Over the weekend I had the opportunity to talk to some of my friends who are not in the search engine optimization industry, and made a realization as I was explaining how we understand Google  actually works. I found myself quickly relying on an analogy that I think might be useful when talking to perspective clients, so I thought I would share it.

Google Is My “Other Lady”

I came to the realization that the relationship that I have with Google is actually extremely similar to the relationship I have with my wife.

Looking at the way that I interact, communicate and understand what it is that Google is looking for mirrors the way that I find ways to communicate and interact in my romantic relationship. So we can take a stab at understanding Google’s ranking factors, by looking at the factors in our relationships.

Communication is Key

When you are talking to a girl, and hope to begin a relationship you have to let them know about you, who you are, what you do, and what your interests are in life. When you are building a website, you need to also be communicating to Google who you are, what you do, and what interests might bring people to your website. You can’t just be fluff, you have to have content that’s relevant and makes “semantic sense”.

This means that the year 2000 tactics of stuffing pages full of keywords and not actually using real sentences is out. The way you present yourself and dress does say something about you, no it’s not just being shallow. If you’re stuck here are some 9 different ways to research your keyword research niche that can help.

If you like to wear a stained and faded black sabbath t shirt with hopelessly ripped jeans, it sends a message about you. Header tags ( h1, h2, h3 etc) have the same effect, they send a clear signal about your page’s content, so be sure to use them effectively.

Meta-tags: The Pick Up Line

Do you believe in love at first sight…or should I walk by again?

You only have one chance to make a first impression, and being far too forceful can have just a negative impact on your chances of impressing Google, as an attractive woman. In your first conversation, you also need to be truthful about what it is you actually do. If you claim to be “in finance” and turn out to be a cashier at the local Quikie Mart, then you aren’t going to be seen as particularly trust worthy.

In your meta-title, description and keywords you need to describe what it is your site is about, without adding items that you don’t actually cover. Also be sure not to stuff your meta-keywords with tons of repetitions or words and topics your site doesn’t cover. Recently Google made a change to it’s handling of meta-tags for longer queries, and uses items from the page to understand context, and this is important because it means that Google is looking past the “pick up lines” and looking at the content of your site, and letting searchers see more of the context from your page before they even click through to your site.

Don’t hate the Player, Hate the Game

If the people who know you refer to you as “shady”, or “flirtatious”, then a woman you want to be in a relationship with is going to be second guessing you, questioning your actions and generally not going to be secure in her relationship with you.

Likewise, if you hang out with a crowd of people that are constantly having “drama”, getting in arguments with their girlfriends, go out gambling and hanging out in strip clubs, you are most likely hurting your chances. Whether you think it’s fair or not, people are going to make assumptions about you and your character based off the company you keep. Even worse is if you consistently stand up and talk up these people as your close friends who can be trusted…when they can’t be.

Google also looks at who your website is “hanging out with”, and is going to analyze your online relationships. If you’re linking out to adult and gaming websites, and recommending your visitors to those types of sites, you’re going to lose credibility with Google. 

What other sites say about you will be used by Google to evaluate your relevance to a particular topic, so be sure you’re getting good “anchor text” from reputable websites that are related to your site’s theme, topic, or geographic area.

It’s All About Trust

To summarize my analogy, no relationship can function without trust. Without it, both partners will start taking on negative behaviors, and trust me, you do NOT want to have Google as your Ex-Girlfriend!

But if you stick to the straight and narrow, and faithfully update your content, find trustworthy links and friends to support you, then you will over time become more and more trustworthy to Google and your girlfriend.

I Now Pronounce You Man and Search Engine

A relationship in the end is about commitment. If you do not commit yourself to the time needed to write content, create videos, blog, respond to blog comments, submit yourself to directories, put out link bait, promote yourself socially then you’re not going to have a very successful website or online presence.

So get over your commitment issues, and go for it! Now repeat after me:

I SEOer,
Take Thee Google,
To Love and to Optimize for,
With useful, unique content
through serp changes and algorithm updates,
with great Core Web Vitals & Schema Markup,
Till Death or Server Outage do us part.