Relevance: Good for SEO, Good for YOU
Growing up, I always thought of my dad as Mr. Tech, spending a Saturday afternoon fiddling to fix the vacuum cleaner or hooking up new gear for the family sound system.
I’d later hear stories of him attending a technical institute to learn the inner workings of the VCR. The punch line of the story is that he spent the last $400 in the newlyweds’ bank account to register for the class, dismantled their VCR like some eager clockmaker, and then artfully put the pieces of the VCR back together… as a trash pile.
Twenty years later and I’m his go-to girl for anything done on a computer or online. My e-mail address is his e-mail address. While on trips he asks me to look up locations with the help of my magic square (read: iPhone). And more than once he’s asked me to buy his concert tickets online because Ticketmaster has forsaken him and his brick-and-mortar brood.
He was the first guy on the block to get a laser disc player and he’ll be the last guy on earth to sign up for Netflix. How is it that a once technically adventurous man became such a technophobe?
The answer to that question has had me terrified for years. Understanding how technology dependent my business and personal worlds are today, I know I’ll be trying to keep up with the increasingly fast pace of technology for the rest of my life. In the interests of not getting left behind, I’m trying to condition myself to have the stamina required of technology in the 21st century.
So the article Your Job: How to Stay Personally Relevant … Now and in the Future by marketing and PR blogger Steve Kayser got my attention last week. Steve presents a handy little acronym to remember the elements of relevance today:
Listen & Learn.
Attitude of Gratitude.
No to Negativity.
These characteristics of the cutting edge work for both the professional and personal spheres, though Steve approaches it from a personal level while I’ll look at business applications. So let’s take a look at these element, with an eye for how these lessons help us to grow in our professional SEO lives.
Risk and Experimentation
Risk is a necessary part of search engine optimization because it goes hand in hand with experimentation. Considering that Google and the other major engines aren’t handing over their algos any time soon, testing and practical research is the foundation of all SEO knowledge. At the same time, Google tells webmasters not to do anything with the sole intention of boosting rankings.
By that definition, SEO experimentation involves an inherent but necessary risk. Be smart about the risks you take — saving radical or irreversible tests for domains safe for burning — but never stifle your sense of curiosity and hypothesizing. Gain every competitive advantage that’s available by taking a risk to experiment.
Listen & Learn and Engage
While part of any SEO’s knowledge is gained from personal experience, the recommendations of search engine representatives, the expertise of SEO authorities, and the experiments of trusted community members plays a part as well. SEOs with an interest in staying up-to-date will actively engage the community to hear and learn the latest tactics and theories for how to market a site with the resources available.
Bruce Clay, Inc.’s SEOToolSet Training course is, IMHO, one of the best opportunities for search marketing learning and community engagement. This year the standard course and advanced certification course will be presented nearly every month in Simi Valley and once a quarter in Long Island, so reserve your seat today.
Attitude of Gratitude and No to Negativity
Trying to hit a moving target can feel frustratingly futile at times, but if you actively embrace positivity and reject negativity you’ll be in a much better position to stay lithe and nimble in the search space.
Similarly, members of the community often solicit input in the form of surveys, requests for contributions, and other feedback mechanisms. If you’re gaining knowledge from the community, do your best to give back as well. Participate and use your network to spread the word as well — because we all stand to gain from a culture of openness and support.
Value and Time
I switched up the order of our acronym a bit to group these two elements together. Time is money, money is value, and there’s nothing quite as valuable as time. As Steve writes, “Time. It’s free. Yet priceless. Infinite – but there’s never enough of it.” Don’t undervalue your time and experience, and ration your time wisely, giving ample and necessary time to practical research, on-site optimization, reading, community engagement, and so on. The recipe for SEO success truly lies in keeping relevant.