We were talking about one guy specifically. This person is very, very concerned with the statistics on his website. So concerned that he doesn't bother to think past them even though it's been pointed out to him that he also needs to think about word of mouth.
But since you can't quantify that, he doesn't want to hear about it. He can't put that on a chart and study it, so he doesn't think it's relevant.
But picture this scenario... A bride goes to google and puts in "wedding photographer." (I'll pick on the photographers for a minute.) Let's say "Mr. Clicky Photos" comes up first. Top of the SEO listings, woo hoo!
So she goes to their website, and sees that it looks good. She then goes to a couple of review sites and doesn't see anything to worry about. So she calls and asks them about their rates, etc.
The person who answers the phone is pleasant, and she sets up an appointment to talk to them. The appointment goes well and everything seems fine with the rates etc.
So she goes home and calls her friend to tell them about her meeting. Her friend says "Oh my GOD, don't hire them! They did Susie's wedding, and the photographer was so rude! And Betty said that her friend used them too, and they didn't like their proofs!"
So guess who isn't going to get hired? Yep, the top-of-the-SEO pile photographer.
Regardless of the experience up to the point of having a signature on a contract, bad word of mouth can destroy your chances of collecting the deposit. You can't focus on the internet so much that you forget about the real world.
My wedding association hosts an "ask the brides" night once a year. The consistent answer from the brides about what is the biggest factor when it comes to making hiring decisions is "word of mouth."
I rank at the top of the google results, but I know that brides don't just use google rankings to hire their vendors.
I have brides tell me that they heard multiple vendors and previous clients tell them that I did a great job. That's better for business than SEO rankings, even if you can't put it on a chart.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com