There has been a lot written about Google’s new SearchWiki in relation to SEO. The initial reaction in most of the posts I’ve read is that SearchWiki sucks and it’s going to ruin SEO. Some SEO bloggers have entered into full Chicken Little mode claiming the sky is falling. While the long term effects of SearchWiki can be debated (in fact, you’ll get my take on just that in the next post) I think a lot of people are missing the most immediate implications of Google’s newest “improvement” for their search engine.

By allowing users to edit the results they see in a search engine result page (SERP), Google has effectively given SEOs a proverbial gun to hold up potential clients. While it likely isn’t their intent, the big G has made SEO the most pressing and immediate need of any online business. SEOs, the next time you try to close a potential client, give them a few facts and see how they react.

  1. Users are now able to edit the results they see in the SERPs.
  2. When you thumb up a site listing in SearchWiki, you move that site to the top of any and all searches they might show up for.
  3. Right now, your competitors are ranking well, and having users vote for their site in SearchWiki, which means not only are you not ranking now, but you might never be able to outrank that competitor for any of the terms you share in common.
  4. That pattern is being repeated hundreds, if not thousands of times and will only become more prevalent as use of the SearchWiki feature increases. Every minute you’re not ranking, is a minute you’re losing potential rankings, forever.

Now what kind of horrible salesman do you have to be to NOT close the deal when you have those facts staring the prospect in the face. And you know what? Every one of those 4 points is 100% accurate.

SearchWiki is making first impressions more important than ever before. Once a user votes up a competitor’s site, you just lost the #1 spot (and all the traffic that’s associated with it) for that person forever (or until Google decides they’ve made a mistake with SearchWiki but I don’t see that happening any time soon, again more on this in the next post).

While some in the SEO industry are lamenting SearchWiki as the silver bullet that will kill SEO forever, few have realized that it also just provided SEOs with a HUGE weapon to use in a sales pitch to potential clients. So, you can either piss and moan about how Google’s new toy is going to put you out of business in a few years, or you can use what you’re given to close more deals, gain more clients, deliver more value, and create more long lasting business relationships. Are you going to take action or complain?

The choice is yours.