SEM is Like Running Through A Forest

written by
Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I ended up having one of those sit-down discussions with a close member of my family who just happens to be completely oblivious to what I do for a living. Actually, I can pretty much say that about all of my family. I try my best not to confuse them with talks of search engines algorithms, link juice, and paid placement techniques. However, I did my best to explain.

Welcome to the new year. I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season. I sure did. One of my favorite parts about this time of year is being able to get together with friends and family and catch up on each others lives. Well that, and of course all of the food, booze, and gifts that come into play too.

I ended up having one of those sit-down discussions with a close member of my family who just happens to be completely oblivious to what I do for a living. Actually, I can pretty much say that about all of my family. They understand that I drive to work every morning, sit at a desk, operate a computer, and work online with websites, but that's about the extent of it. I try my best not to confuse them with talks of search engines algorithms, link juice, and paid placement techniques. However, in this particular case, I was asked several questions that needed detailed answers. I did my best to explain my position as a search marketer.

During our conversation, we kept coming back to this idea that a website owner could in fact be doing their own search engine marketing... especially those that are budget-conscious. Instead of shooting down this notion that a search marketer is nothing more then an expendable middle-man of sorts, I actually validated it. Hell, it's true.

I explained that my clients could certainly be running their own search marketing campaigns if they had the time, money, and inclination to educate themselves on how to do so. I then followed that with "I could also self-diagnose and treat my own medical needs too, if I had the time, money, and inclination to go to medical school. But, I'd rather just leave it to the professionals". Flick, flick, and flick... the light bulb went off. The analogy worked.

Later that evening while driving home I began to think about this particular conversation and came up with probably the best analogy that I have ever thought of to describe why a search engine marketer is so valuable to a website owner. I was late thinking of it and so it never did make it into my discussion, but maybe you can use it in one of your own.

It goes a little something like this:

Search engine marketing is like running through a forest. Both, while seemingly easy on the surface, can be quite the opposite once you start to consider the tasks associated with each. Now in either case, you could choose to have someone guide you through the process or you could take the task upon yourself. It's your call.

In regards to running through a forest, wouldn't you agree that it is in your best interest to have an experienced and knowledgeable guide with you at all times to explain to you, in great detail, the many dangers that exist? Wouldn't you also agree that having someone tell you when, where, and how to jump or duck as you ran would be better then the alternative... that is falling in holes and hitting your head on low-hanging branches? This kind of foresight is priceless! I guess the alternative is that you could just start running through the forest by yourself and deal with each situation as it arises, but then again you wouldn't really be running now would you?

And that's my point.

When a company invests in a search engine marketer they aren't just paying for someone to submit their website to the search engines and edit a couple of meta-tags. If that is the case then I'd certainly encourage those companies to "optimize" their sites themselves. Instead, companies are employing someone to be at the forefront of their online marketing efforts and, to some extent, share with them year's worth of hands-on experience and industry know-how. Having a search marketer guide you through the many dangers that exist with the search engine marketing process, as well as to tell you when, where, and how to jump or duck is priceless information.

Well, I guess it's not completely priceless. We all have a price, but you get my point.

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