Fast Food vs Mom’s Home Cooking (or SEO vs Inbound Marketing)

Being a professional digital marketer, I am also in the business of client education. The digital space is an ever-evolving landscape that requires almost constant attention to stay ahead of the curve and to keep up with the latest best practices. As you can imagine, when you’re asking a client to either spend money, or let you manage their money for digital marketing, being clear about why you recommend a particular strategy is paramount. My team and I often find that simple analogies are the best way to explain the sometimes complicated digital marketing world to our clients.

In this two-part blog post, I’d like to use the “Fast Food vs Mom’s Home Cooking” analogy to describe the differences between old-school SEO tactics and Inbound Marketing. In order to set up the argument for Inbound, I’d like to first draw a parallel between old-school SEO (or what would be considered traditional SEO) and Fast Food. This will make Mom’s Home Cooking taste all that much better!

Old-School SEO is like Fast Food

Fast Food Gives You A Quick Fix: You eat fast food when you need something cheap on the go…something quick, easy and without much thought.

Traditional SEO could get you ranking quickly through link schemes and keyword spamming, usually for little cost. It was effective for short term gains, but you weren’t surprised to see your rankings disappear just as quickly as they came.

Fast Food Provides Little Nutritional Value: Fast food tastes good, and will fill you up, but you know that you’re kidding yourself if you think those calorie charts make you feel any better about what you’re eating. You can’t live off fast food, as it’s just not a sustainable diet.

Old-school SEO tactics could give you page one rankings to show off to your boss, but without a kick-ass website to go along with it, the rankings didn’t provide much value. Showing off rankings only lasts so long before the boss realizes that the business isn’t getting any nourishment (aka sales) as a result.

Fast Food Is The Same Everywhere: The great thing about fast food is that it’s the same no matter where you go, even if you travel abroad. This can be very comforting in many ways, and is a value proposition that these establishments offer. But eventually, you can only take so much, and you crave the comforts of home cooking or venture to try the local fare.

Old-School SEO tactics are the same no matter who’s selling them. There’s only so many ways to stuff and hide keywords, spam blog comments, create fake social media and forum profiles, build link farms, spin articles and create thin blogs and blog posts. While these tactics may have gotten you ranking in the past, they also made you pretty easy to spot. Google effectively killed this form of SEO with the Panda & Penguin updates, thus forcing you to venture out into the real world to find food…I mean, customers.

Don’t get me wrong, I like fast food just as much as anyone. But realistically, it’s really not the cornerstone of any healthy diet. Just like old-school spammy SEO tactics aren’t the cornerstone of any healthy digital marketing strategy. In part two of this post, I will be exploring how Inbound Marketing is just like Mom’s Home Cooking. So save room for dessert!

This article originally appeared on the BoomTown Blog.

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