Google Places Marketing The Wrong Way

Posted by David Chism | Thu, Dec 9, 2010

 Google Places Marketing The Wrong Way
In a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket, some com­pa­nies will do any­thing to get ahead. Even for­get­ting about the moral con­sid­er­a­tions, how­ev­er, many under­hand­ed prac­tices will back­fire, even if they seem to work in the short run. Here is an exam­ple that stood out to me recent­ly (but for legal rea­sons I’ll avoid the com­pa­ny names for now): I have a large paint­ing client in the Chica­go area who has a com­peti­tor with a name near­ly iden­ti­cal to theirs. They have had sev­er­al legal bat­tles over the name issue; the guy dis­ap­pears for a while, and then keeps show­ing up again! Today I was doing some research for this client and dis­cov­ered this com­peti­tor on Google Places. He had 4 reviews, so I took a clos­er look. After look­ing at the reviews, I’m 99% sure that they are most­ly or com­plete­ly bogus. Here´s why I think so: 
  1. The date stamp: all 4 reviews were writ­ten on the same day. This can be a coin­ci­dence, but it’s not very like­ly that four real clients would hap­pen to write reviews on the same day, and none on any oth­er day. What is more like­ly is that one per­son signed in under four dif­fer­ent names.
  2. All four reviews have key­words in them, which I have nev­er seen a cus­tomer do. A cus­tomer of any com­pa­ny will not use key­words like, They were the best house painter Green Bay WI in town. Peo­ple don’t talk or write that way! That was the clinch­er for me. I knew then that all were made up.
Why did the com­peti­tor do this? Prob­a­bly he sat in on a webi­nar or read an arti­cle that said that more reviews on Google Places you have, the bet­ter place­ment you will receive on Google search­es. So, will this trick work? Prob­a­bly not. Google might be the largest search engine in the world, but there are real peo­ple (and very, very smart ones) behind the scenes mak­ing sure that they keep it the best. They are con­stant­ly mon­i­tor­ing how com­pa­nies pro­mote them­selves online. If they dis­cov­er that a web­site or rank­ing is using black hat” tech­niques, they will quick­ly remove the com­pa­ny and/​or URL from the web for quite some time. Four dif­fer­ent review from a sin­gle IP address would alert Google that some­one is resort­ing to naughty” pro­mo­tion­al prac­tices. What can a com­pa­ny do then to increase their rank­ings on Google Places? The way it is cur­rent­ly set up, the best prac­tice is to take your time and build qual­i­ty reviews from mul­ti­ple sites — not just Google. Google wants to see a vari­ety of qual­i­ty reviews done on dif­fer­ent days and at dif­fer­ent times. There is noth­ing wrong with call­ing up a cus­tomer and ask­ing him or her to write a review. Spread it out a lit­tle bit so they´re not doing it on the same day. Maybe set a goal of 2 – 3 per week. Ask them to use Google, Yelp, City­Search, Mojo Pages and more. Mar­ket­ing takes time! It’s always been that way. Peo­ple think that because we live in such a fast-paced soci­ety, we can acheive #1 results on the web overnight. Some­times being tricky you will get lucky and get good place­ment. But like most oth­er parts of life and busi­ness, dis­hon­esty doesn’t pay off in the long-run. It might suc­ceed in the present, but it will usu­al­ly fall apart in time.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.

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