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How Sam Beckett’s String Theory Relates to SEO

How Sam Beckett’s String Theory Relates to SEO

Anybody reading this of a certain age will know the name ‘Samuel Beckett’.

No, we’re not referring to the poet, we’re referring to the more famous Sam Beckett. When you perform a Google Image Search for the name you’re presented with photographs of Scott Bakula from the 1980s, rather than a black and white bloke with a beard; the real Sam Beckett.

Back in the 80s Sam Beckett was a time traveller on a TV series called Quantum Leap. Every episode would see Sam leap into the body of someone new, somewhere (and some when) within his own lifetime. He couldn’t control the leaps and every time he did leap he had to change history for the better before he would leap out, and on to the next person – hoping each time that his next leap would be his leap home, etc etc.

On his travels through time Sam was aided by Al (Dean Stockwell), who appeared as a hologram that only Sam could see. Al was really in the future, where the people who Sam leaped into would appear while Sam possessed their bodies in the past. Al would advise Sam on what he thought he needed to change in order to leap out, guided by the super computer named Ziggy.

It all sounds very complicated, but really it’s not. Sam explained the science behind Quantum Leap in several different episodes, and it follows the principals of string theory. If you imagine your life as a piece of string, with a beginning and an end, your life will pass along it in a linear fashion. However, if you scrunch up the string in your hand, so that many different parts of it are touching, you can leap between different parts of your life, and different times in your life. That’s what Sam did, he would ‘leap’ to different times within his own lifespan.

The same principal applies to the Internet. While a person’s journey through the Internet may be linear in the sense that they pass from one website to another, it isn’t linear at all because many websites link to each other, back to themselves and off to dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions and billions of other websites. The Internet is a complicated, intricate stringy thing that links all over the place, allowing users to ‘leap’ from one website to another. While the user may set out with a plan of where they want to go, they will rarely follow that plan as they pass through the Internet, instead being guided by what they see, what they read and what links they find.

Just like Sam Beckett, they need to complete a task before they ‘leap’ onto the next site. This task, unlike Sam’s, isn’t necessarily to ‘put right what once went wrong’, it is more likely to be to find some information, complete a transaction, find the answer to a question or merely to find a link that looks interesting.

What you need to do is to ensure that as many opportunities as possible for them to ‘leap’ to your website exist and, once there, that opportunities also exist for them to leap around within your website, and complete the task that you want them to, before they leap away to another site.

Remember that, just like Sam Beckett, each user is looking for the leap home. This doesn’t mean they’re looking for their homepage, or their Facebook page, but instead they’re looking for the site that will finish their browsing for that session, or day. Whatever website they finish on, will be their leap home – back to the real world. You want them to find your website before their leap home.

The more links you have online, the more content you have on your own website and the more links you have on your own site linking back to relevant sections, the better placed your website will be to receive one of these ‘leapers’.

Oh boy!

Darren Jamieson
  • Very interesting article. The way you approached it with the use of existing media makes it more appealing than reading the same thing constantly and hoping to discover something new.


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