This 10 Year Old Girl Would Make A Better SEO Than You

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This 10 Year Old Girl Would Probably Make For A Better Seo Than You

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.

Now What?

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.


Houston Barnett-Gearhart
Houston Barnett-Gearhart is an SEO Manager for Blue Polo Interactive, a full-service digital branding agency out of New York, NY which specializes in problem solving... Read Full Bio
Houston Barnett-Gearhart

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  • chenzo

    So true – content is king!

  • Ajit

    Yes fear is the big factor, and i tell you even i fear a lot even at a time when my site is very new, and just working as content is kink, but still SEO is changing and we need to keep on adapting the new seo system, or else we cant catch even a 5 years old.

    Thanks Barnett, really a inspired post.

  • Zac Johnson

    Great post and video. The biggest problem so many people have it actually taking that first leap. Also good points on all the trash link building methods. It’s easy to say quality content works and to focus on the long term solution, but it’s the truth. Build an authoritative brand and it will continue to work for you for years to come.

  • Richard Pearce

    I do my own seo and it is frightening how quickly the requirements to keep abreast of new algorithms change.

    Great post by the way Barnett.

  • Adrian

    Actually, paid links and comments spam are working better than ever at the moment. I know Google will eventually fix this, but at the moment spam sites are ranking like crazy..

  • Tim Dugan

    The title of this post caught me…well written Barnett! As SEOs we’re often facing paranoia about the next penguin/panda update but as you emphasized – it’s absolutely essential to continue embrace/adjust with the changes if you want to succeed! Thanks Barnett!

  • Kris Harris

    Compelling and interesting content will always win the day. It generates natural back links, reader intent and ticks the box of most SEO requirements. Couple that with solid on page factors and a good social media strategy you shouldn’t be scared with moving your SEO forward. Good read

  • Mayank

    Completely agree with you that we can either wait and hope that things will go back to how they were, or we can get moving and adjust with the times. Also, if we have quality content on our blog and good quality bcaklinks, we should not worry about the updates.

    • Christopher Skyi

      “we have quality content on our blog and good quality bcaklinks, we should not worry about the updates.”

      🙂 Exactly.

  • Thomas Smith

    The fear of failure is what drives a lot of people in a heck of a lot more situations than just SEO. As a general rule in my opinion, failure helps us learn, but not failing makes us successful…

    • Ashwin Casmir

      “Failure helps us learn, but not failing makes us successful”, thanks for the quote, Thomas. That’s going as my wallpaper.

  • Paul

    It would have been interesting to see how Kia would have done if Google had decided to change things up a bit and remove her snow….

  • Christopher Skyi

    “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.”

    I always take exception to this. It misses the point to say “Everything that once worked now doesn’t.” The reality is trying to GAME the search engines once worked but now it doesn’t — because “it” never really worked in the first place. Like cheating on your taxes — if the IRS doesn’t come knocking this year, “it” (cheating/gaming the IRS) didn’t work — you just got away with it. Same with SEOs — the stuff that “worked” that now doesn’t was attempt to avoid real work.

    Real work is what these SEO were afraid of or were disinclined to do.

    Any SEO who is afraid of algorithm changes should be focused on and afraid of their “inevitable failure” because they shouldn’t be focusing on the algorithm to begin with. They should be focused on Google Webmaster Search Quality guidelines and helping clients create the best sites possible.

  • Andrew Mucci

    Great comparison! Gives people more insight. SEO is not an overnight event; it is a built processes.

  • nilkguy

    Just keep on writing incredible content and that is the real stuff will make you rise all above ,truly good content will distinguish from large pool of growing seo and make a different stand altogether for you .