SEO Lessons From Apple’s Steve Jobs

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To some he is the devil incarnate, and to others he is nothing short of a god-like genius. Love him or hate him, you cannot deny that he has a fairly nifty way with words (as well as considerable business acumen and good taste in design).

After reading a recent article in a geeky magazine, I got to thinking that maybe the esteemed Mr. Jobs could teach us a thing or two about modern SEO – and when I say modern SEO I am not talking about the spammy, repetitive strain of meta keywords and directory submissions. I’m talking about creating great content, beautiful sites, link building through real relationships and the creation of new brand names.

So, without further ado let us dive into some of his most famous quotes:

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”

Gone are the days of being propelled into the upper echelons of Google results by submitting a thousand blog comments and creating different pages for different search engines. What are you creating for your site that is truly wonderful? Sites that work hard on the content (and promote it a little) tend to do that little bit better nowadays. Put effort into what you create.

Think with the audience in mind. What would you want to see? If you wouldn’t want to see it, scrap it. You have to feel that the content you create belongs on that first page of Google.

“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.”

We know that Google is looking at the design of the site to some extent nowadays. Several versions of the Panda update debuted this year, and before that, Google rolled out its site-preview option on search results pages. Apple products are testament to the fact that people appreciate nice design as long as you don’t forget functionality.

Make your site ooze sexiness or authority or whatever is relevant to your vertical. Investin finding a good designer who will work alongside your SEO team. Usability and beauty do not have to be mutually exclusive. Which leads us to:

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Think of the iPod and the dial on the front. Not only does it look beautiful but it is practical (and to be honest, it feels good when you slide you fingers around it). Consider the slid-to-open function on the iPhone, it feels good doesn’t it? Sites should be created with these things in mind. Make sure the design is an integral part of functionality.

“I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”

Think of some of the most famous people operating in SEO at the moment. They wear their white-hat credentials (rightly so) as a badge of honor. Be proud of only carrying out white-hat techniques on your (or client’s) sites. It is a long race when you are playing by the rules but it pays off at the end. Think of the guys and gals who have succeeded in SEO (mostly white hat, right?), whilst the black hats are busy burning sites and worrying whether this morning will be the morning that they wake up and the site is gone from the search results. (That quote comes from Wil Reynolds.)

“It is hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300-plus people couldn’t compete with six people in blue jeans.”

As Google starts to favor brands more and more it is easy to think that you are not going to be able to compete with the big guys. We are the guys in the jeans, and we can compete. Be inventive, be flexible, create and innovate. It can seem fairly obvious that you are not going to get a little bitty site to be No. 1 for the keyword “insurance,” but you can find a niche that the big guys haven’t. It is all out there for you. You just have to find it.

“We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

I wasn’t at mozcon, but I have seen the slides, and both Rand Fishkin and Will Critchlow talked about this in their face-off. There is nothing wrong with “appropriating” a few good ideas from other successful companies. Twist them to fit your style, your site, you social media campaign or whatever. Most SEO strategies start with a little bit of borrowing – from keyword ideas to low-hanging link-building opportunities.

So love him or hate him, Steve Jobs has some great ideas that you can appropriate for you web strategy, and let us not forget he has been fairly successful with that little company of his.

I will leave you with two more quotes that I have in the pile, they go quite nicely together, and pretty much sum up this post:

“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do. We just want to make great products.”

“Click. Boom. Amazing!”

 

Wayne Barker
Wayne Barker works and writes for Hallam – an SEO and Internet Marketing company based in Nottingham – right in the middle of the UK.... Read Full Bio
Wayne Barker

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