Imagine you’re back in high school (painful for some I know). You’re parents are going away for the weekend and you want to have a party; a big party. You want as many people as possible to attend. Unfortunately you only have one invitation to hand out, which asks the person receiving it to invite more friends. There are three people you genuinely like and hope will come to your party, but you can only give out the one invitation. The first person is the school’s computer geek, the second is your English teacher, and the third is the head cheerleader. Who gets the invitation?
I’d give it to the cheerleader too. And not because of some teenage fantasy where she only invites the rest of the cheerleading squad. I’d give her the invitation because it leads to the best chance of getting the most people to my party. I also have a hunch she’ll know the right people to make the party a good one.
In many ways the clearly contrived scenario above describes seo and marketing. You have a goal, you have finite resources, and you want to maximize the return on your investment of those resources.
I’ve been guest blogging for Outdoor Blogger Summit the last few weeks and one of the comments on my post about marketing your blog led to this comment about commenting on other blogs as a marketing strategy.
I have a tough time with the whole commenting thing – I say as I comment.
It feels false to me. Almost like people only comment on each others blogs so they can get comments back. That isn’t necessarily true but that’s how it feels.
I want people to want to read my blog, because they want to know what I said today. And I want what I said to compel them to write. I don’t want them to feel like they have to slog through it just so they’ll get a comment in return. Do you see what I mean?
I understand the sentiment and know that many feel similarly about all things related to seo and marketing. I’ve mentioned myself that leaving links inside comments often feels wrong to me, but it’s not wrong by default. Marketing doesn’t have to be sleazy or make you feel that way. It’s about identifying an opportunity and taking advantage of that opportunity. It’s about understanding how things work and maximizing your chances for success. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of an opportunity.
If you have something to say and want to leave a comment on a post there’s nothing wrong with filling in the URL field to turn your name into a link. It’s just another opportunity to bring someone to your site. It doesn’t make your comment any less valid. Hoping that someone will click the link doesn’t make your comment invalid either. As long as you took the time to add something to the discussion there’s nothing wrong with getting something back in return.
You can have the most remarkable blog that ever was, but if you want people to read it you need to make them aware it exists. Most of us have limited resources to spread the word and we need to take advantage of all the opportunities that are in front of us.
I spend time trying to understand how search engines work and what they want to display in their results. I spend time trying to understand how people work and what they’ll respond to as well. I want to understand so I can make better and more informed choices about building websites and creating content for those sites.
You give the invitation to the cheerleader, because she’s the site that can drive more traffic. She’s the optimal combinations of keywords that will bring more people to your party. She’s the one who will impact the results most favorably to you. You weren’t attempting to manipulate the situation by giving her the invitation. You simply understood that giving it to her would give your party the greatest chance of success.