Is SEO like the Lottery?

The recent US Lottery of $758 Million Powerball jackpot that captivated the USA last week holds a lesson for all marketers who think that there lucky number will come up or should I say website will appear on page 1 of Google.

There are many uninformed online marketing people (and senior management) who believe that once SEO is undertaken, their website will magically appear on page 1 of search engine results pages (SERPs). We tell our clients it isn’t an instant lottery result!

Many colleagues have expressed to me over the years that like lotteries, ranking in search engines has the same “random number generation” mechanics. That is, like dice rolling or casino roulette, the result cannot be reasonably predicted better than by a random chance.

While no one really knows to what extent the randomness that search engines like Google and Bing apply, we do know it’s not 100% like a lottery. Yet these mega lotteries have massive appeal. Our long time client in William Hill in Australia last month launched Planet Lottery that taps into international lottery systems for mega hundred million dollar amounts.