What Can You Do To “Google Proof” Your Local Business?

Hmm. Interesting question.

I’ve suggested for several years now not to put all your eggs in Google’s basket. They’ve been known to wipe out entire business models in an afternoon.

The unfortunate reality is that so many local businesses and internet marketing consultants feel that being on the front page of Google is Local Internet Marketing.

It is also the source of incredible unnecessary stress.  You know what I’m talking about. “What if I can’t rank on the first page?”, “What if I can’t get on the Places listing?”, or “I’ve made it to page one… What if I get slapped?”

What kind of business is that to be in? Why would you want to be so reliant on a Giant that thinks about you about 10 million times less than you think about it? Not to mention, one that goes around slapping the very people that made it such a powerhouse?

Simple Internet Math

SEO does not = Internet Marketing

Period. Case Closed.

SEO certainly has value. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an SEO expert. Never have been, never claimed to be, probably never will be.

I’m a Local Internet Marketer

I’m envious of SEO brainiacs. When I hang out with guys like Michael X, Keith Baxter, Brian Horn and they start getting deep into the SEO abyss it’s mind-boggling the amount of information they commit to their brain, information that may or may not be relevant next week and they relish the challenge. That’s what makes them SEO Gurus.

But what makes them stand out and among my top guys to pay attention to is that they know that  SEO is only one ingredient in the recipe.

Let’s Remove The Blinders

If you are one of the many Local/Offline consultants that feel that getting a business website ranked on the front page of Google is your ONLY or CORE value proposition, you are leaving a TON of opportunity on the table.

You are limiting yourself and your clients to that finite, highly scarce virtual real estate on page one. No wonder it’s so stressful.

It’s not entirely your fault. High rankings in the search engines has been hammered into our heads from the first day we ever thought about taking a stab at online marketing.

Do What We Sell… Not What We Do!

The Internet Gurus all said, you want to sell your ebook?  Got to get on the front page.  Want people to read your blog? Got to get on the front page.  Want to get leads?  Front page.

Want to have any relevance at all? You got to get you some of that Front Page.

The remarkable irony is, when the Internet Gurus go to sell their products, coaching or seminars, SEO and getting on the front page of Google doesn’t seem to even be on the “to do” list.

Weird, huh?

What do they focus on?  The Marketing!

Getting their compelling message found in multiple places where prospects are looking online.

That is Internet Marketing

And it’s exactly the way I do with Local Internet Marketing.

Help Local Businesses make their compelling message “findable” where Local Consumers are looking for their products and services.

And that’s not always on the front page of Google!

Let’s take Mobile Marketing as an example opportunity, and there are many.

The way I use Mobile Marketing has absolutely NOTHING to do with Google. That’s right. Nothing, nada, zilch. If Google went away tomorrow it would have NO impact at all on my Mobile Marketing campaigns.

Let’s look at a Restaurant campaign since they represent an almost endless supply of potential clients.

One of the biggest opportunities with restaurants, and a lot of local businesses for that matter,  is getting current customers to come back more often, spend more money and spread the word to their friends and even strangers.

This is accomplished by marketing from the inside, getting current customers to plugin with incentives such as coupons, loyalty rewards, ease of doing business.

You can do this QR Codes, Text Marketing Campaigns, Email Optins, Mobile Apps.  When current customers connect make it extremely easy for them to share through simple viral elements like social sharing badges from Facebook, Like Buttons, Forward To A Friend Email links.

A customer is much more likely to hit a button on their mobile phone to send a coupon off to a friend that they received via a text message or push from a mobile app than they are to take a coupon they go in the mail and stick it in an envelope and shoot off to a friend.

Why do mobile coupons have such a ridiculously high redemption rate?

They are not only EASY to use but also EASY to share.

This is extremely valuable to, not just restaurants but many different types of businesses. But even if you just did it for restaurants, there’s more potential clients than you can handle.

And by the way. Since you wouldn’t be competing for those limited spots on the front page of Google, you don’t have to worry about limiting the number of businesses in the same niche you can work with.

Mobile is just one example. There are so many opportunities outside of being a “Front Page of Google Peddler”.

If you are good at Local SEO, then keep being good. It’s an extremely valuable skill.

If you aren’t good at SEO, then get better at it. I’m not suggesting you ignore it. I’m studying it just about everyday for the next two weeks.

What I am suggesting is that you not make it your only value proposition.  By getting out of the mindset of being an SEO Consultant and into the mindset of being a Customer Getting Internet Marketing Expert, with a big focus on the marketing, you’ll offer more value to your clients while creating far less stress for yourself.

Most importantly, you don’t set yourself up to let Google decide if your business is successful or not.

Post your comments. Let me know what you think.

25 Replies to “What Can You Do To “Google Proof” Your Local Business?”

  1. I don’t think anyone can really figure out all of the ever changing complex algorithms that  Master Google uses. The best part of that is… Who Cares? If you use mobile marketing, you are right on your customers don’t care. All they see if dollars not being wasted but converting into what really matters PROFITS! I love Mobile Marketing.

  2. I understand and hear you. Where I think local consultants need help is in explaining that to the business owners. Most of the concepts you talked about are very nebulous to the business owner. Even if you get them to consider doing it tracking and roi are nearly impossible to prove. This then gets them wondering if what you are doing is going to be worthwhile. What then happens is can you get me to the first page of Google? Trackable and worth has already been proven to them. I would love to sell all the other marketing advice in my brain but sometimes all they will hear is Google!

    1. @David Forer David, what niches are you working with? Google rarely enters the conversation unless I bring it up.  If they do bring it up,  I generally find they are parroting back something that was being pitched to them before. One benefit mobile has is when you get a business owner to reflect on their own mobile habits, they become the best salesperson and often times sell themselves.

      1. @Jack Mize  @David Forer One thing that has really made an impact for me is what Jack said long time ago, “…ok, you got to the first page, what now?”. All my years selling door to door, I have converted prospects and sold them what I wanted to sell them, because I believed that product would enhance their lives. On the other hand, if I had let them sell me their beliefs or ideas I would be broke. Not to toot my own horn, but the point I am trying to make is, we sell the customer what WE think is best for them, based on our intuition, expertise and knowledge. If WE believe in ourselves, our teachers and mentors then what we sell to our prospects can be a truly valuable service. Of course we’re not gods and we can’t predict the future as well as how the prospect will utilize the tools and information we sell him, therefore we can go home and sleep at night knowing that we’ve done our job to the best of our ability, with integrity and conviction.

  3. I don’t think anyone can really figure out all of the ever changing complex algorithms that  Master Google uses. The best part of that is… Who Cares? If you use mobile marketing, you are right on track Jack and your customers don’t care about competing for the high dollar slots that they probably can’t afford or don’t have the time to create. All they see if dollars not being wasted but converting into what really matters PROFITS! I love Mobile Marketing.

  4. Perfect description of do as I say, not as I do when referring to the SEO GOO ROOS!
    Keep on drinking and walking, Jack.

  5. I’ve had mixed results regarding the “Google” issue.  I don’t think that many businesses know anything about Google or especially even trying to rank high on the first page.  Most of the owners I’m talking to don’t even bring it up, they just want more customers coming through their door… bottom line.  I brought up Google with a customer recently, regarding Reputation Management and he didn’t really grasp what I was even talking about until I was able to show him how well his poor ratings were ranking in Google.  Ouch!  Everything you’re saying makes sense, Jack.  Great post!!

  6. Jack:
    Well said. I can’t begin to count the number of prospects I meet that tell about the SEO guys calling. They tell people “I will guarantee your business on page 1-2 .” And for the small sum of $1600 (6 mos). I tell these prospects to run as fast as they can away from these scam artists. It puts us ethical internet marketers in a difficult position when we approach the prospect.

  7. Hey Jack, 
    I am with you.  After I saw you talk in San Diego in June,  I refocused more on mobile.  I could see the endless opportunities.  I see it easier to get in the door and have a quicker impact.  Once they see you can deliver then I think the trust will be there to add-on SEO Google Local, etc.  
    Stay out of trouble in Vegas.

  8. High level creativity (what Jack has) leads to prolific opportunity.  
    Jack, how long did it take you to type speak this into your dragon speech to text software?  
    That was a lot of writing, sir.  Why didn’t you video post this bad boy?
    BTW….I completely agree.  Not sure if I’m hitting up this event because of some conflicting scheduling, but I wish I were.
    I’ll be seeing u at one of these freakin’ events soon.
    Thanks for the perspective and inspiration.

    1. @CarlosRosario  I am insulted that you think I couldn’t sit down and type this out. That I somehow lack the patience or ability to focus on a topic long enough to put my thoughts into the written word.  The nerve….   (brought to you by Dragon Dictate version 3.0)

  9. This is great – for many businesses.  I have two clients right now – one in counseling PTSD, addiction, etc. sufferers, the other is a tow truck owner.
    The doctor won’t do anything I recommend to help herself.  The towing guy is great and very open to the possibilities.  I’m working through lead valves for TikTakTow.com though some aren’t working, others aren’t updating, it’s a work in progress.
    The towing guy wants to be in most of the top spots – even if by different names – as people do a search to get info on towing as they are often stuck on the side of the road.  I’m not sure people pass around a coupon for emergency roadside services!  It’s a good bet they need help when they look for it.  The towing guy says a driver will call more than one service provider then, if he’s not there first, the job is gone (locksmith’s tell me this happens to them too).
    How can I do a better job for my clients in these businesses?

  10. Jack, I couldn’t agree more with you. These local businesses really only care about one thing–increasing their sales, whether it be through new customers or greater returns on the ones they have. You’ll strike a chord with your approach to local marketing. It just makes sense!

  11. I am sensing a New Method/ Approach in Each and Every Case
    Local Businesses that rank well—> show them their vulnerability Stats Google Changes Google Risk–> Diversify To cover the risk ( competitors are/ are not doing )
    Local Businesses that rank badly—> why take the effort reward risk—> Create wider campaign—> SEO becomes nice val ad bi-product

  12. I have done SEO for many years, and am pretty good. Yet I turn down most requests to do SEO for local businesses. (turned down one already this month)  No matter how good you are, you can not guarantee that Google will not wipe out your work and the business leads with it. Google has demonstrated repeatably they have no concern who gets hurt in an update. 
    Also it is simply not a good business model to rely on any one source for your business.  (can we say YellowPages) A local business I know (not my client) was getting most of their new business from page 1 position in Google places. In the April update their listing disappeared. They have been hurting ever since. 
    For those who follow local search results; in some categories Google is again showing a preference to sites like yelp, angieslist  and youtube. For page 1 in search results a local company is not competing just with other local companies.  In one local business category 7 organic results are shown, and only 4 are local companies. 
    As Jack puts it so well, relying on Google page 1 results is not marketing. 

  13. Great points, Jack. Interestingly enough, I’ve been going back and forth with Google re a client’s website. I’ll spare the drama and boring details but bottom line, Google’s actions (Panda, Penguin, Muskrat…there was a Muskrat, wasn’t there?) are all totally arbitrary. i.e, if they don’t like something, they can arbitrarily change their mind on a whim. Many lose site of the fact that Google is an ad agency! (Personally, I believe they’ve hurt businesses with the intent of driving them to do AdWords and other Google products.)
    One thing that will help is to remove Google Analytics from your sites. THAT IS HUGE!!! Think about it, if they see what you’re doing and they don’t like it, for whatever reason, they can shoot your site down. And that certainly applies to Local. (Ask me how I know…) Many SEO’s have been recommending using alternative services. (Clicky and Piwik are two that keep coming up.)  And, obviously, the other strategies you’ve listed circumvents the issue entirely. Thanks for the info.

  14. Hey Jack,
    I needed that… that slap upside the head to make me stand up and notice of what is really going on with the “All Mighty Google and Googlets. You have said this before, I listened and I am still listening, but within this message you have finally gotten me to Pay Close Attention and I will no longer Piggyback on Google! time to stand on my own two feet. 
    Let me give it to you straight Jack…You Are So Right!!!   From this point on I am off of the bandwagon with my new and improved way of thinking about MARKETING… and to get my local clients Noticed and bring in the best possible RESULTS for the first time ever!
    Thanks again Jack … you really ROCK,

  15. Great post!
    Being a Local Internet Marketing Consultant,
    Means just that!!
    Getting results for our clients in getting found in whatever means via online directories, social media, mobile.
    At the end of the day they want more customers and more revenue, with a good reputation.

    1. @HenryBalasch Exactly, we need to break through the walls of thinking of ourselves as Technicians, or Web Designers or SEO Jockeys.  We are Online Customer Getting Experts.

  16. @ I’ve been doing this every since i began in IM, I look for 10 to 20 enhancements or lead values based on the clients budget. Yet when i speak with other IM people in my region they generally only use 1-3-5 which i why i usually out rank them in a week or two and maximize the total amount of incoming leads blowing the minds of my clients and immediately building client loyalty.

    1. @BryantVickers That is a very interesting, what you said Bryant!! I’d like to pick your brain on that, if you allow me, and I am almost certain our regions don’t conflict. I market myself as a lead generator by utilizing different mediums such us video, articles, classified ads etc vs. just SEO and that is what is more appealing to my prospects. Do you mind sharing some information on your strategy?

  17. Jack, as always great info. I put this out there as I think it’s very important we all tell our clients, potential or existing, we are not GEO (Google Engine Optimization) experts, never was, never will be.  When I tell prospects what I do, they always try to fit me into a category (“is he PPC, SEO, SEM, PDF, .DOC. XLS???), My first statement to everyone is as Jack has always said, “We are a lead generation company, we use a variety to tools to make it easy for YOUR customers to find you online”.  End of story!  Of course we get questions, lots of them, of course we have competitors, lots of them, but they all say the same thing, now it’s “Rank Highly on Google”, why??  This is a process, use the materials, and you will have success.

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