A lesson in Search Engine Optimisation, not battle tactics from well-known keynote speakers. Learn more about Jacob here.
In 2016 I discovered something interesting: if you went to Google and asked “Who Would Win a Fight Between Tony Robbins and an Inflatable Doll?” then the Number #1 result returned would be my website!
Specifically, it would send you to my Shameless Praise testimonial page.
A recent check revealed that a website update in 2020 means this is no longer the case … though I suspect this page will shortly take it’s place atop the Google rankings!
It wasn’t a complete mystery. My previous page was a good fun mix of actual praise (most of which is still there), some sarcastic comments, and some more-critical feedback I’ve received at my events and speaking gigs over the years.
This included one from the amazing Nadine at Bright Humans. When I let her know I couldn’t attend a meeting because I was speaking at an event that day, her sardonic response made me laugh:
“We can put out an inflatable Jacob doll at the front – no one will notice the difference! “
Given how many times I’ve spoken at her team’s events, I know that was … mostly … sarcastic, and worth including.
Also included was a less sarcastic (though no more influential) tweet, from the first time I spoke at the Hacker News London Meetup in 2011. Most speakers at that amazing event are heavily tech-oriented, and indeed deliver technical presentations.
I was speaking on business life more generally “After the Start-up Curve”. It seems my energy reminded @fmu of another well-known speaker, though I don’t think he was being completely complimentary!
“An imitation Tony Robbins is standing in for Paul Graham tonight.”
Still, it was also a comparison to the amazing Paul Graham, so I was flattered … and onto my Shameless Praise page that tweet went as well.
You can see my old format for the page on the Internet Wayback Machine here. When we redesigned my site (annoyingly and mistakenly, just before the Coronavirus Recession) the new layout meant these joking comments no longer fit, and so they were removed.
But All That Google Traffic?!
I know right? I deliberately made changes that meant I was no longer the #1 Rank on Google for a search phrase!
(… get ready for the point of this blog post …)
I share “Who Would Win a Fight Between Tony Robbins and an Inflatable Doll?” as an extreme example of:
- Ranking high on Google
- For absolutely no good reason
How many people (apart from me, or when I mentioned this at events) ever searched for that phrase? None, of course. I was never going to win a client, sell my books, or even have someone explore my amazing video library because one day they were on Google pondering a battle between a flappy humanoid figure full of hot air … and Tony Robbins.
I could respond to all those spam emails and LinkedIn connection requests that “No, I don’t need your help, I already Rank #1 thank you very much!”
So if you dream of ranking well on Google, be careful what you wish for!
Content without Context
As you can see, it’s actually ridiculously easy to Rank #1 on Google. I estimate that within a week or two of me writing this post, it will become the new #1 result for that super-popular phrase “Who Would Win a Fight Between Tony Robbins and an Inflatable Doll?”.
But that’s just Content (Stuff) without Context (Purpose).
Clearly, if you are making some Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) investments, the outcome you want is not “Rank #1 on Google” … it has to be “Rank #1 on Google for a search phrase my prospects are using.” That way your investment will actually deliver a return by way of traffic, and hopefully also revenue.
So let me end with one more example – where I actually did (sometimes still do) Rank #1 on Google for a meaningful phrase: Business Coach
This too has deprecated over time, and especially since I have done more of my work while travelling the world. But for several years, if you searched for a business coach while being geolocated in Brisbane, Australia (or added Brisbane to your search terms) then one of my definitive lists of the Best Business Coaches in Brisbane would be returned to the #1 Result.
Unlike Tony Robbins and the Inflatable Doll, this was a search phrase that people actually used! Not a large number, but the ones that did had specific intent. As a marketing tool, it was one of my Top 3 lead generation sources for many years, generating tens of thousands of dollars worth of coaching work, and something I could fling out at events to show my expertise.
I put a lot more time getting to #1 on Google for Business Coach than I did getting to #1 on Google for “Who would win a fight between Tony Robbins and an Inflatable Doll”. But hey, it was the latter serendipitous event that created a story for this blog post.
And if you’re reading this … do you need the best business coach in Brisbane to help turn your aspirations into reality?