“Good artists copy, great artists seal,” is a quote from Pablo Picasso and is frequently referenced by famous entrepreneurs. Most notably, Steve Jobs, my personal favorite.
This quote may be misleading at first, but the way I apply it in my daily life is more like, “Don’t reinvent the wheel”.
I apply this concept to everything I do, every business I start, and every time something needs to get done. Rather than waste precious time trying to figure out what has already been figured out, I “steal” it. Let me explain…
By “steal” I don’t mean acquire unlawfully. What I mean is that I put my ego aside and leverage the work of others. A perfect example is this very blog. Do you notice any familiarities? You should. It looks like every other successful blog:
- Page navigation at the top
- Clean, simple header graphic
- Straightforward design with skinny content areas and sidebar
- Tweetmeme and Facebook sharing badges at the top
- Interesting image in the top left corner of every blog post
- Bulleted lists and a bit of humor
At first you may think that you need to be completely different and unique. But what every good salesman knows is that commonality and connection come first, THEN your USP (unique selling proposition).
By the way, USP applies to everything unique about you, your product, or your business. Whether you realize it or not, you’re ALWAYS selling- even if you’re selling yourself.
By making the look, feel, and navigation of my blog familiar, we have a common ground. And as for my USP, well that’s my writing of course
Think about it. If you landed on a website that was too different than what you’re used to, how much time would you spend trying to figure it out? Exactly..
Did you know that the most popular songs are the ones the average person can easy sing along to? Why is that?? It’s because of common ground. By singing along you feel a connection with the band and therefore enjoy the music more.
Why are the most successful blogs (and now) sales materials written in a conversational, first person style? Because that’s how people really talk and it builds a better bond.
If you’re not a thief, give it a try! Set your ego aside, steal something great, and I bet you’ll get further, faster.
You might remember that George has always had a tough time with employment starting from season one. In the two-part episode, The Boyfriend, George is working his butt off to scam unemployment, so he doesn’t have to get a job.
Jerry sums it all up with the quote, “If they had any idea of the effort and energy that [George] is expending to avoid work, I’m sure they’d give him a raise.”
I laugh aloud every time I hear this line because it’s so true! The best comedy comes from real life and this scenario is no exception. It reminds me of how most Internet Marketers approach SEO.
So many waste their time looking for ways to cheat the system or find the magic bullet to get their site to the top of the rankings. There is so much bad advice out there it’s no wonder that the common misconception is that SEO = manipulating search engines.
Tactics like keyword stuffing, link farms, mass social media bookmarking tools, and comment spam are a complete waste of time. Google can figure a lot of this stuff out and will penalize you or even remove your site from the results completely.
Another thing many people don’t realize is that any website or blog that has a back-link value disables your links from getting SEO credit from within comments. It’s called “nofollow” and was put into practice to ward off comment spammers, but since it’s still being taught by many of the Internet Marketing “gurus” it still goes on.
Stop thinking like George Costanza! Sure, it’s funny, but you’ll end up a loser in the end. Instead, refocus your efforts on creating quality, relevant content that your readers want to read and share.
Although content is king, there are a number of things you can do to fine tune on-page SEO, but if you only did these three things you’d be ahead of 90% of the people out there taking the George Costanza approach.
- Use an “SEO-ready” web platform. I use WordPress for all of my sites, unless there is a very compelling reason not to.
- Include relevant keywords in your blog or page title, URL, and in the body. This kills two birds with one stone. It gets your page ranked and tells your readers what the page is really about.
- Provide link sharing buttons to encourage your visitors to share your content, which will get you legitimate back-link SEO credit. Tweetmeme and Facebook are probably the most common. Next would be the social bookmarking sites like Digg or Del.icio.us, or StumbleUpon. Don’t forget LinkedIn if your writing for a B2B audience.
I’ll get into a more detail as I write more posts. Leave me a comment and tell me what you want to know.