search marketing

This is a guest post by Susan Lahey of Fishpond Content.

Surprise, baby

Susan Lahey got a surprise when she saw how Google interpreted her About Page. Photo by mokra

Anybody who’s installed Google Analytics on his website can tout all the cool insights it provides: Who visited your site and how they wound up there; which pages they lingered on and which ones send them packing. It’s almost voyeuristic. Every morning with my coffee I troll my email, social media sites, and my Google Analytics religiously.

But yesterday I discovered another really crucial aspect of Google Analytics: It can tell you if net surfers think you’re a porn site.

It started like this: You know how you’re supposed to make your personality really clear in your content; how it’s important to brand yourself thoroughly, differentiate yourself and use strong language?

In the spirit of thorough branding, I wrote on my About page that, because I was trained as a journalist, I am really anal about deadlines, research, accuracy and making sure the content is sexy enough to land on the front page.

Potent language, right? It says I’m a professional and I write content people are almost irresistibly drawn to.

Then, I was doing my daily Google Analytics check to see where my content was performing well and where it could be strengthened, I clicked the link that shows what keywords people were using to find my site.

Guess which ones? Anal and sexy, and a few other, similar combinations.

Not exactly the branding message I was aiming for. Not really targeting the customer stream I was hoping for either. I’m sure the porn surfers were even more disappointed than I was.

So I rewrote my About page. But because I abhor boring content, I refused to make it milquetoast just to avoid a similar incident. Wonder what they’ll do with the word “badass?”

Editor’s Note: I’ll watch this page to see if I start getting the “wrong kind” of traffic.

Photo by mokra

PPC Help: Improving your Landing Page | Trada

Sep 28, 2011 08:39 pm
I’ll say it again: If your SEM company isn’t INSISTING on helping you with landing pages; if they are satisfied to pick any page on your site as a destination for your expensive PPC marketing; then you are being taken to the cleaners.
Most of what you need to know is right here in this article. Contact me if you still have questions.
Tags: PPC help landing page landing pages
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How To Implement Rel=Author

Sep 28, 2011 10:36 am
Google+ is affecting search rankings for authors on the web, so we need to make sure we’re playing the game. This article from @AjKohn of tells us how to establish ourselves as the masters of our content in the eyes of Google using the “rel” attribute in our links.
Tags: google seo rel=author google+ author
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Fiber One Sparks Up Boomer Love With Cheech and Chong | ClickZ

Sep 26, 2011 05:35 pm
It is always tough to market to a specific target. Here Fiber One is clearly targeting boomers, and a particular brand of boomer. No doubt this will hurt their sales to conservative families. There will be some backlash. But, we all must be creating content for more and more specific markets, and walking away from the others if we’re going to grow our businesses. Hat tip to Fiber One: may your bravery be rewarded with sales and market share.
Tags: content targeting Boomer Fiber
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Language, context and conversions: thoughtful prose from the pros | SEO Copywriting

Sep 26, 2011 03:19 pm
“The Internet isn’t passive. When you search online, you plan to do something:  buy, learn, play, find.  As soon as you go to Google, Yahoo or Bing, you’re on the hunt.”
There are those among us who have a true command of words and their use. I marvel at them. It is a power that is critical to persuasion, conversion and selling. Gabriella Sannino clearly sees it as a power to help people solve their problems. What better brand experience can you deliver than to help someone find answers to their questions?
Tags: writing copy seo conversion
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The common wisdom among social media marketers is “put links to your social media everywhere.” The idea is that you should build as big a social media “tribe” as possible.
As it turns out, this isn’t always a good plan.
If you’re paying for traffic to your Web site – and what traffic doesn’t require some cash, blood, sweat or tears to earn – then why would you send it off to Facebook or YouTube or LinkedIn to disappear forever?
You wouldn’t. But you might be.
In my Search Engine Land article How Mark Zuckerberg Stole Your Search Traffic & What To Do About It, I show you how your social media advertisements may be costing you conversions.
I also show you how to use social media in a conversion-safe way.
Read the entire article
Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist teaches businesses of all sizes how to get more leads and sales from the traffic coming to their Web site.
Contact Brian Massey

Every site has one visitor in common: Googlebot. Googlebot is an unusual visitor that few of us understand. Understand the persona profile of Googlebot and use it to your advantage.

If you follow The Conversion Scientist, you know that a failure to understand your visitor is conversion suicide.

So how do we get copywriters, designers, developers and marketers to configure their site for this powerful king-maker visitor? The same way we do this for our human visitors: We personify them.

Building Empathy For Googlebot

Personas are a challenging topic. Personas are, well, personal to every business. You can’t cheat off of anyone else’s paper when putting them together. Whether you’re going to spend 30 minutes dashing off what you know about your online visitors or invest in a full workup to hack your company’s intelligence, you have to do the work. You can’t borrow from someone else’s case study.

There is one exception, and this visitor may be on your site as you read this.

I’m going to use a persona to help you relate to Googlebot. All of the components are here.

Building empathy for Googlebot.

Building empathy for Googlebot.

Note: I’m sure those of you experienced in SEO could add to this persona. Please do so in the comments.

My Search Engine Land column “Building Empathy for Googlebot” this month is a persona profile of Googlebot, and any site should be able to use this to their advantage.

Put it somewhere everyone on the Web team can see it; print posters, put it up on Basecamp, add it to your war room.

It should go right next to your other personas. Don’t have any? Contact us and we’ll help you understand if personas will move your online business forward.

Here’s an excerpt:


Name: Googlebot

Education: Ph.D. in Kindergarten

Gender: Male. Definitely male.


While Googlebot is one of the most pervasive presences on the Internet, little is known about him. It is widely believed that he has an undiagnosed combination of savant syndrome and autistic disorder.

This condition is marked by super-human analytical powers combined with an inability to connect basic concepts or understand simple social norms. Googlebot does not have a sense of humor.

Another reason for this diagnosis is Googlebot’s amazing but selective memory. Googlebot has an unwavering fascination with words and an uncanny ability to remember the links that connect the Internet’s far flung pages.

It is widely believed that Googlebot is also good at counting large sums of money.

Googlebot can identify and recall a seemingly unlimited number of images and videos, but has no understanding of their meaning.

Mode Of Persuasion: Methodical

Googlebot analyzes information slowly and logically. Methodical visitors need lots of detailed information.

Visitor Commentary

These are Googlebot’s needs in his own words:

I’m an excellent surfer. I come to your site on Tuesday… definitely Tuesday afternoon. I read your pages. I see your words. That tells me everything about you. You use some words over and over and I can tell what you talk about. Of course there are the meta tags. Descriptions, descriptions are good; and the page title. Headings have words and I like to count the words in headings and see if they are in other places on your site too.

Links. I like links, definitely. Link text has words and I like to compare them, compare them to the other words in the other places. The link text words tell me about the place they link to. Must … resist … urge … to … follow … until … done … here.

Of course, you have links back to your site, 497 links — definitely 497 – and the words on those links – they call it anchor text, but anchors are on ships and ships float on water and I don’t see many sites about ships and water — and I can compare those link words to the words in the other places on your site.

I’m an excellent surfer, you know.

Uh-oh. Your site doesn’t change much. 99.93% of text is the same as last time I visited, 99.93%, definitely 99.93.

Uh-oh. Images. Video. Strange blobs of pixels. Of course, I can’t see them, but sometimes they have words, alt text words and then I know everything about them and I can compare those words to the other words on the site.

Sometimes people try to trick me with invisible text or wrong keywords meta tags or funny links from sites with very different words, and then I stop visiting and stop counting words and stop tracking links and then the site disappears since I don’t like lying liars.

Of course, I’m an excellent surfer.

Questions To Be Answered

What questions Googlebot is trying to answer on your site.

  • Which pages to index (sitemap.xml)
  • Which pages to skip (robots.txt)
  • Primary domain (canonical info)
  • Words that define each page site (title tag, description meta tag, keyword meta tag)
  • Words that readers can see: Heading tags, body copy
  • Words that readers cannot see: Image alt text and title text
  • Links to other sites
  • Links from other sites telling Googlebot what the site is about

Calls To Action

This is how we ask Googlebot to take action. For Googlebot, a “conversion” can be defined as getting a page on our site indexed in the Google database.

Sitemap.xml tells Googlebot which pages to index and how to prioritize them.

Internal links with keywords in the anchor text helps Googlebot find pages and associate words with those pages.

Recommended Strategies on Converting the Toughest Visitor of All

  • Do not attempt to sell Googlebot anything or invite him to join your email list.
  • Change content frequently. Googlebot loves blogs.
  • Don’t attempt to contact Googlebot or Google support.
  • Use video. Googlebot seems to like video, even though he can’t understand it.
  • Create content that makes other sites link to you.
  • Link to sites that have words similar to yours.
  • Put transcripts of videos on the page.

Is All Of This Necessary?

While it may seem unnecessary to experienced SEOs to have a persona for Googlebot, think of the copywriters who must write for the site, but don’t have SEO experience. Think of the designers that may not understand the search implications of their media choices. Think of the executives who don’t understand why they should invest in SEO.

All of these people will gain a better understanding of Googlebot and the challenges we face when designing a site for him (or her).

Now think about the human visitors to the site. How would a few personas help everyone communicate with real people?

As it turns out, personas help a lot.

For more on user personas.

Brian Massey




Originally published on Search Engine Land.

Here is a guide to how your blog can draw qualified traffic to your website via search, social media and email.

Does your blog squirt or erupt?

I got some inspiration from an unlikely place for my column on content marketing: the American Museum of Natural History in New York I was drawn there because I thought they were having an exhibit all about me. It turns out that the exhibit was called “Introducing the Brain,” not “Introducing Brian.” The exhibit did not have anything to say on what part of the brain causes dyslexia.

But, scientists love museums, and so I looked around. There was an entire room dedicated to the earth, from it’s heat-formed rocks to it’s carbon-choked atmosphere.

My next thought was “this is just like content marketing.” I’m sure you would have had the same thought. If you didn’t, you’ll soon understand.

Read my complete thoughts on the matter over at ClickZ to understand how a blog-cano can generate copious amounts of search, social media and email goodness for your business.

What does a geologist know about online marketing? Probably not much, but a geologist can give us a handy model for a content marketing strategy that is easy to implement and potentially explosive.

The Geology of a Content Marketing Strategy: How is a Blog Like a Volcano?

How is a Blog Like a Volcano?

How a Blog Is Like a Volcano

At the most basic level, a blog spews content like a volcano spews lava. The content typically emerges in pyroclastic flows fed from a content magma chamber deep inside.

It is the release of this magma – the content – that determines the pace at which the mountain grows. A mountain with a large magma chamber can be expected to erupt more frequently and more violently.

Like a blog, our volcanic mountain becomes more visible as it rises higher and higher into the top levels of the atmosphere. It can become visible very quickly to nearby villages, executive offices in neighboring cities…and to search engines.

Clearly, we can learn a few lessons from our geological friends. My question is, “How can we get our blog-cano to erupt more frequently and spread our content as far as possible?”

Have a Big Magma Chamber

You’ve got to have a plan for a steady flow of content. Your blog-cano is the heart of your content marketing strategy and can power your social marketing strategy, lead generation strategy, and search engine optimization.

The beauty of blogging is that it’s a more casual medium. Your blog content doesn’t have to be bibliographed articles. It doesn’t require your subject matter experts to be writing constantly. In fact, blog content can come from many sources: presentations, case studies, and even geology textbooks. Much blogging is simply commenting on others’ writing, which we call “curating content” for your audience.

I’m not saying that your posts don’t have to be valuable. Lava must be hot to flow. But, it must flow constantly or your blog-cano won’t grow fast enough and you won’t be able to implement some of the more explosive strategies I discuss here.

Bringing Tourists to the Slope of Mount Blogitubo

All a blog is really going to get you is an RSS feed. While your RSS feed is going to power some very helpful strategies, there aren’t going to be a lot of people reading your posts via feed reader.

Search engines, however, love blogs.

With a little geologic surveying, we can help the search engines find our naturally keyword-rich content. They will, in turn, send us tourists.

Choose a blogging platform that is search-engine friendly. Don’t just use the content management system that your corporate site is built on.

Definitely put your blog on the same domain as your corporate website so both benefit from the search engine “juice” you create.

If you have the resources, you can identify your most valuable keywords and purposefully incorporate them into your blog posts and titles. Search ClickZ for search engine optimization best practices.

Eruptions Are Worth Spreading

With a little technology, you can rain content down on people far and wide. Your Mount Blogsuveous is capable of powering engaging social media outreach, drawing qualified traffic, and growing your social networks. This can be largely automated with services like and Twitterfeed. Tools like HootSuite and Spredfast will help you share your content on the most popular social networks. (Disclosure: Spredfast provides its service to the author at no charge.)

Because these posts, tweets, and status updates contain a link back to your content, you can actually measure the clicks and conversions generated by your social media outreach, and this can justify production of more magma.

Spreading the Explosive Energy of Your Blogatoa

Tourists coming from social media and search are nice, but they always go back home. What if they could take a piece of the mountain home with them?

It turns out that well-qualified tourists will want to continue to receive your blava (blog-lava) and you can easily deliver that with e-mail. Ask visitors to give you an e-mail address and you can automatically power an e-mail newsletter with remarkable frequency.

Here is where your RSS feed really comes in handy. There are services that will monitor your blog for the new posts arising from your blogma (blog-magma) chamber. On a set schedule, these services will pull the content from the feed, wrap it in a nice template, and send it to your list by e-mail.

Ask your e-mail service provider (ESP) if they have an RSS-to-e-mail service. MailChimp andAWeber provide such a service. Consider FeedBurner or FeedBlitz if your ESP can’t help.

This strategy is great for considered purchases or any product or service in which the need is unpredictable. It keeps you front-and-center when it’s time for the tourists to pick their next destination.

Flow Over to Your Corporate Website

The final place on which you can rain your explosive content is on the corporate website. These sites are typically designed like a brochure, written in a “me,” “we,” and “us” style.

Blava content is generally more educational, informational, and entertaining. It’s created for the reader, and will really grab the attention of someone who is early in their decision-making process.

There are a variety of widgets available to display blog titles on your corporate site, and visitors will find this content more compelling than your recent press releases. Make sure that your blog gives them an obvious way to get back to the corporate site.

The Center of a Hub

Once these parts are in place, our blog-cano has become the center of a powerful, largely automated hub of influence. However, the system is only as powerful as our blog content. Post frequency is the best predictor of blog readership growth that I’ve seen. You should post at least once per week, in my opinion.

Remember that your editorial calendar is your magma chamber, the source of all blog-cano power. Find the resources to post helpful content frequently and you will empower search, social media, and e-mail to drive more business to your door.

Brian Volcano


The basic Conversion Rate equation is online sales or leads divided by traffic.

When you get a lot of bad traffic, your conversion rate drops, as would be expected. However, if you get traffic that is well qualified, you generate more sales, more leads for less effort.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of telling the search engines what your Web site is about, so that people who are looking for things you offer find you (and everyone else goes somewhere else). There are few online marketing strategies that deliver such highly qualified traffic over long periods of time with no advertising buy.

Carolyn Shelby took PubCon Masters Training attendees through the basics of SEO. She is one of the most respected speakers at PubCon, and if you get a chance to see her, I strongly recommend you sit in. She is the source for Chicago SEO.

Here are my notes from her presentation captured using Instagraph Infograph technology.

SEO 101-Carolyn Shelby at PubCon 1 of 3
SEO 101-Carolyn Shelby at PubCon 2 of 3

SEO 101-Carolyn Shelby at PubCon 3 of 3

Your Google Reputation Stinks and other Revelations

Here are my notes from Andy Beal’s excellent PubCon Masters Group Training on reputation management.

You can see Andy as well as an incredible lineup of talent at the PubCon Las Vegas Masters Group Training, November 8.

Reputation Management Infographic

Andy Beal: Your Google Reputation Stinks Infographic.

Andy Beal: Your Google Reputation Stinks Infographic.

Andy Beal Reputation Management Favorite Excerpts

Six key tips from Andy:

  1. Rethink your keywords.
  2. Be spider friendly.
  3. Me, myself and we: Avoid third party copy.
  4. Use good anchor text.
  5. Build your super brand.
  6. We’re going to make people love your business through your Web site at Conversion Sciences.

You should be in the #1 position for your brand. No one should be able to knock you off.

When Under Attack

Be sure to get an early alert. Do a Google audit monthly.

  1. Look beyond the top 10 for rising threats. Add “&num=100” to your search URL to see top 100 results.
  2. DON’T PANIC. Bad press may fade quickly.
  3. Consider asking author to remove negative article or post. A legal threat may be used.
  4. Be benevolent. Choose the lesser of two evils.
  5. Look for legal loopholes. Is the publication violating Adsense T&Cs of they use Adsense? Is there defamation?
  6. Cease and desist letters go a long way.
  7. If all else fails, sue the bastards.

Protect your online reputation.

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

I love to watch Social Media Ninja Giovanni Gallucci present. He imparted a great deal of info on the intersection of social media and search to the audience at the Innotech PDX 2010 eMarketing Summit last week.

If you weren’t there, you can enjoy it through the lense of my pen.

Here is the visual live blog from that presentation.

For more of Gio, visit for hours of good stuff from the Social Media Ninja.

Visual Live Blog Innotech Portland -Giovanni Gallucci

Notes from Giovanni Gallucci Presentation on Social Media Part 1 of 2


Click to Enlarge Part 1

social media Portland -Giovanni Gallucci

Notes from Giovanni Gallucci presentation on Social Media Part 2 of 2

Click to Enlarge Part 2

We’re going to make people love your business through your Web site at The Conversion Scientist. There is plenty you can do to increase online sales conversions, and we share it all. Learn what that you can do to convert more of your visitors into leads and sales.

You wouldn’t play tennis without a racquet, would you?

The machine hurtled fuzzy green balls at me with a “fwoom, fwoom” sound every 10 seconds or so. I dodged most of them, but  occasionally got pegged in the chest, stomach, or some place worse.

“Fwoom, fwoom.” I was on the court. I was dressed in snazzy tennis gear worthy of Wimbledon. I had top-of-the-line footwear. I kept my feet moving.

I just didn’t have a racquet.

The only ball I was able to return across the net bounced off my head. Not only was I missing every shot, but I was experiencing bodily injury.

RANT WARNING – If you are already using landing pages for your targeted banner advertising, you can proceed to my article about landing pages for dynamic display ads on ClickZ. Everyone else, pay attention.

You don’t have to be a tennis pro to know that this is insanity. Yet thousands of businesses across the Web are using targeted banner advertising to drive traffic to their home page. Smart marketers with effective email campaigns are sending clicks to pages that don’t call the visitor to take action; to buy, call or download.

Video Display Ads Deliver Motion Plus Relevance. Landing pages and dynamic targeted banner advertising.

Video Display Ads Deliver Motion Plus Relevance.

Landing Page?

Landing pages are pages that are specially designed to catch visitors, taking them directly to information that they are interested in, and asking them to become a prospect or a customer.

We can use a landing page anytime we know why someone clicked through to our site. If we know what they expect, it makes sense that we would create a page to specifically address their needs.

How do we know what the landing page should say?

We know exactly what a visitor is looking for when they click on an ad or link that we created because we wrote it. If we wrote the ad, and it caused them to click, wouldn’t you assume that the page they come to should address the offer made by the ad copy?

This shouldn’t even be a question in your mind (and for most of my readers it isn’t).

conversion conference now digital growth unleashed

Conversion Conference West, May 4-5, San Jose

Pardon my exasperation

I don’t like to be rude, but can you imagine what my tennis instructor would have said if they’d seen me getting pummeled by a ball machine because I forgot my tennis racquet?

If you want to score points, you need to have all of the basic equipment. In the game of online advertising landing pages are basic equipment.

Your Home Page Won’t Do

The primary job of the home page is not to convert visitors into leads or sales. It’s job is to funnel buyers to pages that either provide information or call the visitor to take some action… or both.

Your home page has a lot of work to do, and as a result, it will probably contain the most links of any page on your site.

Paying for an ad that promises “Software that will improve your business,” and then asking them to sift through a page full of links (About Us, Contact, Our Products, Home, News, etc.) is conversion suicide.

Why not bring them to a page that says “Our software will improve your business, and here’s how.” Then explain why it is good for them and how it works. Then tell them how to get more information, or invite them to purchase.

Why Landing Pages are Important

  1. Landing Pages will make you more successful by generating more leads, sales and business.
  2. Landing Pages will make your visitors love you more. There is no better brand experience that finding what you’re looking for.
  3. Landing Pages will cut the cost of your advertising by increasing your conversion rates. As the cost of generating new clients, you can put more into your advertising.
  4. Landing Pages will keep me from ranting about landing pages

Technique and Practice Are Important

In tennis, how you swing your racquet will determine how many times you score. It is the same with landing pages.

How would you like to learn almost everything you need to know about landing pages in just two days?

The first ever Conversion Conference is happening May 4 and 5, and I can get you $100 off of the price of admission.

I know of no other opportunity to learn from the best conversion experts and website optimizers in the industry.

The Keynote is being given by Jakob Nielsen, the champion of fast and cheap ways of improving user interfaces.

Use the promo code CCW510 when you register for Conversion Conference to get your $100 discount. Early bird rates end April 10.

This is one of those shows that should pay for itself quickly. Think of it as tennis lessons with a profit.

Or read about Landing Page Best Practices on this article.

This is a guest post by Brian Combs of ionadas local.

A Local SEO Horror Story

About eighteen months ago, the SEO agency of which I was then a member was hired by a company in the travel industry. Their websites were seeing a 20% drop in traffic from Google. Even more worrisome was the nearly 25% drop in sales from Google.

Meanwhile, their keyword monitoring tools were saying everything was fine. Their tools watched several thousand keywords on a monthly basis, and the rankings had not substantively changed. If a keyword was third last month, it was third again this month.

We were tasked with determining the cause of the drop and prescribing a remedy.

The culprit was the new Google Maps business listing. These are the seven (at that point ten) listings that come up with the Google Map on queries with locational intent.

Austin plumber - Conversion and Google Maps optimization.

Austin plumber Sample Google Maps business listing.

Note: The example image is from a different industry than the client in order to protect the client’s identity.

These Google Maps had begun popping up for a large number of the client’s search terms. A keyword that was third in the organic listings was likely to be pushed below the fold. As a result, the traffic from Google was dropping precipitously.

And conversion was dropping at an even higher rate. Clearly, it was the best traffic that was being lost.

I would posit that this represents the biggest change to Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) since they began including paid listings above the natural listings.

Does Local SEO Matter for You?

If your business needs to generate website visitors, phone calls, or foot traffic from people in particular geographies, then local SEO is likely appropriate for you.

Do your keywords include a city (or neighborhood in them)? When you search on them, is the so-called 7-pack (or any Google Map) returned?

Google is constantly enlarging the universe of keywords that generate map results. So if the map is not returned today, it may begin doing so in the future.

Google is even assuming local intent when none is expressly stated.

For instance, if you search on [coffee shop], Google will determine your location from your IP address, and return you a list of coffee shops your area.

Impact on Conversion Rate

The impact of this change by Google can hardly by overstated. Even if you’ve worked your website to the top of the organic listings, the addition of the Google Map listings will have a substantial impact on Click Through Rate (CTR) and post-click conversion rate.

Which begs the question, what impact does placement within the 7-pack have on CTR?

While no studies have been published on this topic as yet, the assumption is that the curve of traffic decline within the seven maps listings is not as steep as it is for the ten organic listings.

Also, the company name within the Google Maps listing can have an effect. Known, branded companies certainly have an advantage. And those that are nothing but a list of keywords are likely at a conversion disadvantage.

Reviews and Their Impact on Conversion Rate

The Google Maps business listings very prominently list the reviews a company has received. These reviews may have been placed directly with Google, or may have been pulled into Google from third-party systems such as CitySearch.

Both the number and the quality of reviews within Google have an impact.

The number of reviews greatly impacts the ranking of the business listings. If all else is equal (which it never is, of course), the ranking with the greater number of reviews will be higher. A large number of reviews can overcome many other deficiencies in Google Maps optimization.

I have not seen any studies on the impact of the number of reviews on conversion, but I expect they are positively correlated. If there are two listings, one with twenty-five reviews and one with no reviews, people will tend to look at the business with reviews first.

And while the quality of reviews has little to no impact on rankings, it can certainly have a significant impact on conversions.

This is not to say that an occasional bad review is going to drive you out of business. We’ve all read reviews from clearly unreasonable people, and most people will give a company the benefit of the doubt.

But if the preponderance of reviews are negative, and the reviews seem reasonably written, you had better work to improve your product/service quality, and encourage happy customers to write reviews for you.

Brian Combs is the founder of ionadas local, a provider of Google Maps optimization in Austin, Texas.  ionadas local 13359 N Hwy 183, #406-245, Austin, TX 78750, (512) 501-1875