As terrible as hurricane Katrina was it was the breaking of the levies, the giant walls that keep the water out of this below sea level city that caused the most horrific damage. Listening to an expert on why the levy broke the answer was simple. “One pebble moved.” Of course one pebble moving did not cause the levy to break, or did it? “It was the one pebble that moved that allowed another to move, that allowed more to move until the concrete wall gave way” was the explanation.
The phone rang early this morning, October 18, 2005 at a about 5:30AM. My greeting was followed by a pregnant pause…..then “Wow, I did not expect to get anyone at this hour of the morning, I was going to leave a message.”
I replied “This number rings through to a phone in my residence outside of regular hours, how I can help you?
Turns out this was a legitimate client looking to use our services. It was a lawyer calling to rent some audiovisual equipment for a jury trial. Taking her information I found out she was not from the area, she was from North Carolina and was flying into Appleton WI later today.
After getting all the information I needed she said “Can I ask you one more thing?” “Of course” I said “what?” She said she had a very hard time finding us. I asked her how she found us. She said she used a search engine. “What one?” I asked. “Google” she said.
She had the time to talk and I was curious so I asked her what words she used. She said she used many combinations of words but finally used “audiovisual rental Outagamie” Just FYI, she used Outagamie because the trial is in the Outagamie county court house.
She said she got very frustrated with the results. She said she called one company but they were in Chicago. Tried calling another but they were in Virginia. Another was in New York. Others did not actually rent but only referred business but would not disclose who they refer to.
She said she knew what she wanted but after about an hour on Monday she gave up. She had to get other work done. Now today she is flying in so she needed get this resolved. After more and more searching, deep in the results she found us.
Her question was why were we so hard to find?
I explained how Google works. How Google pays very little attention to what is on the page. She asked what else she could have done.
I suggested she try another search engine. She chose to try yahoo.
Using the same words, words we certainly have not tried to optimize, words that appear on our home page due do what we do not because of any SEO, the same words that as far as I know do not exist as anchor text in any inbound links to us except the word rental, oh, …(most importantly)……………..the same words she as a Google search engine user (read CUSTOMER) chose to use “audiovisual rental Outagamie” got her a #1 result to us in yahoo to us.
She then said something I wish Google could hear. After using yahoo she said “That is the information I was looking for. From now on I’m going to use yahoo.”
Of course Google loosing one person, one customer can not possibly hurt Google. Google is big. Google is strong. Loosing one user is as insignificant as taking one pebble out of giant levy.