Don’t Always Follow. Chart Your SEO Path

SMS Text

In Jayson DeMers recent SEJ post, 10 SEO Industry Trends:  A Look at What’s Ahead for SEO at 2013 and 2014, he covers the major topics and trends we are focusing on as Internet marketers.  All the right stuff covered. Authority, Strategy not Tactics, Content Marketing among others.  The majority of which all SEO’s and Strategists should have been working through in 2012 up until now.   Staying ahead of the SE’s and seeing the next wave way before it crests.  But, besides what will be next in our industry, two questions I am currently questioning are; should these truly be the focus of our daily routines and the other being, as SEO’s are we following our instincts or just learned behavior?


Hold on to your Creative Path

I’ve spent a great amount of time in my career thinking.  Reading posts and in depth studies across all the major outlets.  I’ve mentored many SEO’s in their young Jedi academy discovery phase.  Many of which have gone on to do wonderful things.  As teachers, we apprize those who rise to challenge us.  The community of SEO’s and Digital Marketers goes up and down.  It can become saturated with a cluttered mass of bargain-shop, binary posts without character.  Too many soap boxes but not enough hygiene products to keep us clean.  Have we lost our childhood?  What we were taught?  To create & think.  To learn & achieve.

Rise of the Digital Literary Agent

One thing really concerns me is the acceptance of authorship within the SEO community.  Does it really seem right that a page or site could or should be weighted more heavily simply for the fact that it has authorship set up properly and has a mass amount of connected authors contributing?  This most certainly favors major media as well as distribution platforms that can leverage their wide pool of contributors.  But is more always better?  Didn’t we learn in Pre-K that this was not the case, considering devaluation and penalization of mass link building practices?  But nevertheless, we as SEO’s learned the new Authorship purpose and began to preach it with the well purposed intention that the credibility and quality content validates the relationship between the authors and the work or sites.

Lost-in-AuthorshipAs a click through metric it has been shown many times that their is a positive correlation when the authors thumbnail is presented.  But will I be required to get a digital literary agent in the near future?  Paid authorship profiles and publishing rights?  Furthermore, subject matter experts being evaluated in their respective fields and asked, “What’s your Author Rank?”  While I don’t believe necessarily that it is a bad thing to have contributed heavily and have a high score I am more concerned with the question of the direction.

But, with Matt Peters latest post on ranking factors, we see that a sampling of SEO’s feel this only relates to approximately 7% on the importance scale.  The mass amount of emphasis is still related to links.  Have we sailed our way through major updates related to thin/poor content and negative back-link profiles only to still find ourselves looking for links?  Or is it that there isn’t much else for SEO’s to grab on to?  Oh yes, content.

Instincts vs. Learned Behavior

So, are we following our instincts as marketers or simply applying learned behavior?  Unfortunately it would seem to be a bit of both.  The brass tax; What our industry leaders tell us is what we do and it is instinctual to do what we are told.  So, we are being successful in following but are sacrificing innovation.  I don’t believe there is much space between innovation and regurgitation in our profession and the slightest amount of bending from the norm can spark an entirely new way of digital marketing.

“We are a puny and fickle folk.  Avarice, hesitation and following are our diseases”  EMERSON

In a recent video from Danny Sullivan, founding editor of Search Engine Land, he discusses the evolution of search in five phases.  From the beginning of time with Alta Vista and Web Crawler, Knowledge Graph up to an interpretation of Voice search.  A great video for those interested in an easy to understand perspective of concepts in search and how they have changed through the years. All with a focus on the written (typed) word and it’s importance within search algorithms, except that of Voice Search.  Albeit, the logic behind Voice Search must stem from its speech recognition patent and thus tied into its ability to generate a search query.  So, have we truly evolved as search marketers and is there more that we are missing?

Me, I’ve come to peace with my techniques and strategies and continue to travel the roads less taken, discover new paths and to see what else there is out there.  New forms of content.  Parameter-less search.  The mobile and application play. And wisely enough, the pursuit of continued education through exploration.

Todd Bailey

Todd Bailey

Founder /Editor at pushStar Digital
Todd Bailey is the Founder/Editor of pushStar Digital. He works as Director of Search for Gen3 Marketing as well.
Todd Bailey
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Abhineet Shukla

    Hey Todd

    Writing this kind of post needs a lot of experience and personal observation for a long time. You clearly have shown that you have that with you in this post. Its easy to write some tips and tricks, some precautions and some forecasts. But for this kind of thought and writing it for us, I give my thanks to you.

    • Sahil

      Absolutely! Nice post Todd! Post Penguin Panda & Penguin algorithm updates SEO is all about doing the best for your users in terms of informative & quality content, usability, building relationships etc.

  • Raaj Trambadia


    I guess you’re right. I mean, although content is important, several factors such as the design plays a very crucial role. You can’t just point a figure to the content of a blog that is not doing well – it might be the design, it might be something else.

    Raaj Trambadia

  • Jim

    I whole heartedly agree with your refreshing message here…
    it reminds me of several things that i try to keep centered and come back to … key being the idea (a buddhism thing originally) of ‘beginners mind’ – basically the naive enthusiasm and motivation that exists when something (such as the early days of seo / ranking / making earnings online) or, for me – someone with the at first brush seems a strange combo – i am a fine artist (painting and mixed media but also always mixing new digital methods and media into the mix)… as well as at this point a pretty skilled and hard-core seo focussed marketer, with the last few years bringing a high level of success… much of which i credit to the interesting blend of approaching seo as i do my art making – a constant creative and experimental process, improv, constant curiosity…. but as in art this can become a hard frame of mind to hold onto.

    i will admit this does tend to mean leaning towards and grey, blue, blackhat style – it just opens up a lot more potential for the above mentioned creativity (but as i promote for myself only – not clients any longer – and have many many sites in play all the time, i can afford to take risks and learn – often through failure of course…)

    the beginner’s mind thing is a huge help/challenge with art making – its getting back into that excited curious and naive mode when just getting into and hitting one’s early strides with art, or seo… but it is a spirit i feel is really very rewarding to remind myself of – its what makes it fun and interesting for me, and that leads to more success money wise but also satisfaction wise… and when i hit onto innovative ways of mashing up methods and techniques in effective ways, it very often is – like all art – a unique ‘bricolage’ aka montage or in today’s vocab – mashup … that ISNT what everyone else is doing.

    thanks for the refreshing post…