Oct 222008

Mike Grehan recently wrote a piece on ClickZ that really rang true for me. Mike is a long time player in search marketing, and cuts right to the chase when describing why many clients can’t get their sites to rank highly in search engines:

Your business model is flawed or ill-conceived. And your Web site is garbage.

The ranking problem is just as simple as that in so many cases. It’s not about the code or crawling or server issues. Fact is, you’re probably not being honest with yourself and hoping some technical miracle can help.


This article resonated with me because it’s true in public relations as well. Too often a client will think that PR is some kind of magical process that will immediately make their message concise and attractive to the media. Wrong — you need to be able to simply state your value prop, and the media will not give you a second chance if you can’t. My colleague Marc Hausman likes to tell the story of the prospect who told him that after a lot of thought, they decided they had 19 key messages to promote! Marc said no, you have three at the most.

This article also rang true for me when it talked about “earning” links online:

Ask yourself, “Why would anyone want to link to my site?” Be brutal. Write down as many reasons as you can about why other sites should link to you. If you can’t convince yourself another site would want to link to you, you seriously need to question what your value proposition is and how your site promotes it (or not, as the case may be).

There’s a lot of clever technical stuff you can do to Web pages to make crawling and indexing them easier. But it’s fruitless if you can’t convince yourself that anyone would want to link to them.

I try to practice this myself when writing this blog, and when sharing items via my Twitter stream. Is the content interesting to a broader audience, does it further an existing conversation? Doing this helps me counsel clients (always diplomatically, of course) to do the same and evaluate their content/message/site objectively.

As we say here at Strategic, great work comes from having great clients.

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