One of my valued colleagues tweeted out a provocative blog post that got my juices flowing and here I paraphrase the essence of it:
Forget your friends’ advice. Just Google it!
Do you need a certain product or service about which you know little? If so, Google wants you to ignore your friends and pay attention to their search engine instead.
When it comes to seeking referrals, do your friends have the best resources to help you find what you need? In many cases, yes, in other cases, maybe and in still others, no! When your friends and family come up dry, there’s one place to go; the Internet.
Let the numbers work for you!
Chances are, most of your friends and associates don’t have the right experience or enough knowledge about your industry to make fully informed referrals. It’s even more likely that your current customers and friends don’t associate with enough prospective clients to feed you enough referrals to sustain and grow your business.
Person to person word of mouth still has a lot of business influence but in a hyper-competitive, digitally enabled marketplace like we have today, you need a strong internet search presence to validate verbal claims by individuals. Even if you get a good personal referral, your prospect will go online to check you out before calling. You can be sure they’ll Google you first. What shows up when they do? This is the simplest and one of the best SEO tests you can do.
Google yourself now!
Go ahead, Google yourself! What’s in the first few positions on the first page? Is it your content or someone else’s who shares a name? Is your own website or LinkedIn Profile in one of the top positions? If you do show up on the first page, is the information favorable and complimentary or could it raise questions about how well positioned you are in your industry?
Creating a favorable and growth-oriented presence that is searchable on the Internet is a sustainability imperative today, even if you’re still chugging along on word of mouth. At some point soon, if not already, the default action of most people will be “I’ll just Google it…” instead of “I’ll just ask Larry…”