After losing my first page ranking for a key search term, my co-worker Dan Tisser told me that “SEO is a game of inches.” That you push hard for a select, small group of keywords and you have to fight for every one of those inches on your SERPs. You lose ground but you fight your way back.
Of course this reminded me of my favorite motivational football speech by Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday and how much his speech applies to SEO. Go ahead and watch it. I’ll wait.
I don’t know what to say really. Three minutes till the biggest battle of our professional lives. It all comes down to today. Now either we heal as a team, or we’re gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play, till we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch at a time.
Now I can’t do it for you. I’m too old. I look around, I see these young faces, and I think… I mean I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me, and lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror.
You know when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. And so is football.I mean one half step too late or too early you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second.
On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch. Cause we know when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the (expletive) difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING.
I’ll tell you this in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch. And I know if I am going to have any life any more it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch because that is what LIVING is. The six inches in front of your face.
Now I can’t make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes. Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it, you are gonna do the same thing for him. That’s a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals
That’s football guys. That’s all it is. Now, whattaya gonna do?
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
The inches we need to achieve SEO success are everywhere around us. Carving out those inches start with identifying the keywords that you can tackle, that you actually have a chance to rank for. It’s doing your pre-game research.
One of the biggest opportunities for inches was Panda, Google’s update to its search engine that honors fresh content. This creates a whole new playing field for bloggers. Every day, you should add fresh content to your site and grab more inches. Sure, the bigger search terms will be much harder to rank for but there is so much available for a SERP land grab when it comes to long-tail keywords. You’ll know what plays to make if you do your research.
But you will lose ground from time to time. You will lose inches and after Panda, some websites lost yards. But if you keep fighting for every inch, every ranking, you’ll get back to page one. You’re fighting against every one of your competitors that ranks and that are also putting out content daily.
On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch.
SEO is a team effort even if you have an SEO specialist. It takes a team to fight for your rankings. To keep a blog filled up with content, it takes a village. Or a football team. If you look at Hubspot, BlueGlass and SEOmoz, you see that nearly every single team member contributes blog posts. It’s the teams that have everyone clawing for those inches that will see the most progress.
What’s more is that it takes a team to identify and solicit guest blog posts that get your name out there and builds out your link portfolio. A team to share the content you create especially when sharing is now an indicator for Google on how to rank that content.
So go out and be inspired to fight for every keyword, for every increase in SERP ranking and every inbound link.