In the video, 10-year-old Zia Terry stares down a K-40 ski jump. It’s very noticeably her first time doing so. Her voice shakes as she hurries a few questions about the jump to her instructor. At one point, her ski begins to slip much to her alarm.
She’s scared, but determined. She gives herself a pep talk.
Seconds later, after saying to herself, “Well, here’s goes something… I guess,” she takes a deep breath, leans forward, and begins barreling down the jump.
5 seconds later she hits the base of the jump, nails the landing, and celebrates her success with a series of hoots and hollers.
In the 1960’s, American psychologist John Atkinson conducted a series of experiments on children, tasking them with reward-based scenarios in an effort to test their motivation. From these experiments, Atkinson realized that the children divided into two groups: those that approached the scenarios with a “need for achievement,” and those that focused on their seemingly inevitable failure. The latter group exhibited an effect he termed the “fear of failure” due to their desire to avoid the public humiliation of failure.
It’s time you start doing the same in your career as an SEO.
A fear of failure plagues a lot of SEO’s today. This fear is so great that it immobilizes them. With the multitude of algorithm updates over the past few years — some of which had devastating effects on the work of white hat SEO’s — the day-to-days of many SEO’s are cast in doubt.
Everything that once worked now doesn’t. It’s like the great book Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. You can either wait and hope that things will go back to how they were, or you can get moving and adjust with the times.
It’s not that these SEO’s don’t know what to do, it’s that their fear of getting hit by an algorithm update is holding them back. Removing that doubt and executing campaigns that are motivated by what they know to be best practices is vital. SEO is tough. There’s no denying that fact.
For Zia, overcoming her fear, her idleness, was a matter of “trust yourself, know the plan and go.” Don’t focus on all of the potential negative outcomes that could happen. For SEO’s it’s the same.
You know low-value link building opportunities will no longer work. Forget paid links in blog networks. Disregard comment spam. Remove the thought of building anchor text in an obscenely over-saturated number, for the core terms that align with your brand. It no longer works, so why even waste time worrying about them?
Use What Does Work
Develop high value relationships with key bloggers in your industry and provide them something of value which may earn you a mention about your business. Earned links and social shares are exactly what Google — and people — want.
Take your content and make sure it’s in different formats so it can be digested by your audience wherever they live on the web. This could be a compelling blog post that is re-purposed into an infographic, or a video on YouTube that articulates your message and educates your audience on your service. Be noticeable where your audience is active and if you provide valuable information. It will earn you the right to a backlink.
Whatever you do, don’t remain paralyzed. Be like Zia and know that knowledge and trust combined with execution will ensure a successful run when you cross the finish line.