Go and enter the name of your shop at Google.com. Try putting quote marks around the name of your shop, like “Main Street Auto Care.” Now try entering the city where you are located with the name of your shop.
What did you find? Your shop’s website? Information on the youth baseball league you sponsored? A local civil court case decision that your shop won? A customer complaining about the service they received at your shop?
This practice was once reserved for egomaniacs, but it helps to show you what consumers will see when they are anonymously checking out your shop. The Google results are the reality of the present that you will have to deal with even if you do not have a website.
How Does Google Work?
If you are looking for the 1-800 number for Google in hopes of removing unflattering or incorrect information, you are out of luck. How it finds and ranks information is impartial, mathematical and logical. Ranking is about content, credibility and links.
Google’s servers scan, index or spider the Internet 24 hours a day. Web pages are analyzed for information. The algorithms look for keywords like repair, automotive and other important phrases. Where the words and phrases are located, along with their density, also plays a critical role. Google looks at who has linked to a website and it uses this to measure the credibility of a site. Also, it has other “filters” to determine if it is a site trying to sneak its way up the rankings by tricking or gaming the algorithms. Humans are rarely involved.
Google does not make money by artificially adjusting the rankings. It wants to provide users with the most relevant content. According to Google’s business model, by providing the best search results, it builds a loyal audience that is more likely to click on the sponsored ads that appear on the tops and sides of the pages. By not being greedy and shortsighted, it has become one of the trusted and profitable names on the Internet.
Google can work in mysterious ways. You have to be patient. It can take up to two months to alter rankings. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not choosing the right web address for your shop’s website. The key to getting a top ranking is to include the name of your shop and what you do in the address/url.
The toughest content to correct is “user-generated content.” Websites with this type of content include blogs, forums or consumer review sites, like Yelp or Local.com. Most of these sites allow anyone to post anything with little burden of proof.
The majority of webmasters or forum moderators will remove offending or inaccurate content if you contact them. Fighting a bad review online can backfire if you take the wrong tone.
You may say that you don’t want the “Googling type” of customer at your shop, but they are some of the most affluent customers. If you treat them right, there is a strong possibility that they will tell the world about it via the Internet. This can be the best type of advertising.
Advertising on Google? That is a topic for next month.