First published December 8, 2011 in Mediapost’s Search Insider
Once, just once, I’d love to hear an announcement come over the PA system in some public venue: “Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. Is there a search marketer in the house?”
Let me explain. Recently, a friend of mine was at a soccer tournament with our school team. One of the other parents had a sudden heart attack. My friend, who is in the medical field, swung into action and applied CPR. When the first response unit took over, one of the attendants told my friend that he had saved the parent’s life.
Longtime readers will know I’ve had a long-running identity crisis about my choice of career. This recent incident led me to wonder if there will ever come a time when my knowledge and experience will be considered critical. Will I ever save a life?
It doesn’t even have to be that dramatic. If you’re a mechanic and see a stranded motorist on the side of the road, chances are you can help. All I could do is pull over, gaze in confusion under the hood, kick a tire and explain why you should really optimize your landing pages to get the most from your search marketing campaign.
My father-in-law, who has been a carpenter all his life, can walk into most any home and fix the drawer that sticks, or put up a set of shelves. That same father-in-law can’t help a sharp and panicked intake of breathe every time he sees me pick up a power tool. My wife has acquired the same habit. Neither can explain exactly what I do, and they’ve both known me for a quarter century.
Even an accountant will constantly be asked for tax advice, a lawyer about a particularly sticky divorce, or a veterinarian about Pookie’s unfortunate habit of passing noxious gas when company’s over (and yes, Pookie is a dog). Each of these careers contributes something to the greater good of mankind. But a search marketer? We’re just not in hot demand to make the world a better place.
In my fantasy, after the aforementioned announcement, I raise my hand and confidently stride forward: “I’m a trained search marketer. What’s the problem?”
“Thank God you’re here,” says the announcer, pointing to an obviously troubled man staring at a laptop. “This gentlemen here is extremely upset.”
Beaming with quiet confidence, I gently sit down beside the man and say, “Sir, I’ve been a search marketer for almost 20 years. How can I help you?”
Through his tears, I can see a small twinkle in his eye that indicates that he’s dared to hope again. “I don’t understand it. I just can’t get this damned site to rank.”
“Well, here’s your problem — your title tags aren’t optimized. And your incoming links have no anchor text. I can fix that.”
As I take the laptop from his trembling hands, a single person in the circle of onlookers who have been drawn by the scene starts clapping. Slowing, it spreads around the circle. In minutes, uproarious cheering and clapping surround me. Outwardly, I respond with gracious humility, but inside, I’m high-fiving myself and saying, “Yah..who’s da man? I’m da man!”
Maybe there should be a medal for search marketing bravery.