Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: Marketing

Did We Make a Big Google Mistake?

By Christine Rochelle on Aug 17, 2012

For weeks I've found myself saying the same one-liner, "reviews are missing from your Google+ Local listing, we reported it to Google but there's not much else we can do."

I find myself cringing every time I have to utter those words. I send them the link on Google's response to missing reviews, which really doesn't say much, and then we all wait. After coaching a dealer to ask customers to post reviews for them on Google, how do you explain to them why Google would then delete nearly every single one of those positive reviews, only leaving the negative reviews behind? For two years I have motivated dealers to hop on the Google train, branding them online as "Top Rated Dealer on Google" - but they aren't the top rated dealer anymore.

Did we all make a big Google mistake?

I've looked outside the auto industry and I have been tracking the very same issues for other businesses. Mike Blumenthal of Blumenthals.com has even took it upon himself to collect all the issues pertaining to missing reviews so that they are reported on the Google forum in one post. He also posts his own formula on the missing reviews.

 

Since there is not much a client or SEO can do, I also provide them with the 6,6,6 rule for lost reviews to guide them as to what to expect in terms of recovery of the reviews. It might offer some small comfort.
 
What is the 6,6,6 review rule? (any client imagined thoughts about the devil suggested by my guideline are actively encouraged)
 
  • If reviews don’t come back to the Google Places page in 6 days, they might return in 6 weeks
  • If they don’t return in 6 weeks they might return in 6 months
  • If they don’t return in 6 months they have descended to Dante’s 6th Ring of Hell

Joking aside, what are the next steps for a dealer who has had their reviews missing from Google? And what about a dealer who has had all of their positive reviews go missing?

Google is a free tool, after all, we don't have to use it. In fact, when you create a Google login their terms of service that you probably blindly accepted made that very clear:

"OTHER THAN AS EXPRESSLY SET OUT IN THESE TERMS OR ADDITIONAL TERMS, NEITHER GOOGLE NOR ITS SUPPLIERS OR DISTRIBUTORS MAKE ANY SPECIFIC PROMISES ABOUT THE SERVICES. FOR EXAMPLE, WE DON’T MAKE ANY COMMITMENTS ABOUT THE CONTENT WITHIN THE SERVICES, THE SPECIFIC FUNCTION OF THE SERVICES, OR THEIR RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, OR ABILITY TO MEET YOUR NEEDS. WE PROVIDE THE SERVICES 'AS IS'." 

Did we make a mistake in molding a business' digital presence around something no one has control over? Do we start over, or do we keep fighting?

I'd love to know your thoughts on this.

 

 

Comments

Christine --
There is no question that Google is a huge source of frustration for dealers (and those of us who help them). There are frequent changes and what can seem like an arbitrariness that the rest of us are left to try to react. For the pro-active among us, this is an uncomfortable position to occupy! It's not just Google though. Yelp with it's filtering system and the "Yelp sort" are also challenging.

At the end of the day, it's Google's world and we all just live in it (at least from a search engine perspective), so it is a fact of life that we all have to deal with. As with all issues related to online reputation and review sites, it all starts with what happens at the dealership and the good news is that that actually can be controlled by dealers! If the process is solid, followed consistently and there is care paid to the experience customers have in every department in the dealership, that should extend into the online world and be reflected in the reviews written about the dealership.

Thanks for kicking off an important discussion.

Kristen Judd
@kwjudd

Aug 17, 2012

Thanks so much Kristen! You are so right - it is a Google world, we just live in it....as I check my Gmail through my Chrome browser :). I have suggested to dealers to try to encourage customers to mention the salespersons name in the review and the model they purchased...more details could make them stick? It's just a theory, an option.

Aug 17, 2012

For what it's worth, I have been working with Google on maps issues for about a year, and now on this very issue. After talking to a few other sources, I suspect that as Google places more importance on reviews they are beefing up their spam algorithms. I think that legitimate reviews were removed along the way. The process we use at our stores to gather reviews has been vetted by my contact at Google, but without getting into the nitty gritty, I believe that the process we use may have led to the reviews being mistakenly labelled spam.

My contact was aware of other issues at stores in different markets, but those stores had stopped following up so he assumed it had resolved itself. After sending over the information I had gathered, it was clear that the issue was not resolved, and it was escalated internally.

Aug 17, 2012

Thanks for the insight Mark. I hope that it is handled for your stores and Google sees that so my dealers are passionate about their Google reviews.

Aug 17, 2012

If we all agree that positive Google reviews are an asset and we know Google to date has offered zero help I suggest we fight the battle. Start over! One of our Google+ Local pages is now MIA so its not just a review issue.

Aug 19, 2012

Mark it would be helpful if you told us why you think your process was the reason your reviews are gone. What process did you use

Aug 19, 2012

I do not see how this is not a liability issue for Google. I would understand if all reviews disappeared but to leave just the negative aones amounts to slander in my opinion, whether intentional on Google's part or not. Whether we pay to have reviews in my opinion is not relevant, they are paid by advertisers who see their sites as relevant and reviews are a part of that. All of the reviews were done by our clients and never done at the dealership. We had 88 positive reviews and four negative and were left with just the four. Our web traffic dropped as a result. This hurt our business and Google should be held responsible in some way. There is legislation in some places where false reviews have punitive results, I do not see how arbitrary removal of reviews, without notification to the proprietor, is any different. It would be very easy for us to contact each client and have them verify that they wrote our reviews yet we were given no chance to verify.

Aug 24, 2012

Comments 1 - 7 of 0

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Christine Rochelle's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Yelp! WTF

    I’m not complaining about this at all. We could use more of these 5 star reviews to actually stick. But, it does make me wonder… Read post

  • Celebrate Summer with All-Star Baseball

    Every year, thousands of Major League Baseball games are played with millions in attendance. These same baseball fans are gearing up for the long awaited All-Star Game coming up July 14th.  Believe it or not, your dealership can leverage these enthusiasts’ excitement to drive sales and service business. How, you ask? With creative, relevant marketing. Check out these three ideas to celebrate summer with All-Star baseball. Get Active Here in Cincinnati, if the Reds combine 11 strikeouts during a home game, LaRosa’s (a local pizzeria) allows every fan with a ticket from that game to redeem it for a free pizza. This is an example of how a local business can get involved with the sport of baseball to promote their brand. Similarly, your dealership could offer discounts for events that transpire during the All-Star Game, such as offering $10 oil changes if a local player hits a home run or a similar promotion that may fit your particular business model.  Create a Contest Everybody l...Read post

  • 5 Simple Link Building Strategies for Small Businesses

    When someone new to digital marketing reads about link building strategies, it’s likely a confusing and stressful experience. The reason is, most people try to complicate the process to sell services by convincing you there’s something proprietary about their methods. Now, most businesses should consider SEO or link building services if they want to get results, but the cost is something many small businesses simply can’t afford. But instead of just forgoing link building altogether, you need solutions that fit your business, right? That’s why I’ve put together a list of five simple link building strategies that small businesses can start immediately. So take notes and start building links!   Sponsor Something Locally or Create Your Own Event Local businesses are often asked to sponsor events, children’s sports teams, and school functions. And while many see some of these are charitable or simply promotional, most of the organizations looking for sponsorship wou...Read post

  • Managed vs Self-Serve Chat

    The automotive industry is really starting to come around to the idea that they must have chat on their websites. It has moved from being a luxury to becoming a requirement due to the increased use of mobile and the trend towards real-time communication. Now, the debate has been shifting to an old question: manged or self-serve? There are advantages and disadvantages to each that we've discovered and we'd love to hear from the DrivingSales community about their opiinon. As we covered on a recent blog post, the reasons for managed are plentiful: 24/7 Coverage Professional, Consistent Responses Experience of Managing Chat Constantly Proven Scripts Over Off-The-Cuff Replies For every argument, there's a counter-argument. Self-serve chat software has its own advantages: Live Answers to Inventory Questions Direct Appointments Instead of Inquiries Dealership Personality Again, we offer both so we have all of the horses in this race. We simply want to know what you guys think. What...Read post

  • Who's Down The Street? How to Differentiate Yourself In A Busy World

    Look around, who’s your biggest (local) competition. If you’re like most of us, you know who they are, you constantly see their sales numbers and wonder  how can you beat them this month? What do they have that you don’t? You have the same cars, right? You have the same (more or less) finance programs? You have the same style dealership? If these answers are “yes,” it’s time you do something to differentiate yourself from the dealership down the street.  When the OEM’s consistently make every dealership “look” the same, what does it take to stand out in a sea of non descript buildings (& colored cars for the most part.)?   Do you have a mission statement? Is that mission statement displayed in your dealership? What about in your “virtual dealership?” What’s your virtual dealership? Your website! How many visits does your website get a week or a mont h? I bet it’s more visitors than people who walk into your showroom. There’s really no need to ad...Read post

  • Internet data.....what is the most important metric?

    I am in a nada internet 20 group. We share lots aof ideas and lots of data at each meeeting. Most of our meetings center around our internet composite. It is much like the financial commposite that nada uses for other 20 group meetings. It has everyones internet data in it and rates and ranks each member under different measurements. It is a great accountabilty tool that we use as a group. One section is dedicated to analytics off of our website. the other two sections are for cars.com and autotrader data.  While there are a ton of measurements in our composite I am trying to figure oout which are the most important. Originally we ranked evry page by bounce rate. We have found that a higher bounce rate is not always a problem. If you market properly and get the person to the page that they want to be on it could result in a bounce. Pages per visit fall in to this category as well. So does time on site.  Some of the othe measurements in our composite are thigs such as Number of v...Read post

  • Enough With the Windsocks. It's 2015.

    I am tired of people talking about how digital media is becoming a presence and how it needs to incorporated it into automotive marketing. Truly--how many dealerships are NOT using some form of social media, digital advertising, or marketing to drive people online and on-lot? We are past the point of why and moving into the thick of how. How to do it well. How to do it right.  It is 2015--how are you reaching out to your customers? If you are relying on a giant, flapping windsock, you may want to rethink your dealership marketing strategy. You know what I am talking about--the one that flaps in the wind and steals your attention from the road as you are driving down the street. That windsock has taken on a new digital life--one that is just as distracting and may not drive as many customers to your site and lot as you would think. Here Are The Digital Equivalents of the Giant Windsock: The Loud/Messy/Distracting Website Have you visited your dealership page lately? Not as a...Read post

  • 13 Rules For Social Media Success in the Car Dealership

    Social Media use in the car dealership is different today than it was just five years ago (an understatement, I know). It’s interesting how in just a few years, being active on social media has evolved from something that was once regarded as ‘free’ and optional to a necessary medium that requires an investment of time, resources and yes – a budget. In this article I share my 13 Rules for Social Media Success in the Dealership that we're currently using at the LaFontaine Automotive Group as we begin to realign our social strategy for 2015 and beyond.Read post