Thoughts From A (Search Engine Marketing) Jedi-In-Training

By Blaine Anderson | May 3, 2013
More Articles by Blaine

As a search engine marketer in training, I’m learning a lot every day. The most important things I have learned have not been technical skills, though, but these three basic principles: a bad SEM strategy can hold a business back, a good SEM strategy can help a business succeed, and a great SEM strategy cannot save a business from its flaws.

Believe it or not, Star Wars has actually helped me understand these three principles, and since tomorrow is May 4th (also known to some as Star Wars Day), I’m going to use a few classic Star Wars references to explain what I mean.

"Yes, Lord Vader, we are searching for the rebels now..."

“Yes, Lord Vader, we are searching for the rebels now…”

A Bad SEM Strategy Can Hold a Business Back

What if the Rebel Alliance had a website? And everything the Empire needed to know about them was just a Google search away? That would not have boded well for their cause. Well, unlike the Rebel Alliance, you want to be just a Google search away! Your website is a crucial part of accomplishing your business’ goals, but if it can’t be found, it’s holding you back.

Before search engines can put your website in their search results, they have to know what your website is about. The main method they use to figure this out is reading your website’s text. If search engines don’t have anything to read on your site, then there is a chance it might not rank well in results, and searchers will have a hard time finding it. Your customers, whether current or potential, are very important to you! Don’t make them hire a guy like Boba Fett just to find your site.


A Good SEM Strategy Can Help a Business Succeed

The world and the people in it are constantly changing. Situations change. Change is a part of life. Sometimes these changes happen gradually, but other times they happen suddenly. For example, the Rebel Alliance was not planning for the Empire to come barreling down the front door of their secret base on Hoth. Despite this surprise, they responded well and were able to evacuate the base and escape the Empire. The ability to identify and respond to changes is crucial to the success of your SEM strategy. A good strategy is one that can adapt to changes in the way your target market behaves, or to technological advances that change the way they search for things, or even to changes in regulations that effect how you advertise. No matter how big or small, drastic or gradual a change may be, no change should be ignored entirely.


A Good SEM Strategy Cannot Save a Business

What would have happened if the Rebel Alliance had no plans for what to do after they overthrew the Empire? That would have been pretty disappointing, right? All that effort to free the galaxy from the Empire’s tyranny would have been wasted. The same concept applies to Search Engine Marketing. You can work relentlessly to get #1 rankings in natural search for all of your web pages, or you can adjust your PPC campaigns so they consistently have that #1 average position, but at the end of the day, do you have what it takes to turn that searcher into a customer? If the content of your website is confusing or disappointing, then all of those number one rankings, site visits, and ad clicks won’t save you from the fact that your content is driving people away, or your product isn’t even worth buying. Each new visitor will be added to the ever-growing list of people that won’t be returning to your site. On the other hand, if the content of your website is compelling enough to make people want to be your customer, and your product actually fulfills some need that they have, then you’ve struck gold.


What do you think? Do you agree with me? Or do you think I’m practicing some “hokey religion?” Feel free to find me on Twitter @BlaineAAnderson and let me know!

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