How would King Solomon Approach SEO Today?

HitTail Best Practices Apr 11, 2007

What does the search on your name produce? And how does that relate to the story of King Solomon’s Wisdom? And how does that relate to why HitTail is awesome for the SEO industry, although not everyone sees it that way?

This and more, I will answer in this post.

Everyone performs vanity searches on one’s own name, occasionally. And once in awhile, a Website owner or marketer will use a person’s name in a piece of content either to get that person’s attention, or to try to intercept search traffic on that person’s name. When the publisher is a search engine optimizer, it’s fair to say that they’re trying to own a little piece of YOUR reputation. So beware! As HitTail rockets in popularity, and the mainstream marketing world realizes that TypePad, WordPress, SquareSpace and Blogger are their ticket to professional-level optimization, merely by adding HitTail, some of the SEOs come out of the woodwork seeing this as a threat, instead of the groundswell of opportunity for the SEO industry that it is.

Let me explain.

HitTail takes advantage of the fact that blogging software is so enormously tweaked-out optimized out of the box, that mainstream marketing can get into the SEO game much more easily than ages past. The intimidation is removed, and you are less reliant on overpriced consultants to get into the game. Some blogging software packages are free, and HitTail is free. It’s a powerful combo.

BUT all this is allowing is mainstream marketing to get into the game. It doesn’t make them experts. And some rumors are going around that tiny tweaks to these blogging software configurations can result in as much as a 20% gain in traffic.

While no one walks away from 20% more traffic, isn’t it true that SEO’s are quite capable of producing 1000% (or more) gains in traffic by those now-industry-standard practices of making sites have search friendly URLs and a sitemap, thereby taking previously invisible sites out of the invisible web? 1000% gains have been reduced to 20% gains? And the work was changing 5 lines of code in a blogging configuration? And people are bragging?

The real story here is that SEO’ing a TypePad site could ONLY result in a 20% gain in traffic.

But that doesn’t change the fact that most sites out there are deployed on platforms that are not search optimized, and there is plenty of business to go around there, fixing it.

And most marketing people are scared into paralysis at the thought of blogging and joining the online discussion, so there is plenty of business to go around there, setup, training, and blogging on their behalf until they get with the program.

And even when they are blogging on their own, there are still those template tweaks that get you incrementally more traffic, and all the social media manipulation where you attempt to get “homepage’d” by the likes of Digg and Netscape. So, there’s plenty of business there.

And once someone lands on your site, there’s many things that can go wrong, preventing the conversion. This is the world of multivariate testing and A/B switch testing. And there’s plenty of business there.

So, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why a certain brand of SEO gets so nervous about the idea of just any marketing Joe being able to carry out a natural search marketing campaign the same way they could an AdWords campaign these days, using the right PPC and bid management tools. The tools have gotten so good, that even busy media buyers could manage a couple of campaigns on the side. HitTail is exactly that, but on the organic search side.

And as opposed to seeing this as a threat, today’s SEO’s (and most do) should see this as a validation of their premise, and a vindication of arguments they’ve been making for years. Google gives it away for free to those who get it so they can charge those who don’t.

So what if a larger set of people are being sorted into the group that get it? So what if any marketing Jane or Joe can now get into the natural search game? You weren’t going to win these people as $5K/mo. clients anyway. They’re just getting their feet wet in the shallow end of the pool. And they have real marketing jobs, with diverse responsibilities, including events, tradeshows, brochures, telemarketing, business development, video production, and appeasing the company officers. They’re NOT going to be the ones configuring the blogging software or carrying out a URL rewrite project in Apache.

So don’t worry.

This is where I invoke a biblical story of King Solomon. Two women come before King Solomon with a baby, disputing who the real mother is. Solomon says to resolve the dispute, simply cut the baby in two, giving each woman half, at which time the real mother steps forward and says “NO!” Let the other woman have the baby, at which the King knows who the real mother is.

I tell this story of Solomon to anyone who accuses HitTail of oversimplifying the SEO challenges in this day and age. King Solomon wasn’t stupid. He knew exactly what he was doing. And in this case, I’m blowing the lid of of one of SEO’s most closely guarded secrets so that the mainstream marketing community can get in on the game.

And this doesn’t threaten REAL SEO’s.

That’s right.

I’m saying that the less-skilled SEO’s think I’m saying “cut the baby”. But I’m not. I’m upping the ante and increasing the size of the pot.

It’s not a zero sum game.

In popularizing HitTail and long tail keyword targeting through blogging software, I am mainstreaming the entire field of SEO, which no matter how much business you think you’re getting today, is nothing compared to the approximately $5 – $10 billion slice of the pie that’s going mostly to PPC campaigns and AdWords (keyword media buying vs. banner buying).

And it’s going to be A LOT larger in the coming years. SEO will either grow proportionately, shrink or grow as an overall percentage. Giving SEO a larger piece of the pie will require a re-calibration, of which HitTail plays a fundamential role.

This re-calibration will have a much larger portion of marketing budgets going to SEO than does currently today. But to make such a re-calibration occur, many people need to be aware of WHAT SEO IS, and the benefit that natural search optimization can provide. It’s groundswell. We need PULL so SEOs can spend less time pushing.

And there’s no surer way to make mainstream groundswell than letting the mainstream get a taste of natural search optimization themselves.

And even then, we have to deal with the concept of website optimization overshadowing search engine optimization.

  1. Marcia

    I’m curious, do you see people from google ip’s reading your blog?

  2. Mike Levin

    Hi Marcia. Since we’re a PR company, we keep our noses entirely clean and stay above reproach. So even if we wanted to entertain ourselves watching our HitTail data for known GooglePlex IP ranges, we’re just going to let it play out however it does… naturally. We want to be everybody’s best friend. Even Google’s.

  3. seo company

    GREAT LIST! … there were a few here I’d never even heard of! I’m flattered to be in such amazing company.

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