Bad Online Reviews: Yikes! What Should I Do?

bad reviewYikes! What Should I Do about a Bad Online Review?

Have you ever gotten a bad review online? You sat there frozen wondering what you should do about it. Panic spreads as you are freaked by this scathing new comment. What will prospects and potential new clients think about your company if they read this?

Here’s my advice on how to handle this stressful predicament and manage your online reputation.

1. Take a deep breath and relax. It’s just one review. You likely have other positive comments from happy customers. If not, I’ll tell you a little more about how to get them at the end of the post.

2. Reread the Review. Look over the comment and see if you can identify who may have written it. Was it a disgruntled employee or someone who was fired recently? Or was it a customer with a legitimate gripe?

3. Have a Company Meeting. Sit down as a company or with management and talk about negative reviews. Set a policy for what type of action to take regarding social media comments. If the complaint was related to a customer service or product issue, take time to assess your process and best practices to avoid similar problems in the future.

4. Set up Google Alerts. Set up for your company name, company name + review, names of board members, etc. Don’t forget to use quotes when setting up the alert. For example, if I were setting up my own alert, I might use these: “Findability University”, “Heather Lutze Speaker”, and “”. You can also set up alerts at to notify you about any mentions in social media or on the web.

Here’s a great article from about how to use Google Alerts to stay apprised of the buzz about your company online, good or bad.

5. Appeal to Google. You can get a Google review assessed and possibly removed if you think it goes against Google’s review policy. First you flag it for review and then wait to hear about their assessment. This only works for reviews that are inaccurate, not fact-based and that disobey Google’s policies.

Read this support piece to learn more. Other review sites like Trip Advisor or Yelp have their own process for handling bad reviews that are not true or inaccurate.

6. Get More Good Reviews! Another option is to increase the number of good reviews you have. Think about your satisfied customers or clients who would write you a testimonial praising your products or services. Connect and ask them to do this for you. You might also set a new policy to request a review whenever a customer expresses how pleased they are. Perfect timing to garner another glowing testimonial!

Don’t take a bad review here and there to heart and remember that people love to complain anonymously on the web. Do make sure to investigate a poor review and see this as an opportunity to improve if needed. Then be sure to focus your energy on getting good reviews and you’ll maintain your strong reputation.


You may schedule a FREE one hour Findability Audit with Heather by clicking the icon below

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or you may call her directly at 888-588-9326

5 Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Yelp


1: There’s no such thing as NOT being on Yelp.

Remember back in the early days of social media where you had to create an account to get started?

When it comes to Yelp, things are a little different. In an ideal world, you’ve already created your own account and claimed your business page.

But if you haven’t – someone else might have done this for you. And it’s not always someone with the most flattering things to say about your brand.

You can’t choose not to be on Yelp. If you’re ignoring Yelp, your business is either there already or will be soon.

What happens when you have a Yelp page you’re not proactively managing?

What happens when you have a Yelp page you’re not proactively managing?

  • Your business looks less than professional.
  • You lose the opportunity to connect with people who are looking for the products and services you offer.

You run the risk of having your reputation damaged by what’s being said there – and all the while you’re completely unaware of the damage being done to your hard earned reputation.

2: A stronger Yelp reputation can enhance your SEO efforts.

In mid-2014, Google made one of its regular algorithm changes, this one nicknamed Pigeon.

It completely revolutionized local search results within Google. Specifically, it greatly boosted the how directory sites are ranked in local search results.

Practically speaking, this often results in Yelp listings appearing above a company’s own website in search engine results pages (SERPS). Additionally, Google started including businesses’ Yelp star ratings embedded within search results.

This is a game changer for businesses. And it means that moving up in Google search depends not just on your SEO efforts, but on the effort you place on providing outstanding service to your customers as well.

3: The surprising places your Yelp rating now shows up.

If only your performance on Yelp were only about Yelp. But these days, it’s about so much more.

Let me explain.

I just mentioned that Yelp now impacts your ranking in Google search. But it also shows up in places like Apple Maps, Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and Trulia – just for starters.

In fact – over 100,000 developers have registered to use Yelp’s API to integrate ratings data into their products.

This means that your Yelp rating is of critical importance in helping you connect with people looking for great products and services like yours.

4: A bad review can actually help your business.

People-Hate-Us-On-YelpContrary to what you might think, most reasonable people aren’t looking for you to have only 5-star reviews on Yelp.

Most people can accept if you have an occasional bad day. Of course, if every review you have is negative, that’s another issue altogether. (Unless you’re like this restaurant that actually encourages bad reviews – but that’s an exception.)

One or two bad reviews isn’t the end of the world.

In fact – if you know how to respond, in some cases, you can actually get better publicity from a negative review handled correctly than a string of bland positive reviews.

A quick, professional response that seeks to resolve the customer’s issue is the key to turning a negative review into positive sentiment for your business.

5: You can learn how to proactively leverage Yelp to your advantage.

Too many business owners think you have to leave Yelp to chance. They think there’s nothing they can do to deal effectively with negative reviews, attract a regular flow of positive reviews, and actually use Yelp to build their businesses.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Over the past 10+ years, I’ve helped businesses with Yelp. From medium to large businesses, from single locations to multi-site locations across the country, time after time, I’ve experienced that with a systematic approach following proven methods, it’s entirely possible to ensure that a company’s hard earned offline reputation is accurately reflected in their overall Yelp ratings.

Like any other online network, it takes consistency and commitment.

But as my experience helping improve my clients’ online reputations have shown me, learning to proactively manage your online reputation – especially on Yelp – is a worthwhile strategy that yields a healthy, growing business.

Carely BakkerCarley Bakker is a Yelp expert across North America, as well as an online reputation speaker, Yelp help consultant and creator of the Yelp for Business Owners Series. She loves helping businesses of all sizes gain control of what is being said about them on Yelp to drive business growth. Follow her on Twitter at carleybakker. To get tips on how to leverage Yelp to grow your business, visit and sign up for our newsletter. Carley is a Findability Certified Consultant. 


You may schedule a FREE one hour Findability Audit with Heather by clicking the icon below

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or you may call her directly at 888-588-9326

6 Internet Marketing Goals for Every Business

what are your internet marketing goalsAt this point in the year, how productive have you been with your business goals? Like many business owners, marketing is likely to be at the top of your list.

And, that’s a good thing. Because, by taking the time to review goals you made at the start of the year, you can get a good understanding of where you need to put your focus.

So, on that note, I have an important question that I’d like to ask you …

Will this finally be the year you start ranking on Page One of a Google search?

Hitting the top spot in search engine results for your most important keywords is usually not something that happens randomly — particularly if there is a lot of competition in your market. And, I would be hard pressed to name any markets without massive competition in this online age.

It takes keyword research, focused goal setting, a step by step plan, revising and tweaking that plan, and last but hardly least—time and patience—to see it through to completion.

Here are six terrific internet marketing goals that, no matter what business you’re in, can help you get closer to page one in the SERPs. (And, I’ll be writing some upcoming posts that speak to each goal in the upcoming weeks and months.)

6 Internet Marketing Goals for Every Business

1.   Create a cohesive and comprehensive social media plan that will bring real business results — a plan that can be automated for efficiency and can be tracked for effectiveness.

(For more help with creating such a plan, check out Thumbonomics: The Essential Business Roadmap for Social Media & Mobile Marketing.)

2.   Do that all important keyword research, finally determining just how your ideal clients online are searching for your goods and services. This is exactly what I will be doing with my students during my next 6-week SEO Webinar Series (starting April 3rd).

(Btw, a pay-per-click campaign is a great way to really test out those keywords and find out which ones bring traffic to your site, and which ones get the customers with the credit cards in hand. Join us to learn more!)

3.   Take those vital keywords and optimize your website, and every other online bit of content that you have, from blog posts to the descriptions on your YouTube channel.

(Although Google changes its algorithms regularly, classic keyword based search engine optimization never goes out of style.)

4.   Launch boldly into mobile marketing, creating a responsive mobile site that looks great on a tablet or phone, and take advantage of the ways customers are searching on the go.

(More and more people own smartphones or tablets, and are using them as “full service” computers on the go. Can they find you on a four inch screen?)

choose the right keywords5.   Dominate the entire page of a Google search for your company, with your website, your blog, and your social media pages taking up every bit of that all-important real estate.

(Don’t you just hate when you Google your own company, and your competitors show up on the same page? Eliminate them from the page!!)

6.   Have a Findability Audit, look at what you are already doing online, and determine exactly how Google and your customers see your site.

(We can help! Let us prepare a customized internet marketing plan, implement it, or train your team in how to implement it yourselves. Contact us today for more information about the Findability Diagnostic Questionnaire and Audit.)

Why not pick just one of these goals and commit to it? Imagine what it will for your business when you put a plan in place!

Here’s to meeting all your internet marketing goals, and reaping the well-deserved rewards in terms of more traffic, more visibility, more engagement, and more real business.

Btw, my 6-week SEO webinar series starts in two weeks, so you still have time to join us and learn SEO basics to optimize your website! Sign up:


RELATED: Hubspot Marketing Grader: A Yummy Buffet of Internet Marketing Tools for Business Owners



Hubspot Marketing Grader: A Yummy Buffet of Internet Marketing Tools for Business Owners

marketing graderIf you want to grow your business fast, turn to Internet marketing as the solution. Many companies need to update their marketing strategies to reflect how consumers make purchase decisions today.

Customers research online before buying or going to the store, because it saves time. So, if your company does not have a strong web presence, you miss out big time!

Since I work with company leaders and business owners every day, I understand the stress and overwhelm that often accompanies the suggestion of Internet marketing. There is so much technical stuff to understand and you don’t know who to trust or where to get started.

That’s why I am so excited to tell you about Hubspot and my interview with Mike Volpe, the Chief Marketing Officer. His insights on how to jumpstart your business online will open your eyes and give you ideas on how to make the process a lot easier.

A Buffet of Internet Marketing Tools
Mike explained that helping business owners handle the overwhelm is exactly why they formed Hubspot, an all-in-one internet marketing platform. With Hubspot, you can do everything you need to create a strong online presence and get found. The service provides a yummy buffet of inbound marketing options including blogging, email service, social media, SEO, and more.

Volpe pointed out that having access to all the tools in one place makes the process far more efficient. You can not only do your marketing from one place, but you can also access your results from the same dashboard. Pumping out the marketing is a big part of driving fast growth, but evaluating results helps you ensure everything you do works that much harder.

Scrumptious Benefits for a Buffet of Tools
According to Volpe, centralizing your internet marketing tools saves tons of time. You don’t have to export your contact list from one place and import it to another, then stop at a third place to check results. With Hubspot, everything is integrated to make your marketing tasks and analysis easier and faster.

marketing grader
Image Credit: Hubspot

Chow Down on the Top 3 Internet Marketing Staples
I asked Mike for the top three things a newcomer to Hubspot should focus on right out of the gate:

1. Regular Blogging. Start a blog and publish content that interests your customers on a regular basis. This will help you get found!

2. Compelling Call-to-Action. Get beyond the passive “Contact us” call to action and provide a juicy, compelling reason for people to opt-in to your list. Give visitors something to download so they’ll share their contact information.

That’s how you build your marketing database. When you offer a free assessment, report, ebook, audio or video, customers see these items as having value and will register to get them.

3. Landing Page. Your free offer needs to be on a well-written, dedicated landing page that lets customers know EXACTLY what you want them to do. The copy must address your customers’ biggest problem and solve it with your free offer.

The Delectable Advantages of Hubspot:
· Access to great support team to answer your questions anytime
· Plenty of guides for the do-it-yourselfer
· Professional service team who can walk you through every step if requested

The Most Delicious Tool
The Hubspot Marketing Grader provides a free report on your website when you enter your URL. You’ll get a wide view about how you rank based on your overall engagement online. Plus, the report offers important suggestions on how to improve your website and internet marketing to get more traffic and convert more visitors to customers. Everything is simple to understand and you can get started on the improvements right away.

If you’re ready to update your online strategy and prefer the do-it-yourself approach, check out Hubspot as your go-to internet marketing service. Mike assured me during the interview how the company is still growing and offering new and cutting edge tools.

Of course, you can always call me to learn more about SEO basics and improve your Findability online.

Razor Thin Findability: How to Do Keyword Research Right!

Working with Vistage Team on Keyword Nuances.
Working with Vistage Team on Keyword Nuances.

By Heather Lutze, CEO
Findability Consulting & Speaking

Often when I go out for an internal-team training or a keynote presentation, I get complaints from attendees along the lines of, “SEO people are snake oil salesman,” “I’ve spent so much on SEO with no results!” and “My marketing team cannot agree with my IT Team—therefore we just are stalled on SEO.”

Any of these scenarios sound familiar?

I hear your frustration; I’ve heard it time and time again. The line between being “lost” and “found” on the internet is razor thin. If you want to make SEO work you have to evolve as a leader in your organization.

Remember when you didn’t have a cell phone? I even remember the “brick” telephones with the battery backpacks. Ok, now I’m dating myself. But we are, in most cases, “digital immigrants.” We didn’t grow up in today’s technological world, cell phone in our hands. We didn’t learn to text at a young age, and we certainly didn’t grow up with Social Media. But we absolutely need to master these things now, or risk becoming as extinct as the dodo.

So the key to making SEO work for your organization lies in understanding the components of SEO—what I call “Findability.” Keyword domination online is based solely on increased traffic!

“Ok great,” you say, “and how do I get that, again?”


Simply follow this roadmap, to take you from lost to found:

1) LOST: You realize you are lost on the internet – No Findability. Your mom can’t even find your website. Sigh . . .

2) DISCOVERY: Do your customer discovery or keyword phrase discovery online. What keywords do my target searchers use? How are they looking for my type of business?

3) OPTIMIZE: Rewrite or add to your website’s content, page titles, descriptions, meta-descriptions, etc., optimizing for those key search phrases.

4) FOUND: Google easily and efficiently matches your site with searchers using those keyword phrases and you start being found online. Hallelujah!

5) CONVERT: You start converting search traffic into action on your site and $$ in your bank account. Double hallelujah!

6) DOMINATE: Finally, you now dominate search results under a small number of specific and vital keyword phrases. Everyone can find you . . . raise a glass of bubbly!

Sounds easy, doesn’t it!

Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. As the leader in your organization, you must figure out the roadmap for success, but leave the tactical implementation to your SEO firm or your internal teams.

This can be challenging when you’re still a “digital immigrant,” not yet a full-fledged citizen in the world of geeks, techno talk and SEO tactics. How can you assess the use of money, time and resources for a topic you know nothing about? Well, read on . . .

After a recent meeting in LA, I spoke with a great CEO group, comprised of some of the best in their respective industries—florists, uniforms, health food and many others.  In talking with them, I came across an excellent example of razor thin Findability.

Now, those of you who know me know that my “crack” is the Google Keyword tool (and other keyword tools that help companies go from “lost” to “found” on the internet). But it’s not just about Findability, it’s about the right kind of Findability, targeted to customers who are ready buy when they get to your site.

A large, international floral business within this CEO group called themselves wholesale florists—that was their main keyword phrase.

When I looked deeper into how they see their company and what they do, it was very clear to me that they were missing a large part of their searching audience by calling themselves only “wholesale florists.”

Let me explain; it will be even more helpful if you follow along.

  • Go to and type “keyword tool” into the search box.
  • Click on the first organic listing that shows up (see below)

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 11.44.04 AM





  • This takes you to the Adwords Keyword Tool which is often used for Pay Per Click Advertising, but I recommend it for “customer connection” research, via keywords.

(With the floral company, I actually conducted a keyword brainstorming session. You can find out how to do this same brainstorming in Chapter 6 of my book the Findability Formula.)

Take a look at some of the keywords that came up from our session:

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 11.59.26 AM




Look at the difference between the keyword wholesale florist, with 60,500 searches per month and the term wholesale flowers, which gets much more—110,000 searches per month. This customer already dominated under wholesale florist, that’s what got them to where they are today. But they rank nowhere on the search results page for wholesale flowers, which is an even bigger search term—and they are a wholesale flower company at heart!

As a company, it’s all too easy to flatline in your site’s traffic. To grow their business, this client needs to optimize for Findability using the keywords “wholesale flowers.” I’d recommend that they also incorporate the phrase “bulk flowers” (with 27,100 searches a month) as well. Why not?

What important search terms is your website missing out on?

Heather Lutze

Author, Internet Marketing Speaker, Trainer and Consultant