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How Dating is Just Like SEM

The more you think about it, Search Engine Marketing really is like dating: single people abound, trying to meet Mr./Mrs. Right every single day. Because meeting that person is the ultimate goal, right? You meet someone, fall in love and live happily ever after.

Really, search engine marketing is the exact same. The. Exact. Same. Companies are trying to meet you at the ZMOT in search engines, have you fall for them, and live happily with multiple conversions/purchases ever after.

With regards to brevity, I’ll focus strictly on SEO factors; however, it should be noted that in this case, paid search is to SEM what eHarmony is to dating.

Websites are like your dates. A lot goes into making them successful in SEM, just like it takes a lot for that date of yours to make it past your list of personal requirements. (Be honest, you have them. We all do.)

If you think about the similarities between dating and SEM, you’ll discover ways to possibly improve your overall SEM strategy (or, hey, at least improve your dating life.)

Here are five ways that search engine marketing is a lot like dating:

Good SEO factors

1)      Background Check

SEO Factor: Meta data. What’s in a site’s HTML code (title tags, meta descriptions, headings) affects their reputation, and ultimately what search engines think of them.  A website will rank for what it’s believed to be about.

Dating factor: Your date’s background. What’s their personality like? Do they have the same goals/thoughts/feelings as you do? Dating doesn’t work if you're not interested in who the person is or wants to become.

2)      Connections

SEO Factor: Links. The number of links pointed to a site, and the text associated with them, affects the site’s reputation as well. Bonus points if they’re trusted, quality links. Without links, a site will never get off the ground, much less ranked for its desired keywords.

Dating Factor: Your date’s friends/connections. Who your date associates with, the quality of these people, and what they say about your date is important. Let’s be real: people’s opinions of your date matter to you. As they should—you don’t know this person (yet), so you have to do your homework!

3)      Substance

SEO Factor: Web Content. What a site says to its visitors is probably more important than the information “behind the scenes.” Content is part of user experience, and without good content, visitors won’t stay—and search engines won’t trust the site.

Dating Factor: Conversation. Ever been on a date where the conversation was horrible? I have. Did you go out with that person again? I didn’t. Conversation and flow is everything (well, almost everything) in dating, we all know that.

Bad SEO Factors

4)      Personality Flaws

SEO Factor: Keyword stuffing. This is a no-no in SEO. Throwing keywords onto a site won’t help it rank for terms. It just won’t. Please don’t try.

Dating Factor: Being a big talker. I know we’ve all gone out with someone who will say the things they think you want to hear, in hopes to make you like them. And it almost works. Until you find out about their real goals/thoughts/feelings/two other girlfriends. Waste. Of. Time.

5)      Dishonesty

SEO Factor: Cloaking. This is an even bigger no-no for SEO than keyword stuffing is. If a site lies to search engines about their content, you better believe they’ll be blacklisted. It’s a bad practice that you would hope no one does, but they do.

Dating Factor: Being a phony. Some people will pretend to be someone they’re not just to date someone. Are you really that interested in baseball? Is your other car really a Porsche? While the consequences may not be as severe as blacklisting, it’s a good way to get deleted from the little black book.

Once you follow general best practices, both in dating and search engine marketing, you’ll eventually find your special someone—either at the top of Google or on a series of excellent dates. Cheers to happily ever after.