What do SEO and winemaking have in common?

Written by Ryan Cormier

During my recent trip to Napa Valley, I was inspired by a comparison that stuck with me: Quality SEO is a lot like making a fine wine - both require knowledge, strategy, dedication, hard work, constant attention to detail, flexibility and tremendous skill.

Most importantly, though, both winemaking and SEO require time and patience.Therein lies the problem - read on to see what I mean. Many marketers - much like anxious wine enthusiasts - lack the patience to allow their (or their agency's) SEO efforts to reach maturity and achieve the desired result(s). When immediate results aren't achieved, they write off SEO as ineffective and a waste of time/money.

It's really no different than a thirsty wine lover uncorking a prized bottle 2 years too early, only to be disappointed by its lack of complexity, depth and overall "wow factor."


wine vineyard

The 3 Core Tenets of Both SEO and Winemaking:

1. Planning

SEOs and winemakers don't dive in headfirst - both start with detailed research and meticulous planning. Whether its competitive analysis and keyword research, or site selection and soil sampling, SEOs and winemakers make damn sure they have the facts they need before moving forward.

2. Labor

Once the groundwork has been laid and a sound plan developed, it's time to execute. SEOs work with developers to implement code changes, modify site content and architecture (or launch completely new websites), set up redirects, install files for search engines' robots and add structured markup.

Winemakers work with skilled laborers to till the soil, manage and prune the vines, water the roots (but not too much), deal with unwanted insects, battle frost and generally eat, sleep and breathe the vineyard until it comes time to harvest.


wine barrels

In both cases, there's an incredible amount of hard work to be done - work that requires skill, patience, teamwork and strict attention to detail.

3. Patience

Even after the labor/execution stage, the SEO and winemaking processes don't stop. SEOs continue to develop new content, engage on social media and perform regular maintenance work. They pay incredibly close attention to vital signs like changes in Search Engine Ranking Positions (SERPs), the addition of new, high-quality inbound links, changes in domain authority and other key ranking factors. Any time an issue arises they take immediate action to right the ship.

The same holds true for winemakers. Once the juice is in the fermentation tank you won't find them hanging up their hats - there are still countless hours to be expended adding yeast, adjusting tank temperatures, monitoring the fermentation process, transporting the fermented wine into steel or oak barrels for aging and constantly monitoring the air temperature and humidity level in each aging area. Like SEOs, winemakers don't waste a single moment when it comes to addressing a flaw or breakdown in the process, as the results could be fatal for the end product.

Why does all of this matter?

It matters because the end result - and ultimate customer satisfaction - rely not only on strict adherence to these processes, but also on the patience of the end user. If both are present, the results can be truly magical (not to mention profitable).

An SEO client that expects immediate results and abandons all hope when their site isn't on page one of Google within two months isn't good for business. That client is ultimately going to terminate his/her relationship with you, and will probably leave feeling jaded about your company, SEO agencies and the practice of SEO as a whole.

A wine aficionado - real or self-proclaimed - is likely to have a similarly disappointing experience if he pops open that 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon the winemaker promised would knock his socks off if he waited until 2017 to drink it.

Sure, the time difference for some fine wines to reach peak maturity is far longer than the process of quality SEO takes to drive the desired results, but you get the idea.

With SEO and fine wine, you get what you pay for, although you can still screw up an amazing product if you lack the patience to see it through.[/quote]

I'm curious to know what you think of my analogy of SEO and winemaking - leave me a comment or tweet @ForwardLasVegas. If you're a marketer in need of SEO consultation, click the button below to schedule a free SEO review/consultation!