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

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.

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