SEO, Love & Baseball


[claps] Let’s play a game! I want you to tell me what the most important part of the SEO process is. Ready? I’ll even give you three options.

The most important part of your SEO process is:

  1. The SEO firm that you hire.
  2. The links that you get.
  3. The amount of keyword-rich content that you have on the page.

Please record your answer. Then click the More link. See it? It’s right there below. Okay, click it.


Regardless of your answer, you were wrong. The real answer is that it’s the client who is the most important part of any SEO project. The client is who determines whether a project fails, flourishes or if it ever even gets off the ground. They are the superheroes. We just supply the cape (yeah, yeah, I know. No capes).

We’re lucky in that we have very good clients. And so they “get” that. However, I think many don’t, which is why it often takes a village to raise an effective SEO campaign.

It kills me that the average client doesn’t understand the power that they hold in any given project or how important they are. It kills me because if I had that much power…I’d want to know! That kind of power is meant to be reveled in. And enjoyed. And definitely taken advantage of.

SEO is not like ordering office supplies. You can’t simply tell your SEO that you’d like one social media campaign, a handful of link strategies and a content piece or two and then sit back and expect your vendor to MacGyver you some search rankings. SEO isn’t Staples. As Rae Twitter ranted earlier, it’s actually a lot more like a sports team.

As your SEO firm, we are your coach. Your hot, willing-to-go-the-distance, ready-to-fight-for-you, coach. However, you own the team. You know it best and we rely on you for some pretty important information. You’re smarter than we are.

  • You know how many pages players you have, their strengths and weaknesses.
  • You know if players are using paid links illegal substances to “enhance” their performance.
  • You know what plays you’ve run in the past and whether they’ve failed or succeeded.
  • You know how far your team deserves to go.
  • You know your competition.
  • You know the game.
  • You’re invested in your team more than anyone else.

When we’re first getting acquainted with your site and we ask you specific questions, do be forthcoming. We’re on your side. Be honest about where you are, what you can realistically do, what hoops we’re going to have to jump through *together*, and where you want your site to end up. The more you tell us, the more we can help. The information we need to make you great is already in your head. So give it to us, the good and the bad.

As your coach, we want you to make the championships and we’re going to do everything in our power to get you there. However, all we can do is arrange the roster, script the plays and craft you a road map to the finals. It’s up to you to trust us enough to implement it and follow through. The power to be great is with you. Because that’s where winners and great rankings are made – in the follow through and the implementation.  You either trust your coach or you don’t. If you don’t…then you need to find your Terry Francona.  Otherwise, you’ll never make it to the big game.

Your Comments

  • Todd Mintz

    …and the coach frequently takes the blame when the team doesn’t perform even though the coach doesn’t play for the team :.)

  • Jon Livingston

    Excellent article Lisa. I couldn’t agree with you more. From my experience very few players make the pros. Most want to hang out around the field, maybe get some autographs, and be spectators. After a few innings and a couple of hot dogs they leave the game to beat the traffic because it’s too much of an inconvenience.

  • Michael D

    Ohh, you gave me an idea to make a video wearing a cape, the search is on!

  • Tim Staines

    What do you do with “Owners” who are more concerned with their team’s branding then they are with basic SEO modifications like Title Tags skills like free throws and content that includes the keywords layups they want to rank for that will win them the game? And I’m talking WNBA or D-League attendance here, NOT the huge crowds of the NBA.

  • Yawn Webmaster!

    What a great post!

    The fact of the matter is that ONLY THE CLIENT can manage Social Media strategies, because the ROI metric doesn’t have any value in Social Media. Yet, it’s exactly this metric that’s being farmed out to clients. You can’t manage “emotion” via a third party, and that’s what social media is, “emotion”. What we also know about emotion is that it has a memory, so don’t pi** it off.

    “We’ll build for you a campaign of 12,000 followers, and manage your facebook homepage and get you a branded channel on Youtube”.

    Blah blah blah blah.

    Doesn’t mean diddly. Hey reading client, you’ve got people but no history of how these relationships were formed. You probably don’t even have a written archive of “Tweets” so who knows what you said in 5 years time as society has evolved and your business might have moved on.

    SO, my advice and message to big companies is don’t farm this stuff out to agencies. Get consultancy and bring the operation in-doors where you can manage it as part of your overall communications strategy, with all the relevant checks and vettings processes you find across your more traditional forms of outward bound communications.

    This isn’t a one-size fits all because there are stories of massive success with Social Media, but the consistent thread that runs across them, is that the people managing the campaigns were a) savvy on social media, and b) managing it themselves.

    Happy networking.

  • Lisa Barone

    Todd: Aw, here, have a cookie. [splits hers n half] :)

    Jon: Very apt analogy. :)

    Tim: All you can do is educate. And then educated some more. But at some point, if they’re not getting it then they need to go out and find another coach. If they don’t want to follow your plays and don’t trust your authority, then why have they hired you? As Rae tweeted, you can take someone else to the playoffs.

    Yawn: Excellent advice. And, were you actually on my side for once? :p

  • Steve Gorney

    There is a need that is not being filled. Small to medium sized businesses that are tip toeing up to social media and blogging. They know that they should be involved. They hear the drumbeat. They have no idea where to go and are afraid of what it might cost to engage. They have a “dead to serps” business website that they paid for. They are getting bombarded with SEO Expert phone calls and marketing.

    That is why we do what we do. We will provide traffic to a blog and ultimately to various trackable points on their business website. We all know that it is about conversion. Only ROI matters. But if you don’t provide opportunity quickly, then there will be no conversion or ROI. While we give advice and direction about conversion, that is not our core business model. We refer other firms for that. And we put many many clients in the clean-up spot with the bases juiced.