3 Things I Learned About Business On My Summer Vacation

…and how it relates to your business and your SEO.

As I write this, I’m on vacation in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, CA.  While this won’t be 100% organic SEO as is usually the topic, I’ll try my best to tie some of my vacation experiences to the SEO world, and to business in general.

With that said, here are 3 things I learned from my vacation that kinda sorta relate to business and SEO:

1.  If you’re planning a vacation, don’t over-schedule your workload and remember that “real” life will often get in the way of your best laid plans.

I knew I was going on vacation for quite awhile before I actually went, so why did I schedule reports to be done during the week I’d be gone? That left me having to either get them done before I left, or tell the clients I needed more time. I chose a combination of both, doing some in advance, and having others have to be late. While I could have worked super hard the week before I left for vacation, I was also in the midst of some important family issues, which made it difficult to concentrate on work.

2.  Customer service is the most important thing you can offer as a business, online or off.

We got a flat tire on our Hertz rental car the 2nd day we were in CA. No biggie as we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere and were still near our hotel.  We figured we’d call their roadside assistance and they’d speedily come on down and fix things up for us. Yet when called, they said we had to exchange cars at an airport (which we were no longer near) and if we went and patched the tire ourselves, we wouldn’t be reimbursed for any expenses. What the what?

In our poorer days, we always used the lesser known rental car agencies. I assumed using a big company like Hertz would provide us with all sorts of extra customer service; apparently not. In the future, I’ll be going back to some of the smaller companies that I used to rent from, as well as telling everyone I know (in person, on Twitter, and in articles) to do the same. It’s what today’s social media geeks do when they’re not happy with their customer service experiences.

While it could be difficult to prove, it seems to me that a bunch of negative Tweets and negative reviews cannot be good for your SEO. In fact, it’s what keeps online reputation management (ORM) companies very busy. While Google may not directly take social media chatter into account in their ranking algorithms, surely, it has to have an indirect effect. And if it doesn’t at the moment, chances are, it will in the future.

3.  Every industry has its black hat / white hat debates.

During a wine tasting at the excellent Applewood Inn where we stayed, we learned that winemakers have industry debates about making wine using manufactured yeast you buy from a catalog vs. “natural” wine-making using the yeast that grapes already produce on their skins. I heard the story of a wine-maker from the Dutton Estate Winery who uses the natural method as much as possible. He was once at a class on wine-making and they were adamant that you were supposed to use the manufactured yeast rather than attempt the natural methods. Needless to say, he spoke up in protest.

Remind you of a common SEO debate? To me it sounded very familiar to our industry debates regarding the formulaic approach to SEO vs. the holistic approach that I advocate. I imagine hundreds of different industries have their own version as well.

4.  Free breakfast is good.

I’m just sayin’!

I’ll probably have other stories that can somehow be analogized to SEO before the vacation is through, but I should get this article posted before Search Engine Land fires me for it being so late!!

(editors note: I would never fire Jill for being late, but perhaps for not inviting me along wine tasting:)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Channel: SEO


About The Author: is a pioneer in SEO, beginning in the field in the early 1990s and founding High Rankings in 1995. If you enjoy Jill's articles at Search Engine Land, be sure to subscribe to her High Rankings Advisor Search Marketing Newsletter for SEO articles, SEM advice and discounts on industry events and products.

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  • http://www.yourholidaymatters.com yourholidaymatters

    Four good pieces of advice there; the first in particular, as what you’ve described is a very common trap!

    As for your experience with Hertz, I have to say that our use of it for many rentals in Europe has been extraordinarily positive. (No affiliation btw!) However in general, I’d agree that the smaller companies are the way to go for personal care and service, hence the creation of our particular brand within the private vacation rental/B&B sector.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com nickstamoulis

    Hi Jill – Great post and excellent analogies! I like the white hat/black hat debate point, this is so true…every industry does have this to a certain extent. Regarding scheduling reports, you mean you didn’t tell all of your clients that you will be out of town :)

  • http://www.mediawhizsearch.com Marjory

    Free breakfast is good.


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