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April 14, 2009

What do your clients say about you? Google knows!

Maybe I live in a cave, but I have been totally oblivious to some of the dramatic changes that have been taking place on Google. In particular on Google Maps.

Whenever I do a search on something, and I include the town name and the state, the first set of results I get is a map with a range of business listings posted on it. This is fantastic! In fact, I used it to find my hotel here in Sydney.

I went to my usual online haunts to try to find a hotel that was comfortable, had facilities for pets, (long story) and was in the CBD. Not an easy group of requirements. Definitely not one that my PriorityClub membership could cope with unfortunately.

So with options running out, a tragic lack of recommendations from he office staff and my colleagues, I turned to my old mate Google Maps - with more desperation than confidence.

I searched for Sydney, NSW Hotel Pets allowed  - nothing flash - I rarely use the Google query language.

You can see the results for yourself. The very first result was for local businesses with a list of great options on the very first part of the page. Brilliant.

Something else that caught my attention was the number of reviews that each entrant on the list had.

I worked my way down the list, checking the reviews on each, until I arrived at The Observatory Hotel

It's reviews were impeccable. In fact, it is apparently one of Australias most awarded Hotels and one of the 500 best Hotels globally.

Who'd a thunk it? I would never have known this...

And, 24 hours into our trek to Sydney, I have to tell you that the hype was underdone - it is a remarkably fabulous place. Classy, polite and well serviced, with very nice furnishings and a wonderful decor.

(Wow, I sound like an interior decorator)

The point of this is that the world is getting dramatically smaller - very quickly. Your business can attract reviews and comments from clients and customers all over the world. And they may not be the wonderful references that you want your prospects to hear about.

Not only can they find you - physically, in the very real sense of the word, but they can find out all about you and your track record. You can no longer hide behind glossy brochures and spin.

In fact, after checking through this comments idea I started to add my own. I have placed one with a former employer , and I am about to target my favorite Sunday morning breakfast bar , as well as an extremely rude Chinese restaurant where we went to recently.

What will your clients be saying about you?

Sort of throws another spanner in the works for the fabled SEO industry doesn't it....