Why SEO is like The Biggest Loser

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Few television shows are as close to a one-to-one comparison to Search Engine Optimization like The Biggest Loser. From the personal trainers to the eliminations to the goal of the show, trimming down an SEO site is eerily similar to the weekly weight-loss programming seen frequently on NBC.

Every contestant is obese. When a SEO is first contacted by an internet business, whether to join the In-House team or as an outside consultant, it is very rare that the website they start work on is doing well at all. Almost certainly, the website will be fat, out of shape, and will require work, whether through link building (working out), or on-site optimization (diet and lifestyle). If things were working out great and the person had great control of their site or their SEO services, they wouldn’t be contacting you, the personal trainer.

The process takes a long time. SEO is not a quick fix. While we can make some quick, immediate changes to a website (diet and lifestyle), it takes long term commitment to link building (exercise) and maintenance of the website to get to our ideal image, which is a front page rankings. Hopefully, these front page rankings will convert traffic into customers (dates!).

Every person requires a different trainer style. Every client and company is different. Some clients will require ninety e-mails and countless phone-calls to finally change their title tags (dietary habits), while others will do so instantaneously. Some of these clients will like you a little too much and start calling you even when you shouldn’t be working. This happened to Bob Harper in Season 8 with Amanda – I know, I thought it was a little weird too.

The less efficient contestants get cut. Many times you will have to eliminate entire parts of a website and restructure them to get your ideal picture. At the end of the process, you will be left with the best parts of your website, and those parts will be in the best shape of their lives, due to the link building and on-site optimization that was implemented throughout the process.

Unfortunately for the contestants (and the SEOs getting paid), the show ends. Whether it’s by mutual breakup, the company folding or underperformance by one or both parties, the website no longer has its personal trainer. This, of course, can lead to..

.. the contestants getting fat again. Ranking first doesn’t mean you have to stay first. Many times websites will lose their dedication to link building, start scaling inefficiently, and get passed up by fitter, sexier competitors. Many of these contestants were fat in the first place because they had no concept of optimal SEO practices, and if they choose to never take them up or really learn them, they’re bound to get fat again.

So what lesson can we pull from this tale of obesity and sorrow? Learn your SEO, continuously practice it, and, for heaven’s sakes, work out. And I don’t mean link build, please get in the gym.

I don’t want to see you on that show.

Ross Hudgens
Ross Hudgens is an SEO in the Seattle area. He frequently blogs about SEO on his blog and specializes in dynamic content creation for websites... Read Full Bio
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  • Mr.Ven

    I would say, its a great mapping between two contexts. And I understood that SEO is not a loser. Is that right ?

  • Sean Andre McHugh

    @Mr. Ven: No, SEO is not a loser in the negative sense: “loser” in this context means losing weight, thus “The Biggest Loser (of Weight)”. The title itself is a double entendre. = )

    Excellent article. I love how you analogize SEO to losing weight, because that's all it figuratively really is. This is even more true now with the recent change to start considering load times in site ranking. Everything you have on your site needs to count!

    – Sean

    • Ross Hudgens


      Forgot about the site speed part. Ha, would have been a good thing to add. Thanks for commenting!

  • jeffrey


    I agree with you on “Every contestant is obese.”

    Yes, each website either need a total overhaul or need some tweak in their framework in order to be at least compliance and then had to work on the onsite conversion. But not many understand though.

    But nevertheless, SEO is not a big fat loser who “get” it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ross Hudgens

      I didn't say they were big fat losers. They are big and fat though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • David Crandall

    Wow! Fantastic job with your analogy about something that is often so mysterious to the online community. I've never thought of it this way, but you can bet that it will stick in my head from this point on.

    I'd rather learn easy with Bob than be beat up by Gillian any day!

    • Ross Hudgens

      Thanks David – I prefer Gillian, personally. I like being pushed to the limit!

  • Jurgen Estanislao

    Great post Ross!

  • le-juge

    Another Analogy – The biggest Loser makes Loads of money. It should be the same thing for a website – Better visibility = more traffic = more business

  • Daniel Jose

    Its too informative resources you shared with us.

  • G King

    I am always looking to 'trim the fat' off of my site to make it better. Fat in terms of bloated code, not great content.

  • Stela

    To lose fat is the major topic for fat people and really they go through a very tough conditions. It is true that the show was one of most popular shows and is gaining too much popularity and because of that the sites related to that are also popular.

  • Website Design Sydney

    Great post here. Thanks

  • duckie

    hello my name is ethel cheek i do not believed that books can help you lose weight i been in every diet plan anyone ever had and nothing have not work for me.i would like to be on tv program so people can see if it realy work .I ask for help with so many people but know want to help please help me iam a newy wedd and i never let my husband see my body is so bad looking i hate it .I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MY VIRGINA I HAVE NOT SEEN IT IN 17 YEARS.

  • Mike

    I'm agree with that post. SEO is a hard job and we need to practice much and make a lot of experiments to have a success.

  • Mike

    I'm agree with that post. SEO is a hard job and we need to practice much and make a lot of experiments to have a success.