the frequency a kenny chung blog

January 5th, 2012
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I’ll admit that the title of this blog post is a bit sensationalist, but walk down this path with me and maybe it will be justified enough to make sense. Alternative names for this blog post? “How to Sell SEO to a Non-Believer” or “Wagering on SEO” or maybe even “SEO is next to Godliness”. Okay, not that last one.

The inspiration for this post is the argument proposed by the French philosopher/mathematician Blaise Pascal regarding the existence of God. His viewpoint, dubbed Pascal’s Wager, stated (without taking sides in the argument) that whether or not God exists, it benefits a person to live virtuously such that when that person dies, he or she will have done a life of good as a result of the potential existence of God, regardless of whether or not there’s a Heaven or anything afterwards. The possibility of being a good person and not going to Heaven are considerably outweighed by the consequences of being an immoral person your whole life and then finding out that God exists. The probability math comes out to roughly 3 out of 4 times, it’s better to live your life as if you believed in God.

I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes in interpreting Pascal’s Wager, but the general framework can be applied to many non-theistic topics, such as global warming. Take this comic for example:

Global warming Climate Summit comic
This comic is a personal favorite regarding the global warming “debate”

This all relates back to SEO, I promise. Hopefully also with practical implications.

So let’s say you have to sell SEO to a client or business. You can invoke some form of Pascal’s Wager to do so, as unintuitive as it may seem. The best argument for why SEO is a useful service worth paying for isn’t in dollar signs, rankings, or clickthrough rate percentages. It’s in the alternative. How much does it cost for that company to not have optimized pages and to not rank well on the first page for relevant terms? That’s the gambit. Sure, there are checks and P&Ls involved, but at the end of the day, if you shell out X amount of dollars for good SEO, it’s worth it 75% of the time. And that’s an ROI any marketer can get behind.

This reminds me of a party I attended recently where a stranger asked what I did for a living. I replied with the generic “Internet marketing” to some awkward indifference. I then added, “you know, God’s work.” That at least got a chuckle. Little did he know I wasn’t entirely joking.

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