Posted October 30, 2006 10:30 am by with 6 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

By Will Critchlow

You know you’re an entrepreneur when you’re sitting in the cinema wondering how much money you could have made by buying popcorn wholesale and selling it at the door…

You know you’re into SEO when you look at SERPs like “leeds hairdresser” and you wonder how quickly you can skill yourself up as a hairdresser, how much you could afford to charge per cut (CPC) and what your ROI would be…

Now most startup businesses fail in the their first year (Related stats) and that figure might seem daunting if you’re thinking of starting a business, but the truth is that these businesses were doomed to failure anyway “robot horses??)

A scary number of people start a business without a real way of making money. Similarly, a scary number of people launch their website without a strategy to get potential customers to their site.

How running an SEO project is like a business

  • Many more people talk about doing it than actually do it
  • There is no ‘secret’; there is no ‘magic bullet’
  • It’s more about execution than it is about having that killer idea

Many more people talk about doing it than actually do it

How many people do you know that have been ‘quitting their job’ for the last 10 years? How many people have ‘a great business idea’? How many actually go out there and take the plunge?

I knew that I wanted to run my own business and yet I went out after university and got a job working for someone else. Then I got another job. Finally, I felt ready to go for it. The stats told me starting a business was a big risk. Not to mention the longer I waited after my first job, the higher my salary got. People are lazy, they don’t want to rock the boat, so they never jump ship.

Everyone has heard of the entrepreneurs that have made it, everyone knows (of) someone who has made a fortune from a website that ‘came top of Google’ and now turns over many thousands of pounds a month. However, Mr. Branson didn’t just ‘decide to start’ a multi-billion pound multi-national business, and you can’t just ‘decide to launch’ a successful web-based business. The blood, sweat, tears and uncertainty puts off a huge number of people.

I am guilty of it; I have been almost running a serious SEO project for my sideline business offering whisky gifts for at least a year. I am prevaricating in the same way that so many people who have dreams of running their own business continue to show up to their job each day.

There is no ‘secret’; there is no ‘magic bullet’

Business books, journals and newspapers are sold on the grounds that they’ll tell you how to be the next google, or the next YOUtube.

Truth is, there is no magic bullet.

The real secret is that there is no secret and you need to commit time, energy and passion to succeed. I am a huge believer in learning from books written by people who have made it – I got a lot from ‘Losing my Virginity’ by Richard Branson and couldn’t have started my business without ‘Selling to Win’ by Richard Denny – but no book is going to give you the drive to succeed.

Similarly, I read widely on SEO and don’t believe there is a magic bullet in the SEO world either. Just because everyone knows that you need to write good content, update it regularly, build your reputation in your field and garner high-quality, relevant inbound links doesn’t make it easy. There is a lot of mystique around link-building services and I have no doubt that the best in the field are indeed very, very good. Having said that, for the most part, I think most white hat SEO consultants are mainly executing their strategies better than the competition. For the most part, they aren’t doing anything much different to what you know you need to be doing; but they are doing rather than talking.

It’s far more about execution than it is about having that killer idea

In the business-world, it’s your friend who is “going to start a business just as soon as I get my great idea”. In the online world, it’s someone who thinks that the only way to optimise their small business website is to come up with something that is so new that people will simply have to link to it.

Execution is the step that is missing from so many hypothetical business plans. You can analyse successful companies all you like and look for similarities that point towards success, but only the more subtle examinations reveal the truth; that the most successful companies are rarely the only ones in their field.

There were other search engines before Google but they built their dominance through doing search better. There were other online bookshops when Amazon launched, but Amazon made their inventory and fulfillment process better.

In the final link to SEO, I believe that the best SEO campaigns; The ones that generate great profits do not generally contain ideas that no-one has used before. ‘Killer ideas’ very often fail but well-executed strategies rarely do.

So next time you are waiting to do something because it isn’t a ‘killer idea’, step back and remember that you are far more likely to succeed by doing than by not doing.

There’s a reason Nike‘s slogan is ‘Just Do It’ rather than ‘just hold off till you have that really great idea’. In answer to the title, “Want to rank top in Google? Wear Nike shoes.” its not about rocket science or magic it’s about just doing it. I guarantee you’ll be ahead of the 99% of your competition that are still talking about it.

And when you execute, drop me a line and let me know how you get on.

[The above article is a submission for Marketing Pilgrim’s Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Contest. Each Monday in October, entries will be published and the most popular article of the week will qualify for the $5,000 grand prize. If you’d like to submit an entry, please view the contest entry-requirements and guidelines.]

  • NJ

    Spot on: procrastination impedes success.

    I have worked on sites that I got to number 1 on Google with no budget at all, just by using standard SEO techniques that our competitors hadn’t bothered with.

    I look forward to more articles from you!

  • Richard Morris

    The example of ‘just do it’ that I like best is Apple. They clearly had a ‘better’ product than the pc, and a better OS than windows. But they failed to ‘do it’, and got swept away by the pc in the market share game. The fact that all the geeks and gurus ran on an Apple was irrelevant. They lost. So what did they do ? They chose another business, and ‘just did it’ better. The ipod was late into the MP3 player game (I had one, developed by Compaq, with a reasonable hard drive, several years before the ipod appeared). But they ‘did it’ better.

  • Great article – funny, true and … I’ve just sold the magic bullet.

  • Pingback: Don’t just read one article, you should read them all at Marketing Pilgrim’s SEM Scholarship contest « SEM SEO Certification Blog()

  • Pingback: What Is The SEO Magic Bullet? - SEO How-To-Tuesday 3 - Hobo SEO UK()

  • Really nice article!