The Seth Godin SEO Playbook

In The Digital Marketing Blog, Training, Working In Search by KelvinLeave a Comment

We’ve been talking about Seth Godin a lot here over the last week. We covered our podcast interview with him and we’ve already asked 19 top UK marketers what their favourite Godin book is. But I wondered whether you could apply some of the ideas in his books more generally to your search engine marketing work.


It wasn’t hard to draw analogies; maybe that’s why his writing is so popular with search marketers (even if sometimes he rubs them a little up the wrong way) but here are a few that jumped out as great analogs.

Your Content Needs to Be Unique or a Purple Cow

The Purple Cow is a brilliantly simple idea to consider when producing any piece of content to attract attention, engagement and hopefully links.

But what is a Purple Cow? Seth sums it up nicely in FastCompany with the following quote:

“Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable.”

If you have to come up with creative ideas for blog posts that you want to perform well on twitter, or whitepapers you want Universities to link to, or link bait that appeals to bloggers vanity, you should think how you can make your cows more purple.

Think of Your Audience as Tribe and tailor your strategy accordingly

We’re big fans of the book Tribes here at SiteVisibility, so much so it’s used as part of one of our fundamental search methodologies.

I’ll take a little snippet of that whitepaper to illustrate how you can apply the concept of Tribes to SEO:

“The first stage is to identify who your tribes are, they are most likely to be the different segments of your target market, but they may also be non-customer groups like social media groups and industry websites.

Once you have segmented your markets, you need to build up a three dimensional picture of each group and the key theme connecting them. This is most likely to be based on their main interest. For example a folding table company’s tribes may consist of “schools”, “scout groups” and “campers”.

Think about what types of media each group gets exposed to. What media are they participating in? What media are they creating? Where do they spend their time? What brands do they love/hate?

Now you understand the differences between each tribe, you’ll see that they’re likely to use different keywords to search for the same product:

e.g. “Folding school furniture”, “Folding tables”, “camping tables”

Therefore it is imperative that your content is segmented in this way to ensure each tribe’s search is optimised for. Otherwise you won’t receive the visits. Due to its immediate nature, PPC is an excellent way of appearing quickly in the search results for “tribe level terms”, as well as “product level” and “category level” terms.”

Think of every page of your site as Art and realise SEO is the Linchpin

You might not be as familiar with the latest of Mr Godin’s books but Linchpin keeps the high standard set by his previous work. The main thrust of the book is how to become indispensible. If you want to become that vital you need to produce great work, and if you are an artist great work comes easily.

A sentiment I think would improve most search marketing campaigns.

SEO can’t make a rubbish site great like a Meatball Sundae

Meatball Sundae is all about how great marketing requires a great product; an analogy which works great in the world of search engine optimisation.

If you don’t have a quality website that appeals to your target audience then SEO is the least of your worries.

Create ideas that spread, not just content – You’ll still get credit and the links

Although one of the older books in the back catalogue, The Idea Virus is still as vital today as when it was first written.

It’s particularly relevant in today’s de-centralised world of the net, should a company not use Twitter because the links are no-followed?

Of course they should. If you allow your ideas to spread you’ll get the credit and you’ll get the links which will benefit your SEO.

Ignoring a huge communication opportunity because it doesn’t have an immediate search engine impact is horribly short-sighted.

Enjoyed this post? You should listen to us Interview Seth in the worlds second most popular marketing podcast!

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