Don’t Be an SEO Cookie Monster
Ah, Sesame Street. A childhood favorite for many of us, it taught us our ABC’s and valuable lessons about diversity and conflict resolution. It also taught us that it’s OK to gobble down a bunch of cookies in one sitting. Well, not really, but that’s what Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster is best known for. Apparently in the past decade or so Cookie Monster began making healthier decisions and started adding fruits and eggplant to his diet, but let’s face it, the guy still has a reputation. He is a monster, after all. So, what does this have to do with SEO? As Cookie Monster shoved all of those cookies down his (non-existent) throat so quickly without even offering to share with Big Bird, he proved that he was one greedy dude. In SEO, you don’t want to be a Cookie Monster.
SEO is a long term process. It takes time to see results but when you do, they can be “delicious”. Like Cookie Monster could not control his urge to eat all of his chocolate chip cookies, some website owners or developers can’t control their urge to go overboard with their link building as soon as they see some success. Instead of chanting, “Me want cookie!” they chant “Me want links!” and want to double, triple, or even quadruple their link building. What they don’t realize is that they found success initially because they built their links in a way that was natural. As websites age, more links will build gradually. Typically 20-25 link building tactics per month is really all that is necessary. The Cookie Monster approach might get you 500 links in a month but they won’t all be quality links and that strategy could also raise a red flag to the search engines. In addition to wanting to go link building crazy, SEO Cookie Monsters often think that they should use their knowledge to create lots of other websites (microsites) that will rank well in order to outdo their competition. This isn’t the best strategy because it is much more important to do a very good job of building up one site rather than a poor job of building up many.
“C” might be for Cookie, but it’s also for Consequence. As in, if you practice Cookie Monster SEO there can be severe consequences, including search engine penalties. However tempting it may be to be greedy about your SEO once you’ve found success and “get” it, don’t be. It took him awhile, but even Cookie Monster learned that his habit was unhealthy.
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