you need to invest long-term in best practice SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Best practice SEO has two key elements that together form a very POWERFUL combination:

  1. Content
  2. Social activity


The Five Steps to Adaptive SEO Success:

1. Keyword and Competitive Research
At the core of every successful SEO (search engine optimization) strategy is a comprehensive keyword research component, one that includes discovering highly converting non-branded keywords as well as your branded keywords that you want to dominate the results for.  This research will show you who is listing (competition) above you.

2. Technical SEO Fundamentals
The technical fundamentals and the foundation of your website need to be correct and operational.  Things like load speed, site structure, navigation, user experience, and responsive design all play a part in how the search engines rank your site pages.

3. Optimized Content Marketing Plan
SEO cannot be done successfully without the inclusion of content marketing plan.  Your content should help your customers through the buying process and be distributed effectively through your social networks.

An example of content, you can provide answers to ALL the common questions your plumbing and HVAC technicians hear in the field. These questions and answers can be posted on your website in multiple pages and shared on your social channels. Example two, create content around the different geographies that your plumbing and HVAC trucks services. Each services area can be a separate page of your website. 

4.  Publish, Socialize, Share
The social signals generated from the top social media channels can be used to increase or discoverability in the search engines and help you distribute your content to you hyper local service areas. Remember, social networks are part of SEO (search engine optimization) and over 65% of ALL internet searches are geographic (location based within a 10 mile radius of a zip code) in nature.

5. Benchmark, Report, Improve
Regular analysis of the data is essential. Reviewing your search ranking position for a keyword/keyword phrase, data back links, social signals, social reach, organic visits, phone calls, leads, and conversion metrics are all critical in helping you make the right decisions. This information helps you decide what should happen next in your search strategy.


In conclusion, unless you take action with a new approach to SEO like the one suggested above, you will find yourself falling off search engines radar and your competition rising above you.


As the founder of Grow Plumbing,Gregg Towsley helps plumbing and HVAC businesses reach and connect with more customers online. Find Gregg and his team at


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