I can’t claim originality to the theme. Emergence Media gave a recent and great analogy of the Underpants Gnome problem regarding Web 2.0. SEOmoz gave another post a good mention, and there are probably similar posts out there on the “Interweb”.
What if we took this business model and specifically applied it to search marketing?
Check out the South Park video. You can replace the words “collect underpants” with “rank high on Google”, or “get to the front page of Digg”, and even “be #1 in Google Local (Maps)”.
It happens all the time. Many still pitch this philosophy, and just as many potential clients buy right into it.
What happens when the client is enjoying all those Google rankings, and then calls up a few months later wondering why their phone isn’t ringing?
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love search marketing and it’s a lot of what I do for a living, but there’s a reason many outside of the industry relate it to snake-oil sales.
It does give me a good feeling to work with different Web teams. It presents the opportunity to provide a Web site worthy of all the traffic without having to think for a second on how to “manipulate” search results.
The common sense approach makes the Web better. Really!
Four years ago I would have slapped myself for posting this.