Clowns are pretty creepy – especially so thanks to popular culture.

Ah, clowns. Who ever came up with the notion they should be in attendance at children’s birthday parties?

It seems that with popular culture’s Pennywise, the 2016 clown craze and, don’t forget the fact there was a real life serial killer called John Wayne Gacy who dressed up and performed as Pogo the Clown – we have forgotten that clowns ever used to be considered ‘fun’.

Even the once lovable Ronald McDonald retired from his duties.

I have to admit, I was personally never afraid of clowns as a child. But, all of that changed when I read Stephen King’s It, and while I probably wouldn’t enjoy meeting a clown in the middle of a park, in the middle of the night (I mean, I would probably be afraid of just being in a park in the middle of the night, full stop).

So just how can SEO be scarier than these garish creatures?

Well, let me start off by saying that in many cases, SEO is scarily good for your business. But, you might be surprised to learn it shares quite a few common attributes with the old red-nosed creatures.


Creepily good, I mean.

That’s a big claim to make, fair enough. But, bear with me a moment while I explain exactly what I’m on about.

I don’t think I need to explain why clowns are creepy. Their makeup is garish, painted-on to be completely exaggerated and they distort their faces so much they become something which is unrecognisable – something non-human.

Even Freud already understood why this is scary – it is what he called the fear of the uncanny. After all, the thing with clowns is that they are close to being human, close, but not quite.

Therefore, they are “strangely familiar” rather than completely absurd.

But SEO campaigns, when done well, can actually be creepily good. An SEO consultant, through hard graft and persistence can shift your organic search rankings from the nether-regions of the Internet, right up into the top few pages.

After even longer and a little more hard work, they can propel the page into the first page of Google results.

A lot of this has to do with their years of experience in picking and choosing the right keywords for business owners to focus on. After all, there is really no point in trying to compete for website rankings with brands that have global prowess and recognition.

Take us, a digital marketing agency, for example. There is no point in us attempting to compete for the keyword ‘SEO’. It is just too broad, and we are a boutique SEO agency. The keywords just don’t match up.

Instead, we might choose to focus on a keyword like ‘SEO agency Sydney’ instead. After all, that makes much more sense for our business and our goals.

We highly recommend you also think about intent – what is going on behind the scenes. When a user is simply searching the term ‘SEO’, what are they really after?

Check our piece about the 7 horrible SEO mistakes you’re making (and might not even know about).

My opinion would be they just want to know what it means. And, Google agrees with me (after popping a few ads up at the top first).

People are looking for the very basics of information about search engine optimisation. That’s a hard thing to rank for because Google is now able to provide users with no-click answers – they can simply click on the drop-down box and get what they need.

It’s a much better idea as an SME to be picking long-tail keywords that relate more specifically to your services. An easy one is adding a location.

So, get to know your SEO right down to the most minute of details if you’re going to do it yourself. Or, pick a qualified SEO expert to help.

To me, those kinds of SEO results are a lot creepier (and better, I might add) than someone just painting on some white makeup and big eyebrows.


One of the reasons people are so deathly afraid of clowns is because their identities are hidden. We don’t know who is under the makeup, red nose, crazy hair and odd clothes.

We know, or at least, we think we know there is a human behind it, but we literally don’t know anything about them or their identity. Their whole purpose is to make you uncomfortable.

Similarly, we don’t know the identity of an SEO consultant. We have no idea who the SEO expert is working behind the scenes to increase the page rankings and content. After all, they don’t have to be the ones writing the great content your page owns.

A truly good SEO consultant will go into full detective mode. After all, you cannot only do keyword research in isolation. You actually need to jump onto Google and start searching. See what search results pop up when you type in the keywords you want to rank for.

Ask yourself what these web pages are doing which is better, or worse than what you have done. Work out what the gaps in their SEO strategy is, and fill them on your own site.

Ensure your keywords are used well – in the header, introduction, URL, meta tags and throughout the post as well as within image alt text.

Dare to be braver and bolder than the competition. But, also learn from them what they can.

Now the reason I say go into detective mode is because you should be doing your searching in private or incognito mode. This is not because you don’t want your competitors knowing you are ‘lurking’ around on the web, but because Google is smarter than, well, the children in It who follow a clown down a drain into the sewers.

Search engines work better than they used to. Now, this means they take into account your past search history, location and what they have already gathered from you (also kind of creepy if you think too much about it) when providing results.

But, the thing is that at the end of the day, the Internet is an anonymous place. The brains behind these kinds of SEO services might never be revealed.

Doing so, unlike revealing the identity of a clown, takes a lot more work than simply taking off a wig, scrubbing off some makeup, unhooking a nose and putting on some normal clothes.

Now, that’s scarier to me.

We also think an SEO consultant can be cooler than Michael Jordan, find out why.


A lot of the reason we are so afraid of clowns is because their behaviour is unpredictable. We don’t know what they are going to do. Will they smash a cream pie in your face, squirt you with water or give you a flower?

This makes them seem scary because they don’t behave as humans should, even though they are (or at least, we hope they are) human underneath. Clowns don’t follow the rules that dictate and govern usual social interaction.

Well, the first time you get to work with an SEO expert, you might find their behaviour to be a little unpredictable, too.

Probably because the first time they chat to you, they are not going to recommend you spend a lot of time working on link building, keywords and other technical bits and pieces. Instead, they are likely to be much more interested in content, content and more content.

Search marketing, like Google, is a changing game and SEO is not so much about trickery anymore. So really, unlike clowns who still play tricks, and the only thing making them unpredictable is which one of their repertoire they’re going to use, an SEOer doesn’t bother with these.

They know that content is king. Producing unique, interesting, informative and SEO-optimised content is the difficult part. You see, search engines know when content has been ‘spun’, written by bots, for bots rather than for the actual human users.

People know this as well. Oftentimes it’s because the pieces of content will have no tone of voice or personality in them, or they will simply offer no useful or insightful information.

Now, this is much more difficult, say, than working on fooling or hoodwinking the search engines.

But, when content is done well, and when it actually solves user problems and queries, it can be scarily effective at boosting search rankings, as well as organic traffic.

Still got an SEO sceptic in your life? See our handy guide on how to convince them to see the light!

You see, clowns were not always scary. Once upon a time, they travelled around circuses to bring joy and cheer, making children laugh.

But, although Ronald McDonald was once able to sell hamburgers to all children, he had his day in the sun. And then things got very dark indeed for clowns. A lot of that is thanks to a real-life serial killer from the 70s in the US who actually worked as a clown … yes, let that sink in.

So these days, you’re more likely to find a clown in a horror movie than in a children’s book.

SEO, I think, has also been given a bad rap by popular culture. We deride terms like ‘SEO experts’, ‘SEO consultant’ or ‘SEO genius’ because everybody is promoting themselves as such online and on social media.

Truthfully, not everyone can be an SEO expert. Some people are still using black hat SEO techniques and tools like keyword stuffing, link farming and deadlinks, as well as the aforementioned content spinning, rather than putting in the hard work themselves.

Black hat SEO, however, no longer gives a good return on investment, especially as a small business.

So, be prepared to have a difficult, and perhaps scary conversation if you do decide to sit down and chat with an SEO consultant.

See, SEO consultants do not all want to be thought of as scary. Unfortunately, this might make them a little bit more terrifying as they break the hard truth to you.

You cannot make a quick buck with SEO. It is a long term game. Period.

Anyone who promises such might seem like the real expert, but trust us, they’re the real clown here.


Okay, as a final point and perhaps the one that will complicate matters the most, is just to clarify that everything we’ve said above like – focus on content and thorough keyword research, remember to be in it for the long haul and don’t look for shortcuts and tricks.

Well, disregard some of it.

Clowns, say the experts, are scary because they give mixed signals. For example, they always have a painted on smile, right? But, how do we know whether they are smiling underneath – they could be leering, frowning or glowering at you.

And how would you know? That makes it scary as we simply don’t like the unknown.

Well, sorry to break it to you, but, an SEO expert might give equally scarily mixed signals.

Along with the basic SEO we have already covered, your SEO consultant should also be getting you to focus on the more technical and tricky aspects of SEO:

  • Optimising page speed. This includes compressing images to speed up the page load.
  • Optimising images. As well as their speed, you also need to add alt tags so the page can be properly crawled by Google bots.
  • Backlinks. Yes, the days of backlink farming are long gone. Yet, earning a few high quality links is still really important. You can do this by reaching out to reputable sites within your industry and asking if they can link to your content, or organise a guest post, or something along those lines.
  • Think about responsive design. Make sure your page is optimised for a desktop, obviously, but also for mobile and tablets.

I get it, it can seem like a little bit of mixed messaging but, at the end of the day, all of these tips and (well, I don’t want to say tricks) can help to make your SEO strategy stronger.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide which you really think is scarier – an SEO consultant or a clown?

Or, if you want to get in touch with an SEO consultant who could be scarily good for your business, get in touch with us today.