What Famous TV Catchphrases Can Teach You About Enterprise SEO

This was going to be my next enterprise SEO column for Search Engine Land until I thought twice about submitting it there. However I don’t want to waste it either so I’ll give it a try here. I’m not sure where this falls in the fun to cheesy continuum, but hopefully there are some useful tips in it too. What do you think?

What enterprise SEO truisms can be found in famous TV catchphrases? Quite a few it turns out.

If you’re still here let’s hope words like “clever” and “fun” are now coming to mind instead of “incredibly cheesy” or “embarrassing.” Either way I had a deadline to meet!

In any case, here are eight truths about enterprise SEO as told by famous TV characters:

1. “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Willis?”

Arnold Jackson, Diff’rent Strokes

Gary Coleman - Arnold Jackson Diff'rent StrokesIn large organizations the various departments and business units tend to speak their own language and everyone has different priorities. As such it is vital to establish a framework for SEO initiatives and communication that resonates with each.

This also emphasizes the importance of advocacy and training. The details of SEO are still unknown to many people and as importantly there are a lot of misconceptions out there.

2. “D’oh!”

Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

Homer Simpson Doh!SEO mistakes happen often, especially with large sites. To be abundantly clear I am not comparing tech and product teams to Homer Simpson! However the fact is that whenever there is a redesign, migration or new project there are bound to be SEO issues that require attention.

For this reason regular monitoring and periodic site audits and reassessments are essential. In addition SEO feedback should be provided at each stage of the development cycle to catch things ahead of time.

Mistakes aren’t always technical either. SEO missteps from well-intentioned editorial and marketing teams are just a common, which is why ongoing training and oversight are needed.

3. “Danger, Will Robinson!”

Robot, Lost in Space

Robot Lost in SpaceIn managing multiple sites and millions of pages it sure is nice to have some tools. Enterprise-level suites like BrightEdge, Conductor and seoClarity are a good place to start.

Also take advantage of the Webmaster Tools API to gain full access to all of the Google Webmaster Tools error data for your sites.

For more suggestions check out Ian Lurie’s What Is In Your Enterprise SEO Toolkit? and Adam Audette’s Enterprise SEO Tools, Part 1 and Part 2.

4. “Yada, yada, yada.”

Elaine Benes, Seinfeld

Elaine Benes Seinfeld

The main point here is don’t skip over the details!

Not everyone needs all the information at every phase, but when it comes to execution make sure the right people have the proper specs and documentation.

5. “Make it work.”

Tim Gunn, Project Runway

Tim Gunn Project RunwayI have to admit that I’ve never seen Project Runway but this is apparently a well-known saying from the show.

When it comes to enterprise SEO you’re never going to get everything you want and things can take a lot longer than you’d like. But you’ve still got to deliver results so find a way to make it work.

Prioritizing recommendations helps to ensure that the most important things get attention. Assigning a level of impact and level of effort to each gives you a meaningful system to use in making compromises.

6. “Dyn-o-mite!”

J.J Evans, Good Times

Jimmie Walker - J.J. Evans Good Times

Analytics and reporting are critical. You need to tell the story well to win hearts and minds, maintain momentum and secure new resources when needed.

The level and style of reporting should be tailored to specific audiences. In most cases keeping it simple is best. Graphs and charts are a great way to illustrate the key points.

7. “Aaay!”

Fonzie, Happy Days

Fonzie Happy Days

Successes like significantly increasing YoY non-branded search traffic or effectively leveraging social media for SEO are actually really cool. Just saying.

8. “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Hannibal Smith, The A-Team

Hannibal Smith The A-Team

Enterprise SEO is as much about project management and interdepartmental coordination as it is about analysis and solutions. Putting a solid plan in place and seeing it all the way through is going make all the difference.

Most images from the corresponding Wikipedia page, used under Creative Commons. Arnold picture from Jason Huffman. Homer picture from Simpson Crazy. Hannibal picture from Northern Planner.


  1. says

    I completely identify myself with Homer’s point. Well, it’s not actually Homer’s point, but that’s not changing anything. “The fact is that whenever there is a redesign, migration or new project there are bound to be SEO issues that require attention.”

    This is very much true, indeed. I had that experience many times on my own and ever since then I pay a lot of attention, when these things are going to happen.

    Anyway, thanks for this post – it’s really remarkable.

  2. says

    Clever post! I’ve certainly run into plenty of “D’oh!” situations. Website owners typically don’t understand how much of web development affects SEO. When undergoing lots of site changes, always bring your SEO partner into the conversation early to avoid losing a large amount of traffic because something technical wasn’t implemented properly.

  3. says

    Thanks Patrick and Nick; glad you liked it.

    I think any of us that are involved with major site change and migrations have experienced the Homer reaction at one point or another. Hard to avoid even with careful planning which is why feedback and oversight is so helpful.

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