I’m in SEO, now. SEO is cool.
We all know that the pinnacle of cool is to be an SEO: the extravagant parties, the supermodels, private jets—you know the routine. SEOs do what they want, when they want to, and get paid oodles of money for it, right? Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Okay, maybe that’s a huge exaggeration. Doing SEO might not be the most glamorous job in the world, but it does come with its perks. If you know SEO really well, you have magic fingers that can strike across the keyword at breakneck speed and push just about any website to the top of a search results page. So, you’re kind of like a superhero, and that’s cool.
But just because you have knowledge that others don’t is no reason to keep it to yourself and be too cool, giving off an air of elitism, when you had to learn the tricks of the trade at one point yourself. If you really want to be good at SEO, you won’t play the cool kid. You’ll get down to business, share your knowledge, use the best tools for the job, be accessible, and be transparent.
If you’re too cool, you’ll probably say things like, “You don’t know how to optimize your web copy for SEO? That’s a shame,” then go on your cool way. But if you really want to be successful at SEO, you’ll share what you know and become a trusted authority. Not only will trusted authorities see themselves become more popular in the SEO community, but they’ll see more success with clients. Basically, when people know what you know and know that you are open and honest about what you know, they are more willing to trust you.
And when it comes to picking out an SEO for a small business, business owners want someone they can trust—someone who will answer their questions and give them advice. It’s kind of like hiring a trusted mechanic. If a mechanic tells you to replace X part, but doesn’t tell you why or how, you won’t trust him. But if the mechanic walks you out to your car, points out what is going on, shows you how it’s broken, and what needs to be fixed, you’ll be much more likely to let him do the repairs. Don’t be too cool. Be like the mechanic who shows his clients what is going on before he fixes anything.
Speaking of being too cool, have you been to a record shop lately? Of course, not. But there used to be these things called record shops, and in them there was usually some cool guy sitting behind the counter who knew just about every band possible ever in the history of music. He’d usually recommend super-underground music you’ve never heard of and discredit any successful band as sellouts. You know, the kind of guy who’s always saying things like, “Coldplay? Yeah, they used to be cool until—”
Don’t be that guy. The best tools available for your SEO tactics are the best tools because they work. Just because a startup comes along promising awesome new analytics and whiz-bang features it doesn’t mean they will deliver or that they will even work well. If the latest, most underground, SEO tools actually work the best, use them. If not, don’t use tools simply because you are part of only a handful of people use them. Be open to all of the best practices and tools for SEO on the market.
Do you want to be successful at SEO? Then get your name out there; go to some trade shows, conferences, meetings, and more. If you want to be a successful SEO, you have to sell yourself and let people know what you can do. You could be that guy in the corner with the pretentious scarf and the sunglass. But that guy only looks cool, he doesn’t have any clients and he certainly isn’t growing his business.
The fact of the matter is, the more you are out there meeting people, shaking hands, speaking at conferences, blogging, tweeting, and more, the more clients you will amass and the more business you will do.
People who are too cool, often have to display an air of secrecy. That is, they can only be cool if you don’t know very much about them or what they do. They don’t communicate well because they are too worried about protecting their image. The same can be true for SEOs.
One of the first things you have to give up, to be a good SEO is an air of secrecy. Get down to your client’s level and talk to them about their needs and your capabilities. Help them find the best solutions to their problems and tell them exactly how you are going to create those solutions. If you can be open and transparent with your plans—and your client’s money—they will be much more open to your suggestions—and open to spending more money. In other words, don’t hide your SEO plans in a cool looking briefcase, get them out in the open, so you can help your customer decide what is best for their company.
SEO is still cool, no matter what people say. But don’t be too cool when it comes to dealing with your clients and growing your business. Elitism and secrecy will only give people the impression that you are hard to work with and have something to hide. So open up, take of the sunglasses, and get some real SEO done.
Brad Anderson is the Founder and CEO of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association