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How to Handle Negative Reviews

Online reviews have become commonplace as part of the shopping experience for consumers seeking local services. In fact, a recent Local Consumer Review Survey showed that 92% of consumers read online reviews, and 40% of consumers form an opinion after reading just 1-3 reviews. What’s more is that the star rating has become a leading factor by which consumers judge a business. This means that even one or two negative reviews of your business on sites like Yelp or Google+ could have a significant impact as potential customers search for services online. While standard practices of popular review sites will not let you simply delete most negative reviews, you can reduce the negative press of these reviews by joining the conversation and responding to customers who have had bad experiences with your business. Read on to discover more about the best strategies for handling negative reviews with ongoing reputation management.

Find the Source of the Review

Legitimate reviews from real customers will not usually be taken down by the review site, regardless of how negative the reviews are, because review sites are intended to serve as a forum for customers to share their experiences. You can, however, have non-legitimate reviews—those written by direct competitors, for example—taken down by contacting the review site directly and identifying the source of the review.

Respond to Legitimate Negative Reviews

Ignoring a one- or two- star review can be a detrimental step for your reputation management, because negative reviews actually present opportunities to offer great customer service. When you respond to negative reviews, you are not only taking important steps to turn a bad experience with your company into a positive one, but you are showing prospects that you care about customer satisfaction. In some cases, you might discuss the issue on the open forum of the review site, or it may be more appropriate to offer the customer a chance to resolve the issue via phone or email. In either situation, you will want to be polite and take strides to highlight the positive aspects of your business.

Encourage Clients to Post Positive Reviews

One negative review will be much less impactful when it is among a long list of positive customer reviews. While you should not offer direct incentives to get customers to post positive reviews, you might simply encourage clients to like your business on popular review sites. Of course, offering great customer service is the first step in prompting positive reviews, but you might also make it easier for customers to post reviews by using widgets from review and social sites on your own website.

negative reviews

Negative reviews do not have to take down your business. To speak with one of our marketing experts about reputation management and other elements of a comprehensive online marketing strategy, give Local Search Essentials a call for your initial consultation with our team. (904) 823-9747

What You Need to Know About Local Listings

local listingsAs you invest in online marketing efforts for your business, you might wonder how ads and optimized pages will reach clients in your area. Maintaining accurate local listings is an important tactic in reaching the audiences you want to interact with your website. However, there are some misconceptions about local listings that can impact your visibility when local individuals perform searches relevant to your business. While some business owners assume that local listings auto-update, local listings do actually require some effort to remain accurate.  And to drive traffic not only to your website, but also to your physical location.

Small businesses need to manage their own local listings.

Most businesses will have listings that they did not create. Addresses may be automatically pulled from maps, government documents, local directories, or even your website. Therefore, you only need to claim and manage listings rather than create them yourself. In addition to updating your listing with a current address, name, and phone number, there is also another task. You should categorize your business to ensure that it shows up correctly in local searches. It is also important to manage local listings in all major directories. You do not want to rely entirely on services like Google My Business. Consistent, accurate listings can go a long way. This means that it is worth the time to manage all existing listings with the right information.

Local listings can improve visibility and leads.

A local listing contributes to your SEO efforts. It does this by increasing the likelihood that your business will come up in a set of local listings on a search engine results page. It can also improve visibility of your physical location when a person uses Google Maps or any other online map service. Another important attribute of well-managed local listings is mobile marketing. This is becoming increasingly important in the changing landscape of web searches.

A growing number of people browse exclusively on mobile devices. You should not overlook the value of reaching these audiences, which begins with your local listings.

Managing local listings can help you beat out national competitors.

If you are competing against businesses that serve a national market rather than a single local area, your local listing is critical to achieving visibility above your competition. The good news is that Google will reward your listing for having local address and contact information within a given area. To give your local listing even more power against national competitors, include pictures and reviews in your listing.

Like many online advertising efforts, managing local listings is an area where you can find help from local experts. We are ready to boost the visibility of your business. To see how Local Search Essentials can assist in maintaining your local listing and improving your SEO, call us today for a consultation. (904) 823-9747 Or sign-up for a free analysis by clicking here.

Convert Leads: How to Gain Customers in 4 Easy Steps

How to Convert Leads to Customers in 4 Easy Steps

Gathering leads is only one facet of effective sales. A small business needs to convert leads to make marketing efforts worth the resources.

Provide live representation. 

  • When potential customers have someone to talk to in person, they are more likely to have positive experiences and follow convert leadsthrough with purchases or services.
  • Live chat or phone answering services can be effective tools for ensuring that calls don’t go to voicemail.

Gather contact information.

  • Be sure that you take down contact info for leads so that you have a way to follow up in the future, especially if a sale is not made during that first interaction.

Communicate often.

  • Don’t use overt sales pitches, but stay in communication with your leads.
  • Offer a weekly, monthly, or daily newsletter to keep your brand presence high.

Create a call to action.

  • Even with non-sales based newsletters, a CTA should be included to make that conversion.
  • Subtlety is important, but customers want it to be easy to make a purchase when they’re ready.

(Source: BrightLocal)

Separating SEO Facts from Fiction

seoSearch engine optimization, or SEO, has become a widely familiar concept. But it is still surrounded by misconceptions that could have an impact on your business’s SEO strategy. This article can clear up some of the myths about SEO. Therefore, after reading this, you can design a well-informed and successful campaign for your business.

Myth #1: SEO only requires a strong effort at first

A common misconception some companies have with SEO is assuming that a strong initial effort will continue to pay off in the future. Unfortunately, there is no way to put a campaign on autopilot. This is because fresh, new content is a necessity for good search rankings. What you might actually see is that it’s easy to see a boost in search engine rank at first. But you will need to put more effort in over a long period to continue seeing results. The reason is that your SEO campaign will likely begin with several changes to your website and content strategy. This all causes your rank to rise. Ongoing efforts will need to be more focused and detailed to meet more specific goals.

Myth #2: You don’t need more than a blog to boost SEO

Content is important for SEO. But it’s not everything. Google and other search engines use complex algorithms to determine search results rankings. Offering only one of the components that search engines look for will not get you results. In addition to content, you may need to improve your website, create multimedia content, update social pages, and respond to negative customer reviews to stay visible. On the content side, you will want to use link building, smart keyword use, and creative strategies to keep readers engaged with your content.

Myth #3: SEO is an outdated concept

There is a common mentality among business owners that search engine optimization doesn’t work anymore, which is true in a sense. The old strategies will not yield success, but an evolving campaign with a consistent effort will deliver results. SEO itself is not outdated, though it is important to remember that strategies will always change as algorithms continue to shift.

Myth #4: SEO is all about marketing

One way to better understand Google’s search algorithms is to avoid thinking about search engine optimization as a marketing tool. While this can and does deliver increased traffic to websites, which can, in turn, boost business, it is intended to provide a richer experience for search engine users seeking authoritative, accurate, and easily accessible information.

Because a digital marketing strategy does require a strong hands-on effort, many businesses turn to professionals to manage their campaigns.

To see what an expert can do for your search engine rank and customer engagement, call us for a consultation today.

Increase Your Search ROI

Investing in budget and bid optimization for a paid search campaign does not necessarily require allocating more money for better results. In order to achieve a higher return on investment for your search campaign, you should focus on spending strategically rather than spending frivolously. A higher investment does not always lead to increased ROI because there are analytics to consider as you break up your budget and place bids on keywords. Here you can get a look at the more refined strategies for increasing your search ROI for a more effective and profitable campaign.

Track your results.

It is important to design a search campaign that is adaptable since you will depend on analytics to fine-tune your approach and adjust your budget accordingly. Conversion tracking will allow you to see the effectiveness of ads and keywords. Conversion tracking tools not only offer a look at the total number of conversions per ad, but they show the cost-per-conversion, which you can compare to your sales from those conversions. If your per-conversion cost for a given ad is higher than your average sale, a new optimization strategy may be necessary. For a more in-depth analysis of your conversions, Google Analytics can offer advanced conversion reports and funnel analyses.

search roi

Change your keyword strategy.

Once you have identified weak spots that may exist in your campaign, you can begin to adjust keywords and bids. Low-performing keywords might be eliminated altogether or adjusted to a lower cost-per-click so that more of your budget is freed up for higher performing keywords that show a profit. Using more specific, targeted keywords can also be a more effective strategy that will give customers a better idea of the services you offer. This can increase conversion rates and reduce your bounce rate since customers will be less likely to get to your website and find that your services are not what they are looking for.

Link to relevant landing pages.

Links within clickable ads should direct customers to relevant pages for the ad, rather than a link to the homepage. When customers are led to irrelevant pages, they are less likely to make a purchase or sign up for an offer.

Effective search marketing is an ongoing process, which is why you might seek dedicated Search Advertising services to ensure that your advertising budget is well-spent. Want to learn more? Give Local Search Essentials a call today to discuss your needs in search engine advertising and keyword research.

Website Makeover Tips | Local Search Essentials St. Augustine FL

Get More Leads with These Site Makeover Tips

Depending on your business, you may define lead generation in a variety of ways, including phone calls, direct sales, newsletter signups, or visits to your physical location. Your website can assist you in each of these ways when you take the following steps in improving your site design.

Provide Multiple Contact Methods

Your website should clearly display up-to-date contact info that will let your customers know where they can reach you. With an accurate address and phone number on your site, you can also increase search engine visibility for your website. Adding live chat can capture even more leads, offering one more way for customers to get in touch with your business.

Add Customer Testimonials

Building customer trust is a helpful way to boost engagement with your site through online purchases or form submissions that ask for personal information. When customers see the positive reviews from previous clients or affiliations with trusted organizations like the Better Business Bureau or specialized trade organizations directly related to your business, there’s a great chance they will provide their information or make a purchase.

Take Advantage of Responsive Design

If your website does not use responsive design, you could be missing out on a significant amount of conversions through mobile traffic. Responsive design will allow your site to scale down for different devices so that customers will always have a positive experience on your site, whether they reach it on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Utilize Multiple Landing Pages

Knowing your conversion data and other Google Analytics data can give you more perspective on what is working and what isn’t on your site. Rather than guessing the site experience that customers want, you can perform data-driven tests with different landing pages for a given ad or link. Seeing which landing page experiences increase conversion rates can help you make more effective changes, even if the change is as simple as different wording or a cleaner-looking font.

website makeover

Include a Video

Multimedia features can capture customer attention better than text alone. A video on your landing page might provide entertainment for customers and give a quick and clear explanation of what your business does. This can, in turn, drive up conversions and sharing of your site. Make sure you invest in a high-quality video that will reflect positively on your brand.

Provide Calls-to-Action

On every page of your website, it should be clear what the intended action is for your customer. Whether you are looking to have users sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase, or call for a consultation, you should have a clearly placed call-to-action that will direct customers to the appropriate page for a conversion.

With the help of our team, you can build a better website that delivers results in visibility, lead generation, and conversions. To learn more about the solutions we offer, give us a call to discuss your needs at (904) 823-9747.

Reviews: How to Handle Negative Feedback | Local Search Essentials St. Augustine FL

Why Reviews Matter (Source: BrightLocal)

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews
  • Star rating is the number one factor used to judge a business
  • Only 13% of customers consider using a business with a 1-2 star rating

When Negative Feedback May Be Taken Down

  • Most review sites will not take down reviews written by real customers
  • Reviews may be removed if they have been written by competitors or contain defamatory remarks
  • Claiming business on review sites is necessary for having negative feedback removed

What to Do About Legitimate Negative Feedback

  • When a review cannot be removed, the best step is to respond directly
  • Responding to a customer review can prompt them to change their star rating of your business
  • Responses may take place on review site forums or via email/phone
  • When issues are resolved privately, post a public comment so that potential customers can see that you did respond to the review

How to Boost Positive Reviews

  • Do not bribe customers for positive feedback
  • Do use widgets to encourage customers to give forced feedback
  • Offer great customer service with every transaction

Our proprietary software enables local businesses to collect and syndicate customer reviews and predictively advertise to past customers.

  • Customer Review Management
  • Social Media Integration
  • Automatic Service Reminders
  • Review Syndication
  • Multi-channel review generation


Working with our local search specialists, businesses get more new customers, build their online reputation and grow revenue from repeat customers with predictive advertising. Call for a free analysis! (904) 823-9747



Take Back Your Traffic with Retargeting

When you think about your goals for digital advertising, one of your top focuses might be driving traffic to your website. But, it is also important to think about how to get conversions from consumers once they land on a given page on your website. Many modern consumers will spend a good deal of time “window shopping” and doing research before making a purchase—especially with big ticket items—so they may stop by your website without following through with a conversion on the first visit. To regain a customer’s attention when he or she is ready to buy, you might rely on retargeting. With retargeting, you can position ads toward customers who have already seen your website, offering special promotions or offers that might draw them back in.


How does retargeting work?
Retargeting relies on cookies, which are small files that store specific pieces of information, typically the time and length of a visit to a website as well as the products viewed and pages visited. Retargeting cookies are anonymous, and they are necessary for identifying the right groups to position ads to in the future. Using the information gathered from targeting, a vendor will be able to place ads within select exchanges to make ad visibility likely among those window shoppers who stop by your website.

What are the best practices for retargeting?
The goal of retargeting is to achieve conversions, so you should limit retargeted ads to audiences who did not convert on their first visit to your site. While it may be effective to simply host generic ads that keep your company’s name in the back of a potential customer’s mind, it is usually ideal to create ads with clear calls to action as well as special offers that can make a purchase with you more worthwhile than a purchase from your competitors.

How should you set up your retargeting campaign?
Retargeting may be facilitated through large ad platforms or through social media sites, each of which has its own unique benefits. Regardless of which method you choose, you should be sure to keep clear conversion and impression goals in mind while creating multiple campaigns for various types of shoppers.

If you want to learn more about retargeting and its potential for recapturing your leads, connect with one of our team members today. Local Search Essentials can help you be seen in all the right places to ensure your online marketing is a success.

Search Advertising 101

paid search advertisingWhen it comes to online advertising, there are a number of different tactics that can increase your visibility and brand awareness while driving up leads and conversions. Search advertising is a key component of online marketing, as it capitalizes on the fact that many consumers will now use Google or another search engine when they are preparing to purchase local products or services. Google is by far the largest search platform used by American consumers, and it processes about 40,000 search queries every second, or 3.5 billion per day. With numbers like these, it is hard to imagine how search engines filter results displayed to consumers to provide relevant information. When you look at a Search Engine Results Page, or SERP, you will notice that sponsored results occupy the most visible parts of the screen at the top and bottom of the page. These results appear due to search advertising, which requires an ongoing approach to produce quality ads matched to relevant search terms and locales.

How Search Advertising Works

Search advertising uses specific keywords to pair results with individual searches, and these results are filtered based on a number of factors. In addition to the quality of the ad and the website it links to, paid search results will be filtered based on the cost payed for a certain keyword. However, cost is not everything. By investing in a well-rounded approach to online marketing, you will end up paying less overall per search when you implement search advertising. Below you’ll get a closer look at how search advertising works as part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy.

  • Build keyword lists – Like organic search results, paid search results are initially filtered based on keywords. With search advertising, however, you pay for the use of certain keywords, which is why it is essential to do extensive keyword research before posting paid ads.
  • Create adsOnce you have identified the right keywords, you will make ads to pair with each one. Your ads might include a few descriptive lines of text about your business, a specific offer, or a certain service. They might also feature customer reviews, contact information, and photos. When you enhance your ads with these components, they will have a higher quality score, making them more likely to appear in searches.
  • Link relevant landing pagesThe landing page linked in your ad is very important, because it should be directly related to the text of the ad. If, for example, your ad features a promotion about roofing, the landing page should not feature information about gutter cleaning.
  • Monitor trafficSearch advertising is not a static process. Because the popularity, and therefore the cost, of keywords can change over time, you may need to alter your keywords. You might also find that certain search terms deliver more success than others, so you can allocate more of your advertising resources to these terms. With tools like Google AdWords, you will get a clear picture of how your search advertising campaign is performing so that it can continue to evolve with your needs.

Why Search Advertising Works

Search advertising is highly effective, because it can boost the visibility of your business and deliver more leads than organic search alone. What’s more is that search advertising can be very cost-effective, because you only pay for advertising when someone clicks on your ad.

To be sure that you get the most out of your paid search campaign, connect with our team today. Give us a call to discuss your advertising needs and begin building an effective strategy for your business. (904) 823-9747

Resolve to Optimize Your Search Campaign in 2017

In 2017 and beyond, digital marketing is only expected to continue to grow in its prevalence and importance. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from a New Year’s resolution to optimize a search campaign. Search advertising might include boosting organic search results, using pay-per-click ads, and increasing social presence; each of these tasks requires dedicated attention and careful planning to achieve visibility and success. As you plan to take on these strategies for search advertising, use the following guidelines to ensure that you see the results you want throughout the coming year.

Set Clear Goals
Not every business will share the same goals for a search marketing campaign, so it is essential to customize your strategy with clear, measurable goals from the get-go. Start with a broad goal such as raising newsletter subscriptions, boosting sales, or increasing brand awareness. From here, you can narrow down the more specific goals that will lead you to your key objectives.

Redesign Your Landing Pages
No matter what you want to accomplish with your search campaign, you will want to get your website in shape before making substantial investments in AdWords and other advertising services. Quality landing pages are a must for any search campaign, whether you are relying on paid or organic results. Every keyword should be paired with a unique and informative landing page that will grab consumer attention, deliver the information they want, and provide an actionable conclusion.

Do Your Research
Even if you have an existing search campaign, you will want to take the time to research keywords and current marketing trends, as these steps will ensure that your campaign is current and effective. If you are just beginning a search campaign, a lot of research may be needed to get started, and this can be facilitated by professional marketing experts who can weigh the cost and benefits of potential keywords for your business. It can be tempting to just opt for the most popular keywords regardless of cost, but you might not rank for these search terms without some established authority through your site.

Balance Paid and Organic Search Campaigns
Most successful search campaigns will achieve a balance between paid search and organic search. Paid search results are the most visible on the page—even more so since Google updated their SERP design to include even more paid results per page—but organic search results are often viewed as more trustworthy by consumers. Investing on both fronts can help you see the best from both worlds, achieving optimal exposure for your business.

Whether you want a fully managed search campaign or you simply need assistance with the technical components of AdWords, we can help you see the results you want for search advertising in 2017. Call us today to discuss your business’s digital marketing needs or visit our website.