SMX Overtime: Here's How Multi-Site Brands Can Manage Their Local Ads

During my session "Managing local presence for multi-site brands" at SMX East, the participants asked questions about the classification of reviews, lists and duplicate pages and the challenges of local franchises, so I wanted to take the time after the event.

1. I see a lot of businesses with a small number of reviews ranking higher than other local businesses with 100s of reviews. Both are local. If the reviews are 75%, why would a business with 5 reviews outperform a business with 100 reviews?

Some multi-location businesses that have less opinion than another multi-location establishment may still rank higher for several reasons. The first is proximity or location. There are certain categories where the closeness of the business to the researcher outweighs the opinions. In other categories, this can be boiled down to expertise and authority. Both are largely dependent on the content and source links found in the Google My Business profile itself. All in all – there is no single answer to this question which applies to all categories. What is clear, however, is that the reliability of your brand – as it emerges from your ratings and reviews counts as both a top and key factor that consumers use to determine which business to visit.

2. How do you identify fraudulent or duplicate lists or pages? Which platform can do it programmatically? The first step that multi-site businesses can take to prevent unwanted lists or pages is to claim all of the local pages. By claiming all of the local pages, multi-site businesses will be able to manage the content that is shared on its pages and monitor ratings and reviews.

With some list management solutions, there are programmatic "delete and delete duplicates" functions that find potential duplicate lists or unclaimed pages and gives you the option to merge them into the list / pages or delete them.

3. How do you assign incoming calls to local pages without using a trackable phone number? We were told that Google frowns on multiple phone numbers for a single location, but then we lose track and the location management software is not free. Multi-location businesses can assign incoming calls to local pages using a local list management solution. Most solutions are able to provide you with reports of "clicks" to the number or "click to call". In today's digital world, most consumers search for businesses on their mobile devices and simply click on the number or icon to start the call. These actions can be tracked without the tracking phone number required with different solution tools.

4. Do you encourage your franchisees to respond to reviews / get more reviews on Google or Facebook?

It is ideal for your local franchisees to respond to all reviews on Google and Facebook. Local franchisees are aware of what is happening locally, so they would be the best people to respond to. If the company wants to oversee these responses, there are tools that can help ensure that a response to reviews is not published until it has been approved by the company. ; company or other designated party. In terms of encouraging more reviews on Google and Facebook, this is fine as long as local franchisees don't encourage or block reviews. An example of triggering reviews would be to ask consumers to leave a review if they have a good experience, but to respond via email to management if there was something they were unhappy with. . This is frowned upon by Google and Facebook. The same goes for the incentive. There is nothing that multi-location businesses can do to encourage consumers to leave a review. Providing a five dollar gift card to consumers who leave a review is one example. That being said, it is always encouraged to make the opinions better known.

5. What are your recommendations on creating multiple GMBs for the same location? With proximity limitations and a service area business, are you creating multiple pages for multiple cities?

It is not recommended to create multiple GMB accounts for the same location. Google actually advises against this. One of the main reasons why GMB accounts are closed is that the location addresses are not correct.

Unless you have different commercial locations that serve different areas, you should stick to one GMB profile. The best thing to do is to create a GMB account and optimize this page. Your multi-site business can also group more reviews on this page. Breaking up your business with different GMB accounts could be confusing for consumers. In addition, with multiple GMB accounts, you dilute other ranking factors, such as ratings and reviews.

6. When you talk about responding to reviews on GMB and FB, are you also saying that it is imperative to respond to positive reviews? If so, is it important to respond with more than just a “Thank you!”? When you're talking about responding to reviews on Google My Business and Facebook, it's important to respond to as many reviews as possible. The percentage of reviews that a multi-site business responds to has become a ranking factor on Google. We understand that it can be difficult to find time to respond to all reviews. Therefore, if this is not realistic, be sure to focus on critical reviews first. Once the critical opinions have been answered, the responses to positive opinions can come next. It is always good to respond to positive reviews if possible. While "thank you" is a correct answer, adding personalization goes a long way. Even if you just use the person's name, it can add value without taking too long. In a perfect world, responding to all opinions, both negative and positive, would be a priority.

7. How do you manage the large-scale management of Google messages for a multi-site brand?

Although Google has an excellent dashboard for single-location businesses, it can be more difficult for multi-location businesses. There are other technologies that can help manage Google posts on hundreds or thousands of locations. SOCi (my employer) is one of them. There is, however, an exception: Google does not allow this functionality for chain stores. If your multi-site business is listed as a chain, you probably won't be able to use publishing technologies for mass publishing within Google. The reason is that Google wants the posts to be localized. In the past, Google has found that it has lost its authenticity by allowing the mass publication of channels. This again emphasizes the importance of localization when creating content.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily of Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here .

About the author

Monica Ho is CMO of the main social and reputation management platform designed for multi-site brands – SOCi. Prior to SOCi, she held the position of Global CMO at GroundTruth (formerly xAd, Inc), where she contributed to the growth of the business, from a start-up to start-up to an award-winning global brand. Veteran with 20 years of experience in digital marketing, advertising and research, Ho has received numerous distinctions and awards, including being ranked as one of the most powerful women in mobile advertising (three years consecutive) by Business Insider and one of the 100 most influential. North American B2B technology marketers by Hot Topics.

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