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Check-in to Landing: What Flying Can Teach Us About SEO

For many of us, our jobs can involve quite a bit of travel. From client meetings to conference travel, a lot of time is spent in airports and on planes. This past trip, whether it was from being overtired or from all the amazing SEO knowledge I’d just received, I realized that the flying process actually had something to teach us about SEO.

Check-In: Get There Early

Want the best seat? Southwest seating is based on a first come, first serve basis. The earlier you check in, the earlier you board. AirTran now charges you to pick your seat at booking. Your only chance of getting the seat you want is to pay for it or check-in early. If you don’t want to pay, you’d better get there early. The same thing applies to SEO. If you want the best results, you need to integrate SEO as early as possible. When launching a new site, don’t wait until the site design is complete. Get your search team involved from the start to ensure you won’t have to make changes later. It’ll save you time, money, and help you see results sooner.

Security: Know the Barriers to Entry

When it comes to airport security, there are quite a few rules you need to know to get through: no liquids, no belts, laptops out of the bag, etc. Don’t know the rules? Plan on being the person holding up the line. The same thing applies when starting your SEO efforts. Be aware of your barriers to entry.

  • What are your technical challenges?
  • Do you have the resources to make necessary changes?
  • What are your competitive challenges?

Knowing these things ahead of time will help you set the right expectations, troubleshoot early, and help you move through the SEO process quicker. Don’t be the person holding up the line.

The Food Court: Get in Front of the Crowd

What’s the first thing you see when you get through security? The food court. Restaurants and stores aren’t placed there on accident, they are placed there to give them maximum visibility. The entire goal of SEO is to get in front of your customers. The key is knowing where they are and what they’re looking for. From choosing keyword targets, to writing content, to participating in social communities, you need to be aware of where your customers are, what they are looking for, and how you can get directly in front of them.

In Flight: Set Expectations

Upon takeoff, the pilot comes on to tell you how long the trip will be, if there’s any turbulence expected, and what the weather is like. The flight attendants let you know what will be offered, when they’ll be coming around, and when you can turn on/turn off your electronics. It’s all about setting the proper expectations. The same thing applies to SEO. Whether you’re a SEO agency setting client expectations or an in-house SEO setting management expectations, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect from a campaign.

Baggage Claim: You Must Stand Out

With various shades of black, navy, and dark green, suitcases all tend to look the same. How many times have you seen someone pick up a suitcase only to put it back on the carousel after realizing it’s not theirs? It’s the people with bright designs or tags on their suitcases that seem to have no problem patiently waiting in the back for their easy-to-identify bag to pass by. With SEO, the goal is to make a site stand out from the rest. From the simple task of writing killer title tags to creating content, it’s our job as SEOs to ensure the website stands out from the rest. While long lines and delays can make flying challenging, the next time you’re in an airport, focus on how it can help you think about SEO. It’ll make the trip much better.

Category SEO
VIP CONTRIBUTOR Casie Gillette KoMarketing

Casie Gillette is the Senior Director of Digital Marketing at KoMarketing, a B2B marketing agency in Boston, MA. She has ...

Check-in to Landing: What Flying Can Teach Us About SEO

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