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Google Rule Change: Disgruntled Employees Can’t Post Bad Reviews About Your Business Anymore

Without getting too deep into the weeds, I want to share a rapid-fire list of issues related to web presence management that have recently come to our attention and what you might need to know or do about them.

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BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, apprenticeships, marketing and Web presence management with SkillsUSA, the I-CAR Education Foundation, Mentors at Work, VeriFacts Automotive and the NABC. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (www.optimaautomotive.com), which provides website design, SEO services and social media management services.

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Each and every week, we at Optima Automotive are reading dozens of blogs and getting information from many reliable sources. I use the words “reliable sources” because there is more information out there that isn’t reliable than is reliable. You have to learn which is which in this field.

Optima actually has someone on staff who is designated as our “futurist.” His role is to be out there on the cutting edge, in fact beyond the cutting edge, to keep us as up to date as possible on all things related to web presence management. Frankly, in your case, I don’t know how you as repairers keep up with all the changes in vehicle technology and procedures. Things often move at the speed of light in your world, and in ours, too.

Issues

I’m glad you fix cars! Professionals in this industry have taught me a lot over the years, and I have great respect for them. I started my journey into understanding your world 22 years ago when I was the executive director of the I-CAR Education Foundation, now known as the Collision Repair Education Foundation. And as much as I’ve learned from all of you these past 22 years, you still wouldn’t want me to fix cars!

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So that’s the approach I take when I think of you. The people who read my monthly column have hopefully learned a lot over the years, as have my clients. But I likely wouldn’t want you building a website for me or taking over my social media management and video production. You’re a specialist in your field, as I am in mine.

Without getting too deep into the weeds, I want to share a rapid-fire list of issues related to web presence management that have recently come to our attention and what you might need to know or do about them.

Facebook Changes News Feed

Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a major change to the Facebook news feed that will directly affect your outreach to your target audience and your brand impressions. What this means for you is that you must strive for inspiring content that produces and encourages discussion. Video gets more interaction than all other forms of posting combined, so consider that in your posting going forward. You’ll want to boost posts more than ever so you have a better chance of reaching prospects and followers in your community. We’ve been promoting posts regularly all along for our social media clients, so our approach won’t change much, but you may wish to alter how you post. Before-and-after photos, advertising and testimonials usually get close to zero discussion. If that’s your approach, change it.

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Instagram

Have you considered Instagram for your business? Have you already set it up? If so, you’re in the minority. According to the State of Digital Marketing 2017 in Search Engine Journal, Instagram use by businesses was less than 1 percent. Large brands are using it, but small business isn’t. We constantly are asked about body shops using Instagram. That’s your choice, of course, but remember that your target audience isn’t anywhere near as interested in cars as you are, and that’s about all you have to take pictures and videos of. I still see little practical use for Instagram for the average body shop. The exception might be exotic car specialists and custom shops that attract that kind of audience. Otherwise, I don’t see much ROI for you.

Contrary to Reports, SEO Is Not Dead

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t dead, as many non-reliable sources might lead you to believe. Not dead, but different, evolving along with the hundreds of changes that Google, Yahoo and Bing make to their algorithms each year. Your website needs to be focused on useful content for your target audience, the connections you make with your target audience and the continuity of your online presence. That means your business NAP (name, address and phone) on your website must match your listings exactly on social media and directory listings, and it all needs to be tied together. We achieve this through our PowerListings service: www.optimaautomotive.com/powerlistings-local-search.

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Google Makes Disgruntled Employee Reviews Against the Rules

If an ex-employee leaves a bad review of your business on Google, that is now against the rules. This update to the guidelines is now found on the Google Maps help center and states, “Posting negative content about a current or former employment experience” is against Google’s guidelines as it is a conflict of interest. Did that just make your day? To get these reviews removed, simply contact Google My Business and request that these reviews be removed.

Summary

There’s much more that we’re monitoring. Keep coming back here to my column each month to stay up with the times. And feel free to reach out to me in the comments section online or at www.optimaautomotive.com/contact-website-specialist.

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