5 Tips to Make it in the SEO Community
So, kiddie, youd like to make it as an SEO rock star? You want to speak at Search Engine Strategies and get quoted by the Wall Street Journal? All you have to do is become a true SEO expert, right?
Not so fast. The SEO community is nepotistic, (curiously?) slow-changing, and, above all, tacky. Take it from me, a (fringe) SEO B-lister: making it in the SEO community isnt easy.
Well, its your lucky day. I took a few minutes to write down some helpful tips (which, you’ll notice, also happen to constitute mediocre-grade link bait). In no particular order:
1. Suck up to the right people.
SEO may be the most nepotistic (introspective) community of all time. There are probably 10 un-lauded experts for every one who is well-known, for various reasons. If you want to make it into the known category, make sure you get on the good side of the following: Todd, Rand, Aaron, Loren, Barry, and, if you can pull it off, Matt. These are the influencers. They have the power to pump (and link you), or ignore you (and link your competitor instead).
You know what they say, its not what you know, its who you know.
2. Get a niche.
Do you want to be the next keyword guru?
Well, you can forget about that, because everyone knows that Dan Thies is the best in that biz, and that aint changing anytime soon.
The point is, whenever people talk about a certain niche, they will tend to link to the single authority in that niche. Become that authority, and you’ll get a free lifetime stream of links!
As a special bonus, the best consulting gigs often come along when people know you’re really specialized (these tend to pay a premium; they also tend to be easier work for you).
3. Get published.
4. Get a blog, and make link bait.
If you want to be notable, you have to be, well, notable. Write on your blog, and for Pete’s sake come up with something original. The SEO community loves two things: laughing, and arguing, so either write something controversial, or funny, or both.
5. Make friends with your rivals.
Whatever niche youre in, you can be guaranteed that other smart guys will be in it, too. Well, I have news for you–the trend in SEO is cooperation. You link to him, he links to you, and it helps keep the OTHER guys out.
Let me put this another way. Ever notice how great everything is to SEO bloggers? So-and-sos service is great, So-and-sos research report is great (nevermind that I never read the darn thing, I never open PDFs), and Wow, great list of resources over here, check it out.
It isn’t always great, but it is a great way to make the other guy remember how great you are, and some day down the road they will give you the ol’ great nod, and a link along with it. Its all a nudge-nudge of course, but hey the dumb readers dont know that!
If you follow the above tips religiously, you’re guaranteed to be speaker at Search Engine Strategies within 20 years or so. (Hey, dont blame me, blame temporal based link algorithms and TrustRank.)
By the way, if youre looking for more tips on how to be a successful SEO consultant, check out Stuntdubls great posts on the subject. Its great stuff, seriously. (Thats great, not great, smartaleck.)
Andy Hagans operates a link building firm, as well as about a hundred other Web sites. Loren wouldn’t let him put links to all of this in the bio, which is probably a good thing. The sequel to the above post, Why Being an SEO Consultant Stinks and You Should Just Build Affiliate Sites Instead, is yet to be written, but if Andy gets enough requests to write it, he may.