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

  • Holiday Travel Marketing Guide

    The holiday travel season is in full swing, with an expected 90% of travelers opting for a road trip over air travel. What does this mean for your dealership? Now is the time to prep your customer’s vehicles for their holiday journeys. Here are three easy ways you can keep your dealership top-of-mind, build brand recognition, and drive additional service business to your store. Remind Customers of Maintenance This idea is probably a no brainer, but I want to make sure to state it. Deliver a communication to customers about needed maintenance on their vehicle before holiday travel. Think about offering a Holiday Road Trip Service Package, wherein your team would perform and check all vehicle elements to ensure they arrive at their destination safely and without hassle. Offer Assistance The holidays bring about a lot of busy work and things to keep straight, which means, your customers may forget some key elements when hitting the road this holiday. Remind them of the manufacturer’...Read post

  • LotLinx...Does It Measure Up To The Hype

    LotLinx has exploded in 2014 right when the progressive dealers started to migrate away from form submissions to VDP's to establish ROI. LotLinx deeplinks your new and used inventory to 3rd party partners and routes the VDP click thru to your VDP thus bypassing 3rd party VDP's and form submissions. Uncovered are concerns about Lotlinx reporting issues and inconsistent daily referral resulting in a unusual spike monthly. Can LotLinx resolve this and turn this good tool into a great tool as toutedRead post

  • 4 Tip and Tricks to Drive Engagement On Your Dealership Website

    We recently completed a usability study with REAL in-market car shoppers to determine how they engage with inventory on dealer websites while researching their next purchase. Participants in the study were recruited from the local Seattle area and consisted of people currently in-market for a new vehicle. The goal was simple— to find out directly from the mouths and mouses of real shoppers what makes car shoppers click when browsing your vehicle details pages (VDPs) and vehicle search results pages (VSRs).Read post

    By Cobalt on November 25, 2014

  • How To Maximize Your Dealership Black Friday Sales

    It's the holiday season, that means one thing, you only have a few weeks left to hit your year end sales quotas. While this turns into a very stressful time for many dealerships, it doesn't have to be this way; so put away your Grinch costume and use that shiny little device (smartphones) all you customers have to turn your inventory into perfectly wrapped presents that constantly keep driving off your lot. Everyone's Online According to PunchTab 90% of consumers plan to shop online this holiday season,and with consumers spending more than 15 hours per week researching on their smartphones capturing capturing your customers pre-purchase is essential to ultimately gaining their business.   You want to capture all these customers as they look for vehicles don't you?   Step 1: Simplify Their Search Shoppers make store visits after searching, and if they find all the information they are looking for they are 75% more likely to visit the store.   Take control of how your custom...Read post

  • Content Marketing Strategy: How to Create a Winning Company Blog

    Content marketing, in general, can provide many valuable benefits. It can help create and maintain a brand presence; assist in search engine optimization; and position executives as thought leaders. It can also serve as a valuable source of information for both customers and potential customers.   There are many types of content marketing. Technically speaking, everything your business creates and publishes is content marketing. This can include such items as marketing pieces, videos, blog articles, articles published in trade magazines, social media posts -- you name it. If your audience sees it, chances are that it’s content marketing.   While most businesses understand the importance of content marketing, many get stuck when trying to make it an ongoing reality. Think of it as an extreme case of writer’s block. Someone is tasked to create this “content” but they don’t know what to create on a regular and ongoing basis. Some companies create comprehensive content ma...Read post

  • New Google transparency requirements hold 3rd party partners more accountable for AdWords Mgmt fees

    Google is introducing two new requirements aimed at increasing transparency and accountability of third-party partners. Starting in November, agencies and other third-party firms and individuals that manage Google advertising for customers will need to conform to new third-party policies. The current policy mandates that third-parties disclose Ad Words media costs, clicks, and impressions at the account level. Now all management fees must be disclosed on invoices and be itemized to show the net cost of the Google portion separate from any management fees or mark-up. The days of ‘black box’ digital advertising packages appears to be coming to a close. Black box refers the idea that you pay your digital vendor or agency a monthly amount to provide a host of online services and they ‘optimize’ it among various digital elements such as paid search through Google and Bing, retargeting ads, banner ads, in banner video, search retargeting, or any of a host of other types of digital advertising. While there are positive points to this approach, it has also presented an opportunity for vendors to provide less than full disclosure regarding the ‘third-party’ fees they are actually charging to manage these services.Read post

  • "Selling" at the Zero-Moment-of-Truth

    As an industry, we often activate a vast array of tools...shiny widgets....and systems in which to be effective to the modern consumer….. HOWEVER....do our systems: Target - Communicate – Integrate together; As-One; in order to ensure Buyers are delivered at the ‘Zero Moment’ through a direct-path to OUR specific Stores? Websites? Telephones? As Dealers = "WE reserve the right, to Market OUR Brands, OUR Stores, OUR Inventory - with a single and direct connection to OUR stores, everytime!" Automotive News | Dealers > Best Practices ( Nov. 24, 2014 ) Cardinale Group makeover flexes digital Muscle http://www.autonews.com/article/20141124/RETAIL07/311249996/cardinale-group-makeover-flexes-digital-muscle   ...Read post

  • Does your dealership catch customers at zero moment of truth?

    As Digital Dealers we should all be familiar with the Google’s study that shows the behavior of a current ZMOT Auto buyer: – The majority of shoppers for automobiles are quite thoughtful – starting the process about 2-3 months before. Still, 14% of shoppers actually report spending less than a week on the decision making process. – Auto shoppers use on average 18.2 different sources of information – from TV, news articles, online, family, etc. to finally form their decision. – 97% of auto shoppers will be influenced by ZMOT-style advertising. Marketers should be thinking about how to use ZMOT to drive shoppers right into the dealership. – 71% of auto buyers used a search engine to help find a dealership At ZMOT we have proven that a dealership group that embraces digital marketing focused on targeting zero moment of truth buyers with systems that Target - Communicate – Integrate together as one in order to ensure Buyers are delivered at the "Zero Moment" throu...Read post