How SEO is Like Guitar Hero (or Rock Band, if That’s Your Thing)

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It’s been a while, but I thought I’d author a post this week about how awesome Rock Band is and then lazily tie it in with SEO. Oh, and to save some of you from posting this in the comments, no, this has nothing to do with making millions of money online, MMA, boobs, affiliate marketing, free t-shirts, fellating Shoemoney, or anything else that you’re dying to read on Shoe’s blog. Yes, this post sucks, yes, you want more posts from Shoe, yes his guest authors are shitty, etc. and so on and so forth. Okay, moving on…

Shoe mentioned in an earlier post that he thinks Guitar Hero rocks, and I (along with millions of other dorks who prefer pushing buttons on a plastic guitar to plucking the real thing) am inclined to agree with him. I do prefer Rock Band to Guitar Hero, simply because I bought Rock Band first and think the interface is a lot cleaner looking than the GH series. Oh, and because I rock on the drums. (Except for that fucking Iron Maiden song.)

Anyway, today I went back and drummed a few songs on Medium, and I was surprised at how different it felt when I was used to playing on Hard or Expert, and that got me thinking about how playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band is like starting out as a search engine marketer.

When you first start out, you suck. Hard. You don’t have any idea what you’re doing, and the most basic tasks seem impossible to you, whether it be mastering the simple combination of green/red/yellow or just getting a basic understanding of how search engines work, how to build links/perform a site review, or generally how to create a website that makes money. It seems like daunting work, and you think, “I am never going to get the hang of this…”

You practice and get better, little by little. The game becomes addicting, much like checking your analytics or seeing AdSense earnings for a few paltry bucks. “Hey, this isn’t so bad!” you think.

Eventually you graduate to a higher level, and you have to start all over again. What seemed easy before is suddenly impossible (“Where the hell did all these notes come from?! BLUE?! I have to use my pinky finger now?!!”)–you have to deal with more advanced SEO issues and tactics, whether it be successfully creating, launching, and monitoring linkbait, dealing with server issues, figuring out how to make an assload of money vs. just a buttload, etc.

Little by little, you work your way upwards until you become an Expert, your fingers flying from green to yellow to orange with the greatest of ease. You own Freebird on Guitar Hero 2, kick the crap out of The Devil Went Down to Georgia on GH3, and have your way with Green Grass and High Tides on Rock Band. Just for kicks, you decide to play a song on Easy or Medium, to reminisce about the good old days when you were a clueless moron who didn’t know any better.

And, surprisingly, you miss some notes here and there. Your timing is off, and you hit buttons too early. You get lazy and overlook a couple notes that squeak by. And the same goes for SEO. You’re so busy with intermediate and expert stuff like making assloads, building tools and widgets, and analyzing crawler directives that you forget about the little, basic things. Like link building. Or blogging. Or even keeping up on industry news. This stuff starts collecting dust and sits neglected like that unfinished solo tour on Easy mode.

So, yeah, Guitar Hero (and Rock Band) isn’t unlike starting out in Internet marketing–when you’re new to it, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing and all of your friends are way better than you are. With a little practice and determination, however, you can get a good idea of what you’re doing and grasp concepts and practices that seemed impossible at first. Just don’t forget the long and arduous path you took to get to where you are, and don’t neglect the little things you started out doing that are probably just as important as the “expert” stuff that’s occupying all of your time.

Oh, and by the way, my Rock Band’s band name is “Hitler’s Poncho,” which XBox Live informed me was not “classy” enough (yes, they actually used the word “classy”) to be displayed online. I guess I’ll have to change my name to “Hitler’s Windbreaker” instead.

51 thoughts on “How SEO is Like Guitar Hero (or Rock Band, if That’s Your Thing)

  1. Aaron Wakling

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Aaron Wakling

  2. Search◊ Engines Web

    Why would anyone casually throw the HITL*R name around as if it was just another description.
    Does anyone really understand the depths of depravity of the period in civilization. Or maybe it loses its shock after decades and new generations.

    searchengines.wordpress.com/2008/01/18/video-archives-of-worst-moments-of-past-century/

  3. Vizion

    ….uh where’s the boobs at? No, i’m kidding – good quick read and honestly i’m a newbie when it comes to SEO and i’m cool with that. Have yet to play GH sadly but understand the point.

  4. Fiscal Musings

    I’m a huge fan of Guitar Hero, but have played Rock Band and really like the new guitar. As for the point of the post, I think I’m finally up to medium concerning my blogs and such. For one, I’m finally making the switch to WordPress from Blogger if my hosting would just transfer a domain name already. I’ve already transfered one blog over, and it’s at least a hundred times better.

  5. GeorgeB

    I skipped the rest of your post. I SO thank you for letting us know this would be another shitty, irrelevant guest post.

    It was the least you could do and I applaud you for it.

  6. rb at the rb post

    You know, SEO is basically an art form, an art form that must be carefully tweaked over time. Good analogy with Guitar Hero–I agree. SEO requires a particular skill set that the novice simply does not have, and this skill set must be continually refined to meet the changing nature of SE’s.

    P.S. Thanks for reminding me of the need to play Guitar Hero sometime soon.

  7. rkelley Post author

    Hitler’s Poncho was actually a joke that comedian Todd Berry made about a crappy garage band with an equally asinine name, so no, I’m not anti-Semitic (though I do find it interesting that you asterisk’d out “Hitler” as though it were a swear word).

  8. Catherine Lawson

    Hi Rebecca – actually I find your posts to be some of the most interesting on this blog. And this is a great comparison. Don’t get me wrong – I like Shoemoney, but lets face it – if he posted that he’d just farted, there’s be a whole bunch of commentors saying “Great post”, or “That’s awesome.”

    It is often the small stuff that is most important in anything we do, but it’s true that many of us start cutting corners when we become too busy and forget all about it.

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  10. Dave

    I’m not much of a fan of any of those guitar hero games. I don’t get what the big deal is. After one game I get bored. Probably the most overrated game in the history of the world.

    If you were to write a post about ‘how seo is like mike tyson’s punchout’, then maybe i’d agree.

  11. Jeremy Schoemaker

    Just for the record I love your posts. You can post anytime ;) A lot of times you write what I am thinking but I just do not have the written ability that you do. Your Yuwie post is still one of my favorites and just the other day it was stumble spiked again lol..

  12. Mubin

    I was about to call bS on this post, but you wrapped it all together quite nicely in the end. Its just like when our sites get big we forget how much work and effort we put in the start of it, manually digging each article, begging for some stumbles, link exchanges. Once the damn thing is a success you just expect these things to happen on their own.

    Btw. You and PamCakes should definitly do q video together. You dont even have to talk, just sit there and giggle or something.

  13. Think Like An SOB

    I thought you said there would be not “fellating” and you start the 4th para with suck . Hard…
    Great read though, but this can be said for any video game ie. at first it takes a little getting used to with the buttons, but once you get the hang of it…and master it, it all seems so easy.

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  15. Erica

    I personally suck royally at Guitar Hero and haven’t even tried Rock Band. I just don’t think I’m coordinated enough…but it was a great comparison to SEO and a very easy read. I’m glad SEO isn’t as frustrating to me as Guitar Hero though. Thanks!

  16. Erin

    I think this might be my favorite post ever. It’s such a great point (and of course we all had a blast reading it and saying “yeah, that damn pinky is a bitch!”). Once you get up and running it’s so easy to let the day to day things fall away because you’re “too busy with more important tasks.” And for the record… Rock Band is better than GH :)

  17. Sean Maguire

    Nice post Rebecca, however in light of the current “anti-American” sentiment going on throughout the world right, I think you could have been a bit more thoughtful by catering to those readers outside America who think we feel we’re the shit. I guess I’ll just pick up the slack for ya:

    1 standard assload is equivalent to 3.3 metric assloads

    Have a great day!

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  26. Frogger Games

    What the heck are these people talking about. It’s like you goofs didn’t even read the post. Get with the picture already!

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