I'm taking a vacation in Marblehead, Ohio, on Lake Erie; we call it the "North Coast." Local sailors call the Great Lakes "sweet water." They like it because fresh water is a lot easier on their boats than sailing in ocean salt water.
These lakes are so big; the line of sight stretches into nothing but water on the horizon. You can easily get into the lake where all you see is water in all directions.
With an unobstructed view, the human mind extends into endless possibilities. Looking onto a vast continuous plane of water, there's nothing to guide your thoughts into a certain direction. With no buildings, hills, or trees jutting up from the earth, anything becomes possible in your mind.
The little tourist stores in town all have kitschy items with inspirational phrases reminding you to live the life you most dream about. The North Coast appeals to us because it reminds us that the guideposts within our lives are all illusions. We all actually live on a massive blank slate of potential.
Anything is possible.
"An entertaining philosophical observation, Sage. But when do you get to the part where you teach me something about search engine optimization?"
A fine question, dear reader.
One of the most enjoyable activities I get to do in my career is giving people feedback on their websites. I occasionally get to do small reviews of websites from a SEO (define) standpoint.
Over the years, I've always seen a very distinct pattern. Consistently, there's one type of website that I rarely have something to suggest.
There's a kind of site that's naturally optimized. The people that make these sites rarely have any SEO expertise. They don't know anything about how search engines work.
All they know is that they're very successful. They have a dedicated following of visitors and customers. On top of that, they're always getting new visitors and customers because they come up for hundreds of key phrases in the search engines.
These people have discovered the easiest way to optimize their sites. It takes little struggle and produces amazing results.
The easiest way to optimize your site is to love what you do.
Every time I come across a website that's naturally optimized, it always comes from someone who is passionate about the topic they write about.
Because they love their topic, they have an endless reservoir of material for their websites. Consequently, they come up for hundreds of key phrases in the search engines.
Do you remember when you were in school asking how many pages your research paper had to be? You asked that because you weren't really interested in the topic. If you had loved the topic, you would have written the paper until you had covered the topic completely. The length of the paper would have been irrelevant.
When someone is just doing a "job," they always ask if they really have to write new pages for all the key phrases we've found. When I say yes, their next question is, "Can we just take the content we have on one page and make a bunch of other pages with the same content and just switch out the targeted key phrases?" No.
Ayn Rand and objectivism often get a bad rap from detractors. I've also found that these detractors have rarely read any of her books. The encompassing belief is "...the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness."
The important words there are "purpose" and "happiness." Objectivism has less to do with making money and more to do with living a life filled with purpose.
People that truly love what they do are living a life filled with purpose and happiness. Almost without fail, they optimize their website perfectly every time.
Looking at this vast sea of fresh water, I know anything is possible. I ask myself if I'm truly leading a purposeful, happy life. Am I doing what I love? Life is simply too difficult to optimize if I'm not.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Sage Lewis is the president of SageRock Digital Marketing. SageRock has been a leader in Web marketing since 1999, offering search engine optimization, paid search marketing, social media marketing, and analytics.
Sage speaks nationally with SES and other prominent Web marketing organizations. He is one of the most sought after speakers and coaches in the field of Web marketing. From coast to coast, Sage has trained, coached, and consulted with some of the largest brands and conferences in the country.
Sage is also "The Web Marketing Video Guy" with nearly 500 Web marketing videos published. Sage writes as an expert for ClickZ in the "Search Engine Marketing" section. He lives in Akron, Ohio with his wife, Rocky, and son, Indiana.
His columns can be found in the Search Engine Watch archive.
March 19, 2014