We’ve written about the importance of a) getting reviews , b) how the law sees a business that fakes reviews, not to mention c) management of negative reviews, but what is rarely discussed is an OPPORTUNITY that lies in the d) response to a review. An important element of ‘reputation management’ is, in fact, a response to a review(good or bad). A business must understand that it is speaking less to the reviewer than to the entire public of prospective buyers. And because review content can influence consumers when they search, it only makes sense the Google algorithm also uses that content as a ranking signal.

How we respond matters to more than just the reviewer, good or bad, so let’s review ‘best practices’ and maximize those benefits to an overall digital marketing strategy.

Tips For Responding To Reviews


1. Acknowledge The Reviewer In A Response

– By using a reviewer’s name the business owner not only grabs that reviewers’ attention, but it acknowledges her personal thoughts. It simultaneously demonstrates accessibility to the public, likely appreciated by both!

2. Acknowledge Details In A Response

– By acknowledging details of the review in a response, the business demonstrates a genuine interest in what that person thinks. By taking the time a business also shows a reviewer, as well as the public, commitment to customer service.

3. Offer Advice Related To The Review In A Response

– By offering advice based upon details of the review in a response, the reviewer and the public may become aware of other options. It’s possible that advice will generate more and future interactions, if not transactions.

4. Use Target Keywords In A Response!

– According to Moz’s 2017 survey of local search ranking factors, reviews are a signal that influences how businesses rank locally. Being we all know Google uses reviews as one of their (200) signals for ranking companies and their content, it’s good logic they are reviewing the keywords in that content as well. While we cannot control what our reviewer says, we can use our ability to respond to add keywords! Note: a rule we should all live by with SEO is the content needs to be good enough for humans to be good enough for search engines. So when writing a review response, be careful to only use those keywords specifically related to the review exchange. Do not ‘keyword stuff’ and be sure that you yourself would trust that response before adding it. If so we can all incrementally improve our performance for those target keywords in search engine results!

Any questions about reviews or reputation management, please do not hesitate to get in touch. And ask us about Local SEO best practices – increased visibility, traffic and lead capture performance!

Finding The Right SEO Mix 

Not all search engine optimization (SEO) is the same! What’s necessary for success depends on a presentation of value, visibility (i.e. it can be found) and the level of competition! Rank in search results, can require a large number of content- driven signals or, in some cases, just enough.

So why run a giant expensive SEO campaign if it’s not all necessary? A target, for instance, ‘Mechanical Contractor Bergen County NJ’ can be had with a smaller less costly effort than what’s required to compete for ‘Mechanical Contractor USA’ .

And while the competition is never ever static, meaning positions in search indexes for target keywords are forever changing, it is only measurement and analysis that will determine whether or not the effort is working. Only measurement will also show what is necessary, for going forward. If you are not analyzing, you are not doing SEO!

What Should SEO Cost?

There’s also a lot of confusion surrounding the cost of SEO; what’s necessary for a particular brand with specific targets and how much it should cost can be all over the map. If a firm is going through the painstaking and costly process of recruiting inbound links from (safe) websites, for instance, it can help a campaign, but is it necessary?” For instance with a locally targeted business where the active competition (for target keywords) is minimal, maybe back-links and the cost involved is not necessary to succeed? 

It’s why we recommend a fundamental set of SEO signals to start. To start, set realistic goals and then measure the resulting data! Build fundamental on and off website signals in order to establish a well rounded visible presence and then begin to measure what stems from it. It takes time, sometimes a few months, but sometimes costly link- building and/or social media campaigns are not necessary. The fundamental signals may be all that is needed. It’s also possible analysis will determine that more signals are indeed necessary and for that there is going to be more cost.

Either way, it’s better to build up then pile on and waste money in an environment where things that work are changing all the time. 

What Does A Fundamental SEO Program Include?

  1. Keyword Research For Target Subjects
  2. Search Optimized Website Pages, optimized for those target keywords
  3. Google My Business Tools Setup, Verification and Optimization
  4. Claimed And Optimized Search & Directory Listings
  5. Standard Operating Procedures For Maximizing Positive Client Reviews 
  6. Reviewed Website For Broken Links and Proper 404
  7. Keyword Search Rank Tracking Software 
  8. Traffic Analytics Setup
  9. Track, Measure and Analyze Traffic Data
  10. Allow Analysis To Determine Whether Or Not Existing Efforts Are Succeeding And/ Or Other Signals Must Be Built
    1. Blogging
    2. Geographic targeting
    3. Social Media Campaigns
    4. Inbound Links Build Campaign
    5. Alternative Content
    6. And more

With SEO or, for that matter, any form of marketing & advertising – there is risk; a business may succeed right out of the gates, but the resulting measurement will always determine what is happening, what’s necessary to reach a desired result… and even how to grow that desired result. The point being, “you cannot grow what you do not measure!” 

Local SEO Paths To Business LeadsWhat Is Local SEO, Why Does It Generate Leads?

Local business owners wish to be visible when prospective new clients search for help. A person with a foot injury might search “Seagirt NJ Foot Doctor”, “Podiatrist Monmouth County NJ” or “Top Foot Doc near me” and any Seagirt NJ area Podiatrist would want to be visible. Heck, so would surrounding area podiatrists in Manasquan, Spring Lake, Belmar, Wall and Avon NJ.

This podiatrist should think about having the best website content PLUS as many trusted off website signals set so that a search engine can identify then recommend them as paths between the injured party and this good doctor. And while our doctor must have analysis to gauge where she sits month over month, these paths are how ‘prospect conversion into a lead’ happens.

Local SEO done right presents our ‘Foot Doctor’ as the visible local subject authority. And geography matters, so please read on!

Local SEO Presents The Local Business As The Solution

Paths to a business that generate a lead include search engines, but also prominent citations (i.e. search & directory listings), reviews, images, video, social network accounts and GREAT websites! Regardless, an effort to use keywords including geography (i.e. keyword plus town or county) should be a priority. The business that invests in this tedious ongoing effort to build a better overall web presence of trusted paths wins more leads!

Different business types do better with different types of content. For instance an interior designer, with its’ inviting images, is going to connect more easily than a mold remediator; however, a mold company should never rule image use out! Not so long as it presents relevant solutions with its’ images, like maybe what the ‘bad mold’ actually looks like. In either case, images must be set up properly for target keywords, so that paths to prospective leads are opened. And it’s time to look at video options, tactics and strategies as well because both people and Google like video!

Contact information must also always be prominent on headers, footers and ‘contact us’ pages; so must layperson- proof navigation to all the subject- specific answers a website content offers.

Good trustworthy reviews are going to help any business appeal to its prospective leads. While most people trust ‘live reviews’ on Google local listings and sites like Yelp, it’s never wrong to present a sampling on a website. A business should just be sure to link to the live reviews in order to demonstrate they are real and not made up. Obviously a business owner has to deliver a quality product or service to get good reviews, but pursuing those reviews must be a proactive effort based upon a standard operating process!

And regardless, there had better be a website full of content that both opens paths as well as satisfies what a discerning lead or prospect might want. Sure a business needs to serve a) those in a rush who will likely just call, but it had better also prioritize b) serving those who do their research. It’s not only the place to answer lots of questions in the most transparent manner, but a means to index tons of target keywords with search engines. An important note here is that a business will NOT see any search engine love unless that website content is determined to be “useful”. Let it be known, crummy content gets a business nowhere!

Geography and Local SEO

Unless be default (i.e. no one else better), assume the reason a business gets ZERO interest from a near bye town full of prospects is because the town itself is never mentioned in content. Sure it’s tedious, but a local plumbing company based in Bergen County NJ wanting to serve the entire area had better start building locally relevant content = per town. Want more business from Ridgewood NJ than a business had better have a competitive stake in why it offers great Ridgewood support.

When Local SEO Works

Local SEO success requires the pursuit of a seemingly endless no. of paths needed to connect a prospective lead and the appealing local answer to a search. A local business that commits its time and/ or money into those paths will win more and more leads! We 

It’s no surprise to read that without good content there is no competitive search engine optimization (= no SEO). Any chance of competing for visibility in search results begins with content, so let’s define a type of content you may not have heard about called evergreen’, ‘geographic tree’ or even ‘anchor’ content‘. Really just buzzwords in content strategy, the practice has proven to be a key factor in the battle for search visibility. ‘Evergreen content’ is a page (or post) that is NOT necessarily timely so much as it is informative; this content should remain relevant to a degree that it stands the test of time!

What Does Evergreen Content Offer?

Because it will always be considered up-to-date, in theory, ‘evergreen content’ will always be of primary interest to visiting readers. With detail, it should define authority for subjects your company is the leader for. In cases where being relevant in a particular area ( i.e. county, town or city ) is important, evergreen content will define authority for that area or geography.

In contrast, “Current Pay Per Click Advertising Best Practices” is not a good example because it’s meant to be relevant right now. In this case, a blog post might be better suited due to its date- stamp or timely emphasis. Current, by definition, is about things going on NOW and so, for instance, “Current Link Building Best Practices” have become less relevant as platforms & strategies advance or change.

Top Evergreen Content Examples Might Include:

  • Defining A Product or Service
  • Frequent Question & Answers
  • Tutorials Or “How To” guides
  • Useful Resource Lists
  • Support With Related Laws
  • Industry Terminology Definitions
  • Geographic Authority For A Product or Service In A Particular Area (i.e. if you vie for business in the city of Kalamazoo, you must have content saying so) 

Be careful! Even an evergreen topic can change ever so slightly, so periodic reviews in order to be sure they remain 100 percent correct is recommended.

Evergreen Content Does Not Include

  • Evergreen content is not news
  • Evergreen content is not statistics
  • Evergreen content is neither seasonal
  • Evergreen content is no trend
  • Evergreen content is NEVER a bunch of random subjects sprayed all over one page
  • Evergreen content should always be comprehensive coverage & subject specific, so it can stand the test of time!

The chance of competing for visibility in search engine results pages begins with content. When it’s capable of remaining useful to many, if not most, visiting readers for a great deal of time then the likelihood it will motivate signals (i.e. time spent on page, links to the page, bookmarks, likes, shares, pins) search engines use to rank content is much greater.

Needless to say, evergreen content has become an important competitive content strategy that will improve your SEO! Get thinking about what you are authoritative for ( for support see Copywriting | Blogging Services ) and if SEO Services are necessary. Contact Kinetic Knowledge for a consultation!