Monday, October 17, 2011

Feed A Bully – A Strategy For Local Business Internet Marketing

What do the entries on the list below share in common?
Answer: The opportunity to make or break your company’s reputation.

The funny, or not so funny thing about the Internet’s evolution is how powerful it has become. At times, like a bully, it demands that you either play or be crushed. That’s the predicament many companies find themselves in today with regard to the proliferation of online local listings that include reviews.

The above list is only a partial list and reflects a growing trend of what might be called yellow page sites or sites that aggregate business listings. Because these are paid sites they will more than likely trump other search engine optimization strategies you might be deploying.

Check this out for yourself by Googling the city where your business is located and your business keywords. For example, I Googled San Jose window dealers. If your search produces a non-paid listing, of your company, somewhere on pages one through five, congratulations. But, the reality is that the rules for SEO, which serve to get your company’s natural listings to appear at the top of the search heap, aren’t working like they used to. Not against this new wave of paid listings. And as I mentioned earlier, these sites wield the crushing power of a bully unless you play.

Not only do they buy their search ranking, they are collecting and publishing reviews about your company. How can you proactively manage this new trend?

The first thing is to get listed with Google Local Business Center, Yahoo Local, and other key local Yellow Page like listings in your area. You do this by simply registering on the website.

The second thing you do is to ask your customers for reviews on these sites. You need lots of good reviews. I’m often asked how does a company counteract a bad review? You can proactively combat a bad review by having lots of good reviews. When a client thanks you, mention how much you’d appreciate an online comment and give them a site location. Why not put a link to your Google local business profile in your signature line, with an invitation to leave a review?

A good class on bullying will teach you that a technique to reduce the chance of being bullied is to ignore a bully. I’m telling you, don’t use that technique here. First of all there’s more than one potential bully and second, they simply want to be fed. Feed them reviews and watch what happens.

Sharon Aby
Beyond Ideas Marketing LLC

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