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The Importance of Online Reviews: The Secret to Google SEO Success

The Importance of Online Reviews The Secret to Google SEO Success

It should come as no surprise that client reviews are crucial to building your credibility with prospective clients and consumers. Let’s not forget that they also are a major help in converting those prospects into paying customers. These first-person accounts speak volumes as to the quality and value of your products and/or services.

For over 10 years, clients have been asking me about what the best ways are to maximize the exposure of their reviews and how to apply them in their marketing campaigns – both offline and online. During this time we have helped our clients feature these in television advertisements, radio advertisements, billboards, vehicle wraps, signs, printed materials (brochures, flyers, booklets, folders, business cards), online advertisements, email marketing, social media marketing, press releases, and blogs.

But one thing many of these clients were not focused on was something that could take their entire online marketing campaign to the next level: online reviews!

Online reviews, that have been earned and posted on Google, Facebook, Yelp and countless other review sites, have secret search engine optimization (SEO) power that many companies overlook.

Whether you are a local roofing business or an international financial conglomerate – SEO is something that is crucial to your success in this search-driven world. Coming up on the first page of Google is something nearly all marketers are striving for (or should be striving for) on an ongoing basis.

What many marketers have to do to gain that top spot on Google is to pay for a sponsored listing via Google Ads (previously Google AdWords). While it may seem like an easy option, it can prove to be costly. We have worked with clients before that were spending in excess of $10K to $45K+ per month to land that top spot. If you have the right budget, this is a definite win, but if not, enhanced SEO through online reviews is a route that you should be exploring.

Proper SEO campaign implementation focuses on organic SEO – which are the results that turn up that are NOT clickable ads when you search on Google. There are many ways to build your organic search engine ranking (link building, on-website optimization, keyword embedding). One of the forgotten pieces is an online review campaign built on requesting and earning positive online third-party reviews.

Why? The short answer is that there are many reasons why online reviews are good for your Google search engine ranking. Google is the largest and most-used search engine out there, so having your listing be result number 1 will increase your website traffic drastically, thus increasing conversions.

Think about a typical search that you would perform on Google for a business. Depending on the category of the business, you may notice that the top Google search results would be from Facebook reviews, Google reviews, TripAdvisor reviews, Yelp reviews, and more. The more sites you cover and the more quality reviews that you get – you could cover that first full page of Google with just glowing customer or client reviews. This would result in not only SEO success, but also increases in onsite conversions.

Now let’s go into some more specific benefits of executing an Online Review campaign:

1. Proves Your Worth
Having online reviews for your business tells Google that they can trust you. Meaning these positive reviews will contribute to your domain authority. Third-party endorsements help Google realize that your website claims are valuable, real, credible and, as a result, your content deserves higher rankings within the Google search algorithm.

2. Enhances Google My Business Listing Conversions
If you have four- or five-star reviews on your Google My Business account, studies prove that you will get more clickthroughs from your GMB listing to your website. This will increases the opportunity for you to convert that website traffic into sales.

3. Hack Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Ranking Listing:
If you are able to consistently gain quality online reviews (more than four stars and above with comments) Google will use this to determine where your business shows up on SERP. Lots of positive reviews could lead to higher ranking above and beyond your direct competitors, who may be missing this approach altogether.

4. Want More Conversions? You Need More Traffic!
By showing up higher in the organic results, you will gain more clicks to your website. This additional traffic will enable you to increase the amount of opportunities you have to convert this traffic to sales. Also, this traffic can easily be tied to your top or mid-funnel activities (email drips, IP retargeting, online advertising).

5. Consistent Quality Reviews = More Website Updates = More Trust From Google
Having your reviews posted to your website (either automatically or manually) will place new content on your website. The more you add new content, the more that Google will come back to check on your content. It will also let Google know they need to come back often to reindex your page. This will help Google better understand your credibility and award you with higher search engine rankings.

6. Respond and Reap SEO Rewards
Receiving online reviews is definitely a positive result (as you can see from above), but if you want to build even more SEO power simply respond to them! Whether they are good or bad, every review (no matter if it has a comment or not) should get a thoughtful response from your organization or company. You have the ability to amp up your SEO rankings by keeping the communication stream going as it builds trust with not only your customers, but also trust with Google itself.

7. The Long-Tail Effect
Imagine that you begin to have multiple clients writing reviews about your amazing “social media marketing services.” By a few clients writing “social media marketing services” in their review, it draws the attention of Google. Google sees this as an important and weighted long-tail keyword. So when a new prospect searches for the phrase “social media marketing services” on Google, your listing is more likely to be be shown towards the top of the organic search results.

These types of results are ones that those companies pay a lot of money for. Remember that $45K per month budget to be number 1 in the Google search results that I mentioned before?

8. Local Business? Can’t Miss Opportunity
According to research, review ratings are the biggest driver of clicks in local Google search engine ranking pages. This means that those professionals with local brick and mortar locations, by gaining reviews online you can expect higher rankings and more clicks through to your website.

9. Grab Over 91% of Online Traffic
Having a higher organic listing based on the boost from online reviews will increase the odds that your website will be on the first page of the Google search results. Anyone that lives on that first page of Google search results will be gaining over 91% of the web traffic for the search query that generated the page.

10. Genuine Reviews Reduce Website Bounce Rate
One thing not favored by Google: a website that has a high bounce rate. A bounce rate is calculated as the time when someone goes to visit your website and “bounces” away from it after a mere few seconds. Google understands this “bounce” as the user indicating that where they originally clicked through from may have had a message that was not continued when they visited your site.

This is akin to “bait and switch” techniques that have been around for many years.

By having online reviews that are prominently featured online in Google searches you will benefit from the potential customer or client reviewing these before visiting your site. This will lead to the user gaining a better understanding of your company and services/products. So if they choose to click through to your website – they know what to expect and will not immediately “bounce” off your site. This will help you keep and enhance your search engine rankings on a regular basis.

Still on the fence about the power of online reviews to enhance SEO? There are hundreds of articles out there with more information that you can peruse that not only mirror my story, but shout the benefits even more aggressively.

From my perspective, this tends to be the one secret SEO trick that many people overlook. Because of this, it can provide lots of competitive advantage to your company. Online reviews are a crucial piece of your overall online marketing campaign that could be the tipping point of your appearing on page 1 of Google searches or page 10.

Want to get started without having to do any of the setup, execution, and management? We have developed a Reputation Management and Online Review Service that will have you harnessing the SEO power of everything listed above without you having to do any of the setup, execution, or management. Our service starts from as low as $199 per month (not including setup). If you would like to get started today or see a demo of our service, please call or email our team.

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How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing


Local businesses can’t succeed online without optimized Google My Business (GMB) listings. First impressions are everything, and your GMB profile is the first thing that a lot of your potential customers will see. Why not make it impressive?

The number one reason I hear that local businesses don’t use GMB is that they’re not sure what they’re supposed to do. You fill in your business’ name, address, and…then what? I’m going to walk you through how to optimize your GMB listing so you can catch up to your local competitors!

Add a Business Description
Let people know who you are! Whether your local business’ name is something obscure like “Vulture Inc.” or it’s super clear like “Jim’s Pants Shack,” not having a business description is a missed opportunity.

No matter how you write it, it’s going to give your brand a distinct voice. If you do it well, a business description can give your brand a more human aspect for people to connect with. If I’m looking for a jeweler and find “Stefano’s Luxury Diamonds” then I’ve got some idea of who they are, but when I read a description describing their “60 years of jeweler experience to provide customers with unparalleled service and expertise that blah blah blah,” I get a better sense for who they are and if they’re who I want to buy from.

Never treat a business description as optional. You need it, and just as importantly, it needs to be clear, on-brand, and error free!

Fix Any Inconsistencies
Your listings need to have the same information across all platforms. No duh, right? But think of the areas you might be overlooking. Are your hours EXACTLY the same? I can’t tell you how often I see local businesses listed as open 9:00am-5:30pm on one site and 9:00am-4:30pm on another, and trust me, that’s going to matter to your customers. If you don’t know your own hours, why should they come by and hope you’re open?

The same rule applies to spelling your business’ name, your address, etc. But it doesn’t stop with information issues! Your style needs to be the same across platforms. So if your Twitter bio says you work on, “Planes, trains, and automobiles!” then your GMB listing can’t say you’ll handle “Planes, trains and automobiles!” Believe it or not, commas matter!

Take a good chunk of time to check this. You don’t want to post a listing and find a mistake three months later!

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Check On Your Customers
If you haven’t heard; a LOT of people use Google. When a potential customer looks you up on Google and they have a question, they’re going to ask on your GMB page. And if you don’t answer, you can kiss their business goodbye.

82% of customers expect immediate responses, so don’t think you can get away with checking your GMB listing every other day. You need to have alerts set for customer questions and be actively monitoring the page to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

You should also set up messaging so that customers can reach your cell phone directly. This way you’ll be able to answer any questions as they arise and earn the confidence of your local customers!

If it sounds like a lot of work, it is! But the alternative is losing local business, so think of it as a necessary evil.

Post Updates
While you don’t need daily updates like on Facebook or Twitter, GMB is a great place to share details about your latest sale, event, or blog post. You already know that your local audiences are going to see your GMB listing, and these features are crucial in drawing them in!

Posts stay live for seven days after posting them, so bear this in mind when you’re scheduling your GMB content. Old posts are still visible on your listing, but they’ll be pushed down by newer GMB updates. Bear this in mind when building a content mix and recycling old content!

Don’t Think Small
Optimizing your GMB listing isn’t as simple as filling out a box or checking on things twice a month. You need to be engaged, proactive, and present with your listing. Take this advice and make some big changes to your GMB listing if you want to succeed!

Does this all sound like a lot to handle? Let’s talk about your business’ GMB listing during your free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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Tips For Social Media Marketing Rookies (Part 2 of 2)

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In our previous blog, we discussed the best practices for social media marketing. We gave tips for marketing your brand via Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest. Now we’ll cover the the other three major social media platforms for digital marketers. 

Keep in mind that some rules apply to every platform (e.g., sign up for a business account, engage with your followers, take every opportunity to use SEO). One crucial concept that will help you with any and every social media network: social media marketing is a form of content marketing! Even though you might not be posting full blogs or webpages, you still have ample opportunities to create quality content. (For other general tips, check out Part 1 of this blog series!)


  • Become a joiner. Join LinkedIn groups that are important to and appropriate for your target audience. Don’t be a lurker, however: maintain your presence by staying active in these groups. On a similar note, consider creating your own LinkedIn group!
  • Invite your employees. While this might be considered odd for other social media platforms, LinkedIn is based on professional connections. Your employees will probably at least mention your company on their own profiles, after all!
  • Focus on making connections. Reach out to your audience. Aim to grow your email list. Once you connect, you can build relationships!
  • Share quality content. Along with creating original content, you should share content that you know your target demographic wants to see. This will engage your audience and help establish your page (and thus your brand) as a resource.
  • Don’t forget about images! Include images in your posts whenever possible. Create graphic templates for inspirational quotes that you post. Make and share infographics, as well.


  • Get personal. Profile employees in a few posts. Share candid images of your staff and behind-the-scenes pictures of your business. 
  • Understand link limitations. You can only share links in your profile or “Bio.” Links will not work in captions or comments, so remember to direct readers to your profile for the link.
  • Take advantage of Instagram’s special features. Instagram Stories are very popular. Recently the network introduced a feature that allows you to take a live video and leave it up for twenty-four hours. 
  • Focus on quality. While this is true for every platform, Instagram photos need to be perfect. Don’t slack on presentation.
  • More is more when it comes to hashtags. 2014 study found a correlation between the number of hashtags and the number of Likes. With this platform, you can include up to 30 hashtags per post. You should still only use hashtags that are relevant to your brand, though.


  • Follow the (industry) leaders. Follow the leading companies in your industry. Retweet from experts and influencers in your field. 
  • Be direct. Include a Call to Action in the appropriate tweets. Ask for opinions from your followers on topics in your industry.
  • Read the room. Do your due diligence on trending topics before you hashtag! A topic or hashtag might seem innocuous or even funny, but it could actually have a deep meaning to legions of Twitter users. Learn from this company’s mistake.
  • Graphics are powerful. Don’t be shy about using images and graphic in your posts. Create your own templates for different types of posts, like quotes or blog previews.
  • Be respectful. Never attempt to capitalize on somber occasions like Memorial Day or September 11th. Either post a sincere message of thanks/condolences or avoid the subject entirely. When in doubt, don’t post.

These are not the only sites available. Tumblr and Google+ are two social media networks that, although often overlooked by marketers, still have legions of devoted users. International brands have additional options (like VKontakte and Qzone), although foreign governments often have different rules and restrictions for social media.

Setting up a business profile might seem daunting, but it is completely worth the time and effort! Do you need help mastering the social media landscape? Whether you just need a little bit of expert guidance or would prefer that a professional team manage your social media presence, look no further! Contact The Go! Agency today for your free consultation!

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5 Marketing Habits That Kill SMM Campaigns

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We recently talked about what to do if your social media marketing strategy is failing to produce results. We offered plenty of positive, proactive tips to incorporate into your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogging techniques. Today we’re going to talk about the mistakes you could be making that may be putting a damper on both your online reach and reputation.

Every day we use the internet. Searching for content, talking with clients, checking advertisement performance—you name it. Many brands we encounter have decent strategies and online content. Every now and again, however, we’ll see a truly glaring error. Sure, the company will quickly delete it, but anything you put on the internet can live forever. Just like us, their audience most likely saw it. Screen shots were taken, comments were posted…sure enough, an article will be written about it before the hour is up. Major blunders that end up profiled on BuzzFeed and immortalized in memes are what most of our clients think of when we discuss social media mistakes. However, the less extreme and more common errors can impact your brand just as badly.

Perhaps you’ve suffered from one of these mistakes already and want to be sure it doesn’t happen again. Or perhaps your marketing is relatively unscathed and you would like to keep it that way. Either way, the following social media marketing mistakes will surely put a damper on your current strategy.

1. Hashtag hijinks. When used appropriately, hashtags are extremely helpful for social media users who are seeking specific content. They are also valuable for marketers who are trying to target those niche readers. However, there are so many marketers out there who either over-utilize or under-utilize this tool and it ruins their content entirely. Depending on your platform, it’s essential to incorporate relevant hashtags. But remember that you can have too much of a good thing: don’t cloud your content with hashtags. Generally, use 2-3 hashtags for Facebook and Twitter, 7-10 for Instagram.

2. Keeping quiet. Are social media users making comments, leaving ratings, sending private messages to your company? Then you better respond. If not, your brand will look like it does not care about or is too busy for its customers. People hate to be ignored. Don’t forget: if you don’t treat your customers right, you may as well hand deliver them to your competition. While content, visuals, and data are all essential to a successful SMM strategy, never forget the “social” part of social media. Engage with your followers! Customers wouldn’t be on social media if they didn’t want to communicate with their favorite people and brands in a unique way.

3. Controversial commentary. Are you a political pundit? If your answer is no, then there’s no reason to have a political agenda with your content– trust us, this happens more often than you could imagine. It is crucially important to remember that your company’s social media account is NOT the same as your own personal account: corporate accounts should only be used for marketing purposes. While it’s true that a few companies have taken political stands (Patagonia commenting on national parks, as a recent example), it might land you in some hot water. If you want to be all-inclusive and avoid alienating (or infuriating) customers, then avoid hot topics like politics, religion, and scandals. Finally, keep it classy; don’t use social media to badmouth your competition. Stay positive, respectful, and considerate. All that being said, we have seen a large increase in brands infusing political stances into their messages. If you feel compelled to make a point, just be ready to defend it.

4. Go public. Your account is thoroughly optimized, your content is eye-catching and you have used your hashtags wisely. Yet, you are not seeing the results you want. So why isn’t this social media thing working? Before you scrap your entire SMM strategy, take a look at your account settings – are they set to “private”? This could be the case for Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms; it’s the social media equivalent of leaving the lens cap on your camera during a photo shoot. Luckily, this mistake is an easy and quick fix.

Social media marketing is a great tool that you can use to build lasting and rewarding relationships with your customers. Don’t ruin your SMM strategy by making any of the above blunders—and don’t get discouraged if you have already.  

At The Go! Agency, our team is trained to avoid these mistakes (and many, many others). Our goal is to make our clients shine! Contact us today to make 2018 the year your master social media marketing! 

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Why Data Is A Social Media Marketer’s Best Friend

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Is there something wrong with your company’s social media marketing? You may have spent a ton of time crafting updates and still, no fish are biting. Maybe you just can’t put your finger on what the problem is. It’s time to study your data. Social media analytics may reveal the weak links in your content or strategy so you can adapt to what your audience is responding to the most.
Every week, gather up your social media marketing team to study your analytics. Whether you use Hootsuite, Buffer, or just analyze the native numbers on the platform of choice, you need to review your data.

We always recommend posting 1-2 times a day on your social media accounts. Because of this constant stream of content, your company’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other accounts should have a decent amount of posts to study. Which updates rocked? Which flopped? Did a particular hashtag gather in the readers? Perhaps an image or video got people talking? What advertising efforts really struck a cord? All of these questions need to be answered. Since most successful social media marketers write for the upcoming week, you have the opportunity to change your formula ahead of time to make things work.

On top of your weekly analytics, you should also have an in-depth monthly review. Study the past weeks of your campaign on a macro level. How have your numbers risen or fallen? This data should help you set up goals for the next month, and reveal areas you need to improve.

It’s important to work on things when you notice them, don’t push them off. Otherwise, these problems have a tendency to compound and worsen.
Of course, data isn’t all about you. When you are planning the month ahead, you should speak with your team and come up with a game plan based on projected trending topics. What holidays are coming up? What season are you entering? Perhaps the upcoming month tends to be a slow time for business, or maybe it’s the beginning of an annual rush. Planning ahead is essential for your content calendar and the success of your marketing efforts.
As you can see, you should get excited over charts and graphs! If you are stumped as to why your social media marketing strategy is a dud, you are in luck thanks to all the analytics available to study. The right marketer knows how to harness this data and fine-tune a strategy to social media excellence.
Does your team know how to study analytics and data metrics? We do! We can help your business hit the spot on social media.
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