During some downtime over the holiday period I was reading ‘Make Me’ by Lee Child there was one particular piece that really struck me as a great analogy to understanding search engine optimisation (SEO). Wikipedia describes SEO as the process of affecting visibility of a website, naturally, organically or earned. If you are in the know that would make perfect sense, however Lee Child explains it in a much more understandable way.
Lee Child manages to compare SEO to tennis balls in a swimming pool and helps untangle that understanding of its role and position.
… ‘He wanted to know why some websites can’t be found. Which was fundamentally a question about search engines. His image of the swimming pool became useful. He imagined millions of tennis balls, some bobbing up on the water, some trapped deeper down by the weight of the others. So I asked him to imagine a search engine as a long silk ribbon, being pulled up and down and in and out, weaving through the balls every which way, sliding over their wet fuzzy surfaces at tremendous speed. And then to imagine that some balls had been adapted, to have spikes instead of fuzz, like fish hooks, and that other balls had been adapted to have no fuzz at all, to be completely smooth, like billiard balls. Where would the silk ribbon snag? On the spikes, of course. It would slide over the billiard balls completely. That’s what Peter needed to understand about search engines. It’s a two-way street. A website must want to be found. It must work hard to develop effective spikes. People call it search engine optimisation…
Lee Child – ‘Make Me’ (2015)
To Conclude… It’s all about working hard to develop effective spikes.