A Metaphor for SEO

In my post yesterday I wrote that an important thing to understand about SEO is that you win by being better than your competition. I had a chance today to talk about this idea with a co-worker of mine which in turn got me to thinking about what sport could be used as a metaphor for SEO. It wasn't easy coming up with one.

Games like tennis, basketball, football, and soccer all involve one team playing against another team. That's similar to SEO except that the referees have fairly strict guidelines as to what is right and what is wrong. What's more, the players know what these rules are. The rules around what causes one site to rank well and another not so well are less clear cut than in any of these sports. In addition, those that are optimizing sites have a sense of what the rules are, but can't be sure of them because the search engines guard their algorithms.

Boxing I thought might make for a better metaphor. The judges in this case apply a subjective element (slight as it may be) to their scoring which seemed to be a good fit for describing the fuzziness in the ranking rules used by search engines. The problem though was that boxing involves two people pounding each other's head in. This doesn't really happen with SEO, that is one site does not, generally, attack another site.

So I needed a sport where people compete with each other, but only indirectly. I also needed a sport where the judges use a mix of objective and subjective criteria. Finally, the sport needs to combine technical ability and creative flair since there's a bit of each in SEO.

You know what that criteria left? Figure skating. Yeah. I'm saying SEO is like figure skating. Except without the skin tight outfits, of course 🙂

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