I have been thinking about this for a while. There are so many new SEOs getting into the game and unfortunately many of them are clueless wanna-be’s. How are we to distinguish between these posers and the “Real” deal?
I have been in this industry for over a decade and during that time I have uncovered some very specific traits of Real SEOs that might help you tell the difference.
1. Real SEOs … Don’t wear hats in public
All Real SEOs own every color hat in the book. But none of them are worn in public. The idea is that if no-one sees your hat, they can’t tell what color it is. In private, most will break them all out based on the needs of the day. The SEO Purists (light and dark) will use their favorite color exclusively keeping the others in storage … “just in case”.
2. Real SEOs … Hate doing PPC
It’s true. Real SEOs would rather be a telemarketer for Traffic Power than do PPC. They “Just Say No” to track-able results and defined rule sets and revel in the unpredictable and immeasurable algorithms. What fun is it if they tell you all the rules up front.
3. Real SEOs … Go to conferences to drink
Ok, some go to speak, but mainly so they can drink for free. Real SEOs know that the real value of conferences is found at the hotel bars and the after parties. This is where the only good information is exchanged and usually accompanied by regret in the morning .
4. Real SEOs … Don’t care about algorithm updates
Real SEOs are either doing the fundamentals on a clients site which would not be affected much by an algorithm update, or working their own sites which are so far ahead of the algorithms, that an update is just the engine trying to catch up.
5. Real SEOs … Have two or more search related T-shirts
At least one is a Google Dance shirt and another is a smaller lesser known engine like MSN. Real SEOs usually don’t wear either of them and are more likely to be found wearing an SEOmoz or ShoeMoney shirt instead.
6. Real SEOs … Don’t go to the forums
Real SEOs used to go to forums all the time. As a matter of fact, I bet most Real SEOs learned the craft on those very forums. Now, Real SEOs post all of that hard earned knowledge on their own sites or friends blogs. Why give away the milk when you can monetize it yourself.
7. Real SEOs … Don’t care about rankings
Oh … they pretend to for the sake of the client and their standing in the community. But deep down it’s not the rankings that matter as much as it is the challenge of taking a broken web site and making it fly. Real SEOs love the craft, not the results; those are just a by-products.
8. Real SEOs … Have seen Danny Sullivan drunk
There are rumors that the number of times you have actually seen Danny drunk in person can influence your success in the SERPs. Additionally, buying Danny a “girly drink” is potentially an instant boost to your authority.
9. Real SEOs … Do SEO more than they write about it
Most of the time Real SEOs are doing SEO and you never hear from them. They don’t have time to write about SEO, unless of course they want to take a break and answer some of the 10,000 plus SEO questions filling their email spam folder or enter some dumb guest posting contest.
10. Real SEOs … Don’t give a damn about PageRank
Every Real SEO gets a good laugh out of all the hoopla that surrounds a Toolbar PR update. If they knew for sure when it was going to happen, gatherings would be planned and Real SEOs would be found drinking beer, eating sushi and betting on which forum or user would be first to scream “PR UPDATE!” Even odds on Digitalpoint.
11. Real SEOs … Are Geeks (even if they don’t think so)
Even if Real SEOs don’t look like Geeks, they are. They may try and be cool and aloof, but they are geeks deep down. Don’t believe me? Ask any Real SEO; they can check email, post to a blog or order pizza (via proxy) at anytime, from anywhere on the planet, without getting out of their chair. If that’s not geeky, I don’t know what is.
12. Real SEOs … Have Tamar on at least 2 friends’ lists
If you don’t know who Tamar is, then I am not sure how you made it this far down the list. You are automatically deemed an “SEO Poser”. If you only have her on 1 friends list, then you better start kissing her ass.
13. Real SEOs … Became an SEO by accident
Real SEOs didn’t start out to become SEOs, most were going for “real” jobs first. Some of the careers Real SEOs actually wanted include; Cruise Ship Comedian, Airport Luggage Handler, Pet Photographer, Urban Refuse Management, Boarder Crossing Guard and of course McDonald’s District Manager. The majority are now happy doing SEO.
14. Real SEOs … Don’t even try to explain what they do anymore
Real SEOs take great care to avoid putting themselves in the position where someone might ask “What do you do?” The average Real SEO has been asked this question over 500 times in their career and no one ever understands the answer. Now days, most Real SEOs just respond … “I’m a Spammer”, trust me, it shuts them up.
15. Real SEOs … Have the URL to the leaked SEO Sex Tape
None will ever admit to having viewed it. But Real SEOs know it is not a myth and can tell you who is in it.
I am only one man, so if I have been lax and left out some important identifiers, please help me and the rest of the community by adding them here in the comments. We all need to be able to tell the Real SEOs from the SEO Posers … do your part and contribute in the comments below.
John Carcutt is the President and Founder of AppliedSEO, a search engine optimization and social media marketing firm based out of Boca Raton, Florida. John is also a regular speaker at Search Engine Strategies and Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Conferences.
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