Are You Giving Google A Reason To Wife Up?


During my last trip home to see my father, he told me he had an important question to ask. As he had just undergone major surgery, my ears perked up wondering what was going to come out of his mouth. Surely, it would be something of great importance. My dad cleared his throat, looked at his only daughter, and then very seriously asked what I was doing to get the guy in my life to “wife up”.

Wait – what?

Yes. My dad, the conservative Italian who threatens male suitors and wants me to move back home, was now using Jersey Shore slang to nudge me toward the altar.

I don’t think either of us will ever be the same.

Maybe it’s all the cold medicine I’ve ingested lately, but I haven’t been able to get that conversation with my dad out of my head. Not for the reasons he’d be interested in, but because I think it does a fairly good job summing up the relationship most site owners have with the entity they’re busy courting – Google.

As business owners, we need to catch Google’s eye. We have to put our goods on the table and show Google what we have to offer a potential customer. Why we’re worthy of committing to. And it’s not easy. If you want Google to ‘wife up’ with your site, you have some work to do.

How should you be doing that?

Understand what Google values: The key to winning’s anyone’s heart is to show them you have the same core goals and values. If you’re someone who values couch time, you may not be a good match for someone who prefers jumping out of airplanes. Google’s core value is to help users find what they’re looking for, as quickly and easily as possible. To court them, you need to show you have the same core value. You need to become obsessed with analyzing customer behavior to learn how to serve the people looking for a business just like you. Show Google you believe in the same thing they do (quickly solving your customers’ needs) and you set yourself apart.

If you don’t know what your customers are after – what they’re searching for, what needs they have, why they’re trying to do on your site – then you’re going to have trouble. You need this knowledge to market to them properly and provide that good user experience. If you’re not sure, you can use a keyword research tool (perhaps Google’s), your own site logs, poll them or even study your competition to find out.

Prove you mean it. With content: Once you uncover their intent, serve it by giving users content that shows you understand. I appreciate that “create good content” is the most overused statement in Internet marketing, but it’s also the most misunderstood. Creating great content does not mean to create A LOT of meaningless, shallow content. It means to become a smaller resource of quality content that is genuinely helpful and will address specific user concerns. That’s how you back up your claim that you care about customers. You can call that approach irresponsible and say it’s impossible to be sexy when you’re talking about toilet fixtures, but all that really means is YOU are not capable of doing it yourself. Suitors are turned off by personal baggage.

Get your references in order: If you’re going after a ring or a rank, you have to prove you’re worthy of someone committing to. That means getting your references in order because people judge you not only based on what you do, but on what other people say you do. On the Web, building references is also known as link building. It’s about earning enough links to show Google that there are other people who vouch for you. And just like in life, it matter who is offering up the reference. Having Danny Sullivan say you have a resource worth reading on SEO is far more valuable than your mom linking to your piece from her blogpsot blog.

Do some stalking: Forget all that nonsense you heard about how stalking is bad. It’s not. It’s helpful. Stalking someone helps you fuel a spark and create common interests. For example, we know a lot about Google that we can use to our advantage. We know that Google is interested in video. Google’s interested in images. And products. And shopping. And news. And maps. And real-time. To make Google interested in us, we need to be interested in some of those things, too. Which of Google’s interests can you use to better market to your customers? You don’t have to be involved in all of them, but the more stuff you can do that works, the better. Maybe that means optimizing your product feed for Google, maybe it means creating a lot of visual content, maybe it means starting a blog, or putting an address on your site so Google Local can snatch it up. Take a look at some of Google’s biggest interests and see which you can hop on.

If I was looking to make Google wife up (and aren’t we all?) those are the four areas I’d start with. What do you think? What are you doing to encourage Google to put a ring on it?  What did I leave out?

Your Comments

  • Seth

    Wow, what a great analogy! Coming from an Italian background myself, I love it!

  • Cindy Lavoie

    OKaaaaaay. The analogy is a bit of a stretch, but you certainly get points for originality! I love your descriptions of what to do in my Google relationship to get Google to “wife up.” My only addition — using your conservative Italian analogy (and I grew up in NJ surrounded by Italians, so I think I don’t stretch too much in saying this…) — is “get introduced to the gang”. It’s the same as your ‘get your references in order’, but sounds less corporate. After all, if you want your boyfriend to commit, you’ve got to get the approval of his buddies, right? Well, for Google to commit, they need to see the ‘votes’ from other authoritative sites, which means get those incoming links.

    Kudos to you for thinking outside the box here, and getting me, your loyal reader, to think with a new twist.

    I’d sure love to hear what your boyfriend thinks of these analogies!

    • Lisa Barone

      Thanks for the comment, Cindy.

      Getting introduced to the gang would be a good one to perhaps talk about social and real-time search, as well. I like it, I like it. :)

  • Christa Watson

    I think you totally bypassed the key element of this story… What was the bf’s reaction to this wife-up convo?? Do tell :)

  • Sabre

    I loled pretty hard at this analogy Lisa. I think it’s awesome and not a stretch at all. I think relationship building is such a huge part of business in general, that it would only make sense for Google to emulate that behavior.

    Also, you have to remember this is the kind of stuff our parents listened to:

    (I still frequently get to hear Louis Prima’s Oh Marie on the reg. *sigh*)

  • Kevin Burke

    Money. Maybe I will just “rent” Google instead of marrying her and pay her. Adwords service. Some are just intererested in the money. Quicker. Less work. And I can sill watch sports and play golf.

    • JadedTLC

      Sure you can just “buy her,” but a. you can’t buy love and b. what kind of quality is that?

      The seedy motel might have bedbugs too.

  • hyderalis

    Wow Lisa after your blog survey you’ve really come up with some good blog post to make me your regular reader. Your last blog was awesome & this one really nailed me.

    Proving Google that we are committed to them is a long term process & one needs to keep patience & do everything what you’ve stated alongwith some rules suggested by them to keep your site healthy & prosperous.

    Just asking whether you’ll update anything about the survey of your blog like how was the response you get? what people want from you?.


  • chiara marsella

    Google’s core value is to help users find what they’re looking for, as quickly and easily as possible“: if everyone worked thinking of this phrase, seo would be nicer as well as useful…..especially in Italy.

  • Ivan Walsh

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m a bit surprised at how little time (some) blogger spend on the Google Webmaster Tools. They’ve updated it recently and it really does help take the mystery out of what pages, keywords, and traffic changes.

    and best of luck on those man hunts.


  • Toby

    interesting analogy but some great content and detail as always in your posts – great read thanks

  • Mike Roberts

    And just like some girlfriends I’ve had… every now and then Google sits you down, says they’ve changed, penalizes you for something you didn’t think was wrong, and then sites past mistakes from weeks or months ago as supporting material. :P

  • Jim Rudnick


    “wife-up” could only be an “americanism” as up here we call it “marriage!” eh!

    I must add that tho to my vocab….and maybe even find the time to watch this Jersey Shore TV show….if I’m ever offline that is!



  • Rosemary ONeill

    The question is, can you court Google on your own or do you have to hire an SEO “matchmaker” to hook you up?

  • Nick LeRoy

    Lisa – Don’t forget not cheating… of course I mean only using content that you created. Imagine how annoyed/hurt someone gets when they are cheated on… that’s why Google released the farmer update right? They don’t like being cheated on either ;)

  • Andrew @ Blogging Guide

    Comprehensive. I’ve really enjoyed the read. Thanks for the share.

  • Mitch Bartlett

    Maybe we should look at Google as the Dad of the person we’re going to marry and the person we want to marry is our reader. We put out stuff for our partner, and then maybe Dad will approve. If you make her cry though, Dad’s getting the shotgun.

  • Karl Walinskas

    Fun post! Love the analogy. Until I read down I thought I’d be the first guy to comment, but alas, more have. I do a lot of web video for clients and I found you through smallbiztrends and traced it back to your blog. Keep up the unique takes.