From across the room, you see...THE ONE. Wow. Your heart goes pit-a-pat at the sight. Immediately, your thoughts start racing. You are ready to do anything, be anything to be attractive to that one person you are fixated on. Is that the right approach? You probably know that it's not the right approach in dating, but did you know that it fails in search marketing, too?

You know it doesn't work with dating because if you are literally willing to do anything, that includes projecting a completely false image of who you are. It's one thing to put your best foot forward, but it's quite another to twist yourself into a pretzel to attract someone. When you do, two possibilities exist, both bad:

  • You get rejected. Despite your best efforts to attract THE ONE, nothing works. You tried everything and you are still without your dream date.
  • You succeed. Now, I know this seems like a good thing, but in the long run, it isn't, because if you've morphed yourself to be attractive, your dream date is not actually attracted to you. The attraction is to this made-up person that you've become, and eventually the truth will out, and you'll get rejected.

I'm not telling you this because I've suddenly fancied myself writing advice to the lovelorn. No, all these things you know about dating apply to search marketing, too, but most people don't realize it.

When people start thinking about search marketing, Google is THE ONE and they sometimes seem ready to try just about anything to succeed. They focus on taking advice from just about anyone who seems to know what to do, and often that advice is bad.

They start by focusing on the most popular keywords. They plaster them onto their pages and wait for that great traffic to come. And one of two things happen, both of which are bad. They might get no traffic at all. Or they might get traffic, but from all the wrong people.

They also spend a lot of time trying to outfox Google--chasing the algorithm, it's called. Whatever some expert says that Google wants, that's what they do. No matter that the algorithm changes so frequently that only a true expert can keep up. They are willing to do whatever it takes to attract Google.

In dating, I hope someone gave you the advice to be yourself because you want to attract the right kind of attention from the right people. It's worthless to act like someone you're not because you'll attract someone interested in some other kind of person. Worse, the people who would be attracted to the real you never figure it out.

Search marketing is no different. It's fine to pay attention to search optimization. It's a good idea to do keyword research and use those words on your pages, but only the ones that really match what you sell. If you are willing to do anything to get search traffic, you just end up looking desperate, and you attract all the wrong elements, just like in dating. And the people really looking for you won't find you--and they are the ones who buy.


September 13, 2012





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

Mike's previous appearances include ClickZ Live, RKG Summit, Ticket Summit, Webdagene, the CiTE conference, and the Forrester Marketing Conference.

Mike also founded and writes for the Biznology newsletter and blog, is the co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc., and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.






Comments(9)

I agree with you, in order to succeed you have to be originaL, especially in the field or romance and search marketing with all these algorithm updates.

As you said 'you want to attract the right kind of attention from the right people' that will come again and again to see if your website has something valuable and original to offer, and if not then they will go away. That's life am i right?

" If you are willing to do anything to get search traffic, you just end up looking desperate, and you attract all the wrong elements, just like in dating."

I think that's a great analogy. Of course you want to drive more traffic to your site with SEO, but what you really want is more of the RIGHT traffic. I'd take 10 well-qualified visitors over 100 random people any day.

Great analogy, SEO is like dating. :D

Getting the right links is vital, getting the wrong links is disastrous. Especially in 2012. Stick to tried and trusted link sources and avoid the spammy ones at all costs and you can't go wrong. Link building is still #1 when it comes to getting a site ranked with social signals at a close second. I've written an article on safe link building practices in 2012 if you would be interested? http://seoinfobox.com/effective-link-building-in-2012/

You have a great analogy here between dating and search engine marketing. I too feel that too much emphasis is given on attracting Google. I make a habit of just being myself and if Google finds me, great. But I don't jump through hoops and play someone else's game. I started my own business so I could get away from that and play the game how I want.

It is right to express the truth about yourself. Don't pretend yourself what you are not. Misguiding is a dangerous thing for your brand or business. Ya, it is also applicable in the Search Engine Optimization. Don't claim or offer services or results which you may not provide. Know your company and service limitations and talk according to this.

Please don't put your all attention and go after only one Search Engine. Keep in mind that there are other guys in the field also. Be versatile in your approach.

But there is a minor difference between dating and social media. In dating your partner is ready to do what you want may be some time. In social media every one do not want to see your post.

Excellent post! Nothing beats being authentic in real life and online. The disconnect happens all the time in SEO when you're obsessed with traffic and algorithm updates at the expense of focusing on the right audience.

Not sure I see that, @Venture. Your experience might be different, but not everyone wanted to date me. One of my favorite things about marriage is not having to date. :-)

I think that's a great analogy. Of course you want to drive more traffic to your site with SEO, but what you really want is more of the RIGHT traffic. I'd take 10 well-qualified visitors over 100 random people any day.

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Search Engine Guide > Mike Moran > Search Marketing Is Like Dating