How To Stalk Your Competitors’ Negative Reviews For New Customers

Image: Shutterstock / Phoenixns

Stalking your competitors’ reviews can be an extremely effective technique for getting new customers. That said, it’s a strategy that’s more art than science, and must be done very carefully.Responding directly to negative feedback left for your competitors is generally a very bad idea. It can make you look like a jerk, and will more than likely make your competitors pretty unhappy. So, how can you leverage your competitors’ negative reviews to generate leads?This post will come at the issue from two different angles:

  1. How to find your competitors’ negative online reviews, and

  2. How to act on those reviews in a way that doesn’t damage your reputation.

6 ways to find your competitors’ negative reviews

Following are some of the most effective ways to stay on top of negative comments and reviews left for your competitors.

1. Monitor your competitors’ blog comments

Scouring through blog comments will often yield a number of negative comments or unanswered questions from customers. It will also give you some insight into how your competitors typically respond or react to negative feedback.Don’t respond directly to negative comments left on your competitors’ blog! I’ll cover some much more effective ways to utilize these comments at the end of this post.

2. Use Google Alerts to stay on top of brand mentions

Google Alerts remains the industry standard tool for monitoring online mentions. Set up alerts for mentions of your competitors’ brand name, product names and the owner’s full name.This will immediately alert you to mentions – both good and bad – across the web. This will include blogs, news articles, and other web pages.


While you can try setting up alerts for keywords that might indicate negative reviews (e.g., unhappy, complaint, negative), more than likely you’ll have to manually search for all the comments and mentions.

3. Use social listening tools to monitor negative mentions on social media

One of the best ways to stay on top of negative mentions of your competitors is to use a social listening tool like Brand24 or Hootsuite.More than ever before, consumers expect brands to respond to questions and feedback on social media. Brands that do respond appropriately can see some huge benefits. According to some research, customers who were contacted after leaving a negative review were 33% more likely to turn around and leave a positive review, and 18% were more likely to become a loyal customer.If your competitors aren’t responding – or aren’t responding well – to customer complaints, they’re sacrificing these benefits. And you can use this to your advantage.

4. Monitor local review sites using ReviewFlow

According to BrightLocal, when consumers are looking for reviews of a business they typically go to one of two places: either to a search engine or directly to the review site.If your competitors aren’t responding to negative feedback left on review hubs like Yelp, Google My Business and Angie’s List, they’re losing the opportunity to manage their reputation where it counts most.


Using a tool like ReviewFlow, you can actively monitor all the big review sites for mentions of your competitors’ names. While you won’t directly respond to those reviews, you will use what you’ve learned in some other strategic ways (more on this below).

5. Follow your competitors on social media

While a tool like Hootsuite will alert you to many mentions of your competitors on social media, it won’t show comments that don’t explicitly use your competitors’ name. This is where following your competitors and actively monitoring their social media activity is so important.This is particularly important on Facebook, where Visitors Posts won’t show up on social listening tools unless visitors actually mention or tag the business name.

6. Regularly monitor their Amazon reviews

If your competitors use Amazon to sell their products, this can be a great place to watch for negative reviews. While you won’t be able to respond to comments left on your competitors’ product pages, you can use what you’ve learned to improve your own products and customer service.


Note: While it may be possible to track down a reviewer’s email address through their Amazon profile, emailing a user for something other than servicing their order can get your account shut down.

How to use negative reviews to get new customers

I’ve already hinted at some of the ways you can use what you’ve found, however, I’ll cover each of these strategies in more detail below.

Respond directly to dissatisfied customers

As already mentioned, this is something you should do with extreme caution. Responding to questions and negative comments on your competitors’ social media feed or website is generally a pretty terrible idea, so should be reserved for one specific circumstance: if your competitor has abandoned (or virtually abandoned) their website or social media account. Even in this situation, avoid criticizing your competitor, and move the conversation offline asap.

Improve your own products and customer service

Monitoring your competitors’ negative reviews can help you avoid facing the same fate. Use what you’ve learned to improve your products, services, and social customer service skills.Here are a few ways to fix bad reviews.

Reach out to reviewers outside of your competitors’ website or social media feed

If you’ve seen a negative review on a competitor’s website or social media account, go ahead and reach out to the reviewer outside of that channel. Here’s how to connect with them.If you’ve found a blog comment: Click on the commenter’s name. This will often lead you directly to their blog or social media profile. Engage with them on their blog or follow and connect with them via their social media accounts.If you’ve found a comment on your competitors’ social media feed: Follow them on social media and reach out to them with helpful advice of information (e.g., “We heard you’ve been looking for a reliable web designer. We’d like to offer you this coupon for 20% off!”.)

Build up your presence on social media sites where your competitors are failing

This is another indirect way you can reach new customers by succeeding where your competitors are failing. If you notice a competitor regularly receiving negative feedback on Facebook, for instance, boost your efforts on that platform. All those dissatisfied customers are sure to be looking for alternatives…and why shouldn’t it be you?

A final thought

Regardless of how or where you engage with your competitors’ unhappy customers, always try to avoid criticizing the competition. Instead, focus on being empathic (“I’m sorry you had such a bad experience”), and on providing useful information or advice.Looking for more advice on stalking the competition? You may enjoy my post How To Use Social Media To Ethically ‘Stalk’ Competitors And Job Candidates.


John Rampton is serial entrepreneur who now focuses on helping people to build amazing products and services that scale. He is founder of the online payments company Due. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine. Time Magazine recognized John as a motivational speaker that helps people find a “Sense of Meaning” in their lives. He currently advises several companies in the bay area.

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Is Google PR Rank Really Important?

This post was first seen and featured on Power Affiliate Club HERE.

Is PR Rank from Google dead?When looking to get authority backlinks to your web pages, it was always seen as an advantage to find high PR sites and pages to get links from. There is an argument that Google PR is no longer important. Is this true?

It was always the sign of authority when your website received a Page Rank value from Google. There has been no update of PR ranking for over 12 months, so many SEO’s are assuming that the PR function is dead. There are those, however, who say that it still has some value.

My thoughts are that it is still there, so there could be value to it. I don’t believe that it is as important as it once was, but it shouldn’t be dismissed to assess the authority that was put onto the web page that received the accolade of Google PR Rank.

How Do We Assess Authority Without PR?

How do we assess the authority of any web page to get valuable backlinks from that don’t appear “spammy” to the search engines. Links that are considered to be from “link farms” or the older pure link directories are likely to leave your site with a penalty, especially if you rely on this type of backlink.

Very often you can rank a web page WITHOUT a lot of links. If your link comes from a trusted and authoritative source, the “juice” you get from that site is from a page with good page authority.

There are 2 browser toolbars that are very helpful when you’re looking to get links from good sources in your niche. These are:

SEO analysis tools

The top section of the image here shows the Mozbar, which comes from SEO moz. It shows the PA (page authority) and DA (Domain authority) of the web page in question. You can also get access to the Moz site explorer to assess the links into that particular page / site too.

The second is SEO Quake, which shows the PR of the page (not the website) so you can assess whether you think it’s worth getting a link from this source. Quake also offers you the chance to see the alexa rank of a page / site if this is something you take into consideration. Again, there are some who take this as a good thing, but it really depends on what you want from your own site. Alexa rank is based on traffic volume rather than the authority value. Whether Google and others take this into consideration around the content factors in their algorithms we can only guess.

The only thing I can say is that good content is better and traffic going to good content and getting social interaction is more valuable than anything else.

When looking to get links from any “authority” site, check the PA and DA and be sure they are above 25 on the whole. Above 20 is good for a “rule of thumb”. Also go to and check out the Trust flow and Citation flow metrics for the domain in question, as shown below for a known authority site:

majestic trust and citation flow chart
Sometimes the Moz result could be a good PA and DA, but the Majestic trust flow could be less than 10 and citation flow up on 30. What this means is some links are potentially questionable. If the site has TF of 15 or over and CF of 20 and they are reasonably close in value, that is a pretty good place to get a link from.

One of the best ways to ensure quality / authority links is to get links from your very own network of sites. This is called a Private Blog Network (PBN). Of course, Google has cottoned on to this and are aware it goes on, so there are sites that have been de indexed and have heavy penalties imposed if they are found out. You do have to be careful, but with the right education and the knowledge of setting up this valuable resource, you can benefit a lot from it.

Then there is a method of “borrowing authority”. This is a method that includes taking high authority WEB 2.0 domains like, blogger, Tumblr and more and creating your own network with sites from those sources. You can seek out expired accounts that have blogs that can have page authority of 25 and above. Put that alongside already high (in excess of 90 most of the time) domain authority and you could have a ready made “powerhouse”.

The search engines usually only count 1 link from any IP address to a web page (yes, a PAGE), but with the dawn of more social shares, this has led to more flexibility of that rule. This is why the “borrowed authority” method can work well.

Take advantage of getting bookmarks from high authority bookmark sites like delicious to each of your blog posts. A post is a page and the link WILL count on EVERY occasion. Because search engines rank web PAGES, this is something you need to know.


Page rank does not hold the same importance as it used to. I believe it holds some merit because Google has not stopped showing the PR of a page. When looking for authority pages to interact with and get valuable links from, take the other PA, DA, TF and CF factors mentioned into consideration. Sometimes a PR0 site with good PA, DA etc metrics is better that a PR5 with poor metrics. One can only test and make sure.

If you are looking to improve your linking strategy and get more authority to your site. You can contact me on Facebook or by Email and I can offer you the opportunity of getting some juice from my own PBN and borrowed authority PBN networks.

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Why Local SEO Strategies Are Good For Your Business

It’s baffling to me why some people who are starting to take their business online seem to totally ignore local rankings.

They seem to be fully focused on getting to as many people as they can and yet they don’t consider local people who are looking online for solutions and need their help. I have seen this happen a lot with network marketers who are starting out online. They believe that they have “exhausted” their local market Continue reading

Google Local Pack Down to 3 Listings, Address & Phone Number Removed

Changes to Google 7 pack local seo

Matt Southern

Local searches conducted in Google will now return a more limited local pack.

Google’s local pack of 7 listings has been reduced to three, while addresses and phone numbers have been remove altogether.

If searchers wish to receive more information about a business they will now have to click through to the website or Google Maps listing.

Also removed are links to Google My Business pages, making Google+ even less relevant than it has become of late.

Instead of addresses and phone numbers you’ll now find store hours more prominently displayed in the Google local pack, along with warnings if a location is going to close soon.

New Google Local business "3" pack

Screenshot via Matt Southern

It looks like store hours are only displayed if the website contains the proper markup. Reviews are displayed as the always were, and no matter how hard you look you won’t find a link to Google+ anywhere.

While this is a drastic reduction of local search listings, searchers can always click to expand the box and view more local listings — up to 20 per page.

The changes are the same across mobile and desktop, although on mobile the local pack features the option to call a business by tapping on its listing.

Google’s new local listings will be rolled out worldwide and are currently being seen in US, Europe, UK, Australia, South Africa and Canada.

Originally Found On Search Engine Journal Here

Ethical Search Engine Optimization For 2015 And Beyond

seo in 2015 must be ethicalThis post was first featured on PAC (Power Affiliate Club) HERE

Mention Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to many people and they run around hands in the air and screaming (like Kevin in Home Alone), or fall asleep, or something pretty sinister.

This was because SEO was considered a “fine art” and was time consuming and boring. Still, SEO in 2015 demands the marketer be more ethical than ever before. With Google and the Penguin, Panda (and other things you may want to kill if they were as annoying as these) updates that penalized so many websites, you need to “stay natural”.

The good news for everyone is that writing natural content, without “manipulating” it to include target keywords that need to be included in the main header, plus 2 subsequent sub headings and also bolded, underlined and italicised, with the option of including the same keyword inside speech marks (“”) has made writing easier. To engage your target market, you still need to research keywords and base your content around a main keyword, but the search engines have got “clever” and can recognize what your subject matter is and will rank your page accordingly based on the value to the reader and the kind of backlinks you do get and the amount of social sharing you get too.

Keyword Research

When researching your keywords, it’s still important to find high searched for terms, but just as important to find those with LOW competition. What we call “long tail” keywords are the best for this. A long tail keyword or phrase is one that contains your main target keyword, but is also one that is searched for a lot.

Let’s assume you have a main keyword of “lead generation”, you may have a long tail keyword of “the best place to find lead generation tips”.

Keyword research will help you write your content without a “hit or miss” approach to reaching your target. Purpose to your content is very important and the research is vital so that you are able to stand a chance of reaching your market through a generic search. Depending on how targeted your campaign is, you may be happier with a few visitors who are totally “switched on” to your offer, rather than fighting for hundreds or thousands of visitors. Be specific with what you want to achieve and do this with PURPOSE.

With the recognition of what are known as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, it means that you are able to write more naturally and still be able to reach your target market. What this actually means is you could write about something like “how to use Word” and you could in turn rank for Microsoft, Bing, Excel or any other Microsoft product because of the relevance and connection between Microsoft and Word.

Relevance to keyword in your content is paramount, but using the older methods to determine your target keywords is less important because it can lead to over optimization, which works against you.

Rule of thumb – write natural content and maintain relevance, but don’t stress about having to include the exact keyword / phrase as a “percentage” of the content. Often one direct match will be enough, plus synonyms of the keyword, appearance of the words in the phrase in a sentence and the LSI type keyword or phrase is much better.

To avoid over optimization, it’s best to include the main keyword phrase in the url, the header OR the title of the page, NOT all 3. Change things around in these circumstances.

An example – based on “the best sources for lead generation”:

Url –

Page Title (Usually in SEO pack) – Lead Generation – The Best Places To Go

Header (Blog post title in WP) – What Are The Best Sources For Lead Generation?

I hope you see what I did with this. The main keyword phrase is relevant, but the words have been mixed up, or changed a little to provide the relevance and yet still give the search engines a big clue on what you’re talking about.

Getting Backlinks.

What you are looking for with your blog or website is to generate AUTHORITY. Years ago, before the Google updates, it was a simple case of get more links than your competitor and you rank the highest. Now, it’s more based on how authoritative your site looks to the search engines. You therefore need to find ways to get more high authority links to your website and more social shares etc.

In effect, Google only recognizes ONE link to your web pages (that’s each page) from any single IP address, but the algorithms have been set up to take into account social shares. So, when you link to a page on your site, which includes a post, that comes from Facebook for example, only ONE link counts, but should you have 300 shares, then that is taken into consideration too as a popular page that is being shared.

The best way to protect your site is to surround yourself with authority domain links. E.G. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, You Tube, Linked In and many more. Any link building strategy that includes “bulk” should be posted to the big sites that can TAKE the hit. What this essentially means is if you produce a You Tube video that includes a link to your capture page; this can be treated as part of your “safety net” and provides your page with an authority link. If you want to build your own authority, you get links to the video and the “juice” flows through to your pages. You can find places to get bulk links to your content over on fiverr, or one great place I recommend is Source Market where you can find SEO experts who will ethically get you links to your own authority sources.

Top Tip: Link to a relevant authority site such as Wikipedia, or a relevant authority in your niche to back up some of what you write about in your content. It shows the search engines you care for your reader. Like this:

Find out more about SEO on Wikipedia

Be careful with “anchor text”. Anchor text is where you “hyperlink” the keyword to your post or page. Think natural, especially when posting on social media. How many people will share your posts and use a keyword to hyperlink to your site? Not many, so use the naked URL e.g. as the main link to your page. You can use the anchor text links from the authority sites (if you can get them), but be careful not to do more than 3 to 4% at most with direct match keyword phrase links. You can use branded keywords as anchor text and other related keywords, but be careful not to overdo these either. Consider 92% as a mixture of branded, bare url, domain name and a MAXIMUM of 8% main keyword anchor text and related. This will keep you safe.

Remember NATURAL is best!

If you have a site you want to use just to make money and you’re not worried about keeping it, you can always adopt some of the “black hat” methods that do work to make a “quick buck”, but they are dodgy at best to keep your site functioning without being severely reprimanded, de-indexed or outright banned.

Ethical marketing in 2015 and beyond includes ethical SEO methods. If you stick to these basic guidelines you will stay ethical, safe and hopefully build up good authority to your site and rank for many years to come. The higher your site authority, the more related keyword phrases you will rank for without even trying!

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