Dinobot SEO: Grimlock’s Insight Into Search Marketing

Dinobots: Swoop, Snarl, Sludge, Slag, Grimlock
Dinobots: Swoop, Snarl, Sludge, Slag, Grimlock

The Dinobots were always my favorite characters on the Transformers cartoon. I don’t know if it was because they were huge, dumb, and always breaking stuff, or if it was just because like every 5-year-old boy, I had a love of dinosaurs. No matter the reason, I could not get enough of the episodes that focused on the Dinobots. I always liked Swoop best because he could fly. Plus, the pteranodon is easily one of the best orders of dinosaurs.

Even as a little boy, I could see some things that didn’t make sense regarding the Dinobots. Here are a few:

1. There are 5 Dinobots: Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Snarl and Swoop. However, there are many times that we only see 4 of them together. Most of the time, Swoop is missing. It’s weird.

2. When they were first created, the Dinobots ran amok and almost destroyed Teletraan I (the Autobots’ computer). The Dinobots were basically turned off and stowed away. When the Autobots really needed their help, the Dinobots were given cerebral upgrades, but even with the upgrades, they still thought and talked like cavemen. My question is: If you’re some super-sophisticated race of robots, why create robots that are dumb? Was processing power limited? Did Intel not create enough chips that year?

3. In some episodes, the Dinobots are massive, robotic beasts that are as big as actual dinosaurs. Yet when they transform back to robot form, they are smaller than some of the other Autobots. I don’t get that. Does the transformation cause their various parts to change sizes? It just doesn’t make sense when they are 30 feet tall in dinosaur form, but then they are 7 feet tall in robot form.

There. I have spoken my peace about miscellaneous plotholes regarding the Dinobots. I’m pretty much all over the place tonight, so I’ve decided to post a blog about the Dinobots and SEO/SEM. It’s easily a reach. A friend of mine would say that this is such a reach that I might even stretch a muscle by reaching so far. Oh well. Here it goes.

Grimlock is the mostly brainless leader of the Dinobots. He was always dumb, but after the animated movie was released in 1986, his brainlessness increased dramatically – to the point where he was relatively limited to a comic relief role. He did save the Universe in one episode, so don’t think that he’s only good for a laugh. Even though he said some dumb stuff and even though most of it was in caveman talk, I thought there was always some underlying wisdom in Grimlock’s words. This post will examine how Grimlock’s apparently witless logic can actually apply to the SEO/SEM world. As I said before, it’s a total reach on my part, so good luck in following any of it.

Grimlock: Dinobot Commander
Grimlock: Dinobot Commander

On analyzing options:
“Grimlock see 1, 2, 3, a zillion tunnels here! How we know which one to take?”

Optimizing your search marketing campaigns can be a real hassle. It seems like there are a zillion options available. When budgets are being cut and when it seems like all executive-level eyes are focusing on all of your search marketing channels, life can really suck. Given the nature of our new economy, it’s very important that we consider all the options. Do we turn off all campaigns? Do we reduce spend on one of them and increase it on another? If so, what increase/decrease combinations are best? And for which campaigns? My answer: follow the short-term and long-term ROI trail. You know what a customer means to you now. It’s money that will keep your ROI up for the next company meeting and marketing review. But do you know what the long-term ROI is for all site visitors? And what about the lifetime value of a new customer? That is a metric you should always consider. It’s one of the main reasons that all aspects of your search marketing campaigns are important. Tracking the long-term ROI for new customer acquisition is often tough to do. And depending on goals, short-term ROI for a certain campaign may not be the best indicator of long-term success. I wish I could say follow your heart on this one, but that’s likely to get you demoted or something. On the other hand, you should follow your instinct. Keep your paid search, paid inclusion and SEO campaign active. Even if you have to reduce the spend on one or two of those channels, find a logical, happy equilibrium where you are still finding new customers who are purchasing now. Once the economy corrects itself and we are out of this tailspin, resume an aggressive approach for all campaigns.

Me Grimlock here to save universe.
Me Grimlock here to save universe.

On repeating stuff to people who cannot comprehend:
“Ohh, with some Autobots you have to explain everything.”

Most e-commerce marketing managers and directors are SEO idiots. However, it’s not really their fault. They’ve got their hands tied up in a lot of other stuff. However, they want to be involved in the SEO, so that’s when things get fun. Most of my time is spent emailing, creating documents, repeating ideas and strategies, and explaining SEO for the Nth time. The thing that I have to remember is that these e-commerce people are the good guys, and they are not all-around idiots. I need them to dedicate their IT/Dev teams to my SEO strategies. Call it love/hate. Call it a real beating, but these people are my friends. We are all on the same side. We’re all Autobots. While it might seem like my H tag strategy is the most important thing they’ll ever need to do, I know there are actually 100 high priority items on the project list. I should be happy to even have mine considered for completion in 2009. Or at least that is what I keep telling myself.

On needing the latest in digital tools and devices to get stuff done:
“Guide? No need guide. Have Grimlock!”

After the Transformers movie in 1986, Grimlock became even dumber. They turned him into a full-time comic relief character. Throughout the series, Grimlock had a certain affinity for situational irony. In the episode where Grimlock becomes an intellectual genius, while still in his ignoramus state, he issues this line: “Guide? No need guide. Have Grimlock!” And then he breaks a futuristic GPS/compass that is helping them navigate through a series of underground tunnels. The other Autobots were angry that he broke the compass, so Grimlock throws a tantrum and storms off, determined to find the power core himself. Grimlock wanted to lead the way, and he thought he could without the use of a tool. Grimlock did indeed find the power core without the use of a futuristic, digital device – proving that we don’t always need the most accurate data, coolest new automated tools or smartest people telling us what to do on our search marketing campaigns. Just follow your gut instinct. Do what makes sense. Most of my job is implementing ideas that just make sense. It’s not rocket science. I’m not even sure why it’s worth so much money. It’s actually very simple. But please don’t tell anyone, or else I’ll be out of a job.

On failed attack strategies:
“Me Grimlock need new strategy.”

During the animated Tranformers movie, the Dinobots attempt to defeat Unicron, the most gigantic and terrifying Transformer in the universe. Unicron is a planet. He is the 800-pound gorilla in the industry (if you will). He is the biggest obstacle they will ever face. Now that I think about it more, Unicron actually lends himself very well to an analogy about search marketing. After 4 of the Dinobots attack various parts of Unicron’s body, it is immediately clear that they need a new strategy. Rather than keep trying the same attack strategy, Grimlock leads them away to find a new strategy. We should all follow Grimlock’s guidance on this one. We must be able to find ideas and campaigns with considerable potential, but we also have to quickly adjust when ideas and campaigns are simply not working. Grimlock was quick to analyze the situation and accept the massive obstacle in front of him. He knew after a few attempts that another strategy and another angle would be needed to overcome the obstacle. Now that lends itself even more to a search marketing analogy! In fact, I’m pretty sure that the entire movie is some sort of allegory for the search marketing industry, but I digress. (So does that mean that Google is Optimus Prime or Megatron?)

Me Grimlock demonstrating finesse. Whatever that means.
Me Grimlock demonstrating finesse. Whatever that means.

On humans who take life too seriously:
“Me Grimlock laugh at small creature who make big problems.”

As an SEO, I know that the online search world is constantly changing. Google updates their algorithm every week, and the cat/mouse game continues. I also know that shit happens. Most often it is something that was unintentional. Maybe a fire burned down the building where your servers are stored. Maybe someone put a “noindex,nofollow” meta tag on your entire site in pre-production and then forgot to remove it when the site was launched. And then no one told you about it for 2 weeks. There are unfathomable things that happen to our websites. As humans, we have the unique ability to create massive headaches for ourselves, and then life becomes too serious to bear. Though life may seem very severe at times, it’s okay to laugh at it. Well, I mean once everything is fixed. And all 301 redirects are in place. And pageload time is acceptable. And the server transition from IIS to Apache is complete. And the sitemap is updated. Etc, etc…

Well, that’s pretty much it. Maybe you got it. Maybe you didn’t. Either way, we both lose. I leave you with a video of the Quintessons. They have a messed up justice system. One might call it an Injustice System.