I went to a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) meeting on behalf of my employer last week. SEM isn’t one of our strong points, so the prospect of learning something from a local SEM event was quite welcome.

The event was held by SEMPDX and featured some local SEM professionals who talked about optimizing your business content for mobile and for local search.

Not my favorite PDX event ever, but I did walk away with a few things to think about.

Google may want a steady stream of reviews.

In its battle to thwart off awkward black-hatted SEO practices, there are plenty of assumptions going around that Google will begin to favor sentiment values (reviews, comments, etc.) over straight-up linkage sooner or later.

This makes sense. I’d want to be in the know of a super-popular solution or well-reviewed product rather than look at a site that cheated its way to the top of the results page.

If steady reviews are the case, as content wranglers, it could be time to rework the way we receive reviews for products and services. There’s always asking for them, but that’s not exactly scalable in the long run. We could be shy and avoid the problem, but yeah… that’s a terrible idea.

There’s so much to learn from our users. They’re the reason why we get the drive to plan and produce great things. Shoot, understanding and responding to them is a reason why most of us even have the jobs we have. Much respect, you know?

I personally believe that the nimbler the business, the easier it will be to implement content that emphasizes client reviews. This is all hypothetical for now, but I’m more than willing to try this out.

Perhaps it's a better, faster, stronger follow-up.

You know what? Nix the traditional follow-up sales call or letter.

Maybe it’s a fantastically crafted welcome package, and in the case of subscription-type products, some kind of outdo/see you later-type deal. It could be like buying a car, where you get all those fancy manuals and such. Except, it’s just regarding the service you’ve purchased.

And that’s fine. Hopefully the fancy package inspires the client or customer that they’ve made the right purchase. It could also inform them of what to expect or look out for when using your product or service. If the cards are played right, it might request that they let us know more about their experience and perhaps leave a review if happy.

Of course, we’ll treat this little piece of offline-to-online content as it should be. We’ll print a ton of leave it in a box somewhere.

Just kidding. We’ll give it the chance to grow, gathering info nutrients from our users as they tell us all about our service, the intro package, and when they (hopefully) leave reviews. Let’s measure it… say… once a quarter for now. Or, if there are major changes to our services.

All that in a nice little package. I’ll give it a shot. We’re nimble enough. You want to give it a try, too?

Feel free to correct me on my SEO and SEM assumptions.