The future of search – how customer comment could influence your rankings

Imagine that you are researching a product to purchase online, and you mention it to a friend. They had a bad experience of the retailer, and consequently you choose a different retailer.

The Online Version of Customer Feedback
Online the scenario would play out differently. You would search for feedback on the product and retailers using search engines. In Google there’s the functionality to add comments to a business listing on Google Maps. The volume of customer reviews will effect your ranking on Google Local search.

Start the conversations with your customers
With the recent addition of Google Search Wiki, and Google Connect features, you realise that how your customers reviews and comments could start influencing your search engine listings. That step is not that huge, but the impact of this could be devastating.

There are so many companies who just can’t take that step and start listening to the conversations about their brand and products. It’s like sticking your head in the sand and hoping it will go away. Strangely enough, this one is here to stay, like it or not.

So how do you go about the 1st steps?
Set up Google alerts and Tweetbeep to start monitoring the conversations. Then set up your account and take the plunge. Listening is the more important step and really understanding what your customers are saying. If there is any negative comments, don’t just dive in and blast back. Take a deep breath and see it from the customers view – imagine how you would deal with it if it was a telephone call or letter….and manage it in a similar way.

There are some great features in the Google connect site which you can drop in on your site which will start allowing you to build the community and interactive feel to your site.

Remember when…..
Back when Google was launched I was working for Stickyeyes, in those days people were saying ‘who’s going to use a search engine that has got no advertising on it, how strange!’ and dismissed the search engines as a passing buzz or trend. Over a decade later Google have the largest share of the search market.

I feel that we’re riding the crest of the wave on the social media marketing and I’m not quite sure where it will end up but I know it’s a similar scenario to how Google made search engine marketing main stream. What I do know is that it is changing the way people are doing business and therefore cannot be ignored.

So tell me…… are you taking the 1st steps in taking your business into the social web.

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