Monetization Playbook #35 — SEO is Hard! Try Originate Expression Search instead.

You can ignore this advice if you’re a black belt 5th dan SEO master!

SEO is HARD! TRY OES [Originate Expression Search]

Why race to the bottom when you can start at the top — own don’t optimize! Create your own terms and make em stick!

While I see the value, I’d have to admit — I’m not that good at SEO. The evergreen, albeit diminishing, rent that accrues from SEO perfection is something we all want. Right?

But SEO is hard. Proper hard! Backlinks this. URL slug that. 303 re-directs. It’s all too much!

So what can you do? Well, the answer may be — to own, not optimize!

Search Engine Optimization [SEO], as the name suggests, aims to be the optimal return string for the googler’s question. In short, you provide the best answer to the user’s query — as determined by the google bot.

Two opposing approaches thus arise for SEO world domination

If we ascribe to the Peter Thiel worldview — competing is for losers. That’s a bit strong, but what he’s trying to tell us is to look for monopolies. A monopoly in a market. A monopoly in a product. A monopoly in a customer segment. And yes, a monopoly in a term.

Al Ries told us many years ago that a brand should strive to own a word or term in the consumer’s mind. Think of now commonly used words such as bootstrapped, contrarian, no-code, and the tongue twister — asynchronous — entered the lexicon. Someone started their use. Propagated their use. Explained their use — and owned their use.

Great examples include:

Build Once, Sell Twice — Jack Butcher

Personal Monopoly — David Perell

Membership Economy — Robbie Kellman Baxter

Indie Hacker — Courtland Allen

Passion Economy — Li Jin

Monetization Architecture — strat-e-gym

When it comes to SEO, if you’re a black belt 5th dan in backlinks et al., then keep doing what you’re doing — for everyone else — inversion thinking may just be for you.

Own — don’t optimize. Originate Expression Search!

Originally published at on February 26, 2021.

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