Managing Reviews, & Google’s New Directions

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be moderator on a panel with the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association Search Marketing SIG, of which I am chair, titled: Managing Reviews, & Google’s New Directions. Here are highlights from that panel discussion:


  • Today Google reviews are easier to post than before – because Google has removed the former requirement of Google+ profiles; take advantage of this great service!
  • Overall these days there are new strategies for reputation management – namely, businesses should engage in “Proactive listening” – Don’t wait for the conversation to happen to you!
  • So what exactly is Google rebuilding for Google+? Don’t expect too much; Google keeps extracting the former tie-in apps to Google+, to exist on their own today. When even Google has lost confidence in Google+ (like the millions of users who signed up and then stuck with daily use of Facebook instead, where all their friends remained), then don’t expect much for the future!
  • The new mobile geo-local landscape of directories and apps means that businesses should take advantage of online reviews and geo-local strategies for website backlinks for SEO – yes, even for e-commerce!
  • And what about “Buying” placement on channels like Yelp? Well, you can still get good organic content and placement for free, however purchasing plans allow businesses to cancel out competitors and obtain analytics and other services.
  • Otherwise – to solve the problems of trying to manually claim and place business profiles in all the major local directories and apps, there are services for overall geo-local listings management available (like Yext and MozLocal) – just be sure of what you’re getting, the benefits and costs before you dive in. For example, many such services take your listings down the minute you stop paying their monthly fees.
  • Spend management: Should businesses buy search ads? Don’t forget – Google ads have recently been removed from the sidebar in the search engine results page – making the SERP appear more like a mobile user interface. But also this pushes down the visibility of organic (SEO) listings. No surprise that Google would do something to encourage more paid positions!
  • Want to see all the slides from the panel? You’ll find them here.

Thanks for reading,
Jake Aull
Zen Fires Search Engine Marketing