How to Create Killer SEO with the Oldest Stories in the World

Bristlecone pine displays its characteristic gnarled, twisted form as it rises above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

It’s so easy to get lost in today’s mobile, multi-channel, programmatic, brand story mishmash. Curated content, trending hashtags, targeted keywords–good God get me a fifth of Jack Daniels and lock my office door!

There are only two things you need to know, and I’m going lay them on you with the same fire and brimstone that Samuel L. Jackson evoked in Pulp Fiction when he was about dispatch the poor unfortunates at the other end of his revolver:

1) It’s the quality of your copywriting.

2) And it all depends on your copywriter.

Stories that never die are called archetypes. There are seven of them, popularly identified as follows:

1) Defeating the monster. The protagonist–or hero–sets out to defeat an evil force, also known as the antagonist. Popular versions of this timeless theme include everything from Star Wars to the Guns of Navarone to The Magnificent Seven.

2) Rags to riches. Trading Places, Cinderella, The Prince and the Pauper. See, no further explanation required?

3) The quest. An odyssey to acquire something necessary or valuable. Indiana Jones, The Maltese Falcon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, etc.

4) Voyage and return. Gone With the Wind, Apollo 13, The Wizard of Oz.

5) Comedy. The happy ending, romance. A confusing conflict–which causes drama–is unwound after seemingly endless twists and turns. Shrek, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Gods Must Be Crazy.

6) Tragedy. Our hero has one major character flaw which leads to his or her undoing. Folly and pity combine in movies such as Bonnie and Clyde, Breaking Bad, Julius Caesar.

7) Rebirth. Beauty and the Beast, Edward Scissorhands, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (though arguably birth and death have been cleverly flipped on their heads in Benjamin).

OK, Ok, so what do any of these timeless themes have to do with SEO, my client’s or my brand and bristlecone pines for the love of God?

Here it is: SEO today rewards original content, which is not easy to create. But brands, the very best ones, all have timeless stories of value and benefit to the consumer. Your copywriter needs to be able to understand and articulate your brand’s story or narrative in such a way that both consumers (buyers) and search engines are compelled to follow.

Merely jamming buzzy keywords into some light or flimsy content or exploiting the endless loop de loop of One Weird Trick That Helps Men Lose Their Beer Bellies or 37 How-To Headlines Guaranteed to Get Clickthrough with brand banners slotted in throughout does not cut it.

The Holy Grail: Telling compelling stories about the consumers interaction with a brand is the best way under the sun to drive likes, shares and purchase decisions. Blogs that catalog multi-part stories over time are one way to do it. Maybe the best way.

But you need a seasoned copywriter to produce that sort of content. If you can find one, your brand may live as long as the bristlecone pine at the top of this article.

Timeless content is compelling content. And compelling content makes the cash register ring–or the point-of-sale terminal light up. As the case may be.

Then again, most agencies don’t want copywriters as seasoned as bristlecone pines.

(Psssst–the smart agencies do)

Tom Stevens is more than 4,900 years younger than the oldest bristle cone pines. He writes the kind of copy your brand needs. Give him a holler if you want the good stuff.