Step 1: Go to Google

Step 2: Type in your winery’s name

Example of organic search results at the top of the page

Example of organic search results at the top of the page

The link to your winery’s website SHOULD be at the top of the organic (not paid) search results. (If it’s not, then you have a different problem…but that’s not what this is about).

 

If there’s an ad above the link to your site, an ad that you’re not running, then, chances are, someone is using your winery’s name to get people to their site. Which is fine. That’s actually smart Google AdWord Marketing by the person running that ad…and that’s not what this is about, either.

No, what this is about is a trend we’ve been seeing where SEO “experts”, or people who are paid commission to sell your wine by using Google Search Ads, are stealing your organic search results by putting ads above your Google search results using your name as a keyword…thus making people more likely to click THEIR ad, not your organic result.

An example of an ad above your search result.  In this case, Winter's Hill is running its own ad (we know as they are a client of ours).

An example of an ad above your search result. In this case, Winter’s Hill is running its own ad (not paying someone a commission), but it’s an example of what we’re talking about.

 

Confused as to why this is a problem? I understand. So, let me play it out for you.

Think of Bob. Bob is someone who buys wine from you every once in awhile. He might even be a wine club member.

Bob is feeling the need to buy some of your wine, so he goes to Google and types in your winery’s name into the search bar (because, very rarely do people just go directly to your website).

When he does so, the link he sees at the very, very top is a link created by your SEO expert. Bob, like most people, clicks on the link at the top.

And because Bob clicked that link, your SEO expert has “captured” Bob. For the next 30 days, his purchases are commissionable to THEM.

So, if Bob purchases now, you are going to owe money to your SEO expert (often upwards of 30%)…despite the fact that Bob was going to buy from you anyway. He went to Google to buy from you. Your “expert” just used your own name to pad their own commission.

And, because most “experts” track people in for 30 days, they will get commission on all of Bob’s purchases for the next 30 days.

Have a great sale coming up? Did you send out a GREAT newsletter promoting it? If Bob buys, your expert is getting a commission of that sale.

Bad news, right?

So, are SEO experts all bad? Absolutely not. A lot of them do great work. And here’s how you make sure you’re signed up with a good one: Tell them commission from searches on your winery’s name, or variations of your winery’s name, is off limits. (Also, if your’e paying them on a non-commission basis, tell them to exclude searches for your name from their performance results).

Great SEO experts will be thrilled to have you and will bring your commissions from searches like “Pinot Noir” or “Oregon Wine”.

Bad SEO experts will say “no”. Let them walk away.