The Myth of Search Engine Optimization
And how to REALLY get on the First Page of Google —
by Jeffrey Dobkin
It was a dark night, as most are.
On the 12th of January, my internet connection on the phone said to meet him at the Apollo Diner, a greezy spoon in the Vietnamese section of the Italian neighborhood in the French quarter. “Sit at the table closest to the bathroom in the back.” he said flatly. I could only suspect… he had a bladder problem.
I followed his instructions taking the table closest to the unkempt brown stained mahogany doors marked “His” “Her’s” and “Unsure,” of which I was a bit unsure myself. Which is unusual, as I am unusually sure about myself; most of the time, to be sure. But this time, I wasn’t so sure.
He said on the phone to bring “Three Large,” and he would get me onto the first page of Google. Before I could ask what and how large, he disconnected and left me speaking into a dial tone. It was like being married again, but having less to clean up — especially after a double-bucket night of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Or KFC as they like to be called now, since “fried” stuff has such a bad image. Yes, it’s much healthier now that it’s called KFC.
I’ll be Frank with you, although the rest of my friends call me Jeff. Not everyone can be on the first page of Google. Or the second, third or fourth pages either. And if you make it to the fifth page, well… who cares. No one searches to the fifth page anymore — those days are gone… quit living in the past. The Internet, it turns out, is the home of the Short Attention-Span Theater. No one reaches the fifth page on a search. They type in a new search term and search again.
So all the thousands of SEO articles you’ve read? Yep, just so much blah blah….
And to all the hundreds of thousands of people and firms trying for the first pages of the search engines: Bah, Humbug: did you really believe in those myths — and that the firm you hired could get you there? Except for the first dozen firms who actually placed, you’ve wasted your time and money. You could have sent that money to me and it would have been better spent. Well, better for me anyhow.
But wait, there’s more…
Now that you know the myth about SEO, and that SEO doesn’t really matter all that much, what does matter? Well, the fact that my secretary has the softest blond hair and pale blue eyes seems to matter. She reminds me of my wife. In fact every time I get a little too close to her she reminds me of my wife. But here’s what does matter in online marketing, what you can do to be effective, and how to actually get on the first page of Google.
So, when SEO doesn’t matter, what matters most:
PPC. Pay Per Click. Advertising at it’s best. Taking over the number one slot from brightly colored packaging at the grocery store, and the number two slot of the yellow pages as advertising delivered at the most appropriate moment.
1. What matters is a wise selection of keywords. This brings focused, targeted traffic to the specific pages of your reader’s interest. Your ads appear to those interested parties who are ready to buy. Well, in theory anyhow.
2. Compelling ads = a good number of quality inquiries.
The better the ad, the better the response, and for the best written ads: a more focused the audience. The best ads = the maximum number of inquiries from the highest quality of inquirers.
3. Good testing. Real time online testing is fast and easy. The ability to test in real time is what makes web marketing so efficient. In traditional mailings we wait for the mail to be delivered, opened, filled out — then wait for the response to dribble in over the coming weeks. The Internet? Test in hours, even test in minutes. Rapid testing yields to a faster ramp-up to higher quality ads, placements, inquiries and conversion rates.
Don’t forget: Split testing, optimization tools, bid management, keyword ranking, geo targeting, day parting, copy testing, PPC optimization and reporting.
Like so much ga ga, these tests are for the big guys. I guess we’d all do this if we had money to burn, of if we could hire some of those geeky guys that we made fun of in high school. Yea, they’re getting us back, now - aren’t they? Like the Native Americans. We bought Manhattan for 24 bucks, and now they own every casino in America. They’re paying us back, too… aren’t they. 25 dollar tables on a Monday night. Where’s the love in that?
4. Great landing pages. The more exciting your site, the more likely visitors will stay.
5. Sticky web sites. The more time people stay on your site, the more likely they will become a customer. Your customer.
6. The best offers. Give visitors exposure to your good, better and best offers. Driving people deeper into your site = greater conversion.
7. Drive phone calls. Call me old fashioned, but I like all the above as a way to drive visitors, customers and prospects to call you. Unless your website closes everyone, every time - I’d offer a big phone number on every page. Then YOU close customers.
Hauh! Phone calls! Remember them. It’s the old marketing part of me that just won’t let go. Like the free love of the 60’s, the music from the 70’s, drinking and driving - some things you just never grow out of.
With live customer contact you can get a real vision of what customers like, what they want, what they like about you, your site, your products, your company. Find out if there’s a problem with ordering: colors, products, delivery. You can find out why they left your site without placing an order last time. And you can show them a real side of great customer service. Just ask Verizon or Comcast. OK, maybe those weren’t such good examples.
It was getting late at the Apollo Diner when a thin, tallish dark-haired, fair-skinned blondish fat man carrying a small brown bag under his arm approached me while I sat next to the bathrooms. “Hey,” he said, his eyes darting around the room. “Anybody using that?” nodding towards the doors. “Which one?” I answered without looking up. He was unsure so I pointed to that one, saying it was free for $2.00 donation, when he blurted-out under his breath, “Did you bring the three large?”
I always thought I’d be cool under pressure, but I froze, staring down at my half empty cup of coffee. Or was it half full?
It was Markus Allen. You know, the original, lives in Lancaster PA, geeky “I wrote my whole website in HTML code,” Internet guru who runs his whole site from just a Mac Mini affixed to a 23-inch Apple monitor. “Did you bring it?” he reinforced. “Yea.” I said, still not knowing what he was referring to.
“OK,” he continued. “Here’s how to get on the first page of Google.” He was speaking ever so quietly now as he said “Google” as if they were listening, as if they were everywhere. I leaned over and listened intently.
“Find a forum that gets indexed by Google every 15 minutes.
Next, post a subject line with your keyword phrase mixed in with one of these powerful words: Advantage, Fast, Gain, Guaranteed, Help, How-to, Lose, Solve, These, Truth, Tips, Trust, Amazing, Results.
The truth about direct marketing strategies.
When posting a message, use your keyword phrase twice...
once in the first sentence of your post and in the last sentence of your post.
And here's another important part -- you need other forum members to keep the post alive by replying to the original post, so end your post with a thought-provoking question.
Do you agree with me here?
Ending with a question subconsciously triggers the forum members to reply… and when they reply, your post remains on the main index page -- ultimately picked up by Google's crawlers.”
“You can get to the top page… within the hour,” he looked around and under his breath, almost whispered, “on Google.” “It may only last a day or two, but you’re on the top, the top of the first page…” he said with a smile, his last words began trailing off as he now stared at the front door of the diner.
Just then the diner door burst open and four men in black sweatshirts with the word Google across their chest rushed in and headed directly back towards our table. Markus stared at me with a troubled look on his face as he sprang up in a well rehearsed move and pushed open the door marked “Unsure” and went in, the door slamming behind him.
The men - not 5 seconds later - rushed right past me and into the same room, coming back out almost immediately and without saying a word, and left the diner. A few moments went by and I slowly got up and pushed open the door marked “Unsure.” There was nothing. No other door. No window. And no Markus.
As I stood there shocked, I noticed a tiny strip of paper on the floor the size of a fortune in a fortune cookie, that simply said http://www.marketing-ideas.org/The-Secrets. It was Markus Allen’s site. I slipped it into my pocket and left.
That’s why all the SEO articles you read are just Blah Blah Blah… and don’t mean anything. And that’s how you really get on the first page of… uhh… shhh… Google.
Jeff Dobkin is a speaker (blah blah blah, yip yip yip) and a marketing consultant (marketing plans, pr, market strategy, plan analysis: audits and review, media review) who happens to be an amazing writer (corporate literature, articles, brochures, ads, collateral, annual reports, technical material), specializing in direct-selling print and web (DR Ads, catalogs, TV scripts, web copy) and direct marketing material (letters, direct mail, mailing packages brochures, catalogs, web copy and did I mention post cards?) He’s also pretty darn good at analyzing catalogs, ads and campaigns and direct mail packages. He has written over 250 articles and 5 books on direct marketing. He can be reached at 610-642-1000. Thanks for visiting this site and reading our explicit how-to articles on marketing, direct marketing, PR and copywriting.