Uttering the words “search engine optimization” often strikes fear into the hearts of business owners the world over, yet saying “Farmville” makes faces light up in delight…and it’s not even a real word. Well, perhaps not all faces light up at the thought of the highly successful Facebook application. It was reported last March that a Bulgarian official was sacked for milking a virtual cow—there’s irony in there somewhere.

It’s also no secret that many businesses are cracking down on their employees playing the game at work. Players describe Farmville as an addiction and the United States is the top Farmville playing country (Turkey, the Philippines, the UK and Italy follow). One must acquire animals and structures, water plants, water animals, feed animals, breed animals and all to…what, exactly? Grow the farm, get points and earn cyber-money. And if the plants or animals are neglected, they die off.

I feel an analogy coming on.

Think of your website as that big, fun farm on your computer screen. And just like a farm, it needs a little TLC, only No Scrubs. Your ultimate goal is sales, right? Sales = money, only it’s real money. So, in order to achieve sales, one must plant some organic seeds—or search engine optimization (SEO) keywords—in the right fields—or site pages—and water them—aka allow the search engines to catalog them. The more strategic your keywords and their placement, the better chance that you’ll be found, which can lead to more sales, etc.

Additionally, instead of exchanging golden eggs and waiting for them to hatch, your site will offer—at least it should offer—solid, well-written content that other folks will want to link to. And the more people link to you, the more chances you’ll have to drive traffic to your site.

Now, that being said, there’s your site’s upkeep. How about a stable to keep your horses in? Or a chicken coop? Each structure has a rhyme and a reason and offers order to what could easily become chaos. That translates into an attractive, easy-to-navigate site featuring the information customers need in order to make a decision about the services or products you’re offering. No horses in the chicken coop or wells in the living room of the farmhouse, please.

Now, one of the most amazing things about Farmville is how much time people will spend on it or go back to it throughout a day. Chickens require you to check back in every four hours when they hatch…or some such thing. A web site doesn’t need nearly as much of a commitment, but it does require some monthly maintenance, otherwise your content risks getting stale. And when that happens? Lower search engine rankings, fewer sales and more time for your employees to play Farmville since they won’t have as much to do.

Farmville…SEO…

Don’t you love how our minds work?

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