For a few years now, people have been buzzing about Merchant Circle. On the surface, it acts as a listing for local businesses, which is great for that that have yet to do any web marketing or make a website. The business can make a profile on the networking site and know that their listing will show up higher in Google, than say a brand new domain that has not been advertised via web marketing. For consumers, it offers a place to make reviews for other potential customers to view. It also offers consumers a way to find local businesses online, which I assume, is the main point. However, as we all know, assumptions do not always pan out to be correct. It seems my assumption is like many others, and it turns out we may all be wrong.
The Business Side Hook
Businesses should really use Merchant Circle for one reason: they allow you to control the conversation with customers. Yes, they also perform some web marketing features for you, such as search engine ranking. The platform will get some power behind your local business listing on Google, but it will also allow you to manage what reviews are seen by future customers. That’s right, you can delete reviews that are bad or that you just plain do not like. This is a feature that most networking sites do not offer.
The bad side of this ability is that users will soon have no vested interest in reviews on Merchant Circle. Eventually, people will probably stop doing reviews altogether on the website, unless the policy for handling them is changed.
SEO in Merchant Circle
The SEO that is included in each new profile is really just a bunch of key word stuffing in the merchant information section. This does not make me happy, as it is probably effective, but very sloppy. It makes you wonder how they are handling other aspects of SEO and web marketing for individual business profiles. Sure, their methods are working, but, I and other business owners, want to know if they will continue to work. What’s the point in signing up and paying them for a service that will end up being unreliable in the near future?
Quality of Reviews
The qualities of reviews on Merchant Circle are very suspect. It seems they only come in two categories: fakes and spam. An abundance of either means complete destruction of all credibility from a user standpoint. Somehow, the decision makers need to address this issue.
The bottom line is this: Merchant Circle is great for getting your local business found in search engines, mainly Google. It also appears to be a great way to help you network with nearby businesses. As far as customers are concerned, it does not appear to be geared for their use. While any consumer can easily find a business profile that is on Merchant Circle, the UI is not friendly and any information the consumer cares to share must flow through multiple check points to remain posted for others to read. If you didn’t write something flattering, you probably will not see your message.
We encourage any current or past clients of ours to give a review of us on Merchant Circle. We promise to never alter it or remove it. Find DCW on Merchant Circle here.