How to Rock Your Online Reviews

Trent is presenting today on reputation management at a conference in Denver. I’m going to do my best to keep up with him and download the tasty bits in this blog post. Here we go…

What we LOVE about Reputation Management:

  • Reputation Management rewards good businesses
  • The cost is very low and there is a high DIY component
  • It really works – it has an impact on your business for better or for worse

The Skinny

  • 92% of people read reviews to determine the quality of a local business –
  • The number of reviews count, we trust quantity of reviews before the actual star ratings
  • Reviews create trust
  • Quantity + Authenticity = Trust

4 Rules for Handling Bad Reviews

  • Try to take the discussion offline
  • Don’t get defensive or aggressive
  • Don’t ignore a bad review – always respond
  • Be authentic and believable when you respond

How to Respond

Remember WHY you are responding – you are not responding to the reviewer, your goal is to show future readers that the issue has been solved.

  • Again, don’t be defensive
  • Be specific
  • Demonstrate the solution you offered
  • Be gracious and authentic

TIP: it is OK to ask the review site to REMOVE a review… but don’t expect them to do it.

The Ethics of Reviews

The ethics behind reviews runs the gamut, smart folks operate in the middle ground – actively gaming their results so to speak.

  • HONEST ABE – I get what I get and I live with it, I refuse to manipulate or am just too busy anyway
  • ACTIVE GAMER – I ask for reviews, and I also help to shape the type of review that is written
  • MANIPULATOR – I write my own reviews and I write bad reviews for my competitors

What to do about the “Crazies”

  • Alert review sites about a bad review, they sometimes remove personal attacks where specific names are included. Try asking them to remove regardless. Especially if you can prove a review is fake.
  • Relax: the one-star, crazy doesn’t hurt you as much as you think. Your real danger is the true, even-handed reviews. The honest folks. People listen to them.

On the Radar


Yelp resonates well in Google search, top 10 usually. It’s more of a community, trusted by it’s members. Check out Yelp advertising if you have good reviews, it can be very effective. You can help to weight your Yelp reviews by voting on your own reviews as well as asking your customers and employees to do the same. You can’t actively game the system unless you are a true and active Yelp reviewer.  IDEA: Upload your list into Yelp, to find customers that are already Yelpers – then outside of Yelp (via direct email for instance) ask them for reviews and coach them as to what you’d like written.

Tip: if someone agrees to write you a review, follow up with them. If often takes two asks to get them to actually get it done.

Tip: Don’t incentivize someone to write reviews. Yelp does not allow you to “pay” for reviews.

Google for Business

Magic number is five reviews. Once you get the fifth review, you’ll get the stars.  This increases search engagement significantly. Tons of people see your Google+ page, you should care about this space!

G+ inserts reviews into its search results, general good practice for this space:

  • Claim your listing
  • Respond to reviews
  • Pimp your listing
  • Remove duplicate G+ page listings
  • Strive for five reviews

Tip – manually add good reviews directly to your website, using stars and photos. WordPress offers plugins for this.

Trent’s Final Checklist

  • Make a list of every website that has reviews or could have them in the future. Must include Yahoo, Google+, Yelp, BBB, LinkedIN and Facebook. Will probably have 5-10. Search for your business name plus the word reviews to find these sites in your industry.
  • Get logins to every site so you can “pimp out” your listings
  • Monitor and track new reviews at least once a month
  • Respond to all reviews, always

Do you have tips for garnering stellar, five star reviews? Light up the comments, we’d love for you to join the conversation!

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