Did you hear about the new Google update? Which one? Exactly. Any seasoned SEO has his/her catalogue of stories about how algo updates have affected rankings over the years for better and for worse. The longer you have been in the SEO game, the more stories you are bound to have about search engine algorithms changing and messing up you and your clients rankings. But what has changed really?
“The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking…the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.” — Albert Einstein
When Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt recommending the initiation of what eventually became the Manhattan Project, he forever changed technology and history. Yet the creation of the world’s most powerful and devastating bomb did nothing for world peace, go figure.
Back In the Day…
When I started in SEO there was no such thing as universal, blended, or personalized search. You could get a site ranking for a key-term, and it would stay that way for a month or two. Suffice to say, the landscape of search has changed. Each new update and change brings new challenges, new things to learn, and new opportunities.
Necessity is the mother of invention; when in need we will create the most brilliant of inventions to solve our problems. SEO’s are no exception, the things I have seen friends, colleagues, and competitors alike come up with to get rankings in competitive spaces are ingenious. Problem solving at this capacity is an ability that is uniquely human, and some of us are great at it. But what has it gotten us?
A Day in the Life
The job of an SEO at it’s core is to figure out a way to beat the search engines. Granted, it’s not always an easy job, but it’s the core function of an SEO nonetheless. While there are many different approaches and methods used by various SEO’s to accomplish this task, every SEO is always trying to figure out the best way to increase rankings. And over the years as the engines have made their changes and implemented updates, the SEO is left to overcome any obstacles left in the way. But besides the technology, what has changed?
Near the end of his life, Albert Einstein said that signing the letter to President Roosevelt recommending the creation of the atom bomb was the “one great mistake” he made in his life. Yet he realized that even if it hadn’t been created, it would have changed nothing because our thinking hadn’t changed.
As SEOs, as marketers, I think it’s important to realize that sometimes it’s a change in thinking that is needed, rather than a change in method. As an SEO, I get asked occasionally to use and sometimes even teach “blackhat” tactics for and to various people, including clients. While I have nothing against anyone that may be a “blackhat” SEO, I simply don’t perform those services. It always amazes me though how people think they need to go to such extents to increase their performance. Most often, clients that are wanting to push the most extreme edges of the envelope, simply just need to look at their problems differently to be satisfied.
It’s usually our thinking that needs to change. Most of the times where I have found myself beating my head against a problem trying to “solve” it, I needed to think differently. The problem with thinking differently, is that often you don’t realize it’s what you need. What if there is a new way to think about the problems and goals you have currently?
It doesn’t always have to be a giant paradigm shift either, sometimes just a slight shift in thinking or perspective can open huge insight. What if you started reading a different blog, attended a different session at your next conference, or attended a different conference altogether? I challenge you to not be hypocritical in your proclamation of open mindedness.