How to Use Lateral Thinking To Irrigate Your Mind
with New Ideas For Your Web Site
By John Alexander
A recent quote I found from CS Lewis states:
"The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts."
Over the last few years, this is one aspect that we can never encourage others enough
with. Learning new skills by reason of actual practice, testing and use, has always been our
motto. You can read a good instructional book and learn some excellent things that way,
but when it comes to our Web site, some people tend to spend all their time trying to
study the work of others, but not too much time coming up with new ideas and concepts.
At Least 2 Approaches: Right and Left Brained Thinking
There are left brain thinkers, which tend to be good at analysis and building
something, so long as they have a plan or blue print to go by. They make great builders
who know how to "get things done."
Then there are the right brain thinkers, who tend to be highly creative and they
continually come up with new concepts and even entirely new ideas. Their gift is in
Then there are even a few that have both left and right side thinking capacity although
most of the time, they will tend to be slightly stronger on one side or the other.
The main thing to remember is that all of this is very good. All of it works together.
It was Walt Disney, who was fond of the concept that everyone has a place to "fit in"
Disney's creative right brain team, became his "Imagineers" who created and brainstormed
together on movie projects and plots and gags and even Theme park rides.
Then Disney put his left brain builders together to actually make things happen and get
things built (once the creative had been developed.)
Why it can feel so hard to work creatively on your own Web site:
If you have ever felt sometimes that your Web site is (for some reason) much harder to
build than for example, working on someone else's Web site, (then you're not alone.)
We hear this from people all the time. It's like your project is nearly just a little
bit too close to you at times and so you struggle to come up with the right ideas. It's
not uncommon to sometimes feel like all the fresh ideas have dried up.
So for this article, I want to share with you an easy ways to irrigate your mind and
foster fresh new ideas without so much stress.
Learn how to exercise your "lateral recall."
This is one of the best ways to get your thought processes alive and flowing again. You
have probably heard of the phrase "lateral thinking" which for some people is just a
What is lateral thinking?
Lateral thinking is a term coined by Edward de Bono in the book New Think: The Use of
Lateral Thinking published in 1967. It primarily refers to solving problems through an
indirect and creative approach. ( from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateral_thinking
Lateral thinking is about reasoning that is not immediately obvious.
It is more about ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional
step-by-step logic or critical thinking.
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is primarily concerned with judging the true value of statements and
seeking errors. (Critical thinking is much like the part of the CS Lewis quote to cut
But Lateral thinking is more concerned with the movement value of statements and ideas.
Lateral thinking is much in line (with the CS Lewis quote to irrigate deserts.)
What do I mean by lateral recall?
This is a term I use to describe recalling your researched information using the lateral
thought process. Lateral recall applies specifically to keyword research
allowing you to
connect ideas that seem to be totally independent but because of the end result of how
they are combined, the result delivers a useful working SEO strategy.
Let's give you some early examples:
1. Probably one of the earliest examples was when I was researching user behavior
around the topic of "baby names, boy baby names, girl baby name, Italian Baby names,
The meaning of baby names etc. It was very obvious that people were searching for
actual name suggestions for their child.
This resulted in some pretty interesting observations as I recalled an early client
actually was interested in selling baby furniture, strollers cribs, etc. The average
person would be creating pages optimized for phrases involving strollers, baby cribs
etc. But using this early trending, we created a page with baby name suggestions and
ultimately, the truth was that anyone who was thinking of a name for a new baby on the
way, could likely use some baby furniture too.
2. An Insurance dealer once wanted to optimize for the typical type of
they thought they must compete for: "Auto Insurance Quotes."
However, I recalled seeing some interesting demand for an acronym "VIN" (which stands
for Vehicle Identification Number.) Looking at the data of the time, revealed huge
demand for search phrases like:
Theft of VIN numbers
We ended up creating a total of 18 new articles all written by the Insurance man
explaining where these VIN numbers could be located on each vehicle (since they
generally are located all in different spots depending on the vehicle.)
The 18 articles basically expanded the Insurance Web site's traffic from about 4,600
user sessions per month, to just under 50,000 per month. What was the connection
between insurance and the VIN article. Each article simply had a prompt asking the
question, "Are you Sure You Are Currently Getting the Best Auto Insurance Quotes?"
Get a free quote by e-mail from our instant system (Click Here.)
Sure enough just 18 pages created enough activity to keep this Insurance office busy
with loads of new quotes each week.
A person would use lateral thinking when they want to move from one known idea to
creating brand new ideas. By practicing lateral recall, you can actually do some very
creative and original keyword phrase research.
About John Alexander
John Alexander is Co-director of Training at Search
Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Workshops with his
partner SEO educator Robin Nobles, author of the very first
comprehensive online search engine marketing courses. John
taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries world
wide. John is also Director of Search
Engine Academy with localized Search Engine Academy
training centers where the Complete SEO Mastery Workshop and 6
Month Mentoring program is taught locally to business
owners and individuals in
communities across North America and and
Internationally in Asia and Australia.
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