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Michael has an impressive background in both chiropractic and online marketing. Through marketing his business and his site for chiropractors, he’s become well-rounded in SEO, social media and content creation.
We asked Dr. Mike about some local search topics, including how online reviews affect rankings and the importance of photos. We even got him to dish a bit about his celebrity clients (he’s based in LA!)…
Interview with Michael Dorausch
It’s pretty safe to say you’re the best chiropractor/SEO out there. What advice would you give local business owners wanting to learn about SEO but don’t think they have enough extra time to master a new skill set (you know, running their own businesses and all)?
I’d advise local business owners to learn enough to know who they should be working with. I’ve said it before, but the SEO community is a genuine group of hard working and helpful individuals, once you get to know who’s for real. Those are the people to learn from. Get outside the echo chamber of local business advice and follow SEOs online, go to a few conferences, buy drinks and ask questions.
Can you briefly explain the relationship between customer review sites and local SEO? What are some ethical ways businesses can encourage and leverage customer reviews?
Most everyone has come to the conclusion that review sites have gained quite an importance in the world of local SEO. Not only in citations and better rankings, but actual relationships that develop between business and consumers.
Reviews matter, and while the practice of writing reviews has become more culturally accepted, there’s an art and science to encourage ethically. In the US, consumers are educated that quality service is typically rewarded with a 15% gratuity, why not a positive and constructive review?
Ethical ways include having an online presence offline. By that I mean incorporating ways to get the message across within the business. Have logos/stickers viewable for the usual review sites (they are mailing them to businesses anyways) and pay attention to who recognizes them.
- Speak in positive tones and say “thank you” often.
- Don’t ask for “5 stars” or mention sites by name.
- Be grateful and open to suggestion from clients.
When someone new comes into our office and says “online reviews” led to their decision, we stop what we’re doing and openly thank everyone who is in the office at the time. We say thanks for helping us grow our business by providing care to new people in our community.
What are some ways to handle negative reviews? Should a business always respond, or does it make a company seem more “real” if they have a few critical reviews? What’s been your approach with your business?
I had a downright scathing negative review from someone last year, and it made my stomach churn the Monday morning I saw it. I felt it was totally uncalled for, but I’m the business owner, and it’s a tough head space to be in.
I didn’t respond to it and I didn’t call the person. I took a screen shot and printed it on the largest paper I had in the office, taped it to the front counter where every client would have to read it, and left it there for a week.
I don’t recommend that approach for everyone, but I learned something about client loyalty that week, and my patients had a blast picking on me. They also went online and posted some pretty humbling testimonials.
If a business only had the time and resources to build a presence on one social network, which one would you suggest as most essential for building local authority?
I’m going to have to go with Facebook, although I so strongly feel businesses should not lose touch of creating content on their local site/blog, and then share that content socially. It seems unfathomable to some that Facebook would ever be gone, but all social signals should route back to the business domain.
You’ve talked about the importance of photography in local search. Does this affect rankings or is it purely about catching the eye in the SERPs? What are some “dos and don’ts” you recommend with regards to using photos?
On photography, I’ll share some stuff at BlueGlassLA that will even get advanced SEOs sitting up at attention, maybe even Greg Boser! Photos can most certainly affect rankings and catch the eye in SERPs.
Don’t use photos you don’t have permission to use, and invest in at least one set of pro photos taken inside/outside your business location. At minimum, have photos for your site plus Facebook, Google Place pages, and Yelp. A professional graphics guru like Patrick Winfield can churn out numerous variations from a set of good photography, so you can put that one pro set to work.
And lastly, with all due respect to doctor/patient confidentiality, care to share any crazy celebrity patient stories (we have to ask!)?
I’ll share one. There’s no doors in the adjusting rooms at our office, just divided walls and a fairly open environment. Being in Los Angeles, locals often act like we’re use to celebrities being around (I even have a few as neighbors), but we’ve had practice disguising our star gazing. Well, sometimes.
I had a patient up for an Academy Award that came in to get adjusted a few days prior to the Oscars, and there were several others in the office. One patient was already on a table in “Room 2” when I walked past with the celebrity patient into “Room 3,” about 12 steps away. I turned around and the Room 2 patient was in Room 3 with us, giddy like The Beatles were landing in America for the first time. It was awkward (for me) but the one shared appreciation and wished well on an Oscar win (to which I added don’t forget to thank God, your mom, and Dr. Mike!) and then went back to Room 2. Now the Room 2 patient only wants to get adjusted on the table in Room 3.
Thanks, you all rock!
Thanks for some great answers, Dr. Mike! And now I’m sure everyone reading this is trying to figure out who your Oscar nominee patient was…
Do you have questions for our other speakers? Leave them in the comments and we might include your question in our interview!