As an SEO who has recently started going to the gym more often, I randomly came up with the following comparisons:

1. Long term effort

As with SEO, you have to play the long-term game at the gym, as you can’t just do one day’s work and expect to see results. You have to commit to it to reap the rewards.

2. Copying the competition isn’t always best

If your entire SEO strategy is based around what your competitors are doing then you may struggle to beat them – and similar to the gym: what works for somebody else may not necessarily work for you.

3. Distribute your time

To run a successful SEO campaign you can’t just focus on 1 area to improve, it has to be a relevant mix. Should you do link building for longevity (cardio at the gym)? Or should you work with what you have already got by tweaking on-page factors (weight lifting at the gym)?

4. Don’t be put off

There may be bigger and better competitors (or people) in your area, but that isn’t to say you can’t be successful. Measure success by your own metrics, not somebody else’s.

5. You can help by doing other activities

Just because you are doing SEO (or working out at the gym) doesn’t mean you can’t do other things to help your website (or fitness…). PPC and PR may help you get quicker results from an online marketing campaign, just as dieting may help you get fit quicker.

6. Avoid temptation of underhand tactics

A temptation can creep in when you are working on a long-term strategy, and that is to get quick-wins via underhand methods. ‘Black hat’ SEO may seem like a good idea, and work initially, but can cause issues further down the line – similar to taking steroids to aid your training at the gym.

7. Baseline your results

Running an SEO campaign for 6 months could be great, but you won’t be able to form a comparison unless you baseline the results before starting. Similar to the gym, you can work hard, but unless you know the areas you are improving then you won’t be able to gauge whether it has been a success.

So there you have it – 7 reasons why doing SEO is like going the gym (I was going to do 10 but couldn’t think of anymore, so feel free to add yours in the comments!)

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  • Jimi Chan

    I have a friend who claims being a SEO for a company called Auto Shipping Network, they transport cars anywhere in the world, and dreaming to get himself a BMW… He works(out) 15 hours a day… I bet someday he’ll eventually build his body at a real gym to get his stress of his shoulders and getting his BMW by exercising with blogs!
    Great post!

  • Tim White

    Nice analogy!
    Car shipping companies are good exercise if you carry the cars on your shoulders… How about some leg presses?

  • Re “Underhand tactics”…… I recently noticed a competitors site which has meta keywords which are the names of other competitors. Surely this is “underhand”? What do the search engines make of that sort of thing?

    • Roger, there’s a couple of thoughts on that. Froma legal perspective, there may be grounds for an action as there would be some argument that those using competitor brand names are attempting to “pass off”. I guess it would depend on the legal ownership of that name. You can advertise alongside search results against a brand name which may be a competitors. So if you are “Plods Shoes” and someone types a search for ” Bongo bongo shoes”, you can have your advert appear alongside those search results. You can’t say that you are “Bongo bongo shoes” and even if you dont, “Bongo bongo” may still decide to try and take an action against you. Legal action isnt always about winning, it often seems to be about the threat of cost.
      As to your question about wondering what search engines think about that sort of thing, yes it is possible to outrank someone for their brand term. There are many reasons why it might be relevant to do so. Google applies it algorithm in an agnostic fashion (lets pretend shall we?) so the page that is viewed as strongest will rank highest. You have no right to rank well in any search engine which is why any brand ignores online marketing at its’ peril

  • It is a good analogy.
    Both are like climbing up a slippery slope without cramp-ons. Stop or lose momentum and you slide back down or regress. Keep up the momentum, moving forward and slowly over time, it starts to work.
    Have a layoff from both and much catch up is needed to get to where you were before, especially after a long lay off.
    Steroid use in both areas is not allowed as it gives you bitch tits……oops!