We all know that in advertising, “sex sells.” We also know that once upon a time the saying went “All press is good press.” In the 24-hour news cycle, that’s no longer always true. But an attention-grabbing headline, no matter how stupid, will grab attention and then the writer, or speaker, has about 10 seconds to convince his or her audience that they actually have something to say.
Recently it was reported on the news that the owner of an eye glasses Internet supply store harassed a customer to the extent that she had to file a complaint with both the police and the attorney general. He actually photographed her home. She was so scared that she changed the locks on her doors. His excuse: he was overworked. Now his lawyers are overworked.
What was interesting about the news item was that the customer found him on Google. She did a simple Google search and he was one of the first to appear. As she began to investigate him, she found out why. There were literally hundreds of blog postings warning customers to avoid him at all costs. The more Internet mentions a website gets, the higher it appears on a Google search. Google does not say that the first companies to appear in a search are good companies, only that they are the most mentioned.
This got me thinking about the Search Engine Optimization business. I used to get calls regularly from SEO consultants promising me that they could guarantee me a place on the first page of a Google search. I immediately agreed to meet each and every one of them. But I told them to think about it first. “When you come in,” I told them, “I will Google ‘search engine optimization consultant’ and if you are not at or near the top of the list, the meeting won’t last long. After all, if you can’t get you to the top of the list, how will you be able to get me there?” For some reason, they never call back to set up an appointment…
A British SEO consultant contacted me through LinkedIn. I replied that I Googled him and that since he did not appear on the top of the search results, why, I asked him, should I think that he could get me to the top? His reply was brilliant. After telling me that he liked my sense of humor, he told me that if I Googled “writing articles” I would see that they were at the top of the search results. Brilliant! So that’s how they do it. Find something that no one would ever Google, make it a company’s keyword(s), and sure enough, they’ll be at the top of the results. Amazing!
If you do a Google search for “executive recruiters” you will get 224,000 results. “Workforce optimization” results in 384,000 hits. And “career counselor” brings in 547,000. Those are the three services which I provide. I am certain the results will be similar for your profession, service, or product.
Apparently, you either have to be loved or hated by the masses to make it to the top. But, as the harassed customer of the eye glasses store owner found out, you have to do your homework to find out if the reason is the former or the latter.