SEO In The Fast Lane

The other day I had to spend about an hour driving on the freeway.  This particular drive was pretty entertaining, thanks to a pissed-off young lady in a late-'90s Camaro who clearly had places to go and people to see and was most likely late for both.

Usually I get into the fast lane and set the cruise control at about 70 mph, and away I go. This day I managed to spend my entire drive with the cruise on, not once having to change lanes. This gave me the chance to watch this young lady weaving all over the road cutting people off, jumping at holes in traffic, getting trapped behind SUVs, getting a bit ahead of me and then falling behind me as well. The whole time she looked very angry and was working as hard as she could to get ahead in traffic.

Obviously it made me think of SEO. I'm weird like that. Brace yourself for a cheesy yet apt analogy. If you've already figured out where I'm going with it, you can stop reading now and go back to being productive.

There are two ways of doing SEO. First is to make a plan or a roadmap, so to speak, and stick to it.



  •       Map out a plan for blogging and content.

  •       Marry that plan to your overall marketing calendar.

  •       Determine the Web development schedule.

  •       Give your Web developers  your requests on time.

  •       Have a social media plan.

  •       Have a link-building plan.

    Of course this is the equivalent of getting in one lane, setting the cruise control and getting where you need to go at a reasonable speed while staying in control.

    The second way, of course, is to do SEO like a maniac, by reacting and over-reacting to everything that happens, trying to take advantage of short-lived loopholes and opportunities that look good but are, in reality, blocked by a GEO Metro you didn't see on the other side of the soccer mom's SUV. Additionally, this schizophrenic SEO methodology has massive potential to get you in trouble. The angry girl in the Camaro committed no less than a dozen moving violations while I was watching her. She was really lucky there wasn't a cop around, because there would have been more than one ticket handed out.

    In case you're not following the analogy (yeah, right) the cop is Google and the tickets are penalties...

    At the end of the day, the angry girl ultimately fell far behind me while I made excellent time to my destination. While she was all tensed-up, I had a very pleasant drive listening to one of my favorite rock bands from the '90s (it's Giant, in case you were wondering), and I wrote most of this article in my head as I drove. (I had a whole piece about off-ramps and on-ramps and competitors in there, but I'll spare you).

    One of my most successful long-term clients in a former life always had an annual day-long meeting where we planned out the whole year -- and then stuck to that plan. That Web site is bulletproof today.

  • 10 comments about "SEO In The Fast Lane ".
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    1. John Mccarthy from WebMetro, May 21, 2010 at 11:08 a.m.


      I couldn't agree more with the analogy and story.

      Too often I am asked to produce immediate results without a strategy let alone a plan.

      Sometimes it works but most of the time you end up with volatile results and end up swerving to avoid objects in the road.



      John McCarthy

    2. Frank Reed from Marketing Pilgrim, May 21, 2010 at 11:12 a.m.

      Well said, Todd.

      As everything changes at such a rapid pace the more focused players will win the day.

      Before the time of freeways was the story of the tortoise and the hare. This goes to show that we are not experiencing anything new at all just different circumstances that an ages old axiom plays out in.

    3. Steven Obert from Phoenix Contact, May 21, 2010 at 11:24 a.m.

      as much as I appreciate the analogy of the freeway, you have to understand that what you are doing on the roadway is illegal. As much as you state the woman in the car would have gotten a ticket, so would you. Being in the left lane a) when not passing a vehicle on the right and b) restricting the flow of traffic is illegal and you can be ticketed. You should and are required to always stay to the right except to pass. If you need to pass, you signal first, make your pass on the vehicle, then signal again as you get back into the right lane.
      I think this would have been a better analogy for your article. Maybe we do need to speed up our SEO, but then bring it back down to a cruising speed and check the current results. You may get to the same goal, but one is a lot safer and not illiegal.

    4. Jon-Mikel Bailey from Wood Street, Inc., May 21, 2010 at 11:35 a.m.

      Love this and its very timely considering one of the partners at Wood Street just got rear ended on the highway by a guy who was driving way too fast weaving in and out of traffic and totally not seeing the big picture. Reminds me of a SPAMMER!

    5. Jim Rudnick from CanuckSEO, May 21, 2010 at 1:05 p.m.

      Wow, great analogy Todd and great take on the diff tween both types of SEO practitioners! Will drop by often to read your take on all things SEO too!



    6. Kris Roadruck, May 21, 2010 at 1:25 p.m.

      Fantastic article Todd. I see this sort of thing all the time, both in other SEOs and in certain needy clients who try to react to every change, panicking every time their site moves up or down 1 position. I keep trying to tell people good SEO takes time and consistency. Your analogy is a great way to explain that. I think I will use it next time one of my clients starts to get a little crazy.

    7. David Carlick from Carlick, May 21, 2010 at 3:20 p.m.

      Or, it is possible that 70mph was not fast enough; you were forming a blockade with other drivers, and you had miles of open space in front of you.

    8. Al Carl from Reynolds, May 21, 2010 at 4:09 p.m.

      Todd spot on!

    9. Manjunath D s from Abhaya Media, May 22, 2010 at 10:12 p.m.

      Agree. Consistency is important factor in web site optimization. Many find short cuts only to be invalidated by search engines. If one is looking at long-term, cruise control is the right analogy. Perhaps, short term pain is long term gain.

    10. Andrew Hickey, May 23, 2010 at 6:51 p.m.

      I've been coming to this realization as I left my last SEO gig (with a schizophrenic company featuring schizophrenic campaign strategies) and turn to a new approach to web marketing. May take on why so many SEOs are too busy jumping on every fleeting opportunity is the nature of the medium - the Internet moves fast, and the undisciplined SEO misses the mark continuously trying to keep up.

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