07. October 2015 · Comments Off on Online Reputation Lab: Protecting Your Business Image · Categories: ORM, Training Courses · Tags: ,

online reputation labWhether you realize it or not, your business (and you as an individual) has an online reputation.

Hopefully, it’s a positive one backed up by good customer reviews; positive news and media stories; blog posts; articles; photographs; videos and more.

However, for some, bad or impulsive decisions can almost immediately equate into a negative online reputation which may take months or years to repair.

At the same time, every individual has an online reputation, which can also be formed by social media; legal troubles; unsavory photographs, etc.

This is why we have created – and released – a new Udemy course “Online Reputation Lab: Protecting Your Business Image.”

In this 12-lecture, 90-minute course, we’ll cover:

  • Understanding the basics of online reputation for a business.
  • Understanding the basics of online reputation for an individual.
  • How to recognize online reputation problems.
  • How to strategize and create opportunities to improve a negative online reputation.
  • Creating a strong and positive online reputation management program for a business or an individual.

“In this course, we take an in-depth look at five case studies of businesses and individuals suffering through a negative online reputation problem,” says Steve Phillips, Vice President at Mountain Woods Media, LLC.

“We review a worldwide corporation; a college and three individuals. In every case, we review the problems and then we try to offer some solutions on how they can start the road to repairing their reputation,” he adds.

Currently, students can preview two course lectures for free.

The full course and more information is available at https://www.udemy.com/online-reputation-lab and retails for $99.

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Mountain Woods Media, LLC is an Internet consulting and content development firm specializing in training and consulting; Search Engine Optimization (SEO); Online Reputation Management (ORM) and App Search Optimization (ASO).


05. October 2015 · Comments Off on Creating A Blog For Your Business · Categories: Blogging, SEO, Training Courses · Tags: , , ,

Creating a blog for your business is more than starting a blog, it’s about maintaining it for the long haul.

Creating a blog for your business isn’t enough to make a difference in attracting more customers to your website; gaining more sales and obtaining higher rankings in Google and other search engines.

creating a blog for your businessNow comes the part where most blogs fail as they lack content and new posts on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, we see many blogs start strong with daily blog posts featuring great local content; stories and profiles. However, the spark starts to fade and the content dries up. The blog is left alone with posts that are getting older and increasingly stale every day.

Don’t let this happen to your blog.


  • Plan an editorial schedule for your blog. This helps you write in advance, especially when the creative juices are flowing.
  • If you have a staff, assign them to write one blog post per week or two per month, etc.
  • Consider hiring a local high school student; freelance writer or an intern to write blog posts. Many local writers are happy with a small stipend and a byline as they want to gain more writing experience and build their online portfolio.
  • Allow guest blog posts in order to fill in the gaps and boost content. In most cases, a guest blogger will contribute for no charge, but seeks one or two links within the blog pointing back to their website.
  • Use videos as blog posts. If you’re creating and publishing simple videos for YouTube (and you should), you can also use them as a blog post. If you have enough videos, consider publishing a new video to your blog every Friday, etc.

Many blogs fail due to a lack of time; lack of interest or lack of content. None of these should be an excuse. By utilizing other resources mentioned above, you’ll solve the time and content issue. The more you publish, the better your blog will be in more traffic and higher rankings

In addition, use your blog posts to create more interest in social media. Each published blog should be announced to your fans, followers and connections in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and in other social networks.

For more information on local search engine optimization (SEO), check out our course “Earn More Sales By Increasing Local Traffic To Your Website” at https://www.udemy.com/earn-more-sales-by-increasing-local-traffic-to-your-website


02. October 2015 · Comments Off on Don’t Worry About The ‘Haters’ When It Comes To Business Reviews · Categories: Mountain Woods Media · Tags: , , ,

HatersOnline reviews – both positive and negative – can go a long way when it comes to earning new customers and trying to maintain an ongoing positive online reputation.

Unfortunately, some businesses choose not to participate in the online review process because they fear an onslaught of bad business reviews. Let’s go ahead and put this myth aside:

  • Customers can leave reviews for your company whether you claim and confirm your business profile in Yelp, Manta and other review sites. Just because you haven’t claimed your profile, doesn’t mean it won’t be active in review websites. It’s best to participate so you can communicate with your customers and earn higher rankings by completing your profile.
  • Former employees and “haters” might indeed leave bad reviews for your business. However, review websites (such as Yelp) have algorithms in place to recognize and hide negative reviews from profile view. Even so, most intelligent customers can easily spot a fake review (good or bad).
  • Competitors might also leave your business a bad review. Yelp will automatically remove reviews that are proven to have been written by a competitor.

Overall, don’t let a few worrisome reasons keep your business from claiming, confirming and optimizing your business profile in review and mapping websites. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. For instance:

  • For each business profile you claim and optimize, you’re giving your business another opportunity to be seen by a future potential customer. Overall, there are approximately 50 good review websites that allow businesses to set up free profiles.
  • For each business profile you claim and optimize, that’s one more inbound link from a reputable website pointing back to your company’s website.
  • Many review websites, such as Yelp, rank high in Google on local search terms. Therefore, if your business can earn a higher position in Yelp, it will automatically earn a higher spot in search engine rankings.
  • Since more and more people are relying on smartphones and tablets, they are also using review apps, such as Yelp, in order to find restaurants; coffee shops; hotels and other businesses. You’ll want make sure your business is visible and up-to-date so future customers can find you in various review apps.

Learn more about online reputation management; Yelp and earning more local traffic to your website by previewing (free) these courses in Udemy.com:

“Online Reputation Management: Handling Negative Reviews”

“Promote Your Business and Earn More Sales By Mastering Yelp”

“Earn More Sales By Increasing Local Traffic To Your Website”



30. September 2015 · Comments Off on Online Review Websites: How They Work and Why They Are Important For Your Business · Categories: Mountain Woods Media · Tags: , ,

online review websitesThere are dozens upon dozens of online review websites that encourage participation from both individuals and businesses. These include sites such as Yelp, Manta, City Search, Google+ Local and many more.

Individuals (your potential customers) can create free accounts and use review websites to find more information about your company; get directions and leave reviews, etc.

For businesses, review websites are extremely important in gaining more local customers. Participation is required if you want to take it to the next level with local search engine optimization (SEO).

Here’s why:

  • Review websites, such as Yelp, for example, give your business more visibility to more local customers. Some users are addicted to the Yelp app on their smartphone and only use it for locating businesses or for finding products and services they need.
  • There are approximately 50 (or more) high-quality and high-traffic review websites – all of which give you another opportunity for your business to be found in Google search results and in other search engines. For example, if a customer is searching for “Greenville, SC florist,” your website might be ranked high in search results, but the review website might also be ranked high. This gives your business another opportunity to be on front of a local customer.
  • Participation in review websites gives your business another online source of generating new traffic to your website.
  • Review websites create inbound links pointing to your company’s website. The more review websites your company is listed in, the more links you have gained from credible websites pointing to your company’s website. SEO experts call this “link building” (the act of one website publishing a link pointing to another website).

Unfortunately, some businesses refuse to participate in review websites. Why? Because they fear potential bad reviews might be published for their company. However, individuals (again, your customers) can add your business to any review website and they can also leave reviews for your company whether you choose to participate or not.

As a local business owner, you need to claim and confirm your business profile in review websites and begin taking control of your company’s image in Yelp, Bing Local, Yellow Pages and other business listing websites. Once you “own” your business profile, you can then start optimizing your profile for better rankings and improve online conversations with your customers.

28. September 2015 · Comments Off on Mountain Woods Media, LLC Releases New Udemy Course on Hashtags · Categories: Mountain Woods Media, SEO, Training Courses · Tags: ,

hashtagsMountain Woods Media, LLC, an Internet consulting and content development firm, has released a new Udemy course about Hashtags.

“A Basic Understanding of Hashtags” is the sixth published Udemy course for Mountain Woods Media, LLC.

“We see hashtags every day on television; in movie previews…even on apparel, but they’re still new and a lot of people don’t know why or how they are used,” says Mountain Woods Media Vice President Steve Phillips.

“This is a basic course that explains how hashtags were invented and how businesses and groups use them to build their audience in Twitter and in other social networks, he adds.

This 12-lecture, 52-minute course features:

  • What is a hashtag?
  • What does a hashtag look like?
  • What does a hashtag mean?
  • How did hashtags get started?
  • Who uses hashtags?
  • Finding and using entertainment and sports hashtags.
  • How hashtags can be valuable during a natural disaster.
  • How hashtag activism and cause marketing works.
  • How hashtags are being used in a negative way, and much more.

Currently, you can preview two lectures in the course for free.

The full course and more information is available at https://www.udemy.com/hashtags/ and retails for $19.

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Mountain Woods Media, LLC is an Internet consulting and content development firm specializing in training and consulting Search Engine Optimization (SEO); Online Reputation Management (ORM) and App Search Optimization (ASO).

25. September 2015 · Comments Off on Steps to Take in Repairing a Negative Online Reputation · Categories: ORM, Training Courses · Tags: , ,

Bad newReputation Repairs travels fast and, unfortunately, it can usually earn high rankings in Google. This means customers can quickly see:

  • Consumer complaints about your company (Better Business Bureau, etc.).
  • Business layoffs and news that hurts your firm’s image.
  • Negative reviews.
  • Lawsuits and other legal matters.

Before you know it, negative news and reviews can definitely have an impact on your business and bottom line.

So, how can your business recover in terms of reputation repair?

Let’s assume your business is facing such a scenario and doesn’t have an online reputation management program in place. Note: Developing a digital crisis program in advance will help prevent a panic rush to repair a negative online reputation.

Unfortunately, it can easily take three-to-six months (or longer) to fully repair and recover from negative search results. Here’s a simple outline you can follow in order to get started:

  • Repair negative reviews in Yelp, Manta and other online review websites first. This is the only “easy” task you will have. The best approach here is to reply to the complaint directly within the review site. Be polite and professional in your response. Apologize and offer to fix the problem. This will go a long way in showing your efforts to make the customer happy. In most cases, satisfied customers will remove the negative review or edit it so that the review is a positive one for your company.
  • Create positive news. The best way to do this is to create a blog on your website (if you don’t have one) and begin to write and publish daily blog posts about your company; your staff and your products and services.
  • Get active on social media with positive posts in Facebook (1-2 per day), Twitter (5 Tweets per day) and LinkedIn (1 per day).
  • Take photographs and post them daily in social media; Instagram; your website; review websites and blogs.
  • Record and publish 1-2 videos weekly in YouTube and Vimeo. Publish links to your videos in your blog and in social media.

It’s not going to be an easy uphill climb, but you can recover.

For more information on recovering from a negative online reputation and bad reviews for your business, visit our Udemy course “Online Reputation Management: Handling Negative Reviews” https://www.udemy.com/online-reputation-management-negative-business-reviews


23. September 2015 · Comments Off on Why Local Businesses Should Ignore Google · Categories: SEO · Tags: , , , ,

ignore googleYou can ignore Google if you focus on local SEO techniques. You will also avoid the dreaded “ranking stress.”

Local businesses – florists, plumbers, roofers, lawyers, dentists and many others – spend way too much time (and money) trying to earn higher rankings in Google and other search engines.

Stop it.

There are many other online marketing opportunities in which your local company can connect with new customers who need to find you for products and services.

If you focus on these techniques, not only will you earn more traffic to your website (and more customers), but your Google ranking will take care of itself. In addition, you’ll save yourself a lot of time; money and “ranking stress.”

Instead of Google rankings, work on:

  • Claim, confirm and optimize your business profile in Yelp, CitySearch, Manta and other review and mapping websites. Business information needs to be accurate and consistent in all review websites.
  • Make sure your Yelp profile is 100% complete. Include pictures and make sure you mention the location (city, town, etc.) of your business in the “About Us” section. Currently, there are over 130 million Yelp users per month and many of them use the Yelp app. In addition, Yelp typically appears in the Top 10 Google search results on many local search terms. A high ranking in Yelp is an automatic high ranking in Google.
  • Create a blog for your company website and write 2-3 blog posts per week. Typically, blogs shouldn’t be about you or your company. Instead, offer free advice to your readers on how to solve a problem; tips on how to save money, etc. Being helpful is much better than trying to convince readers that you have the best products and services.
  • Participate in social media, especially Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Again, be helpful; offer advice and tips; start and engage in conversations.
  • Take and publish pictures. Customers will stay on your profile page; website; blog, etc. two-and-a-half times longer if you publish pictures than they do with pages without pictures. Everyone on your staff should take pictures in the office; out in the field; on service calls; at conferences, etc. Local pictures do best for local businesses trying to gain more local customers.

This simple list is just a start, but these tips will definitely help you earn more local traffic to your website and gain more sales from new and existing customers. In addition, your Google ranking will improve, but local businesses shouldn’t worry so much about link building and Page Titles. A “local” focus will generate local business.

For more information on local search engine optimization; local marketing and online review websites, check out our courses here on Udemy:

Earn More Sales By Increasing Local Traffic To Your Website


Promote Your Business and Earn More Sales by Mastering Yelp


Online Reputation Management: Handling Negative Reviews




21. September 2015 · Comments Off on Many Positive Reasons For Being A Sports Writer · Categories: Blogging, Training Courses · Tags: , , , ,
Many Positive Reasons for Being a Sportswriter

Look for these type of teasers to find freelance sportswriter gigs” “We’re Looking for Freelance Writers to Help Us Cover LSU Football & More ”  Photo via 1130thetiger.com in 2013

If you’re looking for a new writing opportunity – either freelance, part-time or full-time – there are many positive reasons why being a sports writer might be the right ticket for you.

First, however, you’ll need to meet one, or both, of the following requirements:

  • You have writing skills.
  • You like sports.

A combination of both creates an ideal situation. Sports enthusiasts envy sports writers. You’re close to the action; you get to interview coaches and athletes; your name is in print (or online or in other media outlets such as television, radio, etc.) and you can earn some extra income.

Sports writing on a freelance or part-time basis won’t take up too much of your time. In most cases, you’ll be asked to attend and cover a local football or basketball game during the week and report the results.

However, there are other opportunities in writing sports profiles or feature pieces.

Many times in my sports writing career, I could easily find other sports article ideas that I could pitch to newspapers and magazines (before the Internet, mind you). Some of these included articles about sports injuries; health and diet as it related to athletes; how to select the right sports equipment (golf clubs; racquetball and tennis racquets, etc.) and how to build your own basketball court; racquetball court, etc.

Now, with many online publication and blogs, there is even a greater need and opportunity to be a freelance sports writer. Blogs need content in order to earn higher rankings in search engines and increase readership. More readers equates into more blog advertisers as businesses are happy to pay for an ad that gets their business in front of more potential customers.

For more information on how to earn extra money by being a freelance, part-time or full-time sports writer, check out our Udemy course at https://udemy.com/sports-writer.

18. September 2015 · Comments Off on Use These Local SEO Strategies To Earn New Customers and More Sales – Part I · Categories: SEO, Training Courses · Tags: , ,

local SEO claim your listingsLocal businesses – including everyone from plumbers; heating and cooling specialists; lawyers; dentists; accountants and restaurants – need local customers in order to survive and grow.

Here are 10 ways local businesses can increase sales; improve website traffic; add new customers and keep the telephone ringing.

  1. Claim and confirm your business listing in review and mapping websites such as Yelp, Manta, CitySearch, Google+ Local, Bing Local and many others. Customers who “live” on their mobile devices constantly use location based review apps, such as Yelp, in order to find local products and services. Make sure your business’ profile is accurate and complete.
  2. Update your website’s content. There’s no need to re-design your website. Instead, you probably need a content refresh with new and expanded information about your company and its products or services. Your website isn’t a brochure. It should also reflect what’s going on with your business; new staff photos and bios; etc. Also, make sure your business hours are correct and always include your full business contact and address information. A map is always appreciated by new customers.
  3. Create and write a blog. We can’t stress this enough. A blog is like a diary or sorts, but it should be all about your business; what’s new in the industry; how you can help new customers; offer ideas; tips (like this blog post!) and much more. If you don’t have time to write a blog, get staff involved or hire an intern or local freelance writers. Try to include pictures with your blog. Blog posts should be around 300 words or more. Strive to publish two or three blog posts per week.
  4. Always be looking for ways to improve your website’s content. A blog is a great way to start this process, but update and improve your other website pages on a regular basis. Typically, the pages we see with the most content update opportunities include the About Us page and the Contact Us page.
  5. Don’t let your website developer slow you down. Content updates, especially simple ones, should be easy for anyone to correct and publish. If your website developer is S-L-O-W to update new content and new pages, then it might be time for a face-to-face chat or begin the process in looking for a new website developer. Recently, we helped a company re-write page content for their entire website. Six weeks later and the website is still missing these fresh content changes. That’s not good for the local business that needs to inform local customers of new products and services. Don’t let your developer hurt your business.

For more information on local SEO, check out our course on Udemy at https://www.udemy.com/earn-more-sales-by-increasing-local-traffic-to-your-website/

16. September 2015 · Comments Off on What Happens When You Can’t Repair A Negative Review ? · Categories: Mountain Woods Media, ORM, Training Courses · Tags: , , ,

negative reviewsOver the lifetime of your business, you’ll find that not all customers and clients are going to be happy and your firm will be the recipient of a negative review.

It’s not the end of the world. Most negative reviews can be repaired and problems can be resolved. In fact, many unhappy customers will eventually update the review or remove it, once the problem has been corrected.

Still, there might be a stubborn customer who will never update or remove his negative review no matter what you do to fix the damage. This stubborn individual is all about revenge and tries his best to ruin your business’ online reputation.

Don’t worry. Here are some steps you can take to overcome the professional negative reviewer.

  • Always try to solve the negative review by communicating within your profile’s review area. This will show current and future customers that you are reaching out and trying to fix the review. It will later become apparent the negative reviewer has no interest in solving the problem and he will eventually appear to be the “bad” guy in this dispute.
  • Remember to remove your emotions when replying to a negative review. Be polite and professional.
  • Even if you feel you’re right, apologizing usually diffuses a negative reviewer. Most reviewers want to be happy and work out the dispute.
  • Don’t get into a back-and-forth argument with the reviewer. The more you argue online, the worse it will be for your business. Arguing shows current and future customers that you’re not willing to work with your customers on a matter and may shy them away from becoming future customers.

Recently, we helped a medical practice in California deal with a negative reviewer. By researching the reviewer’s profile, we quickly found out that he was a serial negative reviewer in Yelp and would regularly leave one or two negative reviews for businesses each week. Unfortunately, most businesses would ignore him and never respond or offer to repair the problem, which makes the negative review more valid.

For more information, be sure to purchase our Udemy course “Online Reputation Management: Handling Negative Reviews” at https://udemy.com/online-reputation-management-negative-business-reviews.