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The Art of the Terrible Analogy: How SEO Is Like Bacon, Sex & World of Warcraft

April 29, 2011
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Online Marketing Blog Roundup

Sometimes, the best thing I read over the week has nothing to do with Internet marketing. But I really want to share it with you, so by God, I make it have something to do with Internet marketing.

This week, that thing was this list of the worst analogies written by high school students, originally published in the Washington Post. The source above ("The Lost Eyeball") calls them the "worst/best" because many are actually quite brilliant – if I was a high school teacher and one my students wrote these gems, I’d give them a king-size gold star. To further qualify the list, the source says the paper “held a contest in which high school teachers sent in the ‘worst’ analogies they’d encountered in grading their students’ papers over the years” – I have a feeling many of these were made up, because they’re just too good to be true – either that or they were actually taken from Dan Brown novels.

I encourage you to read all 56, but here are some of my favorites:

  • John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  • She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  • He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  • The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
  • Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
  • She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword.
  • The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  • The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  • The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.
  • Her pants fit her like a glove, well, maybe more like a mitten, actually.
  • I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German. Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don’t know the name for those either.
  • She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can’t sing worth a damn.

It’s not just high school students who traffic in outrageous analogies – Internet marketers do it too! I did a little Googling and here’s some of what I turned up:

  • PPC is like meeting girls – impressions are the number of girls in the nightclub and CTR is the amount of times you need to ask girls to go on a date before one of them agrees. (Via Black Hat PPC)
  • Marketing is like making a cosmopolitan; replacing fresh limes with packaged lime juice is the equivalent of stopping all sponsorships and social media experiments. The martini is essentially the same, it just looks and tastes less interesting. (Via Forbes)
  • Search marketing is like herding cats. Cats are fiendishly complicated to manage, they eat when they want, sleep when they want, come and go as they please. A cat is going to do what it wants, when it wants and there’s precious little you can do to change that. Search marketing isn’t entirely like that, but it’s close. (Via Media Forte Marketing)
  • Google SEO is like “World of Warcraft” because getting to page 1, and staying there, is search engine “hand-to-hand” combat that never ends. The closer you get to the goal, page 1, the more cunning and more ferocious the opponents you must face, and defeat. “Page 1” is a battle field littered with the corpses of websites that weren’t up to the challenge. (Via Fresh Element)
  • Good SEO is like good sex: links are more fun when they are natural and real, and a little role playing can really spice things up. (Via The Odd Dad Out)
  • SEO is like bacon: Everyone loves it. Some people try to say they hate it. That just means they love it even more. (Via Conversation Marketing)
  • SEO is like a can of Campbell’s vegetable beef soup. If you can, think of the juice as the Internet; you need the juice to make soup, and you need the Internet for SEO. The vegetables are like SEO best practices. The meat is like gray-hat SEO. Last you have the sodium which is about 85% of our daily value and it’s not really that good for us. But it’s also what keeps the soup “fresh,” and that freshness is why I get to keep eating my cans of soup. Similarly, there is a ton of content on the web today, but about 85% of the content created is crap. But that crap, is fresh, and to the SE’s that freshness isn’t crap. (Via SEO Rankings)

No offense to the authors of the above analogies; all in good fun. :)

Web Marketing Highlights of the Week

Unbounce put together a big fat list of 101 landing page optimization tips, broken up into 14 “chapters” like “Fundamentals” and “Testing, Testing, Testing.”

Ads on the Google Display Network tend to have a lower conversion rate. Tad Miller at Search Marketing Sage has tips for making the Display Network work for the conversion-conscious.

Trendwatching.com writes about “The F Factor” (F for friends, fans and followers) and how social factors are influencing purchasing decisions.

Brad Geddes says paid search is not keyword advertising, it’s restrictive advertising – he lists some of the many ways you can restrict who sees your ads, including website, time of day, location and language.

Aaron Bradley offers some good ideas for how you can leverage PPC insights to improve organic search conversions – for example, using paid search to help define your keyword targeting goals, and borrowing headlines and text from ads with high CTR and conversion rates for your title and meta descriptions.

Geordie at PPC Blog explains how to boost the lifetime value of a customer with strategies like a better thank you page and cross promotion.

Garrett French puts together a great guide to content marketing for link strategists: “Content marketers know that informative, high-utility content converts readers into customers along a distinct buy cycle. Link strategists know that promoting informative, high-utility content can earn links that drive SERP rankings. Let's look at some ways that content marketers and link builders can play nicely together.”

Have a great weekend!

Comments

Larry Kim
Apr 29, 2011

 Wow. the SEO is to world of warcraft analogy is great. i gotta use that one in my next presentation.

Elisa Gabbert
Apr 29, 2011

Don't forget the corpses!

Elisa Gabbert
Apr 29, 2011

Update: My mom read this post and sent me the following:

These are actual comments made on students' report cards by teachers in the New York City public school system.

1. Since my last report, your child has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.
 
2. I would not allow this student to breed.
 
3. Your child has delusions of adequacy.
 
4. Your son is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot. (my favorite...)
 
5. Your son sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.
 
6. The student has a 'full six-pack' but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together.
 
7. This child has been working with glue too much.
 
8. When your daughter's IQ reaches 50, she should sell.
 
9. The gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming..
 
10. If this student were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.
 
11. It's impossible to believe the sperm that created this child beat out 1,000,000  others.
 
12. The wheel is turning but the hamster is definitely dead.

Jackie B (not verified)
Apr 29, 2011

Ms. Gabbert. "PPC is like meeting girls." So true. I can never figure out what to bid and I haven't had a conversion in months. By the way, the source for the first half of your post was incorrect. The analogies were not the work of high school students but were winning entries in a weekly contest sponsored by the Washington Post in their "Style" section. Regards. - JB

Elisa Gabbert
Apr 29, 2011

Ahh, no wonder they seemed too good to be true!

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