If you’re looking for search engine optimization tips, you don’t have to dig through forums or read every SEO blog out there.
There are plenty of free SEO tips you can pick up just from paying attention to the world around you. And, trust me, parallels to the SEO world can be found in the weirdest of places.
Here’s a couple of “real-world” situations that taught me or helped drive home valuable SEO lessons.
Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve been out there.
Not to give away my age or anything, but let’s just say texting really wasn’t “a thing” when I was knee deep in the dating pool. And social media? Ha! I don’t know how you some of you deal with it when it comes to the dating scene!
However, the dating world is chock full of life lessons that can help you elsewhere. SEO is, surprisingly enough, one of them.
All of my dating trials and tribulations taught me something that has served me well in the SEO world: Be as natural as possible and you’ll be just fine.
There’s nothing worse than someone trying to be something they aren’t, especially to get something from someone else.
We’ve all come across potential partners who misrepresented themselves, stretched the truth about something in order to make themselves look better than they are or just flat-out lied in order to speed things along and get the results they wanted.
In a world where people can order fake ATM receipts with large imaginary balances on them, all to casually let a dating target “accidentally” discover how ballin’ they are, you really can’t be surprised by anything. (It's an actual thing. Check out the NPR story on it.) And it’s incredibly easy to become jaded.
Well, that’s pretty much how Google and the other search engines feel when online marketers try to game their algorithms and take shortcuts to SEO success.
Don’t be that sleazy guy doing the SEO equivalent of dropping fake receipts or lying about how you’re a race car driver when really you're a valet. Instead, be natural and be yourself.
In SEO terms, that means building up a natural link profile as much as possible and taking your time getting Google to trust you. Like any relationship, the benefits will come when trust is established and the search engines see your site for the SEO gem that is.
There are more than a billion websites out there, and Google has indexed a huge chunk of those. They know what a good, natural site looks like. You can game the system and get short-term results but don’t expect them to last...just like you wouldn't expect a relationship based on false pretenses to last.
Back when I had free time and disposable income, I used to play a lot of poker.
And as awesome as kids are, they turn out to be little black holes from which time and money can’t escape. They’re always going on about needing something: attention, food, clothing, college educations…. the list goes on and on.
But the time I spent at the tables taught me a lot about people, life and business. Many of these lessons ring true for SEO as well, but there is one that has always stuck with me.
Simply put, “Be an eagle.” Let me explain…
Unless you’ve taken the time to watch poker on TV, you may have never heard of a professional poker player named Phil Hellmuth Jr.. Phil is one of the most successful professional players out there.
He won the World Series of Poker when he was only 24, making him the youngest person to do so for more than 20 years. As of 2012, his live poker tournament winnings exceed $17 million. Phil also is known for his brash, outspoken and at times obnoxious behavior, which has earned him the nickname “the Poker Brat.”
His success, knowledge of the game and larger-than-life persona have served him well at the poker tables and in other fields as well. His book, “Play Poker like the Pros,” has sold more than 400,000 copies and is considered one of the best books on the subject for beginners. It’s the first poker book I ever read.
In the book, he describes a system by which he categorizes opposing players in an attempt to better understand what they are capable of and how to best attack them. The different player types are as follows:
- Mouse: The conservative player who is afraid to gamble and only wants to play the best hands.
- Jackal: The loose and wild player who is always raising and whose chip stack will take giant swings.
- Elephant: Likes to call, hates to raise. They never believe you have the best hand and will hardly ever fold.
- Lion: A tough and aggressive player who picks opportune times to bluff and isn’t afraid to mix it up.
- Eagle: A rare player who has studied the game for years and knows exactly when to strike and how to do it.
Eagle players stay out of the ruckus and play when they knows they have an advantage. Like the majestic bird, they soar high above the other animals and the only time you see them is when they are strategically dive-bombing for the kill.
In SEO terms:
- Don’t waste your time getting involved in a dozen projects, endlessly researching or half-assing a campaign, hoping to get lucky.
- Pick your spots by doing thorough and in-depth research (on the niche, keywords, competitors, etc.) and only devote your energy and resources when the situation is optimal for you.
- And when you hone in on that ideal project, attack with the speed and skill of a eagle streaking out of the sky to snap up its latest prey!
Just to be perfectly clear, the drugs I refer to here are the legal, doctor-prescribed kind. Illegal drugs are well… illegal and, of course, I would never advocate breaking any laws.
In high school, I managed a skateboard shop to keep gas in my ride and fast food in my belly. The owner of the shop was a brilliant businesswoman who supported her entire family through the business.
Unfortunately, she didn’t have very good health insurance. She did, however, speak fluent Spanish and we lived only a couple of hours from the California/Mexico border. When she was in need of antibiotics or other drugs, she would take the prescription down to Mexico and pay a fraction of the cost (all completely legal, by the way).
But Mexico can be a tricky place. You have to know what pharmacies are on the up and up and which ones to avoid. Through her connections down there, she knew the right places to take her business to and knew where she would get a quality product.
This is no different than what we see in the SEO world, when it comes to backlinks.
Whether you are buying or building them, you have to do your research on the link source and make sure you’re getting a quality product. If you build links on a site that has been flagged by Google or buy them from the popular “private blog network” of the day, you’ll be in for a nasty surprise down the road.
Think of links like medicine. You can get painkillers from a doctor, a website or some dude’s car trunk in a shady parking lot. Which ones are you going to take with confidence?
Growing up only about three hours from the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, it was not uncommon for my friends and I to spend extended weekends there enjoying, all the town had to offer.
Being an avid football fan, I always enjoyed placing a wager or two on Sunday’s games. It was always a great way to wrap up a fun weekend — sitting around a sports book, enjoying some drinks and rooting for your picks to win.
Now, I was always very analytical about my bets. I considered dozens of factors, did hours of research in advance and whittled the weekend’s games down to the the most promising. There were times that I was so sure a team would win that I would have bet my soul on it.
Well, as the quote goes: “It’s a game played with oblong ball made of leather. Weird stuff is going to happen.”
Sometimes, you can do all the research in the world and things just don’t bounce your way. It happens in life, gambling and, unsurprisingly, SEO.
You might come across the sweetest-looking niche, with great monetization possibilities and the weakest competition and dive right in. But before you can count those stacks of money flowing your way, your campaign fizzles out.
Like anything in life, you prepare the best you can and move forward with the data you have available. Sometimes things break your way, sometimes they don’t. If you’re consistent about your approach and stick with a winning plan, eventually you’ll get the best of it.
When you get dealt a loss you didn’t see coming, you can’t let it sway you or knock you off your path. Dust yourself off and get ready for the next round!
I hope you have enjoyed some of the more entertaining lessons I have learned from life and how they translate into search engine optimization tips.What have you learned from outside of the SEO world that you apply to your marketing campaigns? Let me, and your fellow affiliates, know in the comments!