Google Changed Reviews – Again!

It never seems to end, does it? Nowadays, I feel like Google changes things just to keep us on our toes and see who will respond. Almost like when the bad guy in an old cowboy movie shoots at the other guy’s feet to make him “dance.”
Well, I’ll tell you what’s happened and what you can do about it. Read on!

They Took Away My REVIEWS!

A recent development in the world of Google Reviews is that from time to time they will do an “audit” of what’s been posted on your account. What does that mean? Well, you might see a dozen or so of your precious 5-star reviews drop off the list over the course of a few days.
I know what you’re thinking – “That’s not fair! They’re MY reviews! I worked hard for them!” You’re absolutely right. BUT, from time to time, “The Google giveth, and The Google taketh away.” They will go comb through your reviews and remove any that seem to be less legitimately worded or may reflect a conflict of interest.

Another Theory

It’s possible that some of your reviews are getting flagged by competitors, which can cause Google to go through and take a closer look at them. But if a competitor is worried enough to be taking the time to do so, that’s probably a good thing for you!

What You Should Do

If it were me seeing some of my reviews disappear for a while, I would take a step back from actively requesting them or promoting them – at least on Google. This could be a great opportunity for you to try to get more Facebook or Yelp reviews. If you’re promoting them with customers, you can even tell them that Google is being funny at the moment and you’d love it if they’d help you build up your reputation on the other sites.

Reviews on Desktop vs. Mobile:

Another recent change to Google Reviews is that you can no-longer just have one link that works for mobile & desktop (at least, not that I’ve been able to find). Instead of just doing the method I describe here, I’d recommend doing two of them.

Here’s what you have to do:

The desktop method works the same as it always has, but the link you get from a computer will only work on a computer to take customers where they need to simply type the review.

To create a link that works on mobile, you’ll have to collect the link on a mobile device. What that means is that you need to follow this process.

1) Search for your franchise by name in your mobile web browser (Usually Safari for iPhones or Chrome for Android devices). It may be helpful to also type the city you’re located in.

2) When you see your Google listing, tap on “Reviews”. This is where things get different for iPhone vs Android.

iPhone: Tap the “Share” icon at the bottom of your screen. It looks like a box with an upward arrow coming out of it. On the resulting menu, select “Copy”. Then go to your e-mail app and paste that link into an email to yourself. Once you have that link, you can follow the process I linked above on your computer to create your mobile link.

Android: When you’re looking at the Reviews screen for your listing, tap the address bar at the top of your screen. With the LONG web address highlighted (probably in blue), hold your finger on the link and select “Copy” from the menu. Then go to your e-mail app and paste that link into an email to yourself. Once you have that link, you can follow the process I linked above on your computer to create your mobile link.

3) When you create the link on Bitly like I show you in the linked post above, make sure you notate which link is for desktop and which one is for mobile. You could just add an extra “m” to the end of it so you know. Or you could do something like “http://bit.ly/NoUTChemDryMobile.

Big Takeaway:

Online Reviews are going to continue to be an integral part of your business success, but you may have to adjust as the process shifts.

  1. Don’t freak out if your Google Reviews disappear. Focus on Facebook or Yelp until things settle out.
  2. Make sure you get your desktop version of your Google Reviews link.
  3. Follow the steps to create a mobile link that you can send to customers via text message.

PPC Needs Mobile Access

Image Source_ worldwidemasters.com

According to a recent study, upwards of 60% of online searches happen on mobile devices. Google now gives organic search result preference to websites that are mobile-friendly.

On top of that, with the advent of “Expanded Text Ads” from Google, you now have ads that targeted at both desktop AND mobile websites, and you can tell it which one to pick, but the ad is the same. So what would you do?

There’s a BIG Difference

When it comes to accessibility for websites on mobile devices, it’s important that you make some changes. Searchers on mobile devices usually have:
  1. Immediate needs
  2. Short attention spans
  3. Small screens
That means you have to have the right information available to your customer as quickly and visibly as possible.
Below is an example from Carnation Chem-Dry Middleton, located near Madison, Wisconsin. They have done a GREAT job building their chem-dry.net website, which came with their franchise. It looks wonderful.
But here’s the thing:

While they’ve done a great job building the site, and it’s perfectly navigable on a desktop (i.e. ACTUAL computer) the site doesn’t naturally transition itself and adjust to be more readable on a mobile device like an iPhone or Android.

More recently, Carnation Chem-Dry has made the move to a more mobile-friendly “.com” platform (as seen below).

In this case, they’ve opted for a micro-site from Web Marketing Services at HRI, which have mobile versions of your core service pages (carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, PURT, tile, etc.) by default, and it’s not hard to add more. WMS has several templates available that work well, but you don’t necessarily HAVE to get one from them.
Most website hosts will now offer a mobile friendly website, which can drastically improve your overall organic ranking and site performance in Google because they recognize the trend toward mobile.

Why Mobile Matters

As I stated earlier, the number searches happening on mobile devices is quickly outweighing desktop searches which means that you need to have mobile versions of your web pages – especially your high-traffic pages.

Google’s new ad format, “Expanded Text Ads” increase the amount of text you can have in an ad by about 20%. While this is great in and of itself, it also makes it so you don’t have to create desktop and mobile versions of your ads. They adjust them for you based on the device doing the search, BUT you have the option of sending a mobile search to a mobile version of your page, which is what I would do.

What this means for you is that if you’re paying to have someone click on your ad, you want to get as much out of that click as you can. Sending someone on a mobile device to a non-mobile friendly page can really hurt your chances of converting.
For instance, if you are running a PURT ad, and you normally send people to your regular PURT page, it may work very well on desktop. However, if your desktop page doesn’t convert to a mobile one, you may lose out on that opportunity because the visitor gave up on finding what they wanted.

Big Takeaway:

If you’re currently doing any kind of advertising online, especially PPC, you should give serious consideration to the ratio of mobile searches to desktop. That means:
  1. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you need to get one ASAP. Talk to your vendor today.
  2. Pay-Per-Click ads (especially with new Expanded Text) are one of the most sure-fire ways to find new customers. You should be using them.
  3. When you start advertising on PPC, make sure you’re using mobile-ready versions of your web pages to enhance your customers’ experience and increase likelihood of conversion.
Take control of your online marketing today and establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.

Be There When It’s Relevant

  Image Source_ https___www.theguardian.com_careers_10-new-year-resolutions-for-managers


Now that it’s December, while most people are getting ready for all the parties, you’re preparing in a different way – to clean up after them.

Let’s make sure you time your marketing to reach your customers when they’re thinking about it. Here are a few suggestions:

Facebook & Instagram

Think about your core demographic. Where do they spend a lot of time – especially during/after the holidays – where they might see you? They’re checking out videos and pictures of their friends and family on Facebook and Instagram. That means it’s a perfect opportunity to plant the seed BEFORE they need it.

I recommend placing a few strategic ads during weeknight evenings targeted at your audience – especially if you can highlight some before & after shots of what you’re capable of as the best carpet cleaner around.

Use some catchy headlines like “We can cure at least ONE of your New Years’ headaches” or “In-Laws coming? We’ll let YOU take the credit.”

You can try to book the job right away, or you can just let the message marinate for a few days. Then, when the moment comes, BLAST THEM!

*****Expert Tip***** Make sure your website is using the Facebook Pixel, which tracks whenever a customer goes to your website and connects to their Facebook account. That way, if they visited your site, you can aim some ads specifically at them.


Yes, I’m going to talk about e-mail. Again.

Guess what? Christmas and New Years are on Sundays this year. Lots of people will have the 26th and 2nd off work, which they’ll likely spend trying to recover from the festivities and figure out how they’re going to clean up the mess and (in some cases) get rid of their hangover.

Why not time a friendly e-mail reminder to them that morning that YOU can solve the problem for them, AND help provide a healthier winter for their family?

Once again, you can utilize the before/after pictures. THANK THEM for being your customer, and give them an exclusive offer for a limited number of time slots over the next 2-3 days.

******Special Note****** You MUST include your phone number in this e-mail, and make sure it is front and center so it’s easy to call you quickly.


Talk to your PPC vendor about creating a series of ads specifically about party and holiday cleanup that will go live and have higher bids the day after. You can strike while the iron is hot.

*****Do This****
Create a list of keywords that are focused on that problem you’re going to solve (“getting vomit out of carpet”, “wine stain on sofa”, etc.). It may also help to come up with some fun/funny headlines and text like “party cleanup specialists” or “have too much fun last night?”

*****Bonus Tip*****
If you have a list of customer e-mail addresses, make sure your vendor uploads it to AdWords. When Google recognizes a search from an account with a registered e-mail address, your ads will get priority since they’re already in your customer database. (Bet you didn’t know that, did you?)

Big Takeaway:

You have lots of ways to connect with your customers this holiday season and help them by easing their burden.

Don’t miss out on them!
  1. Create Facebook and Instagram ads that will target and re-target your customers during the holidays.
  2. E-mail your database during key times when they’re likely to recognize the need to have you clean for them.
  3. When your customer Googles “carpet cleaning” in the morning, you want to be there.

Want some help getting all this going? Schedule a time for some help. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.


Call Tracking Metrics Numbers

Unless you’ve been ignoring my e-mails (you know who you are), you’ve almost certainly heard me talk about using how Call Tracking Metrics can influence the way you market your business – especially online.
Here’s the thing: Google likes uniformity. They’ll penalize your business and listings if you show different addresses, names, and phone numbers in different places. They don’t like it. And your business will suffer if you do it. But Call Tracking Metrics offers an alternative.

Dynamic Number Insertion

Put in very basic terms, Call Tracking Metrics uses a technology called “Dynamic Number Insertion” which takes the phone number that would normally appear on your website (your actual business number) and swap it with a tracking number that’s specific to how the customer got there.
That means when a customer gets to your website from a Google Search, instead of seeing this:
your customers will see this:
See the difference? Now when a customer calls the number I’ve circled, Call Tracking Metrics will note that you’ve gotten a phone call from your Google Organic search results.
This works for any online traffic source including Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, AdWords, and ChemDry.com.

So How Much Does it Cost? 

Harris Research saw a lot of value in this service for our franchise owners, so we’ve made some special arrangements with Call Tracking Metrics.
With HRI’s deal, there’s no subscription fee (usually $19/mo), and you save $1 off every local phone number you use. PLUS, your per-minute rate is decreased by about 20%.

How Many Numbers Should I Get?

That’s really up to you. The idea is to be able to track just about any advertising you do – especially from tricky-to-track sources like Google. I’ve seen franchises use CTM for anything from SEO to ValPak and they love the information they get from the call logs and recordings.
I’m a very data-minded person, so I’d buy up a bunch of numbers to use as I like. I can use one for all my e-mail marketing, one for PPC, one for ChemDry.com (or multiple depending on how many listings you have), and one for Yelp.
Take a look at how many different marketing/lead sources you have listed in onTrack (or your other software), and figure out which ones are hardest for you to track. Consider acquiring one number for each of those sources.

Okay, Scott. How Do I Sign Up?

If that was enough to convince you to try Call Tracking Metrics, great. You can click here or on the icon to the right to set up an account through HRI’s Web Marketing Services website. Or you can click on the CTM logo at the top of the screen to get there too.
If you’re still not sure about it, click here to schedule a call with me so we can talk about what your franchise’s needs are. Let’s work on this together to help you spend your marketing money smarter.

Big Takeaway:

If you don’t know how much business you’re getting from your marketing sources, you don’t know how well it’s working. As a responsible business owner, you need to know that.
  1. Count how many marketing avenues you’re usings.
  2. Sign up for a Call Tracking Metrics account.
  3. Decide how many sources you want to track, and acquire numbers for each of them.
  4. Call Scott to get the numbers working for you.
Take control of your social media today and establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.

Engaging Images That WORK

Last week, I held a webinar where I shared some of my favorite tools, tips and practices for collecting and utilizing pictures for marketing whether it’s email, social media, or even physical mailers.
Click the image above or click here to watch the webinar. Here are a few other tips I’d offer for you.
Photography Skills

Whether you’re an experienced selfie-taker or you barely know how to open the camera on your cell phone, you can probably learn a thing or two about taking pictures with that fancy cell phone of yours.

Here’s a link to a Hubspot article (which I highly recommend you subscribe to) where they discuss 17 tips to taking good pictures with your phone. Whether you’re taking a nice picture of your technician for an email or a quick snapshot of a spill, these tips can help capture the right things.

Free Tools 

Now that you know how to take good pictures, let’s talk about editing them. There are TONS of mobile apps that will “filter” your photos (a filter is a preset adjustment on a photo that slightly alters lighting and coloring), but filters can be overdone.

Instead, try some tools like these:


Available on both Apple and Android platforms, PicStitch is the most popular photo collage app out there, and for good reason. It’s easy to use, has LOTS of options for sizing and arranging pictures, and allows you to export directly to your social media outlets. And, best of all, it’s FREE (though you may have to see an ad every now and then).!

eZy Watermark

For a quick tool to add your company’s watermark to your pictures (i.e. your company name/logo), look no further than eZy Watermark. This free app (does have ads) lets you use images like the Chem-Dry badge logo to watermark your pictures so you get credit for them – no matter where they’re shared. Just make sure they’re actually YOUR images. Download it from the Apple or Google app stores.

Big Takeaway:
You should always be building your library of images that can be used to build your business. Don’t miss a photo opp because you’re not sure how to use your phone.
  1. Take before/after pictures on the job.
  2. Practice taking pictures and playing with your phone.
  3. Don’t be afraid to share pictures that aren’t of carpet. Show some personality for your business as well.
Take control of your media marketing today and establish a better future for your business. Then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.

Making the Move to Mobile

Our world and our customers are becoming more and more connected day by day. In fact, did you know that about 60% of American’s now own/use a smartphone? That means nearly 200 MILLION potential customers are connected to the internet 24/7.

Device Usage


43% of Google searches happen on mobile phones.

43% of consumers use their smartphones for searching locally. Furthermore, about 68% of mobile searches happen at home, when there are larger-screen options available. You’d better have a mobile-friendly website for them to use.



80% use search engines for local business info.











Not only are people using more of their mobile devices for searches, but they’re also researching businesses prices, services, and reviews through search engines, and mobile apps. When you show up, are people seeing the best you have to offer?

When People are Online


43% of people watch TV and use a mobile phone at the same time.

So, not only are people using their mobile devices to search, but they’re doing it at the same time they’re doing other things. Who says we can’t multi-task?


43% of people report that they are guilty of using other devices while watching TV. Come on, admit it. You’ve done this too.


54% of “multi-taskers” use their smartphone while watching TV.

On top of that, of all those people who are “multi-tasking”, over HALF of them are using a smart phone. That means they’re either playing Candy Crush, cruising Facebook, or looking up things that they’re seeing.
That means you have opportunities to show up, even when someone sees a commercial from those Steemer guys.

What Now?

So, what do you need to do to take advantage of mobile technology?
  1. Make sure your website is “mobile friendly” or “mobile responsive.” That means your website automatically adjusts based on what device is accessing it.
  2. Target mobile devices with Pay-Per-Click ads. Also don’t forget about the opportunity for click-to-call conversion with PPC.
  3. Get a Local Search Directory listing. Almost 60% of visits to ChemDry.com are from smartphones.
If you ever have any questions about how your marketing is performing, reach out to me and we’ll talk about it – whether you’re using a vendor or doing it yourself.

Click-to-Call Accessibility – Are You Leaving Money Online?

2016-03-23 17.23.59You know when you Googled that restaurant on your phone last Friday night and Google offered to let you call right from the search results? You used a function called “click-to-call” which is becoming an increasingly popular method of reaching potential customers. In a day and age where everyone wants to know everything and they want to know it NOW, it’s become a necessity if you want to stay current.
Last year in the US alone, our economy saw $1.12 TRILLION in business sourced to click-to-call phone calls (made from mobile phones, obviously). That number is expected to grow by roughly $110 Million in 2016.
Can you believe that?!
Which will make you wonder – “Is my website mobile friendly? Can customers click-to-call when they Google for a carpet cleaner?” If your answer is “I don’t know”, I have a few suggestions for you.
These are the things you MUST do in order to capitalize on this surge in technology.
1) You MUST have your phone number registered with Google My Business listings.
2) You MUST utilize “Call Extensions” in Pay-Per-Click advertising (check with your vendor if you aren’t sure if you’re doing them).

3) You MUST have a mobile-friendly website that prominently shows either your phone number OR a “call button” (like in the picture on the right —–>) so customers can reach youquickly. A microsite from HRI is automatically responsive to mobile devices. ChemDry.com is also mobile responsive. However, the chem-dry.net websites are not “mobile friendly.” This is one major reason we recommend utilizing a microsite in addition to your .net.
If you’re not utilizing the ease of click-to-call technology, you’re probably leaving money online and not optimizing that Search Engine Optimization you and your vendor have been working so hard on. Make sure you do!