I toyed with the idea of titling this entry A Nightmare on Google Street, but figured that the casual reader may not immediately gather what the subject of the entry is. So I opted for something a little more meaningful if less evocative. Google is great in all sorts of ways – not the least of which is that a significant percentage of our all-new business starts with someone using it to find us. So if I stick to a Sandstone perspective, I’d probably also stick with “Google is great”. However, part of our philosophy is to always try to understand our client’s viewpoint on things and, whoever you are, if you are reading this you are my client for this blog entry’s purposes. So, if you are using Google to try to find a team building provider for a requirement that you have in mind, I’d have to say that rather than great, Google can be bewildering. For such a searcher, I’m going to assume that he or she is interested in something different to what they have done before – otherwise why not simply use an existing supplier?
It may only take 0.2 seconds, but a search of the UK Google site for the phrase “team building” brings up “about” 36 and a half million matches. I know, because that’s what I’ve just got upon putting that phrase in. As I type this, on that first page, I see 21 links – 10 “natural” searches (ones that Google thinks are relevant to the search phrase) and 11 adverts, or “sponsored links”. We’re at the top of the page, which is nice, but only because of our advertising policy. Basically, it works for us so we’re happy and we are pretty good at what we do so our clients are pleased as well. If you are looking for someone to run your team’s event, you might be disappointed to hear that of the 10 natural results, though it isn’t obvious, only one actually has their own team delivering the events. The rest are either directories of varying quality, general sites of varying quality or companies who are “middle men” (of varying… you get the picture), taking commission but not actually delivering anything themselves. Things do improve but not by as much as you might think when you look at the sponsored links either. Of the 11 that appeared for me (advertisements appear and disappear over time), only 5 actually deliver their own events, including us. In case you are interested, our site does not currently appear in the natural search lists until page 3. Few searchers have the tenacity to get that far. C’est la vie. Google is as Google does, I guess!
On the up side, we are number one for many other related phrases that people do use to find us in the natural listings. And, I like to think, number one with our clients as well. Certainly, the level of our repeat business bears that assertion out.
Anyway, just on the first page alone, two-thirds of the links that come up are not really what you were looking for. Of the third that are, look close enough and you’ll discover that most of them are pretty much the same. The same old thing with different names. Which is fine if you want something that is very similar to what your people have done before. I struggle to understand why someone might want that but I have no problem understanding why some people settle for that. Even on just the first page of Google, we’re only one in 21 links and not many people have the time to search 21 web sites when the first one or two look as though they might have what they are looking for – or at least have an easy (if less than ideal) option to select.
You though, however you got here, now know about us if not yet our options. They are genuinely different, designed by us, delivered by us, cared for by us. However you found us, your nightmare could just well be over.