Last week I talked about a simple way to deliver superb customer service: just do what you promise. I write about customer service quite a bit, and I’m passionate about it; customer service is what makes your business the right one to do business with, and this has only become more true as the Internet has grown in importance in our business lives. And hey, you don’t want to end up on The Answer Guy’s Customer Service Wall of Shame, right?
This morning, I was looking at some of our search engine optimization results, and noticed that the post about doing what you promise has already taken a position of prominence in Google:
I point this out both because, yes, I take whatever opportunity I can to let you know how good a choice it is to let us manage your Search Engine Optimization, and also to teach you a couple of lessons, free.
First, odd as it seems, just talking about customer service can lead to doing customer service better . . . and better . . . and better. It’s almost a “power of positive thinking” kind of thing and while it sounds simple, it works. You are what you believe, and you need to believe in customer service.
Second: this SEO thing takes some thought. You’re capable of doing Search Engine Optimization on your own; there’s nothing all that complicated about it. But there’s a lot to actually doing SEO. Change a word, add a word, think in terms of phrases AS words, and all of a sudden Search Engine Optimization might feel like it’s a bit more than you want to handle on your own. Yes, that’s when you hire the Answer Guy to do your Search Engine Optimization.
So in that little graphic you can see that just five days after being posted my words about doing what you promise rank #3 in Google for the phrase just do what you promise. But remove the word just and our ranking drops down to #24.
But add the quotation marks—turn do what you promise into “do what you promise”—and we jump all the way up to #2. That’s right; our ranking for the shorter phrase, specified AS a phrase, is actually higher than our ranking for the longer and easier-to-score-well-for phrase without the quotation marks.
Now here’s reality:
Whether or not the word just is included, many fewer people will search for a phrase with quotation marks than without them. Think about how you search and you’ll see immediately that I’m right about this; “just do what you promise” is a specific, almost literary search reference, while asking Google or any other search engine about the phrase just do what you promise is more natural. In other words, I’m not all that excited about ranking highly for the phrase with quotes.
On the other hand, ranking highly for one phrase impacts your standing for similar phrases. And just do what you promise sure is a lot like “just do what you promise”, isn’t it?
Think about your words. Think about them in your customer service endeavors, and think about them when you do Search Engine Optimization.
I noticed a spike in traffic to this page on February 16, 2012 … a bit under a year after we started ranking for the various permutations of do what you promise, so I took a fresh look at our “promise rankings”:
Search Engine Optimization, anyone?