It’s that time again. Google’s made a big change, and based on the conversations I’ve had with clients and colleagues and the endless stream of notes from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, everyone is scrambling to understand the new Google Places/Plus integration. In the agency world, there are two types of responses that are happening.
The first, by agency strategists and tacticians, is the scramble to figure out the changes, the optimizing factors, what’s been saved, what’s been cut, and how it all fits together. Lots of conversations are happening here at 15miles – we’ve put our propeller hats on and are hip deep analyzing the observations, starting tweaks and tests, and in general, figuring it all out. It’s the nature of our business – and to be honest, what makes our business fun. The rules change all the time, and figuring out how to work with them keeps all of us fresh and on our toes. But it’s a process, and it takes time.
But there’s another reaction that’s happening as well. Business Development teams across the agency world are girding their speed dials up right now. Their message? “My agency already has this figured out.” “My agency can fix this problem for you right now.” “If you come with us, you’ll be ahead of the curve, but you have to come right now.” It’s tempting, but there are a few things to remember:
1) Today is Thursday, May 31, 2012, and every agency is on equal footing. No one knew about this weeks ago. No one has an “in” at Google who tipped them off. And if they did, there would be no way to act on it before today, because even if someone knew about the change, they have no idea of the black box algorithm changes and integration pieces (i.e. social) that have yet to actually reveal themselves. If they did, they would have access to a lot more information and would be capitalizing on knowing Larry and Sergey’s secret herbs and spices. And they wouldn’t be calling you because the really nice tropical isles don’t have great phone coverage.
2) Today, tomorrow and going forward, 15miles will be deeply enmeshed in the minutae of local search – as always. We will be doing what we do best – figuring out all the tiny moving pieces that dictate positioning and visibility, as well as the potential interaction points where our clients can engage with their customers. There are hundreds of other agencies that have no concept or real interest in the local space - they will be trying to get someone who understands Local on the phone. And all of the BD reps will be calling each others clients telling them that they’re miles ahead of the curve, which brings me to…
3) That guy on the phone telling you how his service already is prepped for the change? Yeah, he’s a Salesguy – he’s there to create doubt, push you, and make a sale. His concern is not about whether he really has the answers to optimization schema changes (which, by the way, he doesn’t, because there hasn’t been enough time for discovery and testing). His concern is with landing another sale, and the promises he may make to you today are ones he simply cannot back up. By all means, make sure that your agency has outlined an agenda of what it wants to learn about this change and has a plan in place to do so, but do not fall for someone promising overnight solutions to an ongoing process.
If you get a call today telling you so-and-so agency is already ranking higher based on their foreknowledge, just remember there are no easy shortcuts.