I had a lively discussion with a writer and online marketing guy from a local ad agency over beers last night. (Side note: Wednesday is wings night at Sun Up Brewery, the hot wings are tasty and just the right amount of painful, and the Trooper IPA cools the fire with delicious efficiency.) Our conversation was about sneedobb. Not familiar with sneedobb? It’s pretty amazing stuff, but before we get to sneedobb, you’ll need the backstory:
The agency where my buddy works is running a self-promotion campaign which encourages readers to Google one of a selection of bizarre phrases, whereupon a page from the agency’s website shows up as #1 in the search results. It’s a neat trick, and according to my friend, it wows prospective clients: “Hey, look, you guys rank number one in Google!”
Like many an excellent magic trick, this one depends on sleight of hand. Which is great fun if you’re watching a freaky street magician, but it’s meaningless for search marketing. Why? Because there’s no relevance. And in SEO, relevance is the name of the game.
Unless, Of Course, Sneedobb is the Name of Game
The problem is, this SEO trick only works if you tell people what the search term is. And that’s not how search marketing works. That’s how advertising works, yes. Advertising is a push strategy – you push messages at your audience, such as “Drink our koolaid” or “Drive our car” or “Visit our website.”
But search engine optimization is about making sure your audience finds your website when they’re looking for what they want (not what you’ve told them to look for). In other words, the search term has to have relevance for the searcher. SEO is a pull strategy. The voodoo of SEO is in figuring out what your prospective customers might use as a search term when they’re looking for what you’re selling (really the process requires a bunch of research and marketing insights, but voodoo sounds way sexier) .
And I’ll wager you a rabbit that this ad agency’s prospective customers aren’t searching for “pumas have iridescent feathers.” Or any of the nonsense phrases they’re promoting.
And That’s Where Sneedobb Triumphs
You see, anybody can achieve a high search ranking for an irrelevant term like sneedobb. As a test, we’re going to see how long it takes this post to top the search rankings for sneedobb. Of course, to make this trick easy to do, I stacked the deck: As of today, January 28, 2010, there are no search results for sneedobb.
What, you protest? That’s cheating? Exactly. And it doesn’t matter, because nobody over the age of 11 believes that magic is real. Except, apparently, for some of this local ad agency’s prospective clients.
(photo by Hashmil)