It’s a good time of year for stories, and who doesn’t love the old one about the tortoise and the hare? Which started me wondering about how these two creatures would have handled the issues of online marketing, content and SEO.
No doubt the hare would have seen it as a breathless dash for getting to the top of page one of search engine results pages, as quickly as possible – high volumes of organic search traffic at all costs!
Along the way the hare would have met some characters offering short-cuts to success – not always totally ‘legit’ but there’s a lot at stake. So pumped full of keywords, the hare makes all of the early running.
But this couldn’t last. Google, the race organisers, got wise to the widespread abuse of keywords and introduced rules to control their use. The hare had to spend time in detox cleansing his system of the dangerous concentrations of keywords that he’d accumulated.
‘Wanna buy some back-links?’
Then along came the new performance-enhancing drug – back-links. ’These new drugs mean you’ll just get faster and faster; you don’t need to put in any effort and you can pick ‘em up almost anywhere’, said the dealers. So the hare handed over his money and gulped down the new drug.
Bad news, Google’s drug testing got better. Links you’d worked hard to get were fine but those you’d bought on the black or grey market were definitely bad, and could be detected. Another long and expensive stay in rehab to get those poisonous links out of the system.
And what did the tortoise do all this time?
The tortoise realised that the competition was a marathon, not a sprint. The tortoise took the time to do all the right preparations. The tortoise also realised that in rushing you only had a fleeting contact with the spectators. Going slower meant they had time to have a good look and work out whether they liked him. The tortoise could have a chat on the way round, building relationships and making friends.
The tortoise was also wise and told people useful and helpful things. Having a large shell that could be seen from all directions meant he could display all sorts of valuable facts and views for everyone to read. Spectators got out their smartphones and shared this knowledge with their friends on Twitter. Eventually everyone knew the tortoise and everyone wanted him to win.
Nobody told the hare it was a popularity contest and not just another race.
But, of course, the tortoise didn’t win. The race doesn’t have an end – that’s the biggest thing that the hare missed. But the tortoise enjoys the regular exercise and people still love what he does, so everyone’s happy.
Where the hare went wrong, and where so many businesses go wrong, was to focus inwardly and to chase the wrong goal. Nurturing relationships through top-quality content (the tortoise approach) is the route to a loyal following and long-term success with content and SEO.
It also makes you much less vulnerable to future changes in the way search engines operate. You have your own following and your own routes to market that don’t depend on Google’s rules.
And what happened to the hare? After a period recovering from exhaustion he’s off to try his luck on the PPC circuit; it costs a lot to play but he’s been told the results are easier to fix. I wonder.
Richard Hussey, Copywriter, blogger and content specialist
If you want to know more about using content to build long-term business success, call me on 01823 674167 or use the ‘Contact’ tab.