MMM: San Francisco Mobile & Local SEO

Everything these days is mobile, mobile, mobile! Walk into any cafe in San Francisco, whether it’s a trendy artisan cafe like Four Barrel Coffee on Valencia, or a national chain like the Starbucks that literally are a stone’s throw from each other in downtown San Francisco or near the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and it’s people people people on their mobile mobile mobile phones. Everything has “gone mobile.” Continue reading

How to Get Reviews on Yelp, Easily!

As a teacher and trainer in Social Media Marketing, one of the most common questions I get is, “Jason, I have a small business and we depend on Yelp… but how do we get reviews?” My easy answer is: ask. Simply asking happy customers, “Hey, could you do me a favor… please write us an honest review on Yelp,” is the No. 1, easiest way to get reviews. You’ll ask ten customers to get one review, but over time, you’ll see a steady increase in reviews on Yelp (or Google+).

Local SEO / Social Media – Getting Reviews on Yelp

Get Yelp ReviewsBut there’s another easy way to get reviews on Yelp, easily: provide really horrible, rude service after completely screwing up a customer order. Ha, ha, ha.  I am not kidding, however. In today’s environment, any customer can write a review of your local business with the click of a button. This is especially true in San Francisco, the home town of Yelp, but it is true anywhere.

For example…  Recently, we just got home from our annual summer road trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Plano, Texas, and back. In Plano, Texas, we have a family tradition of going to Bone Daddy’s BBQ restaurant in Plano.  This year, however, the service was beyond terrible: our food came out late, the waitress was scruffy to be polite, and the manager was not very much better. So, what did I do? Go onto Yelp and re-write my “good” review into a “bad review.”  You can read my review of Bone Daddy’s Plano Texas to see what I’m talking about.

Next, the Karma of the universe intervened. We were in Tehachapi, California, on our way back, and stopped by McDonald’s.  (Not a lot of food options on highway 58). McDonald’s fouled up our order, and my wife called in to complain. I expected the worst: sorry, Charlie, sort of attitude. But instead, they comped us our food, refilled our order, and were incredibly nice about the whole thing.  Score #1 for McDonald’s.  So I wrote a positive review of McDonald’s… and was amazed at how their service put Bond Daddy’s to shame.

Morals of the Story: Getting Reviews on Yelp

Moral of the story for local reviews. #1 – ask for reviews from happy customers. #2 – if you have a mix-up, fix it for the customer and go beyond the call of duty… to prevent a) a bad review, and b) possibly get a good review.  #3 – stop by McDonald’s in Tehachapi, California, for incredible service at the place you’ll least expect it!

Berkeley – the Athens of the West – and SEO Training Thoughts

Berkeley, oh Berkeley. Recently, I conducted an SEO Workshop for a group of HVAC (Heating and Air Conditioning) companies in Napa, California. We went through the basics of SEO – why your keywords matter, page tags, link building, and even the importance of Google Local and Yelp for succeeding at local SEO.

SEO Workshop – the Basics

Everything, they say is local. Fortunately, everyone who took the workshop seemed to get something out of it. I always try to make my workshops as practical as possible – to give the participants concrete “todos” to take home, and implement. I always walked away from so many trade show keynote addresses at the major SEO shows like ClickZ, Search Engine Strategies, or PubCon with a GEE WOW feeling and then when I got home GEE NOTHING… nothing concrete I could actually implement. And yet success at SEO is really not just about knowledge – it’s also about implementation.

Berkeley and SEO

So back to Berkeley. I have my Ph.D. from Berkeley, and consider it one of my favorite places on Earth.  The town is full of motivated, intelligent, incredible people and the “spirit” of the University of California is one of learning before pomp and circumstance, of knowledge before social standing, of openness and honesty.  I graduated from Harvard, but I love Berkeley.

Berkeley is very much about great intellect, and practical knowledge. About learning, and about doing. It’s not enough to understand the world… one must change it. That’s the Berkeley spirit, and something I take with me towards my chosen occupation of teaching people search engine optimization and social media marketing.

And then…

Then – oh then – while I was sitting in my car at a stop light, I was hit by a drug-induced motorcycle rider – slam, bam, thank you mam. Long story short: hit and run. Back to reality, back to the real world – which like SEO – can be very very rough and tumble.