Winning at SEO – Loosing at the Point-of-Sale

Recently our family moved in to a home suffering from some delayed maintenance. For some, poorly closing windows and doors, dripping faucets, mismatched paint, and appliances needing minor parts replaced would be seen as significant annoyances. For me they are a series of projects that can be started and completed in a single afternoon without the need for Gantt charts and kick-off meetings. Since this is a rarity in my life, there’s a reasonable amount of satisfaction in the tasks.

One of the items I needed to replace was a garbage disposal splash guard, that rubber thingy in your sink drain that usually stops your garbage disposal from spitting up food scraps when you throw the switch. The one in our inherited sink is a Thermador brand that has deteriorated to the point of uselessness, neither stopping expectorated food nor muffling, in the slightest, the gnashing of metal blades. Having tried the generic splash guard offerings from the local hardware to no avail, I turned my attention to Google. Much like my former occupations as a creative director and production manager prevent me from looking at a menu or brochure without assessing its design and printing, I am similarly unable to look at personal search results without taking in the whole of the SERP.

What I saw was a huge win for RepairClinic.com, which dominates the top three positions, leaving the brand owner, Thermador, with nothing but paid results above the fold. Someone on the Repair Clinic SEO team needs to recognized for some solid work because despite the lack of content they are pulling down some great positions.

At the same time, the content team is squandering those wins. Which brings me to the point I’d like to make. When a searcher is typing in a branded search, and you somehow manage to win a place at the search table, be darned sure when they get to your target pages you provide the language and marks to align with visitor expectations and assure them that you are offering the genuine article or a guaranteed equivalent. How Repair Clinic is loosing visitors is by using a manufacturer number instead of a brand name and by failing to state explicitly by logo or text the manufacturer and model the splash guard fits. This would further their SEO goals, but more importantly do a better job of meeting the user’s needs and expectations.

There is no limit to the knock-offs being made today, especially in a category like replacement parts. Similarly there’s no limit to the frustration a consumer feels waiting for an item to arrive only to find out they have received a one-size fits all product that does not fit. Failing to reinforce the user’s intent is a sure way to send them back to the SERP for alternate results for a sale you rightfully should have earned.