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Ten things we can learn about Google SEO - from Angry Birds

     
5:25 am on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I just read an article by Daniel Rasmus on Macworld called 10 things that CIOs can learn from Angry Birds [macworld.com.au], and it struck me that even though most of us don't really think of our job as being a CIO, the article's ten points were excellent about achieving success with Google.

1. You have to play to figure out the rules
So many webmasters want to know "the best way" to do this or that - but there rarely is a one-size-fits-all answer. Many times, we simply need to play the game and see what happens, building up the real world knowledge of what is right for OUR situation as we go.

2. You succeed best when your site's unique contributions are recognized
Too much energy goes into being "like site X". Once you've got the basics of webmastering down, what's important is making your site's unique qualities obvious in the marketplace.

3. You canít recover from a really bad start
Sometimes you do need to cut your losses and move on. That's just the reality of the world.

4. Different problems require different specialists
Running a website is a diverse project, and you simply cannot know everything required to make the right moves in every situation. Knowing when to bring in outside help or develop a new skill in-house is key.

5. Blowing something up isn't necessarily felt everywhere
If you want to make a major change in an established web business, you often need to think holistically, and realize that there are many factors to take into consideration. You can't just fiddle around without having some idea of how your entire web ecosystem will react to that fiddling - and that includes how it will look to Google.

6. Most improvements are incremental
Great breakthroughs in search traffic are rare. Mostly it's just putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again. Google even has safeguards that keep a site from exploding onto the scene too fast.

7. Just because you've mastered one task doesn't make you master of all
It's a natural pitfall because webmasters do need to have a lot of diverse skill. But sometimes you need a business plan tune-up, or a conversion optimization, or a usability assessment in order to reach the next level.

8. You can never do the same thing exactly the same way
And that means you can never do the exactly same thing that someone else did, either. Google moves on, each website exists in a unique larger web presence, and repeating the same patterns over and over will eventually smack you into a brick wall.

9. Some goals require more "birds"
Sometimes you can make successful changes to a website, only to discover that the business can't sustain the new level of success. It's not just Google that needs to focus on "does this scale." Webmasters who want major success need to look at that question in advance, too.

10. There is more than one way to win
Even in SEO this is true. There is more than one keyword or set of keywords that can tap into your audience. There is more than one way to get other sites to link to you. There is more than one way to structure a website. There is more than one way to write HTML, CSS, PHP. etc - even to achieve the same end.

I really appreciated this article on Macworld - as you can see it renewed my horizons, and I hope it renews yours.

[edited by: tedster at 12:01 am (utc) on Apr 7, 2011]

5:56 am on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Great post, thanks.
7:21 am on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have trouble going from a to c without knowing what b was.

The points there are probably bang on the nail - but for me - I need "place your href in your code like this".....

:(
8:43 am on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Great post, it brings together some points I regularly make elsewhere, things that I knew but hadn't conceptualised and things that are new to me.


but there rarely is a one-size-fits-all answer

Again and again I post variants of the reply - "it depends on the subject matter of your site". (eg a musician will make a different use of social media to a widget retailer). But regularly we see the same dogmatic responses in forums.
12:29 pm on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Very useful post. Really sends you back to the basics.

A client recently got a nicely working site redone with an entirely different user approach and interactivity. The leads volume halved.

We went back to the old site in a hurry and are back to the old volume. Now experimenting incrementally.
2:51 pm on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hee, this is my second favorite post of the moment!
3:01 pm on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Whats your first Netmeg?
3:02 pm on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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That was worth printing out. Thanks!
12:52 am on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Doh! Look at #2. lol
1:31 am on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Whats your first Netmeg?


It's gone now, so this one gets promoted to #1!

(I'd like to see it on the home page just so we can put the angry bird next to it)
2:19 am on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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BTW +1 ... Great Thread tedster!
3:24 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I think #1 and #7 are extremely important.
3:27 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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excellent post. Thanks. I like Rule #1 the most!
4:43 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for post Tedster, great for bringing us back to the basics which are so important.

I do think though that looking at the original article, especially for number 10, could pay even further dividends.

Excellent synopsis.
5:10 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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hmmm, is G the pigs, or is the birds?
Matt Cutts is clearly the Mighty Eagle.
In Rio - Monkeys are the Cuttletts?

Great Article Tedster!
7:32 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Nice one, thanks.

Sometimes you can make successful changes to a website, only to discover that the business can sustain the new level of success.


I believe you meant "can't sustain..".
9:13 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You're right - I made an edit so future readers don't get tripped up. That point is one of those that gets well beyond SEO and into business management. But every SEO should appreciate that SEO doesn't exist in a vacuum, and that not only failures, but even great successes in SEO can pose business challenges.
10:15 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Brett, Google are the pigs and the eggs they keep running off with is my content ;)
11:23 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Awesome Tedster!
I gotta print this one and get working on solutions. :)
2:40 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You can recover from a really bad start, I have proof.

My first domain held a website that was awful in every sense. Horrible coding (I didn't know how yet), horrible SEO (had no clue about titles and descriptions) and horrible user experience (visitors didn't know where to find pages I didn't bother to interlink from, sheesh).

I gave up on the site, let it expire and continued doing what I was good at for others, proof-reading and writing. On a whim I tested an early google pagerank tool and entered my old domain name, it had jumped to PR3 AFTER it was inactive.

I bought the domain back from my old host that hadn't released it yet and proceeded to learn about every aspect of being a webmaster. Today it's my best site and I had to throw it away to realize it.

Without that bad start, and a hail marry google tool catch, I wouldn't be a webmaster today. I'd say recovery is possible under many impossible circumstances.
2:55 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I agree with you - I was stretching a bit to make my post line up with the original article. You often can stay with the same domain that had a horrible start and still succeed - unless you really burned it badly with intense backlink manipulation. And even then, a new owner can sometimes still get a fresh start for the same domain.
3:13 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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These aren't the rules to SEO; they are the rules to life on Earth my friend :)
3:16 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They sound like life lessons that can be applied elsewhere too.

Most improvements are incremental


Everything is incremental, IMO. We build on what we have and learn.

I am not an expert in Chinese customs or history, but they have some great lessons.

The Chinese word for crisis is really two words: Danger and opportunity. The truth is that we don't usually see an opportunity unless there was a crisis. I think Panda was a wake-up call in many ways. It created a crisis for many, but we have to figure out where the opportunity is. It is out there. These crisis happen to everyone, not just webmasters and marketers.

Another Chinese story:

There was a father and son living on a farm. One day a wild horse came around and they caught it. That is a GOOD THING, right?

Well, the next day the son broke his leg while breaking in the horse. that is BAD THING, right?

Well, the next day the army came through recruiting the towns-people but the son could not join up because of his broken leg. Everyone was killed in a battle the next day.

Someone mentioned on another thread that they should create another domain and move their whole site over to it. Perhaps. But also consider getting another domain and creating a whole new site from scratch. Do something different. Hedge your bets.
3:34 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They sound like life lessons that can be applied elsewhere too.

Agreed. In fact, a lot of people who think they have Google questions often sound more like they need lessons in general business planning, or even life level counseling.
7:47 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Great Post tedster.
This is the precise reason why I come to this forum atleast once in a day.
I think many people like me will save these points on their pc somewhere.

Thanks
Rajiv
7:36 am on Apr 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We generally tend to apply incremental changes and get incremental improvements.

At times, we are forced to make drastic changes - these may crash us or make us incredibly successful. Desparate times call for desparate measures.
3:26 pm on Apr 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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In fact, a lot of people who think they have Google questions often sound more like they need lessons in general business planning, or even life level counseling.


Ain't that the truth.
 

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