Silly Local SEO Consultant But Cool Google Review Trick


Linda Buquet

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OK, so I'm going to "out" a Local SEO consultant for doing something really dumb on one of his client's sites AND teaching other consultants that it's OK to do this.

I will also bring up an important question about the big missing review problem.

This post will also show you something awesome - a VERY cool review feature many aren't aware of. (See screen shot below)

I don't watch YouTube videos that come up in my feedreader very often but one hit my reader today about G+ Local image optimization tips and because there are so many image problems right now thought I'd watch in case there was a new tip.

Here it is: Google+ Local Photo Optimization Secret - YouTube (But you don't need to watch it, I highlight the G+ page and the actions in question below.)

So my 1st point is... If you are going to teach other consultants how to do G+ Local optimization, please teach with integrity! Don't teach them things that violate the guidelines OR will make your client look like they are untrustworthy!

There is a trickle down effect when you teach others bad practices and then we get all these new consultants learning bad techniques that hurt their clients and give us all a bad name!

Here's the G+ Local Page: DAgosto Landscaping Inc. - About - Google+

CHECK OUT THE REVIEW

<img src="http://img1.uploadscreenshot.com/images/orig/8/24304394394-orig.png" />​

Consumer impression? Owner is saying how great he and giving his own business a FAKE review.

The consultant in the video (who has a course teaching other consultants how to optimize) comes right out and says he left this review himself. Violation - no matter how you cut it, if you aren't an actual customer writing an honest review, then it's a fake review.

Plus you can't review your own company. (Although in researching further I think the owner and consultant are related and have the same name - Lou senior is the owner and Lou junior is the consultant.) But still, it's a fake review if you are the consultant writing it. And still looks like the owner wrote it because it's the same name.

PLUS!!! What do you think if you are a potential customer looking at this page? You think the owner is leaving a fake review for himself. Totally hurts his credibility!

THE BIGGER ISSUE THIS RAISES FOR ME IS - How can the Google review spam algo let obviously fake reviews like this stand - considering this review sends some pretty strong spam signals - written by someone with the same name as the business AND the image he uploaded even has the business name it! Google lets obvious fake reviews stand, yet TONS of honest, legit reviews are being deleted as spam?

LAST POINT AND COOL TIP - Notice the image in the review? It's not widely known that this can be done and I've only seen a couple people post about it.

Matt Gregory one of our members posted about it here in the Local Search Forum a few days ago and showed an example of an image in a review right on one of Google Corp's G+ pages. Google Allowing Images In Reviews?

He and others have been doing some research and found that you can add images to reviews if you post from mobile. And the guy in the video above I believe said he posted that review image from his phone too.

So again I don't believe in fake reviews and would never suggest that...

BUT if a customer emails you saying: "I love great my backyard looks, check out this pic." Or "Here's a picture of my daughter before the prom in that lovely hairdo you did for her." Or "Here's a pic of the beautiful floral arrangements you did for my wedding." You might want to let them know you'd appreciate a review AND if they do it by phone it would be really awesome if they'd also share the image for others to see. :)

If you read to the end, then thanks as always for putting up with my long rambling posts, but I think this example brought up a few different good points.

What do you think?
 

m_j_gregory

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Hey Linda,

Could not agree more! I think searchers are becoming a lot more educated and can see right through reviews like that (or at least I hope), so hopefully tactics like this are doing more damage than good. Also, I think the images are a nice touch that will provide increased credibility to reviews, ultimately increasing quality of the user experience. This is an exciting time for Local and G+ in general!

Thanks for sharing Linda, always appreciate your insight! (and I did read to the end ;))

Thanks,
Matt
 

geoseo

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Thanks for sharing this interesting and funny story.

In this specific case, Google removing the fake review would only make a favour to the business owner!

..and thanks for the images&phone tip...really useful! ;)
 

Linda Buquet

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Someone just posted a reply on this G+ post saying a Google rep told him G reviews are under review and take 8 weeks to post? Wonder if there is any truth to this? It would explain reviews showing in reviewers account but not on the G+ Local page.

John Oliver Coffey from NetMidas wrote:
https://plus.google.com/101037504613481726969/posts/7f7vZx9bUuA?hl=en

"Hi +Linda Buquet - just got off the phone with a google rep...new reviews taking up to 8 weeks to be reviewed, approved and released. Might be worth sharing with your followers before they pull out all their hair wondering what's happening."

I asked Google. Will see if I get an answer I can share.
 

JoyHawkins

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Maybe some reviews are taking 8 weeks, but definitely not all of them. I looked up some people in my circles and looked up pages they reviewed last week in a different browser while not logged in, and I can still see their reviews just fine.
 

Pankaj Kumar

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Thanks for sharing such a nice stuff.
But here is one question. As per you one should not post the reviews for his business, but what about the people who uses this technique to post the testimonials written by the real customers. Will they be count in FAKE or REAL?
How Google came to know about the fake reviews?

Kindly throw some light here.

Thanks
Pankaj Kumar
 

JoyHawkins

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but what about the people who uses this technique to post the testimonials written by the real customers. Will they be count in FAKE or REAL?
Are you referring to having someone post a testimonial on behalf of someone else? This is against Google's guidelines so they will probably get filtered.

Removals of Google Places reviews - Places for business Help - "Don?t post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with the place you are reviewing."
 

geoseo

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Hi,

would like to go back to the Image topic. I think it is possible to add photos to reviews also from the desktop version of Google+, screenshot in attachement.

I would also like to ask: would you say that adding picture may boost (or have a direct impact) on rankings? In other words, why business owners should suggest customers/users to add photos to their reviews? Trying to figure out why and how photos in reviews may concur to create a more complete page

Would like to get your ideas on this.

thanks!
 

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JoyHawkins

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I added a review with a photo the other day and noticed the photos allow you to add captions. So I made sure my caption included a sentence that had some keywords in it. I'm assuming this will help with ranking.
 

Linda Buquet

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I would also like to ask: would you say that adding picture may boost (or have a direct impact) on rankings? In other words, why business owners should suggest customers/users to add photos to their reviews?
Don't really think they would impact rankings except maybe like what Joy did.

But in general I only suggested, because a picture is worth a thousands words and if you are in a business that offers a very visual product, like a flower shop, then what better testimonial than customers showing the beautiful arrangement they got from you?
 

JoyHawkins

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I am also thinking the picture might help with ranking if the file name of the photo has a keyword in it (I know in traditional SEO this does). But I also think that lots of content and updates is bound to help with ranking, so I would always encourage more photos.
 

m_j_gregory

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Hi geoseo,

I agree with Linda and Joy. I definitely think there is potential for the image to help with rankings but as of now, there is no factual evidence of it. I think on a bigger picture scale (speaking to usability/conversion) the images will provide an even further level of influence on searchers in terms of the credibility of reviews that are left (granted it doesn't get spammed by competitors, black hat's, etc.).

Also, as a follow up to your screenshot: A user is not able to add an image to a review utilizing the method you have provided in the screenshot. This will simply upload an image to the "Photos of [Business]" section under the 'Photos' tab.

Thanks,
Matt
 

sdennison

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Linda,

Do you think that Google will ever provide us (those who are credible local marketing consultants) an easy, failproof way of adding real reviews to client + pages? I find myself having to explain (with limited facts) what is going on, while simultaneously insisting that clients focus on getting more reviews.

Thanks,

Scott
 

Keenan Glass

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I didn't watch the video, but isn't it possible he just posted a review of his own page as an example for illustrative purposes, especially if showing off the image technique?

Images definitely can affect certain results. First, G+ images can make their way into Google Image search. Also, if you use the search bar inside G+, posts with those images will show up.

Not sure about Index Search, but it seems the future of Personal Search might include images that others in your circles have in their albums.

Getting images into reviews? Definitely worth the price of admission.
 

BCLocal

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Any feedback from Google on the 8 week review period on reviews?

I've recommended to my clients to get reviews from customers as soon as possible but many are seeing massive delays in the reviews actually being posted.

I've had the customer try resubmitting the review in another browser along with a few other things but still haven't seen some of the reviews come through. (it's been about 2-3 weeks).

Thoughts?
 

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