I’m assuming everyone is at least marginally aware of the whole Charlie Sheen fiasco but if not, here’s a quick primer and here’s his craziness set to music. He has definitely been in the news lately and there is a lot we can learn about this tragic trajectory he is on but I want to focus on what we can glean about SEO from him.
Crazy brings the eyeballs
No doubt about it, controversy sells. In our Post-Modern culture, everybody’s opinion is valid and has weight and the biggest sin anyone can commit is having a strong, inflexible opinion or saying someone is wrong. Fortunately, we all know deep down that this is wrong, not every idea is a good one and some people shouldn’t be listened to. Do you want to make your blog post stand out? Have a strong, controversial opinion about something in your niche and back it up with a well-reasoned argument. What are the things in your niche that are so universally accepted that no one even thinks about them anymore, are they still true? There’s an old story of a man who was newly married and noticed that every time she cooked a ham, she would slice a few inches off the top making it flat on top. When he asked her why she did that she said she didn’t know it was just something her mother always did. So he went to her mother and asked her the same question and got the same response. Next he went to the grandmother and asked her why she always sliced a few inches off the tops of her hams and she replied, “so it would fit in my oven!” Because the women never knew the reason behind something, they just kept doing what they had always done even when there was no longer a need for it. Take a look at your niche, what are the things that everyone is doing for outdated reasons? What is a stance you can take that is so far from the norm that people will be compelled to discuss and argue? (And link back, and repost, etc…) Take a stand, have an opinion, and be prepared to defend it.
Content makes them stay
Once you have built a little trust and gotten a short-term boost to your traffic numbers, you have to continue teaching and providing content or the people will eventually go away. Charlie Sheen is learning this right now as the arc of how much the public cares about him is in its inevitable decline. You can’t always be crazy, eventually there has to be some substance. If you are an actor, you have to entertain and if you are a blog, you have to inform. (You can entertain also, but you can’t just entertain) Not every blog post has to be a home run with tons of backlinks and comments, you can make a very good living at this just hitting solid singles, you just have to hit a lot of them. Give the people good content and you will see your numbers rise.
Relationships are key
The relationship between Sheen and his co-workers has gotten so toxic that even if all the issues were resolved it would be very difficult for these people to work together. In the online world, relationships are crucial. Very few blogs are an island unto themselves and most of us rely on the goodwill of our community to help us grow. Not only do you need to foster a good relationship with your readers but it often helps to have a good working relationship with others in the same niche. For your readers, are you answering questions quickly? Responding to email? Keeping them informed through social media? For the other writers in your niche, are you working with them? Involved in guest posts or button swapping? Commenting on their sites? Promoting them on your blog? Keeping our online relationships solid can be tricky at times but the rewards are worth it.
I hope that we all have enough tiger’s blood in us to improve our sites and keep winning!