What South Park can teach you about Search Marketing

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I am a massive comic and cartoon fan. My house is full of comics and my hard-drive and DVD shelves are overflowing with cartoons. I love them!

More often than not though, cartoon series begin to lose me. The characters become a parody of themselves or the plots become recycled (hello Simpsons) and eventually I lose interest. One series however has remained pretty much consistently awesome for 14 years – South Park.

So here’s my experiment – the worlds first ever South Park themed SEO post! 

 

“Respect my authoritah”

Eric Cartman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx4jn77VKlQ&feature=related

Search engines love providing results based on how authoratitive you are about a topic. Just like in real life, if you provide outstanding content in your chosen field then more people are likely to want to interact and hear what it is you have to say. Search engines work in a similar way. Authority is search currency.

Online metrics such as links being shared, likes on Facebook, views on YouTube, Circle in Google Plus all contribute towards boosting some form of online authority. The more of these metrics you obtain from other authoritative sources, the more of an authority you’ll be seen as in the eyes of search engines.

“Faaaaarrt!”

Terrance and Phillip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAC3rpuhrPY

Knowing your demographic is crucial for search marketing.
Terrance and Phillip know their target demographic is grade 4 students and people who enjoy jokes about farting on each other heads, so they create content that appeals to that audience. Because of this understanding they are able to be number one for their subject matter – which just happens to be Canadian flatulence.

Strategic and effective targeting of your content is vital if you want to reach the audience most likely to interact with you online.
Targeting the wrong audience could result in your success rates plummeting or, worse yet, in Terrance & Phillips case a full-scale American invasion of Canada. And you don’t want your online campaign to be responsible for that . . . do you?

“Wow, what a terrific audience”

Jimmy Valmer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyAniSKkAiE

Being appreciative of you’re audience goes a long way in online marketing, particularly with the rise of social media. Social media gives an individual the opportunity to interact with previously faceless and massive businesses.

Online businesses that ignore or treat their customers poorly can now be held accountable in a very public forum. All it takes now is one tweet or Facebook status update hitting the front page of a site like Reddit and it can cause a PR nightmare for the largest of companies.

Companies and individuals who acknowledge and try to provide a great online experience for their audience will often be rewarded with nerd search gold such as shares, links and perhaps most importantly great word-of-mouth recommendations.

“mmmpphhf mmfpphmf mnnmpf”

Kenny McCormick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy-Ocaxlk1Y

Sure, you know what you’re saying, and perhaps a couple of your friends might understand as well, but what about the rest of the audience?

If the purpose of your campaign is to get users to buy online, then be sure to make the ability to do so as easy for the user as possible.
If it’s purely information you are offering, then make sure you are getting your point across accurately and efficiently.
Make sure your message is clear and concise – always!

And if South park seasons 1 through to 5 are any indicator, not having an easy to understand message results in a very violent death in every single episode.

 

“Sh-sh-Sharron! You gotta come see this!”

Randy Marsh

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WXhO_-e3bM

Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and G+ have enabled online content to be shared across the web more easily than ever before. The trick however is to make something worth sharing. Putting in the extra effort to make content that people WANT to read and share is far more rewarding for the user, brand and search engines than constant streams of blog spam aimed at gaming search engine results.

If you’re proud of something. Show it off!
(PS: Randy is the greatest!)

 

 

Cheating is bad Mmmkay

Mr Mackey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4_tOiLB_Ko

With the ‘damage’ the Penguin and more recent Panda updates from Google have caused a lot of the more –cough – less relevant sites, it’s clear that the tactics to try and trick the search engine algorithms into thinking your site is an authority only last for so long.

Sure those 1500 links for $80 made your site rank on the first page after a week. But when that little Panda came wondering out of Google a few months back, all of a sudden your traffic plummets and you’re chasing your tail trying to become relevant again.

There is a difference between optimising for search and gaming for search. Follow the rules and do it well and you’ll win this SEO game in the long run. Buy into the short cuts and the results can be catastrophic – mmmkay.

 

“Everything is back to normal. I-I think… I think I can go back to trying to destroy the world again”

Butters (aka Professor Chaos)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ocaztxj87E

This search engine stuff changes almost daily. As of July 24, Google have already made 24 major changes to their algorithms. As mentioned above, in order to be a successful search marketer you have stay on top of the changes. The landscape of search will be different in 12 months than it is today just like it was 12 month before today.

Never lose site of what it is both you and (to some extent) the search engines are trying to achieve – the best search result for the user. Overcome the hurdles of algorithm changes and external influences and carry on trying to create the best result possible. That is after-all why we do this search stuff.

Author

Who the hell is Daylan Pearce?

Daylan is a digital strategist for branding agency Principals. Looking after digital and customer experience projects, Daylan has been featured in The New York Times, News.com.au, B&T, ProBlogger and more. He once ate 13 McDonald's cheeseburgers in under 5 minutes, but strongly advises against anyone else ever trying that. He also feels slightly odd when writing about himself in the third person for blog biography summaries.