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Radiohead just released their new album The King of Limbs via the Web. They offered free previews for a day or two and then put the album on sale digitally via their website before it hits stores in 2 months. I missed the free previews and being the cheap bastard that I am, I was more than willing to wait until May when it would be available on MOG, the awesome music on-demand service, so I could save $10.

But this weekend, that feeling that the new Radiohead album had been out for days and I had not heard it started to gnaw at my soul. I like Music. The harder it is to play at weddings, the better. Nobody is strolling down the aisle to Everything In Its Right Place. Nobody is doing a two-step line to Kharma Police. Nobody is Radiohead.

Except Radiohead.

The download went off without a hitch. I am currently being absorbed into the track Codex. Wow.

A couple of days ago Google launched the Farmer Update to cleanse their results of spammy, low-value content. A lot of sites got hit, some obliterated. It’s appropriate that I am listening to Give Up The Ghost as I type. This will not have been a fun weekend for many CEO’s, employees, investors and families.  It probably has not been a relaxing weekend for many SEOs.

But even the greatest SEO in the world (who wants the anchor text?) is no substitute for a great product. Like Fred Wilson says, amazing products market themselves. So while you are digging out from the rubble, ask yourself, “Am I Radiohead?” “Have I made something that a customer can’t wait to buy regardless of what Google does?”

Are you Radiohead?

Update: Funny, I came across this post by Michael Gray an hour after I wrote this Why SEO Can’t Be Your Only Value Add. +1

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19 Response Comments

  • Ewan Kennedy  February 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    “I’m a freak, I’m a weirdo, what the hell am I doing here …” but I’m not Radiohead. BTW, I’m not sure it’s that hard to play at weddings (I walked down the aisle to Kasabian). Mmmm … perhaps that’s where it all started to go wrong :-)

    I agree, amazing products market themselves but they depend on marketing catalysts like YouTube, Google et alia.

    Thanks for the tip-off. On my shopping list.

    Reply
  • Steve  February 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    For some SEO’s…yes Farmer no doubt created some issues. But if you subscribe to the notion that relevant, unique and useful content is integral to SEO…then no issues at all.

    Reply
  • Andrew Shotland
    Andrew Shotland  February 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Easy to say Steve. Hard to do at “scale”.

    Reply
  • Will Scott  February 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Easy to say Steve. Hard to do at “scale”.

    – word

    Reply
  • Boris Krumov  February 28, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Those [SEOs] that got into the rubble did that by the design of their own strategy.

    That’s what real optimizers do – not a set of mechanical activities but an ever adapting flexible strategy, revolving about their product – no matter how great ( both the merchandise and themselves ) they are. SEOs who do so don’t get affected by “updates”. But their strategies adapt to the news and realities. Best – prior to them.

    Are you one of the many or one of a kind vs. are you another fashion role-modeled victim ? That is my take on the radiohead question.

    Cheers, the album is cool !

    Reply
  • Stuart  March 1, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Hey Andrew I was just reading this post… I’ll have that anchor text please, if you wouldn’t mind, it would be an honour 😀 !! lol.

    – “the greatest SEO in the world (who wants the anchor text?)”

    Reply
  • Jim Rudnick  March 1, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Ummm….okay, a bid from this canuck would be say a $5 Canadian banknote and a Mountie hat….uh…for that anchor text that is…

    :-)

    Jim

    PS as usual Andrew, spot-on!

    Reply
  • Shawn Hart  March 1, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I just have to say that you’ve jumped way up on my “cool list”. It was an awesome surprise to read an article about an amazing band on an SEO blog. I am definitely a Radiohead.

    Reply
  • Stuart  March 1, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Jim – I was hoping it wouldn’t have to be a “paid link” …for credibilities sake 😉

    Reply
  • Andrew Shotland
    Andrew Shotland  March 1, 2011 at 9:00 am

    How about we rotate on a daily basis? Stuart, you’re up first. If anyone else wants in, let me know.

    Reply
  • Jim Rudnick  March 1, 2011 at 9:12 am

    @Andrew…. not too shabby a day, eh! and even tho I’m “behind” a Brit, it’s still okay as this is for the “world” or “global” rankings…teeHeeHee…

    :-)

    Jim

    Reply
  • Ewan Kennedy  March 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Given that one of my articles ranks number 1 for “how to do terrible SEO”, I think it’s inappropriate for me to be bidding for the anchor text on offer.

    Reply
  • Andrew Shotland
    Andrew Shotland  March 1, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Ewan, you may have just made it to the top of the list for that one :)

    Reply
  • Andrew Shotland
    Andrew Shotland  March 1, 2011 at 9:33 am

    And Jim, if you read my TOS, you will notice that I expressly forbid the use of “teeHeeHee” in the comments.

    Reply
  • Stuart  March 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

    @Andrew – thanks 😀 …lets just hope Google picks up on it! Hehe.

    @Jim – not far behind :-), and hey I’m actualy half American!

    @Ewan – I just read your article on eHow, it’s a classic! Very well written.

    Reply
  • Lee  March 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Great post. I think another important point is that Radiohead knows who their customer is. They want everyone to love their music, but they are focused on their art (or their market). Not everyone will be passionate about the same thing.

    Reply
  • Sameer Gup ta  April 29, 2011 at 4:10 am

    OMG. Its not even funny how addictive “Codex” is. I could feel myself sinking in when I heard that the first time. Another brilliant track from King of Limbs is Lotus Flower. Lovely beats, great video! Perhaps a little too abstract in the first go, but it settles in after a few listens!

    All in all King of Limbs is a great album but it can never be the genius like Kid A or OK Computer. I really crave for another one now.

    Reply
  • Joe Haori-Mot  September 14, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Radiohead love the people, not the money, That’s why they are so great :)

    Reply
    • Andrew Shotland
      Andrew Shotland  September 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

      I am thinking they love the music, then the money and maybe the people, in that order. And they don’t love the music co’s.

      Reply

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