trying to out-Google your customers

Trying To Out-Google Customers: Why You’ll Lose At Web Search

Gee RanasinhaBusiness, Communications, Sales, Social Media, Technology

At KEXINO we meet with companies and organizations of various sizes who, of course, all have different goals with their business marketing. But regardless of who we meet one thing remains constant: Everyone wants their content to be on the first page of a Google search result.

Clearly, that’s not possible. If everyone was on Page 1 there wouldn’t be any other pages, right? Not only that, but Page 1 is going to be a REALLY long page!

First-page placing on a search engine is the goal of pretty much every business. Appearing on the first page of a search engine result is the way that most business leaders judge the effectivity of their marketing.


Many organizations spend considerable amounts of money on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of their websites, or using services such as Google AdWords. Now while I’m the first to agree that these things have their place in an online marketing strategy, using such techniques as the ONLY way in getting and maintaining a high search engine ranking is going to fail in the long run.


Because you’re not just competing for first page ranking with your competitors. You’re competing with your customers. And there’s an awful lot more of them then there are of you.

What do I mean when I say that you’re competing with your customers? Try this little test. Conduct a Google search any of the world’s 50 largest brands. I’ll bet you that maybe as many as 30% of the results that you get back are from websites that have no intrinsic commercial or emotional alliance with the brand in question.

In other words, the search results take the visitor to content that hasn’t passed through the brand’s marketing department, PR agency or any other distribution vehicle where the brand owner has had a chance to approve the content before it was published.

Think about that for a second. Then consider this:

  • Facebook is due to hit a billion users by this August. Twitter’s at about 250 million. Social media channels are weaving their way into the fabric of society, culture – and business.
  • Customers are increasingly leaving feedback on sites such as Amazon, TripAdvisor, Yelp and 1001 other places that you haven’t even heard of. Anyone with an opinion (i.e. anyone) can post their view on any product or service. Including yours.
  • Study after study shows that consumers take notice of peer reviews – often even more than they do of the more “official” review sites.

That means that your customers – whether they’re delighted, frustrated, annoyed or pissed-off – could be talking about you, with the entire world listening in. Including Google.

What do you do about it? How about:

Create a listening/monitoring plan

According to a survey from Fishburn Hedges and Echo Research, 70% of companies ignore customer complaints posted on social media channels, which is deplorable.

You don’t just need to not only know what’s being said about you. You need to know when – and how – to respond to it. The same survey found that 83% of people who complained either liked or loved the fact that the company bothered to respond.

Create content

I’ve been saying this to just about anyone who’ll listen for the past four years: The only way you are going to tackle user-generated content is by creating content of your own. There are many ways to do this effectively – online video, eBooks, blogging, social media marketing, etc. Unless you contribute content to redress the balance, you’re on a hiding to nothing.

Share and connect

It’s not (nor should it be) just about your own efforts regarding the creation and distribution of your content. By creating alliances and collaborations you build a network that will help you introduce your efforts to the world.

Get involved. Develop your content strategy and appoint someone – hopefully us – to help create, administer and deploy it.  Don’t try to go up against your customers when it comes to content for web search results.

You haven’t a hope of winning.