Gail Gardner and her Map to Small Business Growth: Interview Part I
While Gail Gardner is not particularly famous in mainstream circles, in the small business and marketing blog world, she’s made a name for herself as one of the most influential bloggers out there. From her house somewhere in Texas, she’s managed to create a network of bloggers who listen to her every word, and in turn follow her posts as if they are gospel. What is even stranger is that no one has actually met her, and she’s never been to a single convention or spoken at a single event. Her entire influence has been built online, one post after another, often making major waves with what she says in the marketing community. I’ve spoken to her a few times, and even been featured in her blog (See Pace Lattin: Tax Nexus) and have seen the power of her followers. Currently Her Blog, GrowMap, is one of the top Technorati Small Business Blogs (ranked #48).
I sat down (virtually, that is) with her this past week and had a discussion both over Skype and email. What came out of that interview was one of the most interesting interviews I've ever had with anyone — and I've been doing this for over 12 years. She revealed stuff about Google and about marketing and blog promotions that many people would charge to share in a several hour seminar. It's worth reading and rereading several times.
So Gail, what exactly made you want to create the GrowMap site?
Since the mid-1990s I've used Web sites to organize my research and share what I learn. Blogging platforms make that much faster to do. I started GrowMap when I stopped managing AdWords accounts full time and started researching methods beyond organic or paid search for generating traffic for small businesses.
What can you tell us about the so-called Google Panda Update, when it comes to creating content? Are content farms out of the mix completely? I don't buy the characterization of Panda as a content farm update. Many direct competitors for Google products such as Google Shopping and Google Places were heavily penalized. That is a serious problem for small businesses (both online and traditional brick and mortar) AND consumers because Google is severely limiting our choices.
In my post about how the Farmer Update Slapping Google Competitors I pointed out that Google Shopping suggests only a handful of big brand stores while the sites they are making disappear are our path to small businesses. In that post I show an example of one search for business card holders where Google offers FIVE stores (which can be expanded to twenty) while sites such as TheFind offer 4,401 stores with 138,507 products.Continued on the next page