A Simple, Non Offensive SEO Analogy To Share With Clients.

Earlier this week Dan Deceuster wrote a post on SEOmoz regarding a SEO analogy that at best received mix reviews.   Instead of hanging him out to dry like some people thought was necessary I simply offered an alternative analogy that seemed to go over very well with SEOmoz members.  So far it has received 15+ ‘thumbs up’ and I took that as a great sign to build off of it and create a blog post sharing it with the world.

How SEO Is Related To Planting a Tree

I was taken back by some of the responses that were left on Dan’s post.  Many people implied that his ‘buying a house’ analogy was offensive to realtors or even to clients who don’t understand what SEO is.  Last time I checked, analogies are created to get across a message or concept in any way that a ‘common’ person will understand.  If your client doesn’t understand SEO and is unwilling to listen to a ‘simplified’ analogy then take it as a clear sign of a client you don’t really want to work with.


Planting The Seeds

The first step to growing a tree involves digging up dirt and placing a couple seeds into the ground.  In SEO this is the equivalent of mapping out a websites site structure and the ‘on-page’ optimization.  Just like growing a tree, if you mess up at this level it is EXTREMELY difficult to build a website that can achieve successful rankings.   Things to keep in consideration at this point is setting your website goals, determine website technology, site structure and even how you will effectively write your title tags.


Fertilizer & Water

There are very few plants or trees that sustain life without proper fertilization and water.  In regards to your website and its SEO the fertilizer is content and water the links.   When you visit a store and look at their selection of fertilizers you probably see a wide range of prices with each of the products they offer.  Very rarely is the cheap option the best choice.  You typically ‘get what you pay for’.  The same thing applies to your SEO campaign.  Just because you can pay someone over seas $5.00 to write you a 400 word article doesn’t mean it will be effective.   Bad fertilizer can be detrimental to the growth of your tree just as bad content can be detrimental to your websites growth.  Invest time, money, or both into developing top notch content that will help grow your website over time and naturally build links.

Would you consider watering your newly planted tree with water you got from a swamp? No, then consider passing on the ‘deals’ for 5000 directory links for $19.99.  Just like water, links are the lifeline of a good SEO campaign.  Acquiring ethical, high valued links that will last the test of time have proven time and time again to gain top search results.  Now something else to keep in consideration is the rate in which you build links to your website.  If you took a garden hose, turned the water on and just let it sit under the tree for a week straight you run the risk of not only flooding but possibly killing the tree.  The same analogy can be made with SEO.  You want to acquire links to your site over time.  I’m not a believer in their being a cap to how many links you can build per day, month, or year but consistency is key.   Avoid flooding your website with links early on, it may kill your websites search rankings.

If you take away anything from this part of the analogy remember this.  Crappy fertilizer & water or crappy content & links will result in a crappy tree or crappy website.


Routine Maintenance and Time Will Eventually Bear Fruit.

Trees don’t grow over night, nor are ranking achieved in the search engines.  Set up your website correctly and over time build links and add valuable content.  If you continue to maintain the website over time your rankings will continue to rise.  If you try to cut corners or force your ‘tree’ to grow quicker then whats ‘natural’ then you run the risk of bearing bad fruit.  Bad fruit ruins all the effort and time you put into growing a tree.  Take your time, do it right the first time, and enjoy the results that are going to come over time.

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Nick LeRoy

I'm a husband, father to three, obsessed Vikings fan and SEO Manager at Ovative/group.. Learn more about me here and consider signing up for the weekly #SEOForLunch newsletter to stay up to date with SEO best practices and industry news.

3 thoughts on “A Simple, Non Offensive SEO Analogy To Share With Clients.

  1. Excellent analogy and good advice Nick!

    1. Thanks Tony!

  2. Makes sense. I’ve found it to be very important to have analogies at the ready for SEO, its hard for the un(seo)educated to get a grasp on why they have to pay to be ranked in SERPS. This will be another one I can use.Thanks!

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