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Friday, July 19, 2013

Digital Key Design's Top 3 Posts of 2012

I know businesses usually do these types of posts right after the New Year, but hey I figured better late than never. Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!

1. Search Optimization for the Long Haul 

Search engine optimization is a long term commitment.  Once you start down the road of optimizing your website you can never turn back. Well not if you want to stay ranked anyway.

2. What to Expect from SEO?

Now that we know what SEO is lets look into what you can expect from search engine optimization.

3. ABC's of Search Engine Optimization 

 Google is fast and getting even faster. Instant search has been giving us suggestions on what we may be searching for with only one letter.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Introducing Pimp Hat SEO


This post comes at a very interesting time in the search world. There has been much discussion lately of SEO being dead, or at least black and grey hat SEO techniques no longer being effective. There has been arguments of the value and ROI of SEO vs other forms of inbound marketing including pay per click advertising and social media marketing. This all makes the perfect storm for releasing this post which has been in cue since early February. The reason for me waiting to release this post is that while I believe everything I'm about to present was just as true then as it is now, I don't think as many marketers were aware of the changes occurring as they are now. Basically I didn't want to let the cat out of the bag early.

Origins of White Hat vs Black Hat

The terms white hat and black hat don’t originate with search engine optimization. In fact white hat and black hat have been used long before search optimization was born. The term originally surfaced to distinguish between computer hackers. Those who were curious and wanted to understand how things worked and often times were paid to keep out criminals were called white hats. The black hats then by default became the term for criminal hackers. The whole thing was really a play on old black and white TV shows where the villain was always wearing dark clothes and hats and the hero always wore white!
In the computer security context, a hacker is someone who seeks and exploits weaknesses in a computer system or computer network. Hackers may be motivated by a multitude of reasons, such as profit, protest, or challenge.[1] The subculture that has evolved around hackers is often referred to as the computer underground and is now a known community.[2] While other uses of the word hacker exist that are not related to computer security, such as referring to someone with an advanced understanding of computers and computer networks, they are rarely used in mainstream context.[citation needed] They are subject to the long standing hacker definition controversy about the true meaning of the term hacker. In this controversy, the term hacker is reclaimed by computer programmers who argue that someone breaking into computers is better called a cracker,[3] not making a difference between computer criminals (black hats) and computer security experts (white hats).[4] Some white hat hackers claim that they also deserve the title hacker, and that only black hats should be called crackers.

SEO’s have borrowed the terms White Hat and Black Hat from the Network Scrutiny Community (Hackers) as it has now better labeled. The SEO community has even added it’s own hat to the mix, Grey Hat SEO.  I’m now going to introduce yet another hat on behalf of the SEO World, but first a recap and overview of the various SEO Hats!

White Hat SEO

This should really just be call White Hat. In my opinion, White Hat SEO is a web site and link building tactics designed and implemented strictly for the USER. User Focused Optimization is key here.  I know many people will disagree with me on this one, but I truly believe all SEO is Grey Hat and I think Google would agree.  So what does this leave us with. White Hat includes things like great web design, amazing onsite graphics, proper use of color, size and proportion. Having great onsite copy delivers your message quickly and effectively.  White Hat would also include Conversions Optimization, A- B Testing  and the creation of great onsite linkable assets. White Hat would never Build Links, White Hat acquires links from real fans, customers, news outlets and bloggers, just by doing their thing and being a great company with a great website and web assets. White Hat may optimize Title Tags and onsite text but only to get better user engagement and increase usability (UX).

Black Hat SEO

Insert the cheats, cons, scammers, spammers and any other search engine tricksters you can imagine. Black Hat SEO is Optimization focused strictly on “Tricking” Search Engines into ranking their sites better. Black Hats usually don’t care about good user experience or conversion rates. They generally don’t waste time building good looking websites or building a fan base. Black hats are playing a numbers game. They figure if they can trick the search engine into ranking them for even a few weeks or so for high volume search terms they win. If they get banned a week later they don’t care because they just start over again from scratch. This is why black hats don’t spend time building nice websites.  Black hats generally make everyone mad , the search engine who don’t want to be tricked, the user that gets poor UX and often times scammed, and the Good SEOs who often times get a bad name as being guilty by association.

Grey Hat SEO

I think this is really where SEO begins to enter the picture. If you are paying someone or being paid by someone to increase their search ranking, or even doing it yourself, you are a Grey Hat, at least by my definitions which is Optimization aimed at BOTH the USER and the SEARCH ENGINE.  While some White Hat Claiming SEOs may not indulge in any of the darker aspects of Grey Hat (Digital Key Design included) they still operate with the end goal in mind of Ranking better in the SERPs and converting clicks to sales. No matter how small the amount of black you add to white and you get grey, thus the term Grey Hat. Now with that said there certainly is a wide range and a huge sliding scale of how dark your grey hat is. This is where I feel the real confusion lays. You have one company charging $49 a month for SEO and another $5000+. The types of things they’d be doing and the quality of work would vastly vary yet there is no terms to distinguish between the guy submitting you to 1000 spam directories a month and the firm doing real internet based marketing aimed at increased search queries and user engagement. This also leaves the industry as a whole at the wrong end of the Google firing Lines.
There has recently been a few great posts on the topic of advancing the real SEO community beyond these tactics thus future proofing the industry and making it much more legitimate in the eyes of CEOs and other decision makers. I suggest you check out all of these posts on the topic.

Back Hat or White Hat  Why We Can't Be Just SEOs Trust is King

Even if we do manage to rise up above the SEO muck we are still left under the same Grey Hat umbrella title as the border line Black Hats and the OK Grey hats that just can’t get with the program. So what are we to do? Well I’ve come up with a new Title and new Hat that I feel is very fitting to this new style of SEO marketing both in name and nature. Insert Pimp Hat SEO!

Pimp Hat SEO

Pimp Hat SEO is my expression of what I have referred to in the past as SEOM – Search Engine Optimized Marketing. This is marketing  focused strictly on the user and building a real community of fans that has been optimized for maximum search engine and social media exposure. While never engaging in Black Hat Techniques aimed at tricking the search engine there is an accent (the Black Feather) of techniques used to increase search visibility and convert traffic done in a very moderate and tactical manner. These techniques are only executed in a fashion and manner aimed at creating real user interaction and brand awareness. Pimp Hat SEO sets up web properties and assets that continue to work and bring in traffic long after creation. The goal here is to create a few targeted and strategic pieces of content that will do the heavy SEO lifting of bringing traffic and links over a long period of time. Once you have a few in place you can continue to build on this web equity and spend more quality time creating ever better Web Assets for the future. Using this approach your site will soon be Big Pimp’n and you’ll be drawing in traffic from your various assets with little to no effort. Pimp Hat SEO is planning and building for the future long term success rather than focusing on small short term wins that need to be done constantly often leading to poor quality content and low success rates. Pimp Hat SEO has also been referred to in the past as community building but I think Pimp Hat SEO is even larger than that. More recently there was this great White Board Friday Video by Rand Fishkin explaining what he calls a "Marketing Flywheel" which I think hits the nail on the head with what I'm getting at here.

 Pimp Hat SEO is the Future of SEO and Inbound Marketing! 

Disclaimer: This post references the term “pimp” out of jest from the point of view of an American where it is common place to see “pimp” costumes in the Halloween section every year and songs like Jay Z ‘s Big Pimpin'.  We mean no disrespect to woman and do not condone the the abuse or mistreatment of any human being anywhere any time!  Find out more information on how you can help prevent the mistreatment of women.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Choosing an Albuquerque SEO Company

How to find the Best SEO.

Choosing a SEO Professional in Albuquerque, NM?

Looking for a Honest SEO?

Finding the RIGHT SEO Company is vital to your business's online success. Choosing an SEO service to represent your company's website is an important decision and can be a difficult process. Here are a few key factors to keep in mind while you make a decision.

Is this SEO company local?

There are a lot of SEO companies claiming to be "Local Albuquerque SEO Providers" when in fact they are NOT local at all. Just because a business's name has Albuquerque in it, does NOT mean they are located in Albuquerque or even New Mexico!
Digital Key Design is based out of Rio Rancho, NM with office locations in both the West Side of of Albuquerque and the Down Town area. We meet with all of our clients face to face on a monthly basis.

Can this SEO company get Results?

Everyone claims to be great when they are asking for your money. It's important to take a look at some past work and verify actual search engine optimization success.
Digital Key Design has several successful local Albuquerque SEO campaigns as well as clients ranking in top spots on a national search level.

Is this SEO Provider easy to work with?

Search Engine Optimization marketing should be a collaborative process between the business and the vendor. Making your SEO campaign personal to your company helps you to stand out from the crowd.
Digital Key Design's SEO process is designed to incorporate your business's unique identity and build on your natural strengths. Our SEO team is flexible and easy going, always putting the clients needs FIRST!

Is this SEO Service Reputable?

The rapid increase in demand for SEO and Online marketing services has opened the flood gates to all kinds of Schemers, Scam Artists, Black Hats, and SEO snake oil salesman. We personally get at least 1 email every week claiming to get us "Top Google Rankings for Only $49.00" or something of the like. Unfortunately most of these companies are based "Off Shore" and will take your money and run, Buyer Beware!
Digital Key Design's owner is an Ambassador with the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and frequently volunteers his free time to help out in the community. We offer 100% satisfaction guarantees with all of our services. If you are unhappy for ANY reason, we will do what it takes to make the situation right!

What does the SEO Contract say?

Make sure you know what you are getting into before you sign the dotted line! Many SEO service providers lock their clients into Lengthy Contracts with Steep Buy Out fees.
Digital Key Design has a minimal 6 month SEO contact, which we feel is the minimum time needed to implement a successful search engine optimization campaign. At the 6 month mark our service rolls into a month to month agreement. At this time we will evaluate your website's success and adjust our strategy accordingly.

For more information on Search Engine Optimization Marketing in the Albuquerque, NM area, please contact Digital Key Design.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Facebook Promoted Page Likes

Promoted Pages Ad Overview

New Facebook Promoted Page Likes makes it easy for local businesses to run an ad. No copy needed, only a address and a profile pic. This new Facebook ad option is set to run on a daily spend limit for a specified time frame.

Watch the video and let us know what you think.

Text Transcription Below

Hello this is Victor with Digital Key Design, and I wanted to talk to you today about a new option Facebook has for you to purchase ads. Its call promoted page likes. What it is, is an ad that will show up in the news feed on your phone or on a computer. So if you are looking through your stream, you might see Digital Key Design on there and you can go ahead and press like and like it, and it will say promoted. So it is a new way to get likes, to like your page, and a new way to build your brand. So this is a pretty cool feature in that it is showing up on mobile phones in the news feed. It's not like a promoted post where you say "Hey go check out this special offer.", or "Like this Post." They are actually liking your page so you can keep these people engaged for longer than something like a promoted post. Now who these are targeted for and what they are really designed to do. Facebook was really trying to look here and set them up to work for the local businesses. So in order to qualify for this, your business has to have a location listed. So you have to have a physical address and you have to have a profile picture. Also some... depending upon how you set up the page, like if you set your page up like a blog and then you grew it to a business, you may have to go in and change that, because if you are set up like a blog, it won't let you do it. So once you have a location set up, you can go into your ads management screen inside Facebook. Then you can go ahead and setup a daily budget and then run a promotion for a set number of days. So maybe you choose $10 to run for 7 days, and so you would spend 70 bucks. This can really, really be good to grow the engagement on your page and grow your fan base. That way you can continue to use social media to drive either customers to your website, to your actually business, or just to spread word kind of about the special things that you are doing. Once again this is Victor with Digital Key Design. Go ahead and give the Facebook page likes ad a try and let us know how it comes out. Leave a comment below thanks.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Penguin 2.0 - 4, Are you Ready?

Google Penguin Refresh Coming...

Google confirms that within the next few weeks we will see a major update to the search algorithm. Google internally is calling the coming update Penguin 2.0 as they feel it is going to be a major update to Penguin where as the previous we not as significant and should be labeled as 1.1 and 1.2. However to keep all these Penguin updates in order and easily tracked the folks at Search Engine Land will be referring to it as Penguin 4 .This coming Penguin update will be the fourth total Penguin update.

 All I know is that if Google is calling it 2.0, it will be BIG! This means that all those spam linked to sites that still rank in the tops spots may drop a few ranks, or they may drop completely out the SERPs. Only time will tell.

This is also a perfect opportunity to reinforce the idea that as SEO's and Online Marketers we need to step up our game. Stop trying to trick Search Engines and make our websites and content valuable to the searchers. This is what the searchers want and that's exactly what Google wants as well. I'm sure the disavow link tool will be in heavy use after the refresh so you may want to get a jump on things and be proactive. You may just be able to dodge a Penguin shaped bullet!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Digital Key Design Blog Upgraded to Google+

I just upgraded the Blog to be linked with the official +Digital Key Design Google+ page. All posts will now be posted by the Author +Cuyler Pagano (me) rather than the previous Digital Key Design profile. Not a huge difference but one worth noting.

The major differences:

1. I can now link directly to Google+ pages and profiles, as above.
2. My Google+ Authorship tags will be added to any posts automatically.
3. I can add new Authors and guest bloggers and then easily attribute the post to them via G+.
4. All comments and shares are displayed at the bottom of each post, making it easier to interact.
5. All posts are optionally shared with followers and everyone in my circles.

I recommend you make the switch for your business blog if it is hosted through blogger. These changes don't seem significant but I can assure you these small tweaks will have lasting effects on the way the social community interacts.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Seek & Destroy: Local SEO

Advanced Local SEO Tactics

So you have already been running a SEO campaign and you have already taken care of all the Local SEO basics. You even started building some links and doing some social media. Your site is picking up traction and your rankings have improved. Yet your business isn't ranking locally.  What to do? If you have done a good job at building your business's profile up and feel your site should rank, we may be able to help!

It's time to implement some:

Seek and Destroy! 

First you need to locate who your TRUE local competition is. A lot of people naturally gravitate to the big name businesses and the ones who rank on top. These sites are your competition and you should be monitoring what there up to anyway, right? To find your TRUE local competition you now need to take a step further and target a specific piece of physical real estate. If you have ever taken some time to examine a local map result for a high competition term you may have noticed that Google very rarely places their local map markers in clusters. You may occasionally see 2 markers close in proximity but never more. Usually the results are spread out pretty evenly across the map. I'm guessing this is to cover the most potential search queries no matter what part of town you may be in or searching for. This means that to rank on page 1 locally you only need to be better than 1 or 2 specific business.

Lets Plot Our Map

As an example I'm going to pretend I'm a small pizza shop in Albuquerque, NM who seems to be stuck on the second page of the local results.

Do a search using your geographic location and your target keyword. 

Click through to the larger map and notice how some of the results change places. Also notice how more markers have been added and they are a bit more clustered. If you are in one of these clustered areas your task will be tougher.

Take a screen shot and start breaking your map up into a grid using your favorite photo editing software. You may also want to zoom in once more to your specific area just remember this will further alter the results.  I prefer an 8 x 8 grid.

To keep this nice and simple we are going to pretend our pizza business is in the same square of the grid as the result labeled "G". This means that we've found our target, our TRUE Local Competition. Square C-3.

Now Destroy 

Find the business name and URL of the Letter Marker and other "dots" in your target square. Now begin your attack. SEO and marketing attack that is. While business is competitive and the stakes are high, we would never recommend doing anything malicious or harmful to any website or business. What I do mean by destroy is to outsmart, out maneuver, and out market these businesses in a friendly yet competitive manner. Let the best business stand on the map!

I also recommend recording all businesses in the eight squares surrounding yours as lesser targets. In this case there are only about two others in these surrounding eight which makes it pretty simple.

The next part will be completely individualized based on your specific business, industry, market, location etc... Research your TRUE local competition, now that you've found them and see what they have been up to. What kinds of reviews do they get, good and bad? What types of specials do they run? What types of social sharing are they doing? Who links to them and why? Develop a marketing strategy based on the new info and start sinking some battleships!


Monday, April 8, 2013

10 Step Beginner's Local SEO Guide

Local SEO Guide - 10 Easy Steps

This resource is dedicated to the hard working small business owners who know the importance of SEO and Online Marketing but don’t have the budget to hire a professional.  At Digital Key Design we know what it’s like to be the little guys and we want to help out in any way possible.

If you are a new business starting out fresh the process will be a little different from an established business who may already have listings. This Local SEO Guide will be a great starting point and reference for you on your journey.  This guide will help you to develop a strategy to rank your business in  your local area using a combination of Brand Message, Search Engine Optimization, and Social MediaDigital Key Design will introduce a few unique acronyms in this guide which are as follows :

GSK – Geo Specific Keyword
   TK – Target Keyword
 TLK – Target Local Keyword

Happy Hunting!


 1.  Find Target Keywords
 2.  Research Your Local Market
 3.  Analyze Your Market
 4.  Make a Plan
 5.  Update & Delete Listings
 6.  Grow Your Citations
 7.  Verify Your Local Listings
 8.  Local Navigation
 9.  Reviews
10. Local Up Keep    

1. Find Target Keywords

Keywords are important, very important. Starting with keywords is a solid base to build any SEO campaign. The goal is to find the most relevant words for your business that also have the highest local monthly search volume. There are plenty of other great articles on the net about keyword selection so I won’t go too deeply into the process. Local keyword selection consists of adding Geographic Specific Keywords (GSK) to your Target Keyword (TK).

GSK + TK = TLK (Target Local Keyword) 
GSK = Albuquerque
TK = Wedding Flowers
TLK = Albuquerque Wedding Flowers

An Example Would Be as Follows :

You may also want to find variations using state, zip code, and neighborhoods in addition to alternating the Target Keywords and GSK in location.  A great way to find a target zip code  is to use the data that is freely available at the US Census. 

Example TLK:  Albuquerque SEO, SEO Albuquerque, New Mexico SEO, SEO New Mexico, SEO NM, NM SEO, 87174 SEO, SEO 87124, etc. etc…

2. Research Your Local Market

      Once you have your Target Local Keyword, you can begin doing some research. I recommend opening up all three major search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Then sign out of any associated accounts that may alter your results (Gmail, Ymail, Hotmail, etc.). Search your Target Local Keyword in all of the engines and begin examining the results. Who ranks #1, #2, and #3? I recommend setting up an excel spreadsheet for each engine and recording the top 10 for your TLK.  Record all of the local and top organic results up to 10 total spots. Record the business name, linked URL, total number of reviews, reviews of each star level, and business address information. 


3. Analyze Your Market

Visit the top ten ranked websites and various profiles, then browse around a bit. What kinds of info and text do they have? What other internal pages do they link to? Are they running specials, sales, and promotions? You’re not looking to copy anyone, you are just getting an idea of what other business' that are high ranking are doing. Are there any consistencies across the top ranking pages? Is there anything you saw you really liked? Is there anything you really didn’t like? Read the reviews good and bad. What are the fans saying? What are the critics saying? Are there any areas you excel in which your competition is weak? Are you able to spot any potential weakness of your business that you can address before you get a bad review?

      4.  Make A Plan

Based on what you previously found, it’s time to build a plan for your local campaign. Building local listings consists of creating an account and adding contact info. You should spend some quality time developing content for these profiles. Often times users will make buying decision based solely on local listing and never even visit the company website. This is why a quality brand message is important. Start with a Tag Line and short description that’s one to two sentences long. Then you should development a much more in-depth, long description. All of the above should incorporate the following in some way :

Who your company is and what you represent.
Why is your business unique, special and/or better than the competition.
What are the products and/or service that you sell?

Record this information in a new file so you can quickly reference it. Copy and paste will be your best friends. 
Keyboard hot keys are Ctrl+C for copy and Ctrl+V for paste.

In the same file, create a section for your business address. The goal is to have a consistently listed address across multiple local listing and directories.  I recommend using an official post office long listed address. Most directories are smart enough to shorten and abbreviate your long listing style if needed. An Example of a long listing would be :

Business Name
123 South Main Street North East
Suite A7
City, State Zip Code

This also includes your phone number. If you have multiple phone numbers pick one phone number to be listed across local listings, directories, and your website. Along with the actual number you chose, select a consistent style preferably the conventional +1 (555) 555-1234


      5.       Update & Delete Listings

If you already have local listings, start by making a list of accounts, login names, passwords, and associated email addresses. If you don’t have or can’t remember the user names and passwords associated with the accounts you will have to manually search for your business listings. The best place to start is the major search engines and their Local Listings. To find additional listings for your business search each of these engines for your business name in quotations. “Business Name” This will return only results that match your business name exactly. I recommend first making a list of all of your listings and then going back and making changes. This is a much easier and more thorough way to track your progress.

Once you think you have everything, try an additional search using the following advanced search operator intext:”Business Name”. This will return additional sites that have an exact match in their page’s text of your business name. If you have changed your address or business name you want to go a step further and search for both the current and old addresses as well as the old business name. If you have previously listed several phone numbers across the web it may be a good idea to do a search for all of those numbers.

Once you have an extensive list built you can begin the process of claiming and updating your listings with your newly developed brand message, clean up address listings and preferred phone numbers. Make sure to update your list of user names and passwords as you claim listings so that you can login in to make updates in the future.

Delete any duplicate listings, old address listings, and old business name listings. Sometimes you can contact sites' editors and have these listing merged to pass on some of the old listings' authority and keep any good reviews that may exist. This can be a long and daunting process that is well worth the effort if you are willing to make it.

Digital Key Design also recommends submitting your updated address and contact info to all of the major information providers the various search engines get their data from, including InfoGroup, Localeze, and Acxiom.

       6.  Grow Your Citations

If you are just starting out or don’t have many current listings you will need to build them.  Even if you have quite a few, you will want to continue to grow the amount of places that list your address and contact info. Most of these sites and directories link back to your website, which has value of it's own. Additionally, having your address and info listed consistently across the web reinforces its accuracy and thus increases trust. Not to mention that not everyone searches the same way and the more places that people can possibly find your business the better. Here is a list to get you started. 

Search Engines
·         Google Plus
·         Yahoo Local
·         Bing Local
·         Facebook
·         Twitter
·         Foursquare
·         Tumblr
·         Stumble Upon
·         Digg
·         Delicious
·         Reddit
Other Local Directories You May Want to Consider
·         Insider Pages
·         Merchant Circle
·         Urban Spoon
·         Super Pages
·         White Pages
·         Yellow Book
·         Yellow Bot
·         Yellow Pages
·         Yelp
·         Express Update
·         Best of the Web
·         Nokia

To find local directories specific to your location simply try a search for the following terms + your GSK. 

Business List, Listing, Directory, Guide.
Example: “Albuquerque Business List” “Albuquerque Guide”  “Albuquerque Directory”, etc.

You can see how you could potentially take this process further and further, doing more and more in-depth searches as your heart desires.

Another quick way to find new places to be listed is by simply doing the research involved in step 5 on all of your competitor’s business names. Then compare your competitor’s citations with the list of your own. Doing this for all 10 of your previously recorded competition’s businesses should return some new results and hopefully some new ideas on where to look in the future. To take this even one step further continue to do the same research for the second page of search results, the third, the fourth even. The main thing to keep in mind here is that just because a site isn’t ranking well doesn’t mean it can’t teach you something new.

7. Verify Local Listings

Some of these listings will update quickly, instantly even. Others will take some time, anywhere from days to weeks to months. That is why it’s really important to keep an updated list of all your business’s citations, login, information, and dates of last updates as well as change verification dates. To verify your listings accuracy I recommend always checking them manually which is why it is a good idea to also keep track of your listings' direct URLs. A great free tool can be found at GetListed.Org in which you can quickly verify your listing on all the major sites.

8. Local Navigation

Some people may be searching for your business using navigation devices such as TomTom, or even their cell phone/carrier specific navigation such as iPhones navigation system: Apple Maps. While this technically isn’t Local SEO or SEO even, I thought it important to include in this guide. Navigation is often an overlooked aspect and can be an easy win over your competition. The major players for GPS are as follows:  NAVTEQ, TeleAtlas, and InfoUSA.

9. Reviews

As you can image reviews are a big deal to both your customers and the search engines themselves. Having a few Good reviews can drive sales through the roof just as one Negative review can stop them dead in their tracks.

1.       Getting Reviews

It’s important to get reviews especially good ones and because of this I highly advise you to avoid buying and or creating fake reviews like the plague.  The review filters are strict and you run the risk of losing your real reviews along with your fake ones. The best approach to getting reviews is to simply ask and occasionally remind your real fans to review you. You may put a sign near the register that says “Don’t forget to check in while you’re here and review us if you liked our service.” Be general don’t ask for specific review sites, let the user decide. This way they will post on the platform most familiar and most used by them. This means others in a similar demographic and niches are more likely to see the review. It also helps you avoid a filter if the user is active on that platform.

2.       Sharing Good Reviews

Now that you have a few good reviews share them with the world. Don’t be scared! This is where our social platforms come into play. In addition to adding to the authority of listings, social media platforms are a great way to share your positive reviews with fans and followers. Oftentimes if the user who left the review is a follower and sees you have shared their review they will share it with their friends too! This is not something you want to overdo but done in moderation can build up positive brand recognition and add great content for any social media campaign you may also be running.

       3.       Responding to Bad Reviews

Bad reviews happen, even to the best of us. It’s always better to respond quickly and publicly than to leave a bad review unattended. Tell the reviewer you are sorry! The customer is always right. Provide contact information and an offer to make it right explaining this is not what your brand believes in. Oftentimes having a bad review and responding shows how great your service/guarantee is and can be better than not having any bad reviews. It helps build trust in the buyer that if they are unhappy they will be taken care of.  Also don’t be afraid to call out a fake bad review if you seen one. Report it through the proper channels and publicly call it out as a fake also providing the previous offer of redemption if they are in fact a real customer.

4.       Dealing With Filtered & Hidden Reviews

Because of the importance of reviews, they are quickly taken advantage of by both business owners hoping to game the system with fake reviews and crush the competition with fake bad reviews. This means the search engines and directory listings have to be extra careful about the reviews they publicly publish. They have in place both automatic (robot) and human review filters to ensure accuracy.  Unfortunately what appear to be fake reviews and what actually are fake reviews aren't always the same thing. Prevention, as stated above, is the best method of keeping reviews from being hidden. If you do have reviews that are filtered there's not much you can really do, but you can try to plead your case to the powers that be, in hopes that they listen. The only other option is building a page on your own website with screen shots of both the hidden and shown reviews linking to the real reviews. Frequently even the hidden reviews can be found and linked to the exact location. Then you can write in your business’s description “To read what others have to say view our review page:” This way if the platform allows one, links will be automatically created, and if not, the URL address will be provided should they choose to inquire further.

10. Local Up Keep

Now that we have selected keywords, researched our market, analyzed our competition, built a plan & brand message, updated profiles & listings, built new citations, verified our listings & changes, updated GPS info, built good reviews, shared our reviews, responded to bad reviews and dealt with hidden reviews, it's time to keep the process in motion.  Now that you have made an extensive list of profiles it is important to keep up with these reviews, good and bad. You should also continue to look for opportunities to be listed with your address and contact info along with a link to your site.  Some other ideas on where to look for these listings are:
·         Organizations & Associations
·         Local Chamber of Commerce
·         Events & Seminars
·         Fundraising & Sponsorships
·         Speaking Engagements
·         Networking Groups

While I have tried to make this guide as complete as possible there is always more. Business citations are very important to local SEO but are really only one of many Local SEO ranking factors.  If you would like even more information on Local SEO there are a number of other articles and guides on the topic that may be of use.  And you could always try a quick search in the good ole search engines…..

Remember, if this all seems too overwhelming or troublesome you can always hire a professional. Check us out if you happen to be in the Albuquerque,NM area.