Standing Out isn’t in the How-To, but the Want-To
I recall sitting at a meeting a few years back. It was a one-on-one conversation in regards to an online service we were providing for a major website. In this conversation that occurred over coffee cups and cans of Slice, I went on a rant about how the site was no longer fun and how we were only doing the same things over and over. He sat there across from me, arms-crossed with a stare toward the corner of the room just silently listening. I could see from the form of his forehead chasing the corner of the room with an aimless stare that he was labeling my insight useless. I shook my head, sitting up on the table and staring at the afternoon sun began it’s descent and said, “Why are people even on the site anyway?” Of course, looking around the office, the pay we received, and the fact that our product was noticeable and recognized not to mention a reliable service tailored for it’s demographic, and we were awesome with SEO services, the answer was present for us. But was it?
I told him the writing on the site was sufficient in terms of content, but the writing we were promoting, pushing, and politicing between the ranks were garbage. I felt the writers served a purpose in providing “expert” opinions, but the opinions were so predictable. I could click on the daily post of the day and already know what I’m going to see, think, feel and react before the page even loaded on my browser. And maybe I was burned out from it all and maybe the issue was me. I wanted to look him in the eye and tell him, “Why did the internet become boring?” I was a lost soul with my focus shifting and wasting toward the Facebook news feeds watching other’s lives pass me by status-by-status. And amidst the frustration came the observation I made: “These people who frequent the site, check in everyday only do so out of interest. Dude, the internet owes us nothing.” I asked him, why do people log-in and participate? Why do people pay for additional services? Why is there recurring traffic? Why do they write us with concerns ranging from the legitimate to the downright annoying? And why do they choose us over the competition? Advertising only tells people what to do, and the people either listen or they don’t. In the end visitors and valued customers only act in free will. And the people were on the site for one reason: it was fun. The rest of the conversation didn’t go well. He told me I was making no sense. And I was relegated back into doing the same tasks and saying the same things over and over again.
The internet is what you make it. It’s expanded upon the way we exist and operate. Whether you call it fun or not is irrelevant. Just remember that the worst thing you can do is take what you do online so seriously that you cannot see changes when they need to happen. If you do the same thing over and over, which was just about the same thing everyone else was doing before you, you’re going to get the same reaction as everyone elseif you’re lucky. And believe me the reaction is going to stand out less and less and less. When it comes to things like search engine marketing and seo services in general, originality is the greatest means of optimization. Granted keyword analytics, Google traffic analysis, and uncovering search-term competitiveness on a word-by-word basis can do wonders for you. But if you have nothing new to offer, your service is going to get old fast.
As a writer, I go by this rule of thumb: if it’s work for me to write it, it’s going to be even more work for those who read it. Case in point if you one day take a look at all your content and a voice in your head asks "That’s it?" Chances are a lot of people are going to ask the same thing. If you see something of yours that makes you want to hit the back button out of confusion, failure to provide a clear message, or because the site just seems boring. The back button on the browser is going to see alot more action than anything on your site.
Re-inventing The Wheel Isn’t Neccessary, But it Almost Always Helps. Sometimes it can be fun, even.
Why did Rolling Stone name Jimi Hendrix the best guitarist of all time? Was it the album sales? Eric Clapton’s appreciation for him? The big hair and undistinguishable charcoal blues-beratone roaring through the riffs? While all that certainly contributes, his legacy can also be attributed by his devil-may-care composition style that unleashed chords guitarists and guitar teachers at the time considered “unfit” for guitar play, through the disgusted faces made by the conservative Americans of the time seeing him shred the national anthem at Woodstock, and that sense of fashion that to this day lacks definition. Why did he cover an ordinary Bob Dylan acoustic-and-harmonica song and make it one of his best songs, “All Along The Watchtower”? Was it someone in the music industry telling him it would get a few spins at the clubs? Did his search engine optimization consultant do some market research on search terms and keywords and decide that doing so would up his page rank? No.
He only wanted to show people what the guitar could be. Just as Jim Morrison wanted to show what wordplay and poetic lyricism could mean to music and counter-culture in general. The innovators of rock and all great music didn’t establish themselves on industry standards of the norm of what was breaking norms, rather they did what they loved to do and made themselves a part of it by making it theirs.
When it comes to search engine marketing and SEO services, the focus shouldn’t be on what the site or service is, but rather what it could be. The best way to promote anything isn’t through just keyword analysis, market research, backlink traffic and demographic appeal. The best promotions don’t make explanations. They make promises.
Months pass and so did wrestling legend and 1980’s pop icon Macho Man Randy Savage. I spent that weekend watching a Best Of DVD that WWE had released the year previous. And while there were some epic encounters against the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair, and Sting, the one that stood out the most to be was his very first match. He could’ve copied and pasted himself on the canvas based on what worked before him. While it would’ve worked in playing his part and servicing the show, it wouldn’t have stood out. Winning or losing didn’t matter. He was debuting before the Madison Square Garden crowd, one of the toughest crowds to deal with besides being Santa Claus or an injured-Michael Irvin at an Eagles game (I know our SEO Company in Philadelphia friends aren’t going to like me saying that, but whatever, it’s not my fault your extremely talented team is suffering from a losing record in a division full of underachieving teams), his goal was to get hated as quicky and loudly as possible from the moment his leg enter the ring through the middle rope to the moment he jumped off the top rope with an elbow. And it worked to perfection. What he sold to that crowd through his balance of arrogance and cowardice, his purple-gaudy robe with matching headband, and the three indistinguishable stars with the title “MACHO MAN” across the rear of his tights was a product perfected in both package and purpose. He didn’t sell them anything, instead it was the crowd buying into it. The force was strong in this one.
The Macho Man became just as much a part of the 80’s as Care Bears, Flux Capacitors and Member’s Only jackets. From his raspy-voice that could snap a slim jim at a second’s notice. Not with what he said or through any special stunts or gimmicks a lot of people swear by. He achieved greatness through the absolute-100% feeling of justification he brought through every action he took. Every elbow off the top rope and every over-the-top action committed he did with pride.
With the shifting of methods and algorithms affecting today’s search engine marketingtactics, pages that are just there to be there with duplicate content for the sake of providing back links are not only uninteresting, but also unbecoming with Google rankings. In fact, you may accomplish more with a 404 message.
You can manipulate the system to keep doing the same methods but duplicate content is about as dull as replacing the lead singer of your awesome and amazing 80’s rock band with Gary Cherone and committing the sin of calling it Van Halen, or that “Chinese Democracy” album with a band that tried to pass as Guns and Roses though Axel Rose kicked out everyone from the November-Rain-Sweet-Child-Of-Mine-Welcoming-to-the-Jungle glory days. It can be as depressing as replacing your favorite television character and passing the show off with the same name like watching The Three Stooges with Shemp instead of Curly, or any Pink Panther cartoon that features the Panther talking, watching The Dukes of Hazzard with Coy and Vance instead of Luke and Bo, those awkward Saved By The Bellepisodes where Kelly and Jessie got replaced with a motorcycle chick named Tori,those even worse Saved By The Bell episodes where the cast went to college, or the episodes ofThe X-Files with the boring villain from Terminator 2 replacing David Duchovny.
The audience can see and smell it from almost a mile away. And they’ll scoff at anything blatantly-derived attempting to pass itself as original and unique. And Google is beginning to take notice itself. There is no difference between the channel change button on a remote and the back button on the browser. You’ll find your business go the same direction that Welcome Back Kotter and Grease 2 without John Travolta.
At a certain point, you have to set aside industry standards. In terms of search engine marketing just as important as knowing what they want, you have to know what you want. And if your definition bores you, your product is only going to get boring. An SEO company and SEO services in general can work wonders in directing views and sharpening your message toward better accessibility, but once they’re in your audience you only have a few seconds or so to deliver and engage the customer toward your business. A great internet site doesn’t just fulfill a service, trend on twitter once in a while or manipulate black hat search engine marketing tactics to get on top. It may take them long to get on top, but when they do they stay there. Not for showing the internet who they are and what they do, but by showing who they can be.
The best page rank is the one within.