What is quality?
One of the most puzzling questions of all time; ever since ancient Greece thousands of papers and articles have been written about this subject, so I will keep it short.
Pirsig says: "Quality is what makes you choose one thing over another".
In short: one can't describe it, nor put the finger on it; but we do make a choice.
As a web designer and marketer I do know what NON-quality is.
It's the art of spending much more time, more energy, more man hours and more posts on social networks in order to achieve less than others.
A quality website makes money, a non-quality one loses money.
People are sometimes shocked when I tell about prices. 3000 euro for a website? (Do not even get me started about those that involve programmers and go direction of 50,000). "Here I found one for 200€"! "There are free templates online"!
Yes, well, the 50,000 one makes the double each week. The free template attracts 1 client a month.
As impossible it is to describe quality; we humans recognize it, and go for it.
That does not mean something cheap cannot have quality. Far from it! And often even the opposite!
That beauty product of 2€ in Lidl can be far more effective, than the 80€ one of a high level brand. Whole teams of scientists and researchers can actually prove that. But to no avail... we humans have the tendency to go for what LOOKS good.
In that sense, we are no different than the magpie. We go for shine.
Which basically every product on the shelves of any supermarket knows. Why on earth would crisps have to be packaged in gloss and colours and stylish fonts?
What is that, with people in shirt and tie begging for money in the subway, being the biggest collectors?
Or that study that shows that people who wear a shirt with a Branded symbol or logo... encounter more friendliness than those who don't?
Yes, we can shake our heads and debate about superficiality or snobbishness. But there you go.
Remember our history is one of hundreds of thousands of years of very difficult and very dangerous living conditions. More often than not, our survival depended on our ability to take split second decisions. They made the difference between life or death.
We were not going to stop to try to figure out: is that really a sabre-tooth tigre? Perhaps it's just a buffalo? Or perhaps the sunlight is so sharp and it's just a spot on a rock?
In today's world we are surrounded by such a forest of signals and triggers, that we rely on the automatic pilot of our intuition and instinct.
None of us is ever going to open that bag of crisps, read the descriptions, to check if it is real quality; there can be thousands of brands on the shelve, only 2 catch our attention, and we pick one... in a matter of seconds.
And those are only those brands that made it to the shelves of the supermarket. You can imagine the hundreds or thousands that never even made it there.
That is Internet marketing for you. A supermarket with over a trillion web pages.
Good or deplorable... such is modern life, and it will become sucher and sucher :)
The very, very good news is: any thought spent on quality, is always worth the while. Not only business wise, but for the development of our own brains, creativity, self development.
You could say: 'Do you find it worth the while to dedicate your whole life to such an insignificant thing as SEO'? Yes, I do find that worth the while.
For in the end, SEO is all about quality. I can't think of a better job for myself.
I hope you feel the same about your profession. Since you are reading this, and you actually read this article about quality all the way up to this last phrase... I know you do.
Thank you for being there!!