21 replies
Hey guys I have an offline client (hotel) and they want to be number one in google places for "their town hotels" I noticed the people above them have a lot more reviews is there a safe way to buy reviews or generate more? Maybe even a loophole to get ahead of the competition. Maybe a place to buy citations also as they will not appear directly on the google + page so no chance of appearing fake I was already thinking of just ranking them above the Places box as the first place is a tripadvisor internal page with blog network Backlinks.

Thanks
Mario
#google #places #seo
  • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
    Originally Posted by mariocimmino View Post

    Hey guys I have an offline client (hotel) and they want to be number one in google places for "their town hotels" I noticed the people above them have a lot more reviews is there a safe way to buy reviews or generate more? Maybe even a loophole to get ahead of the competition. Maybe a place to buy citations also as they will not appear directly on the google + page so no chance of appearing fake I was already thinking of just ranking them above the Places box as the first place is a tripadvisor internal page with blog network Backlinks.

    Thanks
    Mario
    The last time you posted, you asked a question. You got great feedback and you settled on figuring out a "short cut."

    This question is also laced with; "how do I short cut my clients' way to success."

    Invest HEAVILY in your capacity to deliver real value - this can just be time, and you will be fine!
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  • Profile picture of the author Cobaki
    There are no shortcuts to success and even if you do it illegally, even if there are those who got away with it for a long time, you may not be as lucky and if Google finds out what you’ve been doing, it’s the end of your website. This is a risk you can never afford so just do it the traditional and real way.
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    • Profile picture of the author angshuy2k
      It might be really good if, your client provides and incentive to customers to provide real reviews about their services and hotel. That is one way will be legitimate and actual good reviews and honest which will not only make the hotel get credibility as well as it will let them grow and improve their services and system.
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      • Profile picture of the author jalynn
        I agree that you should figure out a great incentive (such as a discount on certain day of the week) for the client to offer customers.

        With a client such as a hotel, there could be many things to offer. It doesn't have to be a discount on the night's accommodations. It could be a percentage off on room-service, or a special "massage offer" discount.

        It depends on how exclusive the hotel is - and their budget for such allowances. This example was just to demonstrate what could be done.

        Get creative - you'll come up with something.
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      • Originally Posted by angshuy2k View Post

        It might be really good if, your client provides and incentive to customers to provide real reviews about their services and hotel. That is one way will be legitimate and actual good reviews and honest which will not only make the hotel get credibility as well as it will let them grow and improve their services and system.
        That's actually really bad advice. It's against the Google guidelines to offer incentives for reviews and can end up getting ALL your client's reviews blocked, even legit ones. Several other aggressive review strategies can get you in trouble as well.

        The good news for you is, reviews don't filter into the ranking as much as you think in the new blended algo. Neither do citations. If hotels above them have more reviews, it is more likely a variety of other factors.

        Providing the Place page is optimized right and there are no violations there - the biggest ranking factors in local now, with the blended algo are organic ranking factors. If the client is not ranking well I'd 1st do a Places audit to be sure no problems there, then an on-site SEO audit. On-site improvements, if you understand how the local algo works, can move the needle the most.

        Hope this helps and best of luck!
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        • Profile picture of the author bawls
          Originally Posted by Catalyst eMarketing View Post

          That's actually really bad advice. It's against the Google guidelines to offer incentives for reviews and can end up getting ALL your client's reviews blocked, even legit ones. Several other aggressive review strategies can get you in trouble as well.

          The good news for you is, reviews don't filter into the ranking as much as you think in the new blended algo. Neither do citations. If hotels above them have more reviews, it is more likely a variety of other factors.

          Providing the Place page is optimized right and there are no violations there - the biggest ranking factors in local now, with the blended algo are organic ranking factors. If the client is not ranking well I'd 1st do a Places audit to be sure no problems there, then an on-site SEO audit. On-site improvements, if you understand how the local algo works, can move the needle the most.

          Hope this helps and best of luck!
          The centernoid seems to still be a huge factor...though I think its a bad metric for Google to rank places in such a way, still seems to hold true.
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          • Originally Posted by bawls View Post

            The centernoid seems to still be a huge factor...though I think its a bad metric for Google to rank places in such a way, still seems to hold true.
            Not so much, not in the listings I track when I work on reverse engineering the algo.

            For instance look at Seattle Chiropractor. A, B, C are all the furthest from city center.
            D, E, F, G are near downtown.

            I also have 2 Dentists in particular who rank A. They are both the farthest from city center you can get. One gets 1/2 of his patients from the next state because he's so far south he's almost IN the next state. The other is so far north in a big spread out metro, he's way up there by himself and almost at the city limits. (And I don't do anything black hat. Just good Local SEO and Local Hooks - all the totally white hat stuff I teach.)

            I'm wondering if you are looking at some results that are the "old" Places algo? Because with that algo the old place factors like proximity and # of citations are still the predominant factors.
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            • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
              Originally Posted by Catalyst eMarketing View Post

              Not so much, not in the listings I track when I work on reverse engineering the algo.

              For instance look at Seattle Chiropractor. A, B, C are all the furthest from city center.
              D, E, F, G are near downtown.
              It depends where you're checking from. I just checked form Bellevue, WA which across the lake from Seattle. B and C are in downtown and A is north of downtown a little further away, but I know that chiro was always very high, usually on the top.

              Just reporting...
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              • Good point except I've searched with location set to various cities. Whatever city I had set up and I usually see the same rank regardless. (When searching City KW, but not when searching KW only.)

                But ya if you are talking Fremont. They were #1 for a LONG time and were the furthest from city center for a long time. Then something changed I think with the algo and EastLake leap frogged them and took the A spot, and they are almost as far from downtown.

                Above is according to what I'm seeing and I'm in SoCal with location currently set to Virginia Beach and logged in w FF. So I just checked IE NOT logged in with location currently set for Alpharetta Ga and same results. But if you are saying you are actually located in Bellevue that could make a difference. Of course then again personalization or sitting on different data centers could account for the difference.
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        • Profile picture of the author TheCG
          Originally Posted by Catalyst eMarketing View Post

          If the client is not ranking well I'd 1st do a Places audit to be sure no problems there, then an on-site SEO audit.
          I have a checklist for a Places audit but with all the changes of late, I am sure it is most likely not relevant now.

          Any idea on where I could find a recent audit checklist?
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          • Originally Posted by TheCG View Post

            I have a checklist for a Places audit but with all the changes of late, I am sure it is most likely not relevant now.

            Any idea on where I could find a recent audit checklist?
            I do them constantly, especially when I do consulting for rank tracking troubleshooting for consultants that have unexplained rank drops they can't figure out - but it's all in my head and based on the situation, I sort of do it intuitively and can't say I have a routine system per se.

            HOWEVER that gave me a great idea for a new tool or at least a detailed post I could do at my forum. We have several posts in the Consultant's Corner that are collaborative brainstorming where someone starts with their list or a tool they build for their own use, then everyone shares their best ideas.

            For instance we have one post about "Local SEO - New Client Questionnaire to Download and Use" where Phil shared his Questionnaire and then others added to and expanded on it.

            So this is something I may work on creating. I've recently shared at my place some organic SEO audit recommendations and much if it relates, I'd just need to customize and add all the local stuff.

            I've also wanted to force myself to start doing videos and it would make a great video if I took a "problem child" and analyzed it. Food for thought and thanks for the ideas!
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  • Profile picture of the author luxl85
    kijiji.com or craglist.com local site you can create a site like this Or you can join in google place merchant.
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  • Listen to the advice about delivering quality services, not quick fixes.

    There are a lot of customers who will pay good money for quality marketing.

    Internet Marketing Quick-fixes will leave you and your clients in the cold when google figures out your techniques and push your results down the SERP. And, Google has already left a whole bunch of unethical internet marketers behind; loosing everything they built.
    ....................

    Google+ & Google maps are excellent for ranking local business; Google now factors in both SEO (back links) and Google+ in the SERP.

    Thus to out rank the competition do a competitive SEO research and find out what it will take to out rank them.

    Google+ will change/rotate the local results from time to time, thus you cannot determine top ranking continuously.
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  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    Yes, the data center is probably more important than what city you can set up in your browser. Do you know how cellphones are affected? Would that be a proximity to the nearest tower on the network?
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  • As you know Google is very stringent when it comes to their terms and conditions and that is the main reason behind its success. Buying reviews could leave you in danger as your reviewers should know what to write and how to make it look genuine at least. That way, your page could compete with the other top pages. But, change is the only constant in SEO and it depends on numerous other factors as well
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  • Profile picture of the author TheCG
    Videos would be awesome!

    Looking forward to seeing them!

    Thanks..
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    • Profile picture of the author TheCG
      Hi Linda,

      Any more thought on the videos?
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      • Originally Posted by TheCG View Post

        Hi Linda,

        Any more thought on the videos?
        Pfttt! :rolleyes: I'm so swamped with the "InsideLocal" webinar series, the local search forum and all the consulting I'm doing to help other consultants I can't even breathe.

        Don't know what I was thinking when I said that. I mean, it's a great idea and I'd love to but just buried now that these webinars are in full swing.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Do they consistently ask for reviews?

    Originally Posted by mariocimmino View Post

    Hey guys I have an offline client (hotel) and they want to be number one in google places for "their town hotels" I noticed the people above them have a lot more reviews is there a safe way to buy reviews or generate more? Maybe even a loophole to get ahead of the competition. Maybe a place to buy citations also as they will not appear directly on the google + page so no chance of appearing fake I was already thinking of just ranking them above the Places box as the first place is a tripadvisor internal page with blog network Backlinks.

    Thanks
    Mario
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    I manage a hotel and have turned it around in the past year and a half.

    I agree that it is a bad practice to ask for incentivized reviews. The hotel just needs to be doing a good job and ask for reviews and respond professionally to all reviews, good or bad. That reveals to potential guests how they will be treated and possibly gives potential guests the info they need to dismiss the negative reviews. It is also a chance for the hotel to educate guests about how they operate and what their amenities are...

    TripAdvisor also does not encourage incentivized reviews.

    They just need to remind customers to review. TripAdvisor has a free download they can print off and hand out to guests or leave laying around in strategic places.

    Before encouraging reviews, they need to have their act together and care about the customer experience and provide a good customer experience.

    Back to TripAdvisor, as an example, they have a ranking system. So, if a hotel gets more reviews and a higher percentage of guests recommend the hotel, then that hotel will climb up the ranking numbers on the TripAdvisor page for that city.

    TripAdvisor is also very hard to fool. They will track IP addresses and so on to prevent false reviews done on behalf of the hotel, or by competitors of that hotel. I have not been concerned with doing fraudulent reviews, but I think TripAdvisor will delist if hotel does fraudulent reviews.

    If they are doing a good job, ask for reviews, do best practices SEO, then they will naturally get higher rankings.

    They definitely need to pay attention to getting found on the internet by having a mobile website and using the online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Hotels.com, Expedia.com, Booking.com, and Priceline.com. All those OTAs allow for reviews, but only from customers who actually booked through them.

    We have had customers make an online reservation through their favorite OTA while in our parking lot. Just habits that people get into.

    We have also had customers come in for a quote on rates, and then go back to their car for several minutes while they check reviews and competition.

    Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
      Originally Posted by bizgrower View Post

      ....Before encouraging reviews, they need to have their act together and care about the customer experience and provide a good customer experience....
      Dan
      This is how you create the incentive for customers to leave reviews.

      Writing a long report as we speak about this whole topic.

      Businesses need to have a reputation mindset that permeates the whole company from the CEO/Owner down to the stock boy.

      Every single personal interaction needs to be centered around the core values which should be clearly communicated in the company mission statement/vision.

      The above is:
      #1 How you find the right employees.
      #2. How you get positive reviews.

      All the other stuff about SEO is superfluous because if you can change the company's mindset about reviews and reputation they'll come naturally and when those positive reviews start hitting the directory sites the SEO reward will start to come naturally.
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