Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tiger Woods and good SEO

Used with permission (Keith Allison), CC

Tiger Woods is the best thing to ever happen to SEO. No, really, it's true.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process by which you and marketers and broadcasters choose words that are going to get the most attention from readers, viewers, and listeners. Generally, this is measured in terms of number of web hits, or visits to your page or article, or clicks on your ad. Secondarily, it is measured by how close to the top you are when someone searches for a phrase. Google "fast food." Quick, what restaurant are you going to see first? Sure enough, it's McDonald's. But Google Burger and Burger King gets top billing, with In-N-Out and Red Robin listed long before McDonald's ever even has a chance.

What does that mean? It means if you work for McDonald's PR and you want to compete with Burger King, you start using the word BURGER. A LOT!! Everywhere. All over the place, until people find YOU when they Google on burger. And it means that you use the phrase fast food. A LOT. So that people continue associating it with you, because they're already finding you that way. It's a popularity contest of words, and you wanna win. (So bad you can taste it!)

Now here's the beef. Tiger Woods didn't win the Masters last week. Some guy (not Tiger Woods) named Mickelson did, someone who didn't have a major news event in recent memory (like Tiger Woods did) of a car accident involving his upset wife and multiple infidelities (like Tiger Woods had), who probably didn't go to some sexual addiction clinic (like Tiger Woods did), and whose wife and mother are both undergoing treatment for... Well, that's not important at the moment. The point is that if you're not a golf fan, all you know is that it wasn't Tiger Woods. It was some not-Tiger-Woods guy.

What does this have to do with SEO?

Everything. Tiger Woods is popular because everyone's Googling his name, and everyone's Googling Tiger Woods' name because he's popular. You want to get your stuff noticed? You pepper it generously with terminology that will (Tiger Woods!) get searched on.

Here's a comparison of the terms Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, and Iraq in search engines for the 30 days preceding this post. Notice what people care about?

The more times you Tiger Woods mention it, the more attention your stuff will get.

Yes, there Tiger Woods probably is a law of diminishing returns. But I have high expectations that this post will go viral.

I'll let you know, Tiger. We're not out of the Woods yet.