Posted on July 6th, 2007

musicI’m just back from 2 days off along lovely Lake Superior, the greatest of the United States great lakes. Time by the big lake and with my family always leaves me feeling perspective and poetic. I spent a lot of time thinking about work and the growth of our company.

Some of our readers are aware of AIMCLEAR’s musical background and have asked why the last decade has been about search engine optimization instead of hit records. It is for those questioning friends and family that I offer the following explanatory prose. It’s a deviation from the normal topical material of this blog and we hope you enjoy it. Tomorrow we’ll be back to our usual fare, SEM perspective and practices. Today we’ll wax nostalgic.

SEO is Like Music.

I love SEO as much as music. The two are actually quite similar. The ebb and flow of organic, social, and paid tactic-play is like songs; both linear and non linear at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, music is so incredibly sweet. Musicians react to melody, moment, and each other like lovers intertwined within song framework. For much of my life, I’ve been music first and conducting key research into life itself. SEO is all of that and more.

SEM is Art.
We paint colorful pictures with traffic, feeling green buzz-pocket-community analytic flow. Technology feeding machines keep commerce flowing Tactics tail like dolphins coursing cathedral blue waters. “dolphins, miami dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, island of the blue dolphins, pictures of dolphins, nfl Miami, dolphins, dolphin cds” so says Trellian. Perhaps some negative keywords are in order.

SMO is Like Writing a Song
Left to right, melody dances counterpoint with bass string variables. Sing a song of linkbait. Landing page tests and Google-optimized ad rotation. Non-patterns within patterns birth rock star status producer engineers, online blog powered media rooms, and spirit guides. Now and more, personalized cut-lists are the universal results. Social media mirrors physical life. What do you feel? What do you know?

SEO is like Music
SEM recording artists write songs with footprints and shifting sand tracks on another perfect Duluth day. Fewer notes are more, except when to overwhelm with volume casts a wider net. Music and SEO are tension and release passion plays in the rabbit hole. SEO is music that pleases, entertains, and feeds families with flash. I love SEO even more than music. They are actually quite similar.

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  • AnneS

    Me thinks you got a little too much sun? Very lyrical.

  • Marty Weintraub

    There is no question whatsoever that I got a little too much sun!

  • Kat G

    Interesting (and maybe a little gushy) comparison between technology and the fine arts. At first glance, it’s tough to imagine how music and SEO could have so much in common. But, the mathmatical and strategical process involved with composing music–and optimizng search engine results–is complex. Most don’t think twice about these processes and yet everyone enjoys the final product.

  • Todd Mintz

    A line that I’ve used for years is that SEO is like Free Jazz…sure, there are rules but they are just a jumping off point for the improvisation which is where the true art lies. Glad I’m not the only one thinking this way…

  • Marty Weintraub

    Improvising within a jazz structure is a nice metaphor Todd. Can you imagine a Miles Davis Blog? :).

  • Geoff

    As a musician and writer who just landed in the SEO industry myself, I can appreciate your analogies. Let’s not forget the role of recurring theme to guide users through the experience, giving them something new, but with a consistent and familiar feel.

    As I lived in Marquette, MI for 6 years, I can also attest to the majesty of Lake Superior, which is an inspiration in its own right.

    Great post.

  • Marty Weintraub

    Thanks for the comment Geoff. I like what you say about motific development as the root of composition. Welcome to our blog.

  • James Peggie

    I’m another one who doubles in both music and SEO. A great combination. Jazz is my bag and I totally understand Todd’s take on it.


  • Marty

    We should totally form a musicians SEM group. Think of the after-hours jam possibilities @ conferences. I bet there are other musician SEM’s out there. Somebody want to start a meme? Let’s find all of the SEM musicians.

  • Todd Mintz

    I’m afraid I’m not an SEO Musician…but I attribute all my good SEO ideas to the right mixture of music, caffeine & exercise:.)

    BTW, for folks like me (and others following this thread), Yahoo Music Unlimited is the best invention since broadband…with this service, you can groove to almost anything ever recorded for a very nominal fee.

    I have written many SEO articles (most are at Search Engine Guide), but I was inspired to write one article about music…it is

  • Andy Beard

    My wife is the artist and musician, and she can’t understand SEO…. well I haven’t tried to explain it to her, she would probably end up better than me, and my life would then revolve around the drudgery.

  • Marty Weintraub

    Thanks Todd,
    I encourage readers to visit “Me and Marvin: A Memoir of THE Anthem,” on Todd’s site, for a video music treat.

  • dedmond29

    Nice post and a fresh, alternative way to write – I like it!

  • Peter Carvell

    You’re straight up bonkers! Love it 😉

  • Marty Weintraub

    Well thank you!

  • Matt Davies

    I’m not so sure about music and SEO being so alike, but there definitely seems to be a musical theme between many of the SEOs out there. I figure it’s largely down to the amount of time we’re sat at out computers, most likely listening to music! I’m a big music fan myself… I fund my gig tickets by working as an SEO during the day! I’ve started a blog dedicated to these 2 aspects of my life… thought you might like to check it out 🙂

  • Marty Weintraub

    Interesting…thanks for stopping by Matt.

  • Burke Ingraffia

    As a musician and SEO analyst, I see where you are coming from, but I think that writing “I love SEO even more than music.” is a little too much for me.

    I think one major difference has to do with the words. Language in SEO is stuck with characters having no real meaning – for example, the word “mobile” is the 6 characters and is the same exact 6 characters for “mobile phones” and “Mobile, Alabama.” The abbreviations for Oregon and Indiana, OR and IN, are stop words, aren’t they? In songwriting, in pure human communication, words have multiple meanings beyond their characters.

    Human history existed long before SEO, but it never existed without music.