This is probably how you feel. I actually had one client who likened the negative publicity to a giant albatross hanging around his neck. He had over 30,000 satisfied customers and less than five complaints. Well, the few who complained found a forum where they could get together and post their rants. Unfortunately, this forum was showing up in Google's top 5 when searching for information on his company. He is actually the second client to liken the negative publicity he has received to a giant albatross.
Perhaps you feel the same way? Well, naturally the common reaction is “Just fix it!” And it makes perfect sense that anyone dealing with this particular struggle would feel this way. They have seen it damage their reputation and/or even their organization's bottom line. When they are about to close a deal and the prospect gets cold feet because of a negative post they saw on the internet than they realize that this situation can not be ignored.
So, they connect with us and want the problem solved ASAP.
The problem here is that the client most likely does not have an adequate understanding of the algorithms that make up the Google search results and the process involved in adjusting the list of web sites that come back in a particular search query.
So, I decided to write this article and explain it in a non-techie sort of way.
Let's say you just bought a home in the country on a quiet neighborhood street. The old house sits on over 2 acres. The backyard is like a sanctuary filled with big oak trees, magnolias, and a few fruit trees scattered about. One day you are strolling around in your backyard and you spot one of your new neighbors trying to get your attention.
“Hey!” yells the man in tight blue jeans, and a section of his belly poking out under his t-shirt.
“Can I help you?” you ask politely.
“That tree you have right there!” yells the man as he points his hairy arm in the direction of a magnolia tree near the border of the property.
“What about it?” you ask.
“It's blockin my sunlight in the evening and I can't see well enough to work on my truck!” shouted the man.
“Well, why don't you just use a flashlight?” you ask politely even though you are a little agitated by the encounter.
The man shrugs his shoulders and gives you a look as if you are one of the five most unreasonable people on planet earth.
“Why don't you chop down your $#%^ tree!” he yells.
At this point you realize that this conversation will go absolutely nowhere and so you decide to head back inside. You slam the sliding glass door frustrated by the absolute shortfall of the human race. The next morning you wake up to your normal routine. You grab your slippers, cup of coffee, and head outside to sit on your back porch and read the newspaper. You settle into the old rocking chair and place your feet on the white porch railing. You take a deep breath and jerk open the newspaper to the sports section. But as you do, something out in the yard has caught your eye.
“What the #$%&?” you mutter as you lean forward and squint in the direction of the neighbors house.
To your horror you see a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood spray painted white and hanging a few inches on the other side of your fence. In giant red letters it reads,
You quickly set down your cup of coffee on the porch rail but miss and it spills all over your slippers. You yell “Son of a!” and march strait for the neighbors house. You grab the top bar of his crooked chain link fence and are about to yell, but you think for a moment, remind yourself to be calm, and take a deep breath.
“Excuse me sir,” you shout in a polite voice.
“Excuse me sir,” you shout again.
Suddenly the back door screeches open.
“Hey lousy dawg,” says the man with the same pair of blue jeans on as yesterday but missing his shirt.
“Listen, I think we got off to a bad start. I just don't quite see what the big deal is. My name's Bob, what's yours?” you ask.
“My name's Jake, but that ain't your name! Your name is lousy dawg!” shouts the man.
You want to shout back but you manage to hold it in and muster out, “Please just take down your sign, okay.”
Jake comes walking out from under his carport and yells, “Oh, I'll take it down! I'll take it down when you take down that $%&^ tree! You lousy dawg!”
You walk back inside, fuming. As you drive to work you can't stop thinking about what happened as you clinch and pound on the steering wheel.
When you arrive home from work you ease into your driveway and notice that the sign is still there. Not only that but you notice Jake talking to some of the other neighbors and pointing at you. You overhear some of the conversation, “I just told him that his tree was blockin our sunlight in the evening and he told me to go to &^$#!”
Quickly you run inside, throw your things down and get in front of the computer. You pull up Google and search for “fast growing privacy plants with thorns”
You click the search button and notice listing that says….
Are you bothered by an obnoxious neighbor?
I can help.
Bob gives me a call and we talk about the problem he is having with his neighbors.
I then go over to asses the situation. Bob, tells me, “Please just fix it!”
I then say, “Bob, I understand how frustrating the situation is. However, there are few things that I can and that I can't do. I can't put some seeds in the ground, sprinkle my magical dust on them, and have 10 foot privacy bushes in a week. But, I know the right plants to grow here, I know about the soil you have, the amount of sun they will receive, and I have a very special fertilizer that I can put on them every day to make them all grow as quickly as possible. And Bob, when I am finished, instead of seeing this obnoxious sign you will see a series of large bushes that flower all year long and have big thorns to prevent Jake from any more mischief. So, let's get started!”
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