Yes, you really can learn SEO from your spouse. If you're married, you know something about SEO that you might not be putting to use. Think about how you landed your mate. When you do, you'll be learning something about how to do search marketing the right way.

The other day, I wrote a newsletter entitled, "Search Marketing Is Like Dating," where I explained how what you know about dating gives you the right attitude for search marketing. Some folks commented that it's more like marriage than dating and asked me to expand the analogy, so here ya go.


The mistake people make is to treat SEO as though it's all about getting the first date, by doing anything to attract Google. Instead, you need to think about a relationship, just as you did to win your spouse's heart. So, rather than chasing popular keywords and algorithm changes, think about the steps you took to find your mate:

  • Put yourself out there. You didn't find your future spouse by sitting home on Saturday night. You went out and you socialized. Likewise, you must make sure your Web site has interesting pages and that Google can index them.
  • Use your network to meet the right people. Some of you met your spouses through dumb luck, but many of you were introduced by someone you knew. Your network tells a lot about you and the people you meet. SEO has its own network, too--the pages that are linked to your pages are the way your pages get introduced to search engines and to customers. If you create pages that others care about, those pages will develop the network that gets them the attention they deserve.
  • Look your best. When you finally get out on that date, yes, you want to look your best, but being with the right person is more important than how you look. Similarly, optimizing your pages to be their most attractive to Google is important, but doing so for the right keywords makes all the difference.

Stop thinking about search as a first date--it's a long-term relationship with Google and the other search engines. Even more important, it's a relationship with the searchers who become your customers. Don't look for flashy tactics that get you a first look. Instead, concentrate on what will work in the long run. That's what will make SEO something that drives business instead of just temporary attention.

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January 6, 2010

Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.


What a great analogy! It's perfect - building a relationship with the search engines and therefore with the searchers. More and more it's all about relationship building, not just work.

SEO can be a little overwhelming for a lot of people so putting it into terms that are easily understood is great. Until, of course, you meet the person that is on their 4th marriage...!

I'm sure, with create relation with search engine we will be success as Internet marketing. I love the illustration that compare Search Marketing with Dating. Is true.

Great article. I have an additional one: Don't let a fight or crisis discourage you to do better in the future. It wouldn't be all perfect!

And don't give up too easily.

"When I first met him, I thought he was a dork. But he hung around and I got to know him better and he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and helping in the right way, and the relationship grew".

No, I did not stalk my future wife, but we did have to slowly get to know each other. It was NOT love at first sight.


What a brilliant comparison - wait till I tell my husband:). You certainly made me look at it with a completely different perspective - think long-term.


Great article and interesting take on it. For sure it is a long term relationship and i am always surprised at how quickly people give up. With UK divorce rates at 50% maybe our culture does not inspire/encourage a large number of people to put the effort in to any type of relationship whether it SEO or Marriage!!!

So... what you're saying is that we should find those that have been successful in online dating (building a long relationship) and convert them to online marketers?

Nice analogy, I liked it.

Points 1 and 2 are pretty much on the mark.

On point 3, I'd add that you better understand your date and make sure you deliver what it is that you have to offer that they need.

Good add, @Robert. To me, the key to success is working on a relationship with the search engine and more importantly, with your customer. It's the short-term, tricky, spammy approaches that give SEO a bad name (and rightly so) but also take far more effort and intelligence to pull off than most of us are up for.

Agree with you Mike, we should treat SEO as long term goal. Learning SEO is like building relationhip to Google.

Very amusing analogy, but very accurate. Personally one of the most important aspects of a succesful marriage is the giving and taking, for example if I spend a night out with mates I should expect my wife to be able to spend some time with her friends and thus me look after the children etc.
With Google what you take is the exposure, the rankings, the traffic etc but you need to make sacrifices. You can't expect to achieve all these things without giving something back i.e. great content, good copy, engaging commentary, interactive content etc.
Marriage is a two way process and so is our affair with Google.

Thanks, Eddy. Glad you liked it. I find myself more and more trying to find ways to explain the difference between the spammy flavor of the month, I can outwit the algorithm approach, and what us normal people need to do. Thanks for the positive feedback.

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Search Engine Guide > Mike Moran > Learn SEO from Your Spouse