Why SEO is Like Running the London Marathon
On Sunday 26th April 2009 I ran the London Marathon. Well, to say I ran is half true, as I ran 14 miles and then hobbled 12 miles, due to some very dodgy and tired calf muscles. Still, I beat Jordan home, who was also hobbling due to a dodgy knee. But what has all this got to do with SEO? Well, during 6 hours and 38 minutes (ok, not a time to boast about but I still got a medal and just beat the sweepers) I had plenty of time to think. Being better at SEO then I am at marathons, thoughts turned to my latest SEO campaign. It was then I started to think about the parallels between SEO and Marathon running. See if you can spot the similarities:
1. Research is important – I knew what time the trains were, where to get off, what route to take. The same with SEO, unless you know the keywords to target, the ones with decent traffic and low competition, then you are probably going to miss the start of the race and may even end up not finishing.
2. SEO is not a sprint – One of the problems on Sunday is that I went too quick at the start. I was foolishly trying to break 5 hours and I just wasn’t fit or lean enough to do that. As a result my body started to complain quite loudly (and painfully). Same with SEO, if someone promises you results within days, then you can expect those results to be short lived. Much better to accept that SEO is like running a marathon and the longer you are in the race, then the better the longer term result will be.
3. Adjust your sails – I didn’t plan to lose one calf muscle and then the next. On both occasions I had to change my race plan and in the end that plan included just gritting my teeth. So it is with SEO. Sometimes your initial strategies won’t work. Sometimes you will need to rest, take a break, do something else. But if you keep an eye on the finishing line, then you will get there, one way or another. Sometimes it is BETTER to slow down, give google Girl a chance to catch up and appreciate your efforts thus far.
4. Determination – As mentioned, sometimes it just takes determination to get there. If one strategy doesn’t work, then try another. If link building isn’t working, then try some forum posting, PR, article marketing, Twitter, social bookmarking…. need I go on? The keyword is determination and that should be the first one on your list in EVERY campaign.
5. Look for inspiration and encouragement – On Sunday, over a million people cheered the runners on. They also gave them sweets, pieces of orange, sandwiches, biscuits. All little things. But enough to keep you going. So it is with SEO. Monitor your targeted keywords. Celebrate when those keywords are at #22. Of course, that position will not get you any business, but it is progress (assuming that it’s moving in the right direction). Even if it’s going the wrong way, you can use that negative news as inspiration to change strategies. What I am saying, is that SEO, like long distance running, can sometimes be a lonely pastime. It’s at times like that when you need to dig deep and look for good news and use that news to propel you forward.
6. The reward is at the end – If you don’t finish the marathon, you don’t get a medal. Instead you get excuses and a despondent feeling. The same with SEO. Unless the complete the task, you can put a lot of effort in for little reward. If you, or your SEO ‘Specialist’, don’t know what they are doing, then you are going to waste a lot of time, effort, money and motivation on a marathon effort, that will ultimately get you no where.
Much better, key in ‘top SEO services’ into google and see where that takes you. You can rest assured that the guys at the top know how to start AND finish a marathon…
#SEO #Running #London #Marathon