2014 Google Search Ranking Algorithm – Badge Search eCommerce

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While looking at recent US patents I came across an interesting new search engine algorithm Google is using to distinguish search results associated with e-commerce systems. According to the new patent:googles_new_algorithm 8,615,447, Google search engine will be able to visually distinguish badges on e-commerce sites.  Here is the actual


What kind of badges is Google looking for? Trust seals.  Google search spiders will be able to differentiate and communicate with characteristics of many different verification badges used by brokers who sell them.  So for example if your e-commerce site has a trust seal like TRUSTe then this would be a differentiating factor tied in to search engine optimization.


The big question is how will the verification badges affect your rankings.  Obviously Google is using it for some good reason if they made a patent for it.  Smart money says Google would view your site as a reputable website and it would only help your rankings to put a trust “badge” on it.  We live in a world where there are many phishing sites robbing people blind and so Google wants to give users the best possible online experience.  This patent was approved on December 24, 2013 so my guess is that they are using this as a differentiating factor in their search rankings now or will be very soon.


What if you have more than one trust seal badge on your e-commerce website?  Does that mean you’ll receive better brownie points from Google?  Another way we could look at this is that perhaps Google is going to be selling these trust seals as a new product for e-commerce sites.  For instance if you’re familiar with Norton antivirus.  They have a tool, like many other antivirus software companies that actually reviews search results pages and let you know if the site you are about to click on in those search results has been scanned for viruses.  Google could be using a similar business model for e-commerce website by displaying a trust seal badge next to the search results so you know that the website is approved by Google to be a secure vendor.  Basically Google still runs the search business online that many e-commerce sites are slaves to.  My personal opinion and recommendation is to get a trust badge for your site so you are prepared for this new search engine algorithm.  Having a trust badge on your e-commerce site is also well known to increase conversions.  Google

I’d like to hear from you.  What do you guys think about Google’s Badge Recognition?  Are you going to get a trust badge for your websites?


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Facebook Graph Search

5 Reasons To Use Facebook Graph Search

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Facebook Graph Search

#1 – New and unique innovation in search – Facebook Graph Search Social media has gained popularity recently. It is a great way to create a buzz about something as people who are active tend to spread it to people across their friends circle. Recently Facebook search graph has hit the 168 million U. S. Users. There are many people who use this feature regularly but do not actually know what exactly it is. You type a question on the Facebook search bar and then the results will be displayed that will be dependent on the interest and opinions of their friends.  Facebook graph search was introduced by Facebook in March 2013. It is a form of semantic search engine. Facebook graph search is a new way to look for the things that were shared with you on Facebook. The people will only see the things that an individual has allowed them to see in their search results. The main aim behind this was to give answers to user’s natural language queries rather than a list of links, where the latter was not much convenient for the user. The Facebook graph search uses the data that has been collated from one billion users providing user specific search results. The graph search algorithm is implemented in such a manner that the finds information

based on the user’s network of friends.  In additional to the search results provided by Facebook graph search, the rest of the search results are provided by Microsoft’s Bing. To the users who use the U. S. English version of Facebook, this was made available in July.


Facebook Graph Search invented by Google employee

#2 – This feature was the brainchild of the former Google employees Lars Rasmussen and Tom Stocky. Initially Facebook graph search was made available to limited users and later on to a wider audience. Also in future some more mobile interfaces are planned and also the inclusion of the Instagram photos. Facebook graph search is a technology used by Facebook to find people and stuff that are connected by social means. The search feature used is a semantic search engine and it is based on intended meaning. This type on search does not match keywords, but phrases as well as objects. The Facebook graph search results are based on both the content of the user and the profiles of their friends and the relationship between the user and his or her friends. The search bar available on Facebook will suggest top search items as the user starts to type. The Facebook graph search terms include all the social objects like people, pages, places, apps and groups to help users see the results that are most relevant to them.


Facebook Graph Search similar to Google search

Selling through Social Media

Selling through Social Media- Helping customers is the way.

#3 – The results displayed are tailored as per the user who uses Facebook graph search. The Facebook graph search results provided are relevant in comparison to the traditional search results. The results that are socially applicable to the user are displayed with higher ranking. The brands that have be liked or reviewed by the user’s friends will be a part of the prominent results. The goal is to display the most relevant search results at the top of the page. A concept called Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency is implemented for more interesting search results. Facebook users search for friends and photos on the social networking site. Places are also searched at times.  There is also an option to advertise on Facebook graph search via sponsored results. Sponsored results display within the search bar auto-complete dropdown, but eventually will be displayed among the actual results. Initial reactions about the launch of Facebook graph search had many concerns about privacy. As per Facebook, the search operates within the already existing privacy settings. The users can access only that information that is actually accessible to him or her on the website. The graph search makes the search easy and more appealing to find.  Facebook graph search allows the users to search places, check-in status and objects with location information attached. Based on the user requirement they can filter the results and this feature is very helpful to search the web directly. The operation of this search feature is dependent on the involvement of the user. This feature prompts the Facebook user to add more friends quickly. The results displayed are richer compared to the existing search features therefore encouraging the user to use this features extensively.  Facebook graph search helps people to explore Facebook in a more refined manner. The search results are different for everyone based on what has been shared with them. The privacy settings on Facebook determine what your friends can see when they search for something on Facebook. One can also control who sees the profile information on Facebook. One can review the photos that the user has shared or the ones in which he or she is tagged. It is also possible to review your posts with the associated location tags on your activity log.


The results of this unique graph search is personalized for the user who is using this feature. The results depend on the audience that you have chosen. If the photo is set to Only Me, then no one will be able to find it in search. When set to Friends, your friend will see it in their search results. In case of Public, anyone who searches for it can find it on Facebook.  Facebook graph search is a way in which the Facebook users can discover new places, friends and other related stuff. This entire search is based on connection among various friends. The strength of this feature is connection the users have and the actions they have been a part of on Facebook. This includes liking various pages and posting the check-in status messages at various businesses and restaurants. It allows the users to learn about the current friend’s connection that one has and the actions done on Facebook by the user.  Facebook graph search does not allow paid ad opportunities and the results will depend on the number of connections and the actions on Facebook. The product will mature slowly and users anticipate that Facebook will create new ways to service targeted ads via the search.All the brands who wish to advertise their product should work towards the optimization of their Facebook page name, the category, URL and the about section. The optimization of the website content also plays a vital role for getting better search results.


Facebook Graph Search will better target customers based on demographics

#4 When brands want to connect with their target and potential customers, Facebook graph search will be of great help. The results are ordered based on the relationships and actions taken by the user on Facebook. The sorting of the results will be based on the number or connections and actions taken. The search is customized based on the user’s social network and his activity frequency  .Brands should target to promote their pages and increase the number of likes to the page so as to reap maximum benefits from this feature. Facebook graph search is not only a good opportunity for large scale industries but also small business firms. It provides a good platform to the small businesses that face a lot of trouble to compete with the other multinational firms on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Most of the small scale business firms do not have much budget, the required traffic or completely optimized site in order to compete with large business firms. The big companies dominate the rankings on the traditional search engines.  Mostly the restaurant and travel industry have benefitted from this search feature. This is due to the check-in status that people post on Facebook. When a person will see these on Facebook, he or she will be tempted to visit the place based on the information that will be available on the page. The Facebook’s current friends of friends advertising option has increased significantly. The subtle approach of Facebook graph search is likely to grow significantly with time. People who are highly active on this website search for people, places and pictures and likely the percentage of search is likely to increase day by day. Many business firms have seen the benefits of Facebook graph search and it is essential to increase the visibility on Facebook. The optimization of the website greatly increases the search result ranking on the various search engines.  For the brands which use Facebook to advertise themselves, the ideal target user will be a user who is extremely active on the site so that they can reap quality benefits from the Facebook graph search.  The people who are active with the likes and check-ins are the ones that are ones that contribute to all this modified way of searching. Such people are willing to share their information with their friends and want all their friends to do the same thing.


#5 – Facebook graph search is a feature that has increased interaction on the Facebook significantly. Users spend time and effort on the content where as the brands should focus on developing and modifying the content in the best possible manner. The better the content and pictures are there on the website, the better will be the likes on the page. The website of the various brands has to be so exclusive that it attracts the users and force them to like the page on Facebook. Due to the Facebook graph search feature the optimization for Facebook has become very important.  Just creating a business page on Facebook does not solve the purpose of advertising.  The popularity the site is what matters the most. The search results are going to depend upon the number of likes, check-in by people, people commenting and location based searching.


Facebook Graph Search

This functionality helps the users to find products and places that their friends have already enjoyed. It enables to improve find-ability for the business in the social network world. The website designers have to make sure that the about section of the company profile is complete and updated. With the arrival of Facebook graph search, the ads are more personalized and effective. Facebook has also announced that it will include sponsored results on this new search feature. This feature has also brought forward a good platform for the journalists to make use of it effectively. This platform can be used in a range of different situations. With a lot of posts and updates on the user’s timeline, it becomes difficult to find something that you are looking for. So the feature of Facebook graph search has brought an end to all such search related problems.  All the specific posts and comments can be found at anytime by using this search feature.


The Facebook graph search allows the person to search through the content that has been shared with you. This also includes public posts people who are not even your friends. It is easier to find people with common interest and helps people with similar interest interact with each other. If someone is not comfortable making their posts available in the search results, they can restrict people to view it by changing their privacy settings.Facebook graph search gives personalized results for the user in the same manner like the news feed is unique for every user. This implies that if two people are searching for the same term can get different results. Posts are seen based on the audience for those particular posts. Users can search easily for status updates, photo captions, comments and check-ins. The introduction of Facebook graph search has made it easy for active people to make new friends. Giving the opportunity to users to go back in time and search for historical data has made them addicted to the feature.Facebook monitors the usage and takes feedback to improve the search. This feature needs to be optimized completely before it is released for the use by all the users of Facebook. Review and feedback is most important things for developing a site and serve the users in the nest possible way. Facebook graph search is based completely on connections and the search results are specific for specific individual. It is powered by a backend technology known Unicorn. With these new features will new opportunities and more and innovative ways to optimize visibility. By Scott Andreasen of 1stbay Digital Marketing Company.


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Smartphone Usage 2012 Infographic | Smart phone usage statistics

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Smartphone Usage 2012 infographic

Googleby Scott Andreasen.

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Social Media Marketing

How to increase sales with Social Media Marketing

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Social media has become a strong source of revenue for many businesses that actually get it.  It is a much different approach to selling online then say search engine optimization and marketing for keywords.  Many companies use social media as a way to give company announcements or press releases.  While this does provide some value for your clients is not the most effective way to make sales.  One company that has mastered the art of converting social media into sales is Geek Squad.  Geek Squad found out who their buyer was.  There buyer was the do it yourself computer fixer.  What they went on to do was make demonstration old videos for how the do it yourself computer fixer can fix their computers themselves.  They provide many in-depth videos, 226 to be exact, for how the do-it-yourselfer can do everything from change a hard drive, to install RAM and so on.GeekSquad


At first glance many people would say this is counterproductive because you are giving them the information they need to do it themselves and in turn losing the sale.  However this is the wrong train of thought.  By creating videos to help them do it themselves you are creating trust and putting yourself in their mind as the expert because they’re learning from you.  So when their customer gets to that point which we all do, where we do not have the expertise to finish the job ourselves… Who do you think the first company is they think of when they want to get their computer fixed?  You got it: Geek Squad.  This consultative approach develops customers for life rather than just making a quick sale.  Geek Squad found out that losing a few small battles wins the war.

So how can your business use this approach?  Well first you need to find out what your customers would like to know.  If you don’t have the answer then simply ask them, what would you like to know about?  Then think of way you can post a blog topic about it, a video and begin posting those items to your Facebook and Twitter.  If you need some help with ideas, give me a shout and I would be happy to help you come up with one.  Just keep in your mind the goal is to provide valuable information to your clients so they will feel helped and not like they are being sold to or “pitched.”

I want to give you a couple of examples from my own personal life where this approach worked very well.  One has to do with me producing music as a hobby, the other has to do with carpal tunnel syndrome that I dealt with for years.  With the music, I like producing electronic music which is very technical in nature.  It requires using advanced software and plug-ins.  I use music production software Nuendo (Cubase), Reason, and a huge list of plug-ins that do different things from equalization to adding really cool effects.

refill-packsWith these programs, you have what are called “VSTs”, Virtual instruments that will let you create your own synthesizer sounds.  You can manipulate oscillators, change wave frequencies, filters, delay, echoes to create any sound imaginable that is in your brain.  I can assure you it is a tedious task but very rewarding when something ends up sounding good.  To help me out with making these sounds I go to you to and look for tutorials.  One of the best tutorials I found was from a young DJ/Artist named LuckyDate.ld2

He has tons of videos where he will actually make the same synthesizer sounds that you hear in the most popular dance records that are current at the time.  One of my favorite songs at the time was called, “Day n Night” by Kate Cudi (Crookers remix)  LuckyDate shows how to use Reason software’s Thor synthesizer and develop the same synthesizer used in that song.  I followed his instructions verbatim and voilà!  I had produced the same exact synthesizer sound that I heard on the radio!  It can take 10 to 15 min. to make all the different settings required to produce the sound you want once you know what you’re doing.  It was an amazing feeling and my victory of the day.  For months I would spend time off and on browsing through his tutorials and learning new tips and tricks.  Eventually I came across one of his videos that sold, “refill packs.”  Refill Packs allowed you to purchase the synthesizers already pre-made without having to do any configurations.  A huge timesaver!  My case in point is, the only reason I bought his “refill pack” was due to his instructional videos.  That’s it.  Without his instructional videos I never would have come across this product or thought to purchase it.  I followed his videos for a good six months before making the purchase, without knowing anything about him or ever talking to him he established himself as an expert in my mind, and in turn I became a huge fan of his music and have bought his products and tracks.

Another example from my life where I bought from this “youtility” helping based selling approach was when I went online searching for help for my carpal tunnel syndrome.  This example uses a blog.  I personally dealt with carpal tunnel syndrome for several years before deciding to buckle down and do something about it. My hands would go numb and tingly and I could not feel my fingertips during the day or when I went to sleep, I felt like it was natural for me based on the fact that I work on the computer all day… But then it got to be too much to the point where I decided I have to do something about it. So I thought to myself maybe if I learn how to strengthen my hand muscles this would make the carpal tunnel symptoms go away. So I began looking online for solutions. I started off by typing in Google, “fix carpal tunnel syndrome” and I found some blogs that gave advice.

One of the blogs had videos on YouTube that gave exercises to do.  I watched tons of these videos and practiced doing my hand exercises every day and saw some results but it wasn’t enough.  So I got back online and searching and came across a blog that had a product where you use a foot pedal as a mouse instead of a traditional mouse where you click with your index finger. I thought this would be a great help for myself so I read comments on the blog, read posts and watched an instructional video how to install the foot pedal myself and made the purchase.  After I bought the foot pedals I used them extensively all day as my mouse, which saved my hands thousands of mouse clicks during the day.  I really felt like this was helping me until guess what?  My foot started having carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms!  So I stopped using the foot pedal all together I went back online and bought some books which did not work either.  Long story short, I ended up getting surgery on both hands and I’m better now. My case in point was that I went to YouTube and a blog found some videos for how I could do something myself and in turn I ended up making purchases.  It did not happen right away, but eventually it did happen and I bought when I need the help.

Another great resource I found on this selling approach is by Jay Baer.  He runs the self-proclaimed top content marketing blog in the world and has done a lot of guest speaking on this topic.  He has a great video too where he discusses in detail numerous case studies of “youtility” based selling through social media.  Modern-day business has changed to the point where now we have all of the information we need in our pockets.  If we are at the store or shopping for a certain item online we can pull out our smart phones and begin looking for reviews on that product, look for the best options, seek live help online, etc.  So it is very important that we create trusting relationships with our clients so we become the experts in their minds that have helped them in the past so when the time comes that they do not have the expertise or resources to get something done on their own they think of your business first, or your product. The customer thinks of you first all because of your self-help video, or you answer their question on Facebook, or you responded to them on twitter when they needed your help.

How will you convert sales and create long-lasting customers with social media are your business?  Give me a shout I am interested in knowing!


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How To Remove Ripoff Report From Google Revealed!

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Remove Ripoff Report From Google


Alright so your business is listed on Ripoff Report and it clearly says they do not remove any reports whatsoever.  So you’re screwed right? –Wrong.  On Ripoffreport.com website your report is there to stay, that’s true.  But on the search engine results pages, which is what affects your business’s money & reputation… you can fix that.  What you care about is how it looks when someone searches your company’s name.  If they Google “your company name + scam” or “your company name + complaints” the slander is showing on the front page of Google.  So this is what you want to get rid of because you’ve got some control over that, not the actual RipOff Report itself.  So don’t worry… In addition, most folks don’t go to Ripoff Report website and start searching a company’s name.  But they will Google search your company’s name to see what pops up for sure.  They will search “your company name reviews” in Google.  So you should begin controlling that, which I’ll explain how.  You also have two options to remove a Ripoff Report from Google which we’ll cover in just a moment, but first you have a couple of options for dealing with the Ripoff Report company itself.  If you don’t want to deal with RipoffReport just skip past this part…  but here are your options if you want to actually deal with their company.

Dealing With Ripoff Report Directly.

  1. You can post your own rebuttal on the report.

Your rebuttal will go underneath the actual report and this will not change anything that shows up in the search engine results.  In many cases this can add fuel to the fire as you are creating more content for the search engines to pick up which could increase the rankings of your report!

  1. Join Ripoff Report “Corporate Advocacy Program ”

Basically you have to pay for this service and then the company Ripoff Report will conduct an investigation into your report and post their own findings above the original report.  With this option if the report turns out to be true about your company then Ripoff Report may say that you have worked to “resolve the report and are committed to 100% customer satisfaction” -that is only if you actually told Ripoff Report you will make that commitment.

Also they just started offering a new upgrade called the “VIP arbitration program.”  You can pay Ripoff Report another fee to have their arbitrator to contest the truth about the allegations made against you.  Arbitration program is supposed to be a little bit cheaper than the corporate advocacy program in either case you’re going to have to pay Ripoff Report.

3. Sue Ripoff Report

They are protected under the Communications Decency Act.  Ripoff Report believes it is under complete immunity from any liability and aggressively fight any lawsuits brought against them.  This would probably be the most expensive and least effective option.

Lastly, you could try suing the author of the report.

This is a waste of time because in most cases the person who wrote the report doesn’t have the financial resources to pay you a judgment in your favor anyways.  Also even if you were to win and get a court order, Ripoff Report is actually protected under that Communications Decency Act does not need to remove the report.

Best 2 Options: Remove Ripoff Report From Google

  1. Reputation Management Removal Solution.  96% of all Web surfers do not go past the first page.  So use this fact to your advantage and optimize your own online assets for the first two pages of your keyword triggers.  In other words, if you’re report has a keyword trigger of “XYZ company scam” or “XYZ company ripoff” then you are going to need to optimize some pages that show up for those keyword triggers by using those exact words to your advantage.  For instance: one method that is proven to work for this and push it down the Ripoff Report involves launching a mobile “App.”   Basically you create a story around your company that they are launching an app called the “XYZ Company Ripoff Detection App” or the “XYZ Company Complaints App” and then you launch a series of press releases, articles, social media sites and websites all using those keyword triggers.  So your press release would look something like this: The “XYZ Company Complaints App has been launched!”  Then you need to come up with a clever back story to describe how the App would work for whatever industry you’re in, be creative and think of something that is plausible.  But you say,  “Scott I’m  not in the mobile App business, I’m in the XYZ sector of whatever…”  The goal is to get the slander off of the front page of Google right?  So simply hire an app developer to build you some mobile app that appears to do what you say and make it available for download on Google play.  If you need an idea for an App that works for your industry reach out to me and I’ll help you think of one.  Launch your websites, social media profiles, syndicate press releases online, write articles about the new app… And promote it as if it were real.  –Make it a real app, it doesn’t have to be world’s greatest mobile app… You are just making the story real.  So what happens is when your potential customers start searching “XYZ company scam” or “XYZ company ripoff” they’re going to see promotions for your mobile app software to detect for ripoffs and scams.  Get it?  The drawback of this is that you have to accept some creative minutia about your company in replacement of the slander.

Why and How does it work?  Because a lot of the third-party sites that you will be creating social media profiles for, syndicating press releases on, and submitting articles on to promote your new mobile app are much more authoritative sites then Rippoff Report.  Ripoff Report’s strength is because it’s so large and has so much sontent.  But they are nothing compared to say, Twitter or Facebook.  So if you create social media profiles with the bad Keyword Triggers as the username and call it: “XYZ Company Scam Review App.”  -as your Twitter handle.  That’s going to work to outrank your Ripoff Report for that exact keyword trigger.  You follow me?  So when it is all said and done, the bad press about your company will be removed and replaced with your new “mobile application launch” and press releases surrounding promoting your new mobile app.  If anybody needs thinking of topics to use give me a shout and I’ll see if I can come up with a clever app idea for you.

  1. Have Google Delist The Ripoff Report Link From Its Index.

Right now you’re saying to yourself, “WTF?  I can just have Google remove this for me?”

Yes you can…  From the Google search index itself, yes.  But that does not mean Ripoff Report will remove it from their website.  The report will stay on their site for sure.  But Google will remove it from their search index and here are the steps to do that: remove-ripoff-report-google

1. You need to file a lawsuit against the actual person who wrote the report, if you can’t find this person then it won’t work.  But if you can find the actual author then you got a good shot.

2. The lawsuit against the original author must be for defamation, business disparagement, putting your business in a false light or some claim of that nature that is legally appropriate.  Ask your legal counsel, you will need to actually prove your case in a court of law.  You will also have to make the burden of proof that the report against you is false.  So if you go this route just be sure that you’re being honest with yourself and that you can prove you have a valid claim of defamation against your business.  Otherwise you’re just wasting your time.

3. Send court order to Google here.

One important note about this method is that it is important you are only suing the author of the Ripoff Report itself.  In other words do not sue Google.  You want Google to help you and they deal with this every day.  So make it easy on them give them the facts and a court order declaring that the offending report was false and a defamation.  It is extremely important that your court order names the exact report hyperlinks so you can send those to Google to be delisted.

In my findings, Google honors these court order requests swiftly and removes the webpage links from their search index.  Now keep in mind this is just on Google’s search engine.  You will need to send your court order to Bing and Yahoo to get off of their search engines.

What does Google charge for this?  Nothing.  At the time of writing this post there still is no fee for delisting but you will have to pay a few hundred dollars in court filing fees and attorney fees vary.

In most cases, the Ripoff Report statements of defamation against the company are very heated, emotional and false.  When the author that wrote the report is notified of your litigation with a strong defamation case they usually quickly sign off on a court declaration that their report is was false and defamatory.  There is nothing criminal about that.  This method also works on the other review sites as well such as Pissed Consumer, Scam.com, Complaints board.

Do I really need a court order?  Yes.  My findings show Google will not respond unless there is a court order.  And do not try to fake the court order with photoshop… That would be bad.  You see, Google does not want to get involved in these kind of issues and wants to stay neutral.  They also do not want to violate anybody’s trust and adjust their search engine results based upon someone’s opinion as to what defamation is.  So a court order makes it easy for them to simply delist the web link and move on.


And there you have it.  Two ways for how to remove a ripoff report from Google.  Let me know how it goes and good luck!


How do you feel about complaint sites like Ripoffreport?



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How to fix Bad apartment reviews

Apartment Reputation Management System Revealed

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This year Property Management Groups have started taking a real look into how their apartments’ bad online reputations are affecting their bottom line and impacting occupancy, rightfully so.  Below is a solution to start fixing your apartment ratings.


A recent Nielson Consumer Study shows *nearly 70% of your potential customers are consulting online reviews and ratings before making a purchase decision and 92% of those surveyed said they have changed their minds due to bad reviews.

By now all of us have relied on reviews we see online at one time or another for some product, service, event, etc.  Let me rephrase that… all of have been forced to look at reviews at one time or another for some product, service, event, etc.. How can we not?  Every website has reviews pushed right in our faces.  It has become commonplace.

These days, everyone has a smart phone too and they surf the web Googling “apartments + city name.”  Within seconds we see reviews next to every apartments name in any city across the globe on our smart phones. It’s all pretty cool I guess. So is this online review thing just a fad or will it go away?  Right now, all indicators are suggesting these review site systems are here to stay and growing more popular.

So as a landlord or property management group why should you care about these reviews?

Do the math: Losing just 1 tenant lease agreement/month due to your bad reviews at a missed rental rate of $600/month equals a Gross Revenue Loss of reputation-losing-money$46,800 in the first year  all from losing just one tenant per month due to bad reviews at one property.  It’s not uncommon for some property management groups with large portfolios to realize total revenue losses in the $ millions when Googling all their properties to see which ones have a majority of bad online reviews.  In this post we will show you how you can make an educated inference for how many potential customers are passing your property by and becoming missed opportunities.  I’ll also show you how you can fix your online reputation for your properties moving forward and actually start controlling it.


Getting started: First thing I like to do is get a clear image of the big picture.  this isn’t where we fix anything yet… we are just getting an idea of the possible loss in revenue.

1)      How many of all your properties have a majority vote by the people as a “bad place to stay?”  If that seems like too much work for your in-house team to start Googling all of your properties then start with one of your really bad ones.

2)      Get a probability of how many people are searching online for apartments in that city where your bad reputation property is located.  Ideally, you can go into your Google + page account and quickly check out your impressions in analytics, or web stats. Google has a “keyword planner” tool in adwords that can give search volume too.  There are better analytics tools out there but the keyword planner tool is free and will give you a quick estimate as to the search volume per city.  Type in your keyword variations + city name and Bam!  Add up the search volumes for each keyword variation and you will discover roughly how many people are searching your apartment name and apartments in that city per month according to Google.

3)      Once you know that level of information you can start making some conservative estimates as to how many passerby’s there might be.  Keep in mind, there is not going to be a 100% accurate number for how many tenants are being scared away but we want to get an idea right?  So we need to use some standard web surfing/conversion statistics, along with some recent research consumer statistics and put together a formula.  There was a 2012 Nielson survey and The Local Consumer Review Survey that we can use for our formula and it gives great insight to consumer behavior when they see good and bad reviews.  According to Nielsen, 70% of the respondents rated reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising besides word-of-mouth.  The other 30% said they don’t care.  58% of respondents for the Local Consumer Review Survey said they trusted business by positive reviews online.  And so the inverse of that is: 42% of consumer respondents did not trust/passed on a business with a majority vote of bad reviews. Make sense?  Our stats won’t be 100% accurate, that’s impossible, but it will give us a good, safe estimate of how many potential tenants we’re losing opportunities on. Based on this information we can come up with a very simple formula and calculate our “passers-by” if we want to.

4)      Use Formula: A typical web conversion to get a click or call from qualified traffic is 1 to 3%.  Let’s keep this simple and just say a 1% success rate for easy math.  So our formula for calculating “passers-by” in lost revenue looks like this:

“For every 1000 impressions, according to Nielsen’s survey statistic 70% of those people will highly trust our online reviews, 42% of those people will not trust businesses with a majority vote of bad reviews and be a missed opportunity.  1% of our prospect pool will still convert to a phone call or come into the office.”

For example we can say out of 1000 potential customers surfing the web this month for “Property X” in “City Y” 700 surfers (70%) will pay attention/check our reviews and 42% of those 700 surfers will pass us by if they see we got a majority vote of bad review (294 surfers lost).  According to the Neilsen survey 30% of those 1000 surfers don’t check consumer reviews… so we have a given 300 prospects already.  But because we have a bad reputation property our bad reviews shrank our prospect pool by 30% so we now got a total of  406 + 300 = 706 possible prospects for our “Property X in City Y.”  1% of those 706 possible prospects should convert to a phone call or come into the office… that leaves us with seven prospects.  But the flip side to this is if our property showed as a good reputation property online what would this do for buyer confidence?  Would seem mostly positive reviews sway our potential customers into buying more easily?  YES… According to The Local Consumer Review Survey 58% said they trust the business that has positive reviews.  So in turn, you should see closing percentages go up or properties that show a clear “good reputation.”

I think this seems a logical and safe way to calculate “passers-by” because we’re using conservative web conversion statistics and analytics we have available to us and not simply pulling numbers out of thin air.  I’m interested to read others’ insights too.

All right, so how do we actually begin fixing the property’s bad online reputation?

Step 1: Identify all keyword triggers showing bad reputation. (Ex. Apartment + city name, Apartment name reviews, Apart name ratings, etc.”

Step 2: Optimize your own online Assets for those keyword triggers.  Create your own Review site for the apartment, Social Media Profiles, Press Releases, Articles on the first two pages of search results. Push down those bad review sites on your own keywords. Take back your good name!

Step 3: Initiate feed back from your tenants using postcards, emails. Direct the flow of feedback where you want it to go.  No more defense, time to play offense!  New feedback gets directed to your own review site and good feedback is targeted virally to fix bad ratings on the worst rating sites.

Step 4: Monitor your feedback, have management handle bad feedback submitted on your own review site.

Step 5: Refine as needed.  Continue to optimize.

The solution is both online and off-line.  The main idea is we want to start controlling the first two pages of search results when someone is Googleing your property name.  There are tons of review sites like ApartmentRatings.com, for example, that might show a majority vote of bad reviews on your property.  We need to push those type of sites down on the search engine listings using organic search engine optimization.  To do that we can create social media profiles with the apartment name, a blog, our own review site, put press releases, articles, etc… to take up the first two pages of search results.  But that is only part of it… New reviews are going to keep showing up right?  We need to control that.  So how do we control reviews?  We initiate the feedback request.  We need to start influencing when and how the reviews are made by tenants… we want to control the flow and direction of where the reviews are going.  To do that, we begin initiating reviews from the tenants.  We can send them postcards, e-mails, call them up.  There are several ways but postcards and e-mails seem to do the trick and will get a response if worded correctly. Below is an example for a postcard an e-mail you can use in-house.


When you send out postcards and e-mails for a response do an easy QR code scanner option and direct them with a review link where you want them to go… like your own review site.   The basic idea is we want the tenant to post their bad review on our own site we can control so our management knows about it and can deal with it first before the tenant decides to post it publically on a review site like ApartmentRatings or Google +.  but if the tenant chooses to leave a good review we want the exact opposite.  We don’t want positive reviews contained on our own review website, we want those to go viral on the top rating sites and show up naturally on Google+, ApartmentRatings.com, CitySearch, etc… We want to target the good reviews to go to our sites where we have a bad reputation so the bad reviews can start being pushed down.  Make sense?

So bad reviews get directed to management on your own review site, good reviews go public to repair the bad reputation on other rating sites Google+, ApartmentRatings.com, CitySearch, etc… 

You should have an organic system in place to generate positive reviews and control the flow of bad reviews as well as optimize what is seen on the first two pages of search results for your bad reputation property.  Something I do highly recommend is you make your own property review site show on the first page of Google and includes the “star ratings” in the search results… this is done in the code.  Ask a web developer to do this for sure.  This way it looks very official and authentic.


apartment reputation management


So how long does it take to see the results?  Search engine optimization could take several months, depending on your competition maybe a little more if you’re in a big metropolis.  Don’t expect a huge response from your postcards and e-mails, maybe you can get up to 5% to respond out of 1000 postcards, so it’s good to do emails too.  It’s cheap and easy to do every few months plus you are training your tenants when and where to complain/leave feedback… you are not stuck playing only defense and finding the bad press later. You can expect better results managing their feedback for sure and the tenants will appreciate that you’re taking an interest in their opinion.   As time goes by they’ll be more receptive and you’ll generate positive reviews.

There you have it, a reputation management solution for apartments and property management groups.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found it educational and helpful.

So What do you think?  Will you start employing a reputation management system of your own?


by Scott Andreasen.

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