Sometimes the biggest challenge we face as SEOs is actually getting a project off the ground and gaining internal buy in. Sadly, not everyone "gets" SEO or why it can be important for a business. Luckily, working in sales over the years has taught me that sometimes the best way to get someone excited about something is to compare it to something they love. This isn't always the easiest thing to accomplish but with a little creative thinking, it can be done.
So to celebrate the start of the 2011 baseball season, and because as an American in London I very rarely get to talk about the game, I'd like to share with you some key points where baseball and SEO are very comparable. To our British readers, please bear with me on this one, and I promise to brush up on my British-ness and put together a future cricket/football/rugby version to share.
SEOs analyse everything. It's the core way of keeping track of how a site is preforming. More importantly, it helps you understand where your site is going. I think it's safe to say that if you aren't set up with some sort of analytics package then you're probably doing it wrong. Baseball is no different. In fact, statistics in baseball date back to the end of the 19th Century and were painstakingly kept by hand until they moved to computers in the 60's.
So what does this mean to your boss/your dad/your mother-in-law, the baseball fan? Ask them how you can determine if one batter is better than the next if they both appear to be equal. Much like SEO, there are number of factors that (forgive the pun) come into play. Unless you are set up to monitor performance through analytics, then you're swinging in the dark.
Image Credit: BaseballAnalytics.org
Money Isn't Everything
Don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating being cheap here, but just because you throw loads of cash at something doesn't mean you automatically deserve to win. It can sometimes give you an edge, but a strong strategy and well-executed game plan will put you at the front just as easily and for a lot less money.
So to further to baseball analogy, here is a list of Major League Baseball teams by payroll from the 2010 season. You'll find quite a large disparity between the top team, New York Yankees, and the bottom team, Pittsburgh Pirates, kind of like the difference between an established brand and a young start-up. Just remember that it was No. 27 on that list who played in the World Series last year, and the Chicago Cubs (no. 3 on the list) haven't won since 1908 despite spending three times as much.
Strategy - it works. Which leads nicely to my next point....
Just because you hit a home run in the first inning doesn't mean the game is over. So you've produced a great strategy, your site is ranking at the top of the SERPs, you're the hottest start-up in Silicon Valley/Alley/Roundabout. Surely its all over, right? I'd like to introduce you to the Milwaukee Brewers. They did something that hasn't been seen in the Majors since 1969: they hit back-to-back home runs to start the first game of the season this year and then went on to lose the game in the last inning. Remember, SEO and baseball are marathons, not sprints. Your competitors won't give up, so why would you?
Image Credit: flickr
Cheaters Never Prosper
I'll stay away from the "hats" discussion as I think Rand's recent post sums it up better than I ever could. The point is, the risk is never worth it. Take a look at Barry Bonds. He is arguably the greatest hitter to ever play Major League Baseball, and now his name is synonymous with steroid abuse and he is loathed by almost every baseball fan. Don't let your brand be the next Barry Bonds.
So there you have it, talking about SEO to a baseball fan. I feel strongly that you can help someone understand just about anything if you can find a way to relate it to them. The teachers that you remember as a kid did this, and that's what made them so good.
Let me know if you think I missed anything, or if there is something you love you think works better!