One of Bruce’s maxims just took on a life of its own thanks to Twitter. Former Bruce Clay, Inc. blogger (and forever BCI fave) Lisa Barone wrote:
It’s a succinct and colorful portrait of the aspirations of SEO. In the Internet marketing industry it’s not uncommon to hear of snakeoil salesmen. The saying goes a long way to explain how comprehensive search engine optimization is a holistic approach to improving the server performance, site architecture, on-page code, text and interactive content, Web relationships, online reputation (… I could go on…) of a site.
Claims of easy fixes (All you need are a few keywords!) and overnight ranking schemes (Rank #1 in two weeks!) abound. The illustration of foundational improvement is an important one. And flying pigs and eagles — it’s sticky, a real crowd pleaser.
A few Internet marketers have suggestions for what their proverbial pig/eagle hybrid might look like.
1. Up first, the skeptic:
I think the goals of Internet marketing go further than this. Isn’t this proposal like the first half of the saying — the putting wings on part? Maybe he’s suggesting that it looks like an eagle to search engines. I like to think it looks like an eagle to people too.
2. There’s also the tell-‘em-it’s-an-eagle approach:
There is a lot of value attributed to links and link anchor text, but they should be considered in their SEO hierarchy. Google’s done a lot to decrease the power of spam-like Google bombs, but a link-focused approach to SEO is very popular. Consider the place of links in the larger SEO puzzle.
3. Much more often Internet marketers end up taking a baby-steps approach:
It can be difficult to get a potential client to commit to a campaign to fully optimize a site. A lack of understanding, buy-in or budget leads to SEOs trying to stretch limited resources. At that point, it can be a struggle to do even the most fundamental SEO tasks.
Most search engine optimizers are hoping to make a real difference with their campaigns, in line with Bruce’s original saying. And if that’s not an option due to restrictions or limited resources, sometimes marketers do their best with a pin-the-tail-on-the-pig or a pig in eagle’s clothing.
But I think there’s an exciting goal of SEO highlighted here.
It’s about making a site better from the inside out. Not putting lipstick on the pig, as with bachelor #1. Or dressing the pig in the emperor’s new clothes, like bachelor #2. If all else fails, we can take bachelor #3’s approach and improve the site as much as we can with the resources and knowledge at our disposal. [Ian's approach is something of a Charlotte's Web approach. Not making the site a new creature but polishing up what's there as best you can. --Susan]
If the choice is yours to make, create a site that’s good for search engines and good for users. Because, in the end, that will be what’s good for the health of the business.
Note: All analogies made with love. Thank you, Todd Friesen, Ken Jones and Ian Lurie, for allowing me to make an exaggerated point with your help!