eBay Classifieds – Helping You Sell Locally

What is eBay Classifieds?

eBay Classifieds

eBay Classifieds by it’s own definition is a free, local classifieds website that provides a clean and easy-to-use marketplace for you to post free ads.  You can post pets, motors, houses, jobs, automobiles, RVs, services, etc.

eBayClassifieds.com started life as Kijiji, but was rebranded in 2009 to take advantage of the “eBay” brand and familiarity. Today they are pushing local buying and local selling, with a pretty nice looking website design and features:

  • All Local – when shopping, you’ll see ads from people in your area
  • Easy Shopping – it’s easy to shop using their list or gallery views and you can sort by most recent, lowest price or highest price
  • More Security – they have ad content filters in place to help keep out scammers, spam and inappropriate content
  • Available Mobile – their website is responsive mobile and they have an APP you can download for quick access to it
  • Alerts – you can get an email or text message when an item you are looking for is added to their website

How do I post an ad?

There’s 4 simple steps you’ll need to follow in order to create an ad on eBayClassifieds.com:

  1. Select a Category -> there’s 112 different categories for you to select from and they are sectioned out by: For Sale, Pets, Housing, Home & Garden, Cars & Vehicles, Electronics, Wanted, Community, Services and Jobs.
  2. Create Your Ad -> enter in the information for your ad, keep in mind the fields will change depending on the category you’ve selected.  The required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).  You can upload up to 8 photos with your ad that are a maximum of 4 MB each. If the item you are posting is something you are either giving away free or don’t want to post the price, make sure to mark it accordingly next to the price field. When you enter your zip, you may get a drop-down to the right that allows you to select the city, state to post your ad in.
  3. Preview & Submit -> you can review your ad on this page and if changes are needed, there is an “Edit” link to the right of the orange Post Your Ad button. If the ad looks good and the information is accurate, click the Post Your Ad button. Keep in mind, once your ad has been submitted, it may take a while for it to appear on the site. This delay gives them the time they need to put it through their content filters.

Additional Features to Check Out

I found a couple of additional features that I think are fairly cool for you to take a look at and they are in the “My Profile” section of your eBayClassifieds.com account:

  • Link your social network pages to your eBayClasssifieds.com account. This includes Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This allows you to easily auto-share ads as you post them to eBayClassifieds.com on your social network sites.
  • Claim your eBayClassifieds.com personal area / URL by choosing your “nickname”. For a business, make sure you use your business name.  For example, if my company name is ABC RV, I would add ABCRV as my nickname and then I can direct people to my ads or setup a link to all of my listings on that marketplace by giving them this URL:  ebayclassifieds.com/user/ABCRV.

Tip:  When posting ads to any website, you’ll want to review the Terms of Use.

Are you a dealer that would like an easy way to post ads to eBayClassifieds.com? Fill out this form and I’ll send you the information about our Posting Tool:

Cindy Spencer  🙂

Cindy SpencerCindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com. Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more. Connect with Cindy on Google+.

List Your RV Storage Facility with RVUSA.com

RVUSA.com Logo     RVStorageSites Logo

As the camping season comes to an end for the year, RVers are starting their search for a facility to store their RV. RVUSA.com has been online since 1995, providing RVers and Campers alike with a valuable resource guide for everything RV, including storage facility locations.

When you list your RV Storage facility with us, we’ll add you to our network of RV related websites, including www.RVUSA.com and www.RVStorageSites.com.  You can take advantage of our online RV Community to get your Storage Facility in front of the RVers on our network of websites with a PARTNER Listing.

Included with a Partner Listing:
  • Logo
  • Company Name
  • Address
  • Local Number
  • Toll-Free Number
  • Fax Number
  • Description
  • Up to 3 Pictures
  • More Details:  website link, email link, email a friend link, print page, unit price list, amenities / services offered list and Map link.

Here’s an example of an actual Partner Listing with us:
http://www.rvstoragesites.com/search_detail.asp?id=75

Fast & Easy Online Sign-Up here:
http://www.rvstoragesites.com/partner.asp

 

Cindy Spencer  🙂

Cindy SpencerCindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com. Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more. Connect with Cindy on Google+.

SpecBase 2 – Our NEW RV Showroom Solution

The History of SpecBase

Before SpecBase, the only feasible solution RV Dealers had that allows your SpecBase RV Showroom by RVUSAwebsite visitors to check out new model floor plans you were licensed to sell was to link to the manufacturer’s websites.  This of course takes visitors off of your website to a place where they can use the “Dealer Locator” that all manufacturers have on their websites.  Now we could make those links open in a new window, but there was still that chance you took when your visitors would locate and possibly buy an RV from another dealer.  The same is true today as it was back then, you work very hard to get visitors to your website and you want to keep them there as long as possible.  To that end, my team came up with a solution in 2006 – SpecBase – a huge database that we maintain that has all of the new model information, specifications, descriptions, floor plans, décor options, etc., for our dealer customers to easily display on their websites.

As you can imagine, this data entry project is a whole lot to monitor and maintain.  Over the years, this database grew to over 290,000 specifications and 20,000 floor plans.

We decided that to better serve our dealer customers, we needed to integrate your RV Showroom page with your actual in-stock inventory.  So we completely recreated SpecBase for you.

SpecBase 2 – Our NEW RV Showroom Solution

The RV Showroom page will have your models separated by brand and then by type.  Visitors can use the “Jump To” drop-down menu to get right to the brand they are looking for and/or use the “Group By” drop-down menu to display them by type and then brand.  From here, visitors can click on the model image or the title to go directly to the model detail page.

RV Showroom Page - SpecBase

The Model detail page shows an exterior image, # of matching units you have in stock (links to inventory page) and the floor plans available (length, # of slides, MSRP, # it sleeps).  Visitors can click on the floor plan image and/or the View Specs & Features link to go directly to the floor plan details page.

RV Model Page - SpecBase

The Floor Plan detail page shows an exterior image, the floor plan image, # of matching units you have in stock (links to inventory page) and the Specs & Features information at the bottom.  The Specifications tab is selected by default, and your visitors can click through the tabs for Interior, Exterior, Electrical, Options, Brochures and Photo Gallery.  Just above the Specs & Features section, on the left and right, you’ll see a link to view the Previous Floorplan and Next Floorplan or there is a drop-down menu to change the floor plan.

Floor Plan Page - SpecBase

The nice thing about SpecBase is that you are in control of what manufacturers and models display on your website.  SpecBase 2 is updated twice a month with new models, which I then email the list to dealer customers using this tool on their website.  This gives them the opportunity, and serves as a reminder, to make any necessary adjustments to their RV Showroom page.

SpecBase 2 Plan Pricing:
-> Unlimited Mfg’s and Models <-
$495 setup fee (one-time cost)
$79.95 per month

Would you like to add SpecBase 2 to your website?  Send me an email: cindy@rvusa.com.

Cindy Spencer 🙂

Cindy SpencerCindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com. Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more. Connect with Cindy on Google+.

POP3 vs. IMAP Email Configurations

Email ProtocolsAs more and more of our customers send and receive emails on multiple devices, it’s good to know you have options when it comes to email configurations.  You’ll find that Outlook and other email clients support two protocols:  POP3 and IMAP.  Here’s a little bit of information about each that will help you decide which configuration suits you and your needs best.

POP3 Account:
This protocol downloads messages from the user’s Inbox folder and saves them to a local data file in the mail client.  When download is complete, the messages are deleted from the server, although most mail clients allow you to leave messages on the server for a specific amount of time.  This configuration is recommended if you’d like to keep your email messages for a long time, because you don’t have to worry about your mailbox on the server filling up typically.

IMAP Account:
This protocol synchronizes your mail client’s folders with the server.  Messages are stored both on your email client as well as the server.  If you’d like to keep email for a long time without worrying about your mailbox on the server filing up, you’ll need to move messages into archive folders in your mail client program.  One great feature of IMAP is that it is a synchronization protocol.  If you have your email account configured on multiple devices, the read/unread status of messages is maintained, so you get a consistent view into your email.  If you are going to use IMAP with multiple devices, ALL devices should be configured for IMAP.

TIPS:

  1. With either option, it’s strongly recommended that you use/enable SSL or TLS, which encrypts the email session.
  2. Using / enabling SSL or TLS as an alternate port for sending mail keeps your session (and passwords) more secure – another strong recommendation.  In addition, the user of an alternate port helps to work around widespread blocks on port 25.

If we host your email accounts and you’d like help sorting out which to use, have questions about setup, etc., send a message using the form below.  I’ll have one of my technical support team members get right back to you.

I’d like to thank my Network Administrator for his knowledge regarding email configurations provided for this post.

Cindy Spencer 🙂

Cindy SpencerCindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com. Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more. Connect with Cindy on Google+.

Generic SEO Emails to Watch Out For

seoimageSEO, Search Engine Optimization, is a term many scammers / spammers use to attract the attention of anyone with a website. The promise of page 1 placement in the search engines, the guarantee of top ranking for your keywords, search engine optimization at a very low cost, etc., are all tricks I’ve seen used in the generic emails these “SEO Companies” send to, I’m certain, tens of thousands of email accounts every day. I get at least 5 of these emails on a typical day myself. Most of them claim that your website doesn’t rank well “organically” in the search engines. I find this particular statement very funny because they most likely found your website, to send you this spam email, via the search engines. All of their promises seem to be too good to be true, and they are, so don’t put yourself in a predicament where you trust one of these companies with your website – the engine that drives the success of your business.

I recently read a case study from a website design company that created a website for an attorney. The attorney loved the website and loved the results from his website. But, after receiving an email that guaranteed him placement in major search engines, he signed a contract. The company that built / hosted his website, was able to watch his search engine traffic fall 78% over the course of a single month via Google Analytics. He is now a statistic… one of the many who fall for the old SEO sales pitch.

There are a number of ways / reasons that they target you, including:

  • You have a PPC Campaign -> Obviously, if you have a Pay-Per-Click campaign, being found in the search engines is important to you.  The “SEO Companies” will call or email you, promising the moon and stars for down-to-earth prices.
  • You registered a domain name -> Typically, if you’ve registered a domain name, your going to build a website on it and search engine optimization will be required.  The best person or company to handle your SEO is generally going to be the person/company that built it for you, if they can.  If they can’t, find out who they recommend.
  • Searches -> It’s a piece of cake to go to one of the search engines, do a search for a common product or service, skip to page 5 or so and start picking off the websites that are on that page and beyond.  As a rule, the easier you are to find, the more of these generic SEO emails you will get.

Here’s a few of the emails that my customers have received:

Hello Jerry,

I was doing some research on your company and saw that you are spending a lot of money on Google Adwords. But your organic rankings on Google are pretty low, despite the fact that 85% of traffic goes to the organic search results.

My company does online marketing for over 1,000 companies just like yours and I think we could make a big difference for you.

I’d like to give you a short presentation on the tests I ran on your site.

Are you available to chat this week?

—————————————————————————————————

Good Morning Team,

I reviewed your website this morning, and I would like to share some ideas with you to improve your overall online presence.

Please let me know if you would like to setup a time to meet and discuss your website needs further!

—————————————————————————————————

Hello,
Hope you are well. As part of our client research, we came across your website and noticed your site is not ranking in the most important search engines like Google, Yahoo & Bing. I was wondering if you would be interested in search engine optimization services for your website at a very low cost.

Proper search engine optimization will increase your brand recognition, web traffic and grow your sales, which is why you have a web site to begin with right?

We can promote your website to 1st page placement on Google, Yahoo, or Bing in three to six months guaranteed with our “National SEO” package. Three to six months is typical for all our SEO packages!

So let me know if you would be interested or like me to mail you more details or schedule a call. We would love to work with you!

—————————————————————————————————

Because search engine optimization takes time and getting good “organic” rankings takes even longer, you could easily be 1-2 months into your contract with the “SEO Company” before you realize you’ve been scammed.

No one can guarantee you specific placement in the organic listings of the search engines.  Anyone who does is lying to you.

A few things for you to think about…

  1. If you are provided with a “free website analysis”, most likely that report will be a template they send out to thousands of people, telling all of them their websites performance is ok to poor.  Keep in mind, actually doing a website report takes several hours to do it right, if not more.  So if they churn out this report to you in a matter of minutes and/or they are scoring you in categories that aren’t relevant to your website, beware.
  2. If you get a call, rather than an email from these folks, most often they are telemarketers that have very little knowledge themselves of SEO.  They read from scripts, hit the highlights of SEO lingo, have a sense of urgency, etc., but if you start questioning them, you’ll find they start to fumble.
  3. Some of these emails may be to submit your website to the search engines.  Keep in mind, submitting your website to the search engines before it’s optimized can harm your rankings.  In order for anyone to optimize your website, they would need to have access to it, via FTP, the CMS tool integrated with your website, etc.
  4. In order to determine the cost associated with optimization for your website, it first must be analyzed individually, and the time it takes to do this varies from site-to-site.  So if you get emails or calls with fixed pricing for this service, beware.

I hope you find this information helpful and I’ve helped you avoid a mistake that could take several months to a year to recover from.  I truly believe that we can help educate each other by sharing our stories, both failures and successes.  So please share yours with us here by commenting below.

Cindy Spencer  🙂

Cindy SpencerCindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com.  Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more.  Connect with Cindy on Google+.

Secure Online Credit Applications

Secure Website PagesMany of our dealers have a secure online credit application integrated into their website.  This makes it easier for their potential customer to send the majority of the information the dealership needs in order to obtain credit information for him and/or her to secure financing for their purchase.  On any online form, if you are asking the end user to enter personal information about themselves, such as date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, etc., the page the form is on needs to be secure.  This protects both the end users on your website and your dealership.

How to Tell if a Page is Secure:

  • the URL or address for the page will start with ”https” rather than ”http”
  • you will see a lock icon in the address bar if you are using Internet Explorer (you can click on this lock to review the SSL Certificate effective dates)
  • there may be a “seal” from the SSL certificate company on the page (you can click on this seal and view who it’s registered to, effective dates and more)

What is “HTTPS”:

Most of the website pages you visit will start with ”http”.  HTTP, Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is a system for transmitting and receiving information across the Internet.  When an https URL is used, it indicates that an encrypted connection is requested.  When the information is transmitted, it can only be accessed by the end server.  To encrypt the information being sent, we use an SSL Certificate.  There are a number of 3rd party providers of SSL Certificates, but choose wisely.  You’ll want to make sure it’s a reputable provider that end users will be comfortable with and trust or they won’t fill out the form.  In order to establish an SSL Certificate on your website, it must be installed on the server your website resides on, so typically your hosting provider sets up the SSL Certificate for you because there is an authentication process to go through.

What Kind of Information is Typical to Gather on a Credit Application:

Credit Application forms are fairly long, but it’s pretty stardard to ask the applicant for their name, address, phone number, social security number, driver’s license number, housing information and employment information.  If they have a co-applicant that same information will be asked of them.  In addition, if they have a trade-in, dealers usually ask for the basic details about their trade-in.  Finally, there is a “statement of consent” the end user must agree to that basically states they are allowing you to pull their credit history and other information you need to determine if they qualify for financing with your dealership.

My Two Cents…

Having an online, secure credit application on your website is another way for your visitors to interact with your website, which is a good thing.  Typically, the visitors that fill out this form are buyers, not tire kickers, so make sure you respond to these inquiries very quickly – within 15 minutes if you can.  Even if it’s just a phone call to thank them for filling out the form and assure them you are working on it.

If you are thinking about adding a credit application to your website, make sure your website provider can host an SSL Certificate on your domain name.  I’ve seen many dealer websites out there that link to their hosting providers domain name for their secure credit application.  Yes, it’s cheaper for the hosting provider because they only have to purchase and renew a single SSL Certificate that they can then charge for and use on multiple dealer websites.  The end user may get a little suspicious of your credit application if it’s not a page within your website / domain name.

I’d Like to Get Your Feedback

What do you think about adding an online secure credit application to your website?  Do you have one now?  How many form submissions per month do you receive from it?  What has the feedback been from your website visitors on it?

Cindy Spencer  🙂

Cindy SpencerCindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com.  Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more.  Connect with Cindy on Google+.

New Feature: SpecBase Auto-Fill

Our RV Dealers have a new tool that my team integrated into our Member Management Console this week – SpecBase Auto-Fill.

SpecBase Auto-Fill

Entering an RV, 2008 or newer, into our MMC is now faster and easier than ever before with SpecBase Auto-Fill.  All you have to do is select the year, classification, type, brand, model and floor plan from the drop-down boxes and you’ll get a prompt like the image above asking if you want to auto-fill the fields with the manufacturer’s data, including options.

If you select YES, our system will automatically import the data for MSRP, length, chassis, engine, # sleeps, slideouts, A/C, tank capacities, weights and the item features / options.  The stock number and price fields are the only two fields that you will have to manually enter for the most part.

Along with all the data, you’ll have the opportunity to use / select a stock photo and/or floor plan image with the unit.

SpecBase Stock Photo & Floor Plan

To use the stock photo and/or floor plan photo, check the box(es) and the system will automatically insert them into the pictures for that unit.  Using the stock image is great for new arrivals that you haven’t had the chance to go take actual pictures of yet.  You can either keep the stock photo and add your pictures to it or replace the stock photo with pictures of the actual RV.

If you select NO, you’ll just enter the unit information and pictures like you normally would.

If you are not signed up to list your dealership and inventory on www.RVUSA.com, you can review the Dealer Plans by clicking HERE.

Cindy Spencer  🙂

Cindy SpencerCindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com.  Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more.  Connect with Cindy on Google+.

Mobile Traffic Review

Mobile DevicesIn 2012, what percentage of your website traffic was from mobile users?

If you have Google Analytics, you can find this information pretty easily.  I went through several of the dealer websites that we host, both RV Dealers and Trailer Dealers, found the month in 2012 when their individual traffic was at it’s highest point and then pulled the percentage of mobile users.

When I say “mobile users”, this includes visitors using iPads, Tablets, iPhones, Andriod phones, iPods, etc.  In Google Analytics, it will give you pretty specific details on the mobile devices used to access your website.

Here’s what I found for 2012:

  • Dealer #1 – 15.83%
  • Dealer #2 – 26.64%
  • Dealer #3 – 15.03%
  • Dealer #4 – 18.21%
  • Dealer #5 – 20.16%

Now let’s take a look at those same dealers and see what percentage of their January 2013 traffic is from mobile users so far:

  • Dealer #1 – 18.53%
  • Dealer #2 – 30.14%
  • Dealer #3 – 22.93%
  • Dealer #4 – 20.97%
  • Dealer #5 – 22.22%

As you can see, the mobile user traffic numbers continue to increase.  There’s other information you can check in Google Analytics in regards to your mobile traffic, including averages for: how many pages they visit, how long they stay on your website, what percentage are new visitors and what percentage are bounces.

What I’ve found in my research is that for Pages / Visit, this mobile user stat is either the same or slightly higher.  This could be due to mobile users having more time to browse through your website, maybe they are at home rather than at work (no one ever does that right).  The average visit duration is slightly less and I’m thinking this could be due to less content.  Most dealer websites that have a mobile version have less pages and a lot less content than their main website.  The other two stats are fairly similar.

How to access mobile stats in Google Analytics

It’s really easy to access your mobile stats in Google Analytics.  If you don’t have access to your Google Analytics, talk to your website designer and/or hosting provider and ask them to add you as a user.  The email account they add as a user must be connected to a Google Account.  If you don’t have a Google Account yet, you can get started here:  https://accounts.google.com/NewAccount

If you are not sure if you have Google Analytics tracking on your website, send me an email (cindy@rvusa.com).  I’ll check it out and let you know right away.

Now, to access your mobile stats:

  1. Login to Google (https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?hl=en&continue=https://www.google.com/).
  2. Click on your name in the right corner, then click on Account.
  3. Click on Products on the left side.
  4. Click on the Analytics button in the center of the page.
  5. Click on the UA link, then click on your domain name.
  6. The stats that pull up by default are an overview of your traffic for the past 30 days.  You can leave the time frame the same or click the down arrow next to the date range located at the top right to select a specific time frame.  Once you have the time frame you want, click Apply.
  7. On the left side of the page click on Mobile, then click on Overview.
  8. To see percentages, click on the pie icon to the right of the advanced search field.
  9. To see a list of the specific mobile devices used to access your website during the selected time frame, click on the Devices link located on the right side under Mobile.

I’d like to hear from you.

If you’ve held off setting up a mobile site for your dealership, why?

If you already have a mobile site, I’d like to hear from you and find out how it’s doing for you.

Cindy Spencer  🙂

Google Places is Now Google+ Local

Google+ LocalAlmost a month ago, Google converted 80 million Google Place pages over to Google+ Local pages.  It’s a lot different than what you are used to if you’ve been keeping up with the information on your Google Places page.  The first couple of times I came across these new pages, I thought I accidentally hit the wrong link and somehow ended up at my Google+ profile page.  I did notice in searching for several of my dealer customers that not everyone has the new Google+ Local pages yet.

Here’s a quick run down of the new features and changes they’ve made:

  • In your Google+ profile page, there is a new “Local” tab.  This tab will have recommendations of places for you to visit, restaurants, stores, etc., based on your circles, your past reviews and your location.
  • They’ve integrated Zagat reviews.  Visitors on your Google+ Local page can click the “Write a Review” button and add pictures of places.  This allows them to easily post a review of your dealership, which displays on your Google+ Local page, their Google+ profile page, anyone who searches for places in their circle can see it and anyone who views places they’ve reviewed.  When they write their review, they can give scores for your dealership based on quality, appeal and service by default, however, there is a link located at the top right for “Wrong labels?” that they can click on to change them to another type of business.  Right now they have:  Attraction, Golf Course, Lodging, Nightlife and Restaurant/Cafe.  I checked each of those types and the Attraction one seems to be the best fit and hopefully they will add more types soon.  The individual user scores are based on a 0 to 3 point scale:  3 = excellent, 2 = very good, 1 = good and 0 = poor to fair.   Zagat Score Example 2Google then takes those ratings, averages them and multiplies that number by ten to get an average score.  Here’s the point scale for this number:  26-30 = extraordinary to perfection, 21-25 = very good to excellent, 16-20 = good to very good, 10-15 = fair to good and 0-9 = poor to fair.  You’ll see this score in one of two ways, scores with multiple aspecs and overall scores.
  • If you had reviews or uploaded pictures in Google Places, all of them will display as public and “A Google User”.
  • Visitors with a Google+ account will be able to “check-in” to your dealership.

How to tell what type of page you have on Google:

  • If on your business page on Google you see scores and reviews with tabs for About and Photos and a Manage this page button when you scroll down, it’s a local listing that was upgraded from the old Places page.  When your listing appears either on Google Maps or Search results, clicking the “more info” or the “Google reviews” links will take you to this type of page.
  • If you’ve created a Google+ page for your dealership, you’ll see tabs for Posts, About, Photos and Videos, but there is no option to leave a review.

When these two pages are combined, they will have a “verified” checkmark and have features of both pages including scores, reviews, posts from the business owner, etc.

To get more information on how to setup your Google+ Local page, Google Postcardthey have step-by-step instructions for you here:  http://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&topic=1710599&ctx=topic&answer=1713911

To get more information about how to verify your local Google+ page, go to:  http://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2623608 – there are links on the left side of the page, start with Request a PIN.

I’ve had a few conversations with dealers that went to their Google Places page and found bad review(s) that they wanted to get removed.  In all my research, I’ve found the only thing you can do is “Flag as Inappropriate”, which will nudge Google to check the review to see if it violates their guidelines.

Google’s Policy Criteria for Removing Reviews:

  • Does it have inappropriate content… including unlawful, plagiarism, malicious products (viruses), hate speech, personal / confidential info, child safety, account hijacking, spam, ranking manipulation, sexually explicit, violent / bullying, impersonation / deception, regulated goods / services, etc.
  • Does it have advertising and spam… fake reviews, same or similar reviews on multiple places, links to other websites, etc.
  • Does it have off-topic reviews… reviews added based on someone else’s experience, or that are not about the specific place the review is posted on.
  • Is there a conflict of interest… reviews added by people that were offered money or products to write them, misrepresented identity, affiliation with the place you are reviewing, etc.

If the review does not violate their guidelines, I’d suggest encouraging your customers to post their review of your dealership on your Google+ Local page.  The more positive reviews you have the better as Google+ Local pages become more integrated.  Here’s my thinking… if you have 10 positive reviews and 2 negative reviews, I’m more likely to think those two people, depending on the content of their reviews, were those types of customers that you just can’t please, no matter what you do.  Anyone who has ever had a job knows and understands that this happens.

In addition, you can respond to reviews publicly from your Google+ Local page.  All you have to do is login to your Google Places for Business Account, click the “See your listing on Google Maps” and click “Respond” next to the review.

Your turn… I know with all the social media websites out there, some of the dealers I’ve talked to are finding it difficult to keep up with all of them.  Are you having the same issue?  Share your experiences, ideas, thoughts, etc.  Did you setup your Google+ page yet?  How did that go for you?

Cindy Spencer  🙂

Cindy SpencerCindy Spencer, an Account Manager at NetSource Media since 2000, works with clients across the US with RVUSA.com, TrailersUSA.com and RVCanada.com.  Cindy and her in-house team of designers and programmers helps dealers with website design & hosting, inventory management & distribution, website maintenance & SEO and much more.  Connect with Cindy on Google+.

The Importance of Mobile Websites

Many of the dealers that I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to recently are contemplating a mobile website for their dealership.  This is an excellent idea.
Last May, I wrote a blog post on “What is a mobile enabled website and why do you need one?“.  This is by far my most read post.

A recent study found that 1/2 of the local searches performed were done so on a mobile device.  I thought that can’t be true, but then I started thinking about how I use my iPhone and it’s definitely true.

When I need gas, I check my phone for the lowest price in my area, when I’m going to the movies, I check my phone for movies playing at my local theaters, when we want to go out to eat, I check my phone for local restaurants, etc., and of course with everything I do, I check for local coupons or specials.  I can’t help it… I love coupons.

Making sure your website is mobile friendly IS important.  Did you know that 60% of users expect a mobile website to load in 5 seconds or less?  And, more than 1/2 of users wouldn’t recommend a business with a bad mobile site?  (I personally think this last statement is true for both a website you access on your computer and your mobile device.)

Basically, even if you think you don’t need a mobile version of your website, if you don’t have one, you could be losing customers.

Keep in mind, your potential customers are expecting to have the same experience with your website on their mobile device as they can with their desktop PC.

Mobile Designs

Have your checked your website on a mobile phone to see how it displays?

Here’s some things to look for when you do to see if your website is mobile friendly:

  1. Does it load in 5 seconds or less?
  2. Is the navigation simple?
  3. Can you click on a button without zooming in?
  4. Can you read the text without zooming in?

Making sure your business website is ready to leverage the mobile market, which reaches current and new customers, is key to moving forward.

HELP:  If you aren’t sure if your website is mobile friendly, post a link to it here and I’ll check it out for you.

YOUR TURN:  If you have a mobile enabled website, what kind of feedback are you getting from it?  Are you tracking your mobile website traffic?  If so, are you tracking it via Google Analytics or something else?

Cindy Spencer  🙂