I like to define myself an industrial SEO. “Industrial” is referring to a music genre I like a lot, and SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. I was a molecular biologist until 2010, and then I became an SEO starting from March 2011.
One of the bands I listen to the most when I’m writing and working is Nine Inch Nails. If you don’t know it, well…you’re missing a lot. If you know it, you know that one of its greatest album (and one of the masterpiece of the entire music scene) is “The Downward Spiral”. I have to say, I listened to it a lot, especially when I started doing SEO. Remember: I did not know anything about it. So here is few things I learnt and I think about SEO world. Dedicated to all beginner SEOs around the world.
I take you where you want to go, I give you all you need to know
When you begin to do SEO, they keep telling you: you have to work in order to rank the site in the first position for a lot of keywords, so the user can find us. So you start reading a lot of posts and articles, and everyone seems to help you, to answer to all your questions, to give you the key of the success. Well, they DO NOT. They apparently are giving you all you need to know, but truth is you have to start experimenting and be able to risk something, proving yourself what’s working and what is not for you and your industry. Get your hands dirty: the only way you can learn something.
Hey pig, Nothing’s turning out the way I planned
Hey pig there’s a lot of things I hoped you could help me understand
What am I supposed to do I lost my shit because of you
Here’s what happens when you read a lot and you don’t try to experiment. You spend an incredible amount of time reading and thinking you know everything, but then nothing turned out the way you planned. And so you use forums and tweets to ask around why that technique did not work for you: well, because every case is different, and yours is for sure different from the case Rand Fishkin is saying in one of his whiteboard friday, for example.
Your God is dead and no one cares, If there is a Hell I will see you there
I like this sentence, because I always associated it to the “SEO is dead” topic. I don’t know if it’s dead or not, thing is for sure if you start from the beginning as I did, you have to consider yourself part of the whole online marketing strategy of your company. If you have to inform other departments on what you’re doing and who you are, and raise your voice. In a lot of companies, SEO is considered somehow the last important thing of the entire strategy. Well, learn to fight for what you’re doing. Plus, there are a lot of discussion about SEO, social media, SEO + social media: I don’t care who’s saying what, but working together with my social media and PR department brought me a lot of results, with less efforts and more amplification. To me being SEO right now means being involved in a lot of stuff, and not only the classical onpage and offpage stuff you read in the book. Sometimes it’s a hell, but it’s worth trying.
I want to watch it come down
This is the part of my work when I have a better ranking position than my competitor. I mean, it’s not that you win the whole game yet, but it’s a big part of the excitement of my daily routine. It’s good to be above your competitor for a very important keyword, that means you did a great job (not always true), and it’s even helpful to show it to your big boss.
I drink the honey inside your hive, You are the reason I stay alive
This makes me think about how many SEOs are too serious about what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong: SEO is a fantastic world , with a lot of cool people, and in fact it’s one of the reason I really hope to keep working on this field. But I have the feeling some SEOs pay too much attention to this matter. For sure it’s a passion, but I think sometimes it’d be good to go out and drink beers rather than staying on twitter just to put before others the last post on Inbound. I mean, I see some cool SEOs who seem to do stuff just because they think they have to defend a reputation, because if they are not the first on commenting the last post, they are gonna lose a status. Don’t worry, get a life sometimes.
You had all of them on your side, didn’t you?
“Ruiner” is the perfect song to listen to when you want to write something that is different from the same things you read everyday about SEO. I follow a lot of SEOs who I like a lot because they are able to write about something that receives immediately a lot of complains and criticism. Yeah, because some people are reading always the same blogs, without having the curiosity to learn and try other stuff. My advice: keep on eye on the WHOLE SEO world, and remember that there are other cool resources apart from SEOmoz, HubSpot, SearchEngineLand… Be open-minded. Don’t be afraid. Try yourself what it’s working and what’s not.
The me that you know had some second thoughts
…and thanks God! it’s perfectly normal to have some second thoughts in SEO. You tried a thing and didn’t work like it does for John Doherty? NO PROBLEM. Tweet about it, talk with him, telling him why you think that thing is not working in your case. Don’t take every word big SEOs are saying like gold.
I fear I’m the only one who thinks this way
Again, no problem. It’s all cool. You can learn a lot and maybe you can share something new with community. A lot of beginner SEOs are feeling the pressure not to be as cool as people like Rand Fishkin or Michael King, but we are here to help each other out and learn new stuff everyday. So share, be ready to accept all kind of criticism, but don’t be afraid either!
Nothing can stop me now
NOPE. Everything can stop you know. When you think you have found a new way of creating links, then it’s the exact moment to try a different approach. Why? Because it can start not to work and then you are screwed. So this sentence is both true and false. You don’t have to stop because there’s a lot of stuff to learn and try, and this is because everything can stop you. Don’t be too much self confident. Everything is evolving.
A warm place
One of the first thing I learned about SEO is that there are amazing people out there welcoming you, clearing your doubts and helping you to understand better what search engine optimization is all about. So yeah, I wanna thank all the SEOs are helping me to become a better SEO everyday (I know, I’m an ass-kisser) and all those SEOs not talking to me because I’m under their radar, because they are teaching me exactly what I don’t wanna be.
SEO can be really hard. A lot of stuff to do every day, struggling days and days and maybe not achieving any good result, or not the result they want from you. You do stuff and then you start seeing results after months. Reports, posts, articles, presentations, charts, tools….sometimes you need to erase yourself from the face of the earth. Because you need a mental break, so to start stronger the day after.
I now know the depths I reach are limitless
I simply like this song and this sentence. Reference to SEO? NOPE. just wanna write this sentence somewhere.
Problems do have solutions, you know
This is great, when you are an SEO. Everytime Google is announcing a change or whatever (let’s say every second), SEOs and inbound marketers start complaining saying Google is a bitch, and Google is not more the one it used to be. I agree sometimes, and I have to say many things people is complaining about I don’t understand because I am a newbie SEO so I don’t know a lot of stuff. BUT I do think that instead of complaining all the time (becoming even annoying at some point), it’s better to try a solution, whatever solution it could be, and react. Problems do have solutions, you know?
You read all this? WOW, well, thanks a lot. I just wanna conclude this journey with this:
If I could start again, a million miles away
I would keep myself, I would find a way
That’s the right approach to every challenge SEO is presenting to you. You can make mistakes, that’s the way human beings evolve most of the time. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, don’t be afraid of criticism.
If you like what I wrote, leave a comment. If you didn’t enjoy, please leave a comment full of insults. But in any case, go and give a listen to “The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails. An album optimized for everyone.