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:
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.
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.
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