The mix tape: a 2.5” X 4” reminder of bygone days. A double-reeled piece of plastic that had the power to say all of the words you couldn’t get the nerve to say yourself. Whether you wanted to make known your undying love for the guy who sat next to you in biology class, or you felt that James Ingram could say “it’s not you, it’s me” better than you ever could (check out his song “I Don’t have a Heart” for a real treat of spineless poetry), mix tapes were the medium of choice for a time. And before you roll your eyes and mumble, “this girl never even owned a cassette tape,” I’ll have you know that not only do I own cassette tapes, but I currently have a cassette copy of the first “Trio” album by Parton, Ronstadt, and Harris in my car’s tape deck. That’s right, my whip has a tape deck. Booyah!

Now before we go too far, I’ve created a Spotify playlist entitled “mix tape for Google” that you may want to listen to while reading this post. The playlist contains all of the songs mentioned here in order. Perhaps it will inspire your own collection.


To Google, With Love

So what has all this nostalgia got me thinking about now? Google, of course. Mix tapes once served as a creative vehicle for young people to express their feelings about a relationship, whether it was a happy one or a tumultuous one. Given that we, as digital marketers, must have a close relationship with Google and their ever-changing algorithms, I started wondering what songs an SEO might include if she were to create a mix tape chronicling her—or her agency’s—rollercoaster relationship with the search engine…


I don’t think any respectable SEO misses the days of thin content and duplicate articles being published in every nook and cranny of the web. I get it, Google. You wanted to produce high quality, relevant search results. Your bots searched everywhere and found nothing to hold onto. Pre-Panda SEO probably made you feel like Mark Ronson singing “You Gave Me Nothing.”

“You’re not my baby
Cause you gave me nothing
To hold on to
You’re not my baby
Cause you gave me nothing
To hold on to
And I tried and I tried
But you gave me nothing
That I could hold on to
And I tried and I tried
But you gave me nothing
That I could hold on to”

Penguin, Before and After

Remember the Pre-Penguin days of spam driven profits? Well, I think DJ Khaled describes them best in his 2010 hit “All I Do is Win.”

“Can’t never count me out, y’all better count me in
Got twenty bank accounts, accountants count me in
Make millions every year, the South’s champion
‘Cause all I do, all I, all I, all I

All I do is win, win, win no matter what
Got money on mind, I can never get enough
And every time I step up in the building
Everybody hands go up”

But then, of course, we all know how the story took a turn for almost every SEO agency established prior to 2012—don’t try to pretend like your company didn’t engage in some level of spammy link building; it’s better we all just own up to it and learn from our mistakes. To serve as a reminder of the frustration brought on by Penguin, and in hopes that digital marketers everywhere have learned their lesson, I fade into The Black Keys’ “Busted.”

“Well I’m busted, yes I’m busted.
But my heart won’t let me die.
If you feel alright darlin’
Won’t you come around
Won’t you come around
‘Round, ‘round, ‘round, ‘round”

Manual Penalty

When it comes to manual penalties, it’s hard to say it any better than Air Supply in their hit “All Out of Love.” This classic tells the story of a digital marketer who has seen the error in link building practices of yesteryear and is now setting out to prove his or her client’s worthiness in the eyes of Google. Just listen to the marketer’s cry for Google to welcome his client back into the search engine’s good graces.

“I’m all out of love, I’m so lost without you.
I know you were right, believing for so long.
I’m all out of love, what am I without you?
I can’t be too late, I know I was so wrong.”

Dropping Authorship Photos

For you super attractive authors out there, this change may have been a bit of a disappointment. But I, for one, was relieved by the omission of my picture. I think the Goo Goo Dolls really sum it up well in the chorus of “Iris.”

“And I don’t want the world to see me.
Cause I don’t think that they’d understand.
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am.”


This update is still pretty new, so it may take some time for me to tell you how I truly feel about it. But based on current data tracking the impact of Google’s rare bird, I think it’s safe to include “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons to celebrate the amount of queries displaying an increased number of Google Places results for clients in the hospitality, food, and education spheres. Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” more accurately reflects the tale of many real estate businesses, as the SERPs seem to be favoring industry directories while omitting results from Google Places in local search. For now, it appears this pigeon is flying away from the “seven-pack” in an attempt to resemble more traditional search rankings.

Bonus Track

Of course we couldn’t leave Mr. Cutts out of the fun. Here’s “With or Without You” by U2, which expresses the sentiments of digital marketers everywhere.

“See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I’ll wait for you

With or without you
With or without you
I can’t live
With or without you”

I’m willing to bet that while reading this post, you thought to yourself: “What? No. A much better song for that update would be…” Well don’t hold your feelings back any longer! Say it with a mix tape. Or, to save time and the hassle of tracking down a cassette tape on eBay, say it in a tweet or comment on WTM Digital’s Facebook wall.