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3 Quick Lessons SEO’s can learn from Don Draper

Every SEO specialist, no matter if they have been in the game since before Google started or if they are just starting out, can always learn something new.

Instead of writing an article that talks about backlinks, penguin penalties or the ramifications of guest blogging, we at Greyhound try write something a little different but closely related none the less.

Today we are going to talk about a few lessons SEO’s can learn from Don Draper.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with who Don Draper is, he is the suave creative director and main character in AMC’s multi award-winning series Mad Men.

For those of you who have seen the series or some of the clips on social media, you will know full well how smooth he is at dealing with clients as well as colleagues and those who he crosses paths with throughout the series.

So what has Don Draper got to do with SEO?

Although the character of Don Draper (and indeed the show itself) concentrates on the fictional Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce advertising agency in 60’s Madison Avenue (Manhattan, New York) and the day to day shenanigans Don and his compatriots get up to, if you look closely, there are many lessons which can be learned by the modern digital agency and especially SEO’s.

Without further delay, here are three quick lessons SEO’s can learn from the main man himself.

Lesson 1: “You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself” – Season 4, Episode 8: “The Summer Man”

We think this is a really good piece of advice and one which a lot of SEO’s either forget to remember or just don’t bother with at all.

At the end of the day, ‘respect’ encompasses a wide variety of different meanings – whether you’re talking about ‘authorship status’ or ‘domain authority’, respect is what it all rolls back to.

Respect is also the glue that cements long-term client relationships because after all, if your client doesn’t respect you, there’s no chance they will continue to work with you.

The most important element of respect of all however is respect for who we are as SEO’s and what we do for clients.

Next time you’re sitting there and working on ways of generating backlinks for your client, before you push the ‘submit’ button on a spammy directory submission, sit back and question the work you are doing.

If you respect yourself as an SEO and the SEO techniques you employ on behalf of a client, you will realise that this is not the way forward.

At the end of the day, respect can build client relationships whilst lack of respect can destroy client relationships – it is down to you to decide which way you want to proceed.

Lesson 2: “The day you sign a client is the day you start losing one” – Season 1, Episode 10: “Long Weekend”

Again, this is another quote which is really powerful and hits the nail on the head.

Although this quote may seem a little negative at first, it is actually very true and one which should be thought about in more detail.

Think about it.

You have just signed a client that you have wanted to sign for a long time.

All the hard work you have put into relationship building, proposals, presentations and account sign-off, has paid off.

You rejoice at the successful conclusion of your hard work and give yourself a pat on the shoulder.

What you don’t realise is that the hard work starts now.

Every decision you make dictates the future success of this client and their relationship with you.

Whereas one great decision can make a huge positive impact for your client and lead to a better and more profitable relationship, one poor decision can lead to disaster and not only end the relationship with the client in a negative manner but also potentially toxify your brand too.

This is why this quote is so powerful.

So, when you begin work on a new clients SEO campaign, remember, it only takes one poor decision and you could lose that client (and future referrals) forever!

Lesson 3: “I hate to break it to you but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent” – Season 1, Episode 8 “The Hobo Code”

This is one for all you Google haters! 🙂

Although as SEO’s we get frustrated at Google for their endless roll-out of penalties and manual actions, at the end of the day they are masters of the digital universe in many ways and one thing is for certain, the Google universe is very indifferent.

We see sites that are ranking highly for competitive keywords off the back off a hugely spammy and obvious backlink profile without any intervention by Google.

We hear stories of how SEO’s for large companies implement clear black-hat techniques, get penalised by Google then miraculously re-appear in the top rankings a few days later.

We know as SEO’s how it feels to win a new client only for them to be penalised by Google’s Penguin or Panda penalty due to their previous SEO’s bad habits.

Get over it.

As Hyman Roth tells Michael Corleone in the Godfather II – “This is the business we have chosen”.

As SEO’s in the modern age, our job and responsibilities continue to change.

It is up to us as SEO’s to stay abreast of the current SEO landscape and stay in Google’s good books.

Yes, Google can be unfair at times and penalise sites that employ organic SEO techniques but this is the nature of the environment we work within.

It is no different to a lawyer working within the legal system or a doctor working with the health system and the different rules and regulations they have to adhere to.

It is down to us as professional SEO’s to make sure that our clients are always operating within the rules and regulations of the search engines and should something drastic happen for whatever reason, make sure we have contingency processes in place to minimise negative impact as much as possible.

In terms of SEO systems, that one is simple really, next time you see an advert or get an email from an unknown contact offering 10,000 blog comment links for $10 – you should know exactly what type of action to take (here is a clue, it involves a ‘delete’ button).

To finish off, we thought it would be a good idea to show you Don Draper in full flow from one of our favourite clips of the series.

In this clip, Don tries to ‘convince’ a very power potential client to come on board with his agency and without spoiling it, although  we see Don put forward some very powerful reasons for the client joining his agency, we don’t recommend you follow the same process!

So, there you have it, these are just some of the lessons we as modern SEO’s can learn from Mad Men’s cool and sophisticated Don Draper.

Although he is king of the ad men and epitomises coolness, elegance and style, for some reason, we just can’t imagine seeing Don Draper conducting latent semantic keyword research though! 🙂

Be Safe, Be White-Hat!

The Greyhound Team