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September 15, 2008

Good SEO Starts with a Good Product

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There’s this weird myth that seems to circulate around the industry about how things are done. I hear it the most when I’m at conferences chatting with new faces and getting to hear about their business and why they’re at a show like Search Engine Strategies or Search Marketing Expo. I’ll meet someone, introduce myself, and then ask them what they do for a living and what they hope to get from the show. They’ll tell me about their also-ran of a product/service, I’ll give them a deflated “is that all?” look, and then they’ll chuckle and say, “that’s why we’re here. To help it get attention and to catch on.”

Hi, the Internet’s marketing community called. They said you’re doing it wrong. SEO isn’t going to make your boring product interesting.

Here, look at this:


Search engine optimization can offer a powerful punch for your business. Obviously being someone who works for an SEO company, I totally get that. I understand that creating a Web site that is SEO’d and therefore structurally sound, usable, and that builds trust is incredibly important. It can help take your earning-nothing Web site and make it a serious player in your industry. But it can only do that if you deserve it. If your product or service is worth the attention. I’ve mentioned Bruce’s pig/eagle saying numerous times, but I think it holds true (and frankly, I like it). As our fearless leader says, it’s not the job of SEO to put wings on a pig; it’s the job of SEO to genetically reengineer the pig into an eagle.

In less animal-related words, that means whomever you hire to do your search engine optimization, it is not their job to get your crap site to rank. It’s their job to show you how to fix your Web site so that you deserve your rankings. It may be their job to explain to you how to get there, but it’s not their job to do it for you. It’s your site. It’s your responsibility to make it something. Your SEO can then help get it the attention it deserves.

I think a lot of sites underestimate how much easier it would be to rank if they actually deserved to rank. Often you’ll hear site owners complaining about how unfair Google is and how it’s not right that they’ve been banished to page four of the SERP. And then you’ll go and take a look at their site and you’ll get it. You’ll know exactly why they rank where they do. They rank there because they deserve to rank there. If you’re trying to put wings on a pig and call it a resource…welcome to Google’s toilet. Stay awhile.

Search engine optimization isn’t the first step to achieving high rankings. Having a good product is. Offering something that is better than your competition and serves a purpose to the community is the most important part of achieving rankings. When you offer something of value, that’s when the links come in naturally. It’s when word of mouth does your marketing for you. It’s when people are linking to your content on social media networks because it’s actually interesting and engaging, not because you hire a company to push your stuff. Before you go and hire a search engine optimization company, make sure you have something worth getting to rank. Because if you don’t, you’re just wasting your money, money that would be better invested in actually improving your product.

Step one to a successful SEO campaign is this: Have a product worth selling or a service worth paying for. Otherwise, why would you ever rank?





5 responses to “Good SEO Starts with a Good Product”

  1. Donovan Roddy writes:

    I haven’t commented here in awhile but this post is great, how much more real can you get!

  2. Online Advertising India writes:

    How true!
    a product/service which is not up to the mark or which isn’t needed by the people will obviously not be highly searched.
    marketing for such products is not only difficult but also a waste of time and money.
    Improving the quality of the product/service definitely reduces the advertising costs by a huge amount.

  3. Jaamit writes:

    If you’re trying to put wings on a pig and call it a resource…welcome to Google’s toilet. Stay awhile.

    LMAO!
    I completely agree, in fact it should be pretty obvious but its amazing how many clients don’t see it this way and think of SEO as some kind of magic wand.

    The challenge is, what do you do with a client with a boring product (apart from pretending you’ve just seen something behind them and running away when they turn around)? That’s where really advanced SEO comes in, thinking creatively about creating content in their niche that is interesting enough to deserve that Page 1 ranking…

  4. Scott Clark writes:

    This is along the lines of my “Stop waiting for SEO Heroes and Make Great Stuff” post from Feb.
    http://www.sitecreations.com/blog/2008/02/stop-waiting-for-seo-heroes-and-make-great-stuff.html
    …We in the SEO/SEM profession strive to affect outcomes of consumer search behavior. Some of us do it very scientifically. The web is a path of low resistance between seller and buyers and offers higher ROI than other tactics. Still, it’s not a spectator sport for clients. Without high quality products or services, users just leave, and all SEO work was for nothing…

  5. skyhook writes:

    This post is absolutely bang on. Without a solid product there’s no hope that SEO can help. A lot of people need to read up on these facts.



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