Search engine optimisation (SEO) has only existed for a few short years, but that doesn’t mean we cannot learn lessons from the past.

I’ve always admired the spirit of Britain during World War
Two, even if most of my knowledge has been gleaned from TV-sitcoms. As
a marketer, I’m particularly interested in the propaganda of the time.

Are any of the WW2 messages relevant today? I thought I’d
take a look at the slogans of WW2 and see if they hold any wisdom for the
modern online marketer…

Dig for
victory

This campaign was all about using home-grown produce instead
of shipping in goods from overseas. Use spades, not ships
was the battle cry.

I think this holds true for your website. Before you start
using outside techniques and expensive online marketing strategies, make sure
your website itself is working as hard as possible.

Optimise your pages, use keyword rich content, add a
link-enticing blog – work hard on your own site and you’ll be amazed at the
difference it makes.

Keep calm and carry
on

This is one of my favourite posters, even though it was
never used. The UK government had them made in case of successful Nazi
invasion, to reassure British people, and prevent panic and chaos.

I do think there’s some relevance today. If your SEO
campaign isn’t as successful as you’d like then it can be very tempting to
throw the whole thing out and start again. Bring in a new agency, end the current
campaign and scrap all the previous analytics – but this is a panicked
reaction.

Don’t waste all that work, keep calm and carry on – use the
existing work as a foundation for your improved campaign. By scrapping it all,
you put yourself right back to square one and it’s a waste.

Careless talk costs
lives

I meet a lot of small businesses in my line of work and many
of them are quite friendly with their competitors. They’re local, they meet at
conferences and other events, and they often have a chat about what they’re up
to.

Never ever, ever, ever tell your competitors what kind of marketing
strategy you’re embarking upon – I am amazed at how many people unthinkingly
do.

At SEOptimise, one of the services we offer is competitor
analysis, so you can outstrip them and grow your market share – so don’t go
sharing that kind of information with them, even casual comments can reveal the
bigger picture.

Lend a hand on the
land

This slogan was designed to encourage women to sign up to
the Women’s Land Army and fill in while the able-bodied men were off at war.

For the modern day marketing effort, I think this shows that
everyone has a part to play in your company’s promotional success. Using
Twitter, updating a blog, socialising in relevant forums – all these things can
take a lot of time.

However, if everyone in the company gets involved and does a
little, it can all add up to a really successful campaign.