I was right on the verge of doing something drastic. And I wasn’t taking chances: I had a full can of Drano, five cyanide capsules, two guns, five razor blades, a noose, and a Barry Manilow DVD.

A client — a provider of enterprise software and services — had just complained, for the 500th time, that his company wasn’t coming up on the first page of a keyword search in Google. I hung up the phone and was queuing up the DVD on my laptop when I saw this headline: “Why I Stopped Selling SEO Services and You Should, Too“. I clicked on it. This is what saved me:

It’s safe to say Google understands what users want … If we take off our SEO goggles, it’s hard to disagree … purchase-intent keywords are limited.

I wept shamelessly. Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re making a salient point based on empirical evidence or if you’re just beating a dead horse. My tears flowed freely from having been reassured that I hadn’t been taking my crop to a lifeless nag.

The phenomenological resistance to common sense and blatant evidence puts me in mind of two things: traffic jams and the Gerber Variable Scale. Here’s why:

As a Certified Type-A driver, I have no patience for traffic jams, especially on interstate highways. When stuck in them, I invariably imagine myself flying high enough above the mess to see its cause (usually someone flouting keep right laws) and its contributors (those rude and ignorant enough not to follow the flow of traffic, even the flow impeded by those who flout keep right laws). The result is a figurative Gerber Variable Scale, stretching out for miles longer than the cumulative length of the vehicles involved, measuring the collective cluelessness of the drivers behind the wheels of those vehicles.

And so it is with SEO. There’s a case to be made for the premise that Google put a fork in SEO as long as two years ago (ushering in the notion that content is king, not vice versa). Yet on we dawdle in the keyword left lane, oblivious to the needless congestion and lost opportunity behind us, vainly hoping to find the off-ramp for SEO Nirvana. (On a related note, The Chautauqua Center for the Study of Kevorkianism is putting the finishing touches on a forensic survey comparing the rates of road-rage murders and SEO-related suicides. Here’s a sneak preview: They’re neck and neck.)

As a token of my gratitude for delivering me from the depths of my own despair, I’ve sent the folks at Moz a copy of my book: Avoiding Barry Manilow and All Other Precipitants to Annihilation of the Self.

I suspect my thank-you card is already in the mail.

Image by geralt, courtesy of pixabay.com.