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Larry Alton

What SEO Professionals Can Learn From Parents: Conquering The Silly Challenges

Larry Alton
What SEO Professionals Can Learn From Parents: Conquering The Silly Challenges

Parenting is about problem solving and because those problems are often posed or created by small children, they can be silly or confusing challenges. The flexibility that this kind of problem solving develops, however, can serve you in any venture – including the sometimes unusual struggles involved in running a great SEO campaign. So pay attention to those parents all around you or the hurdles your toddlers throw in your path and take them as learning opportunities.

You’ll be a better problem-solver for it.

Phones Rule!

Anyone with a toddler can tell you that mom’s cell phone is more popular than any other toy in the house. In fact, toy companies have had to reinvent the traditional children’s phone toy to look more like modern smartphones – but toddlers aren’t fooled by that cheap substitute.

In response to those sticky toddler hands, parents have had to work out ways to make their mobile devices kid-friendly. Oddly enough, that often means removing barriers to phone use like passwords – the kids just lock you out repeatedly by hitting the buttons.

Your SEO takeaway from all this? Mobile optimization is a key part of successful SEO. Most of your users (even the very small ones who arrived by accident) will reach your site on a mobile device, but if you aren’t following mobile optimization rules your site will be hard to find and harder to use. Remove barriers and save everyone the frustration.

Keep It Short

Those nights when your kid demands the entire storybook? Exhausting! And never mind the nights when it feels like they’ve demanded an entire bookstore of stories. Well, readers feel the same way about your website. Don’t bury your point in unnecessarily long articles that no one wants to read. Instead, keep it short and sweet. Brevity increases user satisfaction, and when done correctly, also increases the quality of your content. SEO rules rank websites not just by what they say, but by how well they say it.

The Power Of Professionals

Parents are responsible for all kinds of day-to- day chaos, but they can’t wrangle every task on their own. From complicated family issues like adoption to much simpler issues like music lessons, it can be a relief to hand off some responsibilities to the professionals. After all, a lot of the time your kids just listen better to people who aren’t you.

Similarly, when building an SEO strategy, you may want to consider when you’d be better served by an expert. You may not know how to build a proper mobile site, and that’s okay, but don’t try to do something that complicated by guesswork and determination – you’ll just be setting yourself up for failure. And if you stand over the shoulder of your web designer after you’ve struggled with the site for weeks, you may feel just like a parent watching their child obediently practice the violin for their teacher while resisting any overtures from you. Sometimes it just takes a professional.

Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth

That tub of popcorn your neighbor gave you for Christmas looks delicious. It will last a while and make a great snack in the evenings. Unless your child dumps the entire thing on the floor, in which case this is the kind of gift that will keep on giving (you’ll be vacuuming it up forever).

Gifts have a tendency to pan out similarly in the world of SEO. At first it sounds great when someone says they’d like to write a guest blog for your site. They run a website, presumably know what they’re doing, and you can take an hour off. It sounds great until the final blog arrives. It has terrible backlinks, is loaded with keywords but has little content, and doesn’t fit well with your blog. This guest post isn’t looking like a promising addition to your site’s SEO standing.

Just like with toddlers, as a web professional you should look these gift horses in the mouth. Do your due diligence, don’t expect a good outcome, and if you have any reservations, discretely ignore the email or set it aside for later until it goes away – just like you’re going to hide that tub of popcorn well out of reach of your child or throw it out entirely.

Staying Flexible

Parents are the ultimate flexible super humans. They handle meltdowns and messes and magic every day. When developing an SEO strategy, embrace this flexible philosophy. When you do what you can, improvise when necessary, and know when you need backup, you’ll have everything you need to drive traffic that will benefit from your site. And when all else fails, have a cookie and try again tomorrow.

Do you have other parenting lessons that can apply to SEO? Tell me all about them in the comments!

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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