Ch. 2 – Challenges – Critical Thinking



Every job has its challenges. They may not be obvious to the casual observer, but they’re there, nonetheless. That’s just as true for those of us working our magic on the Internet as it is for a cop, a plumber or a brain surgeon.

SEO practitioners have to be concerned with the internal politics of their client’s company, the Webmaster Guidelines put forth by the search engines, the dynamics of the competitive field in which their client operates, the constant changes in the ranking algorithms… the list is seemingly endless.

Just keeping a finger on all those pulses is a full-time job. Add to that the necessity of site surveys, exhaustive research, repetitive analysis, progress reports and attending the occasional conference, and it’s no surprise that many of us work 80-100 hours a week. There are a lot of challenges to face.

One of the greatest challenges for you, if not the greatest, is learning how to determine which of those challenges is the most urgent and which will bear the sweetest fruit.

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Ch. 1 – Learn How to Fish – Critical Thinking

Learn How to Fish

When asked what the single most important thing for any SEO to learn is, my immediate response is: Learn what to believe, and what to label “Bullshit!”

And that lesson may be both the most difficult and the most inherently dangerous.

When I set out to learn SEO, I immediately built a list of blogs authored by well-known SEOs, and visited them regularly. Names like Cutts, Sullivan, Slawski, Fishkin, Wall… and a dozen or so more, were regular reading for me. I also signed up at a handful of internet and webmaster forums and spent a lot of time reading, asking questions and laying the foundation of my burgeoning SEO knowledge.

Only thing is, that foundation was laid in a bed of quicksand. I learned a lot of things that were flat-out wrong!

Some of the folks I followed knew what they were talking about. Others knew some things, but talked like they knew it all. And an alarmingly large percentage was pumping pure garbage.

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Bill Slawski on the Present and Future Internet

When I first set out to learn SEO, I started following just about everyone that had something to say and an audience to say it to. It wasn’t too long before I started weeding out the folks that were just talking because they could, and start focusing more on the folks that were saying something worth listening to.

Over the years, I’ve found reason to ignore some folks, as well as discovered a few I wish I’d known five years sooner. But of those I followed from the very beginning and still do, one stands out among all others.

Gabriella and I had the pleasure of hanging out with Bill Slawski, of SEO by the Sea, for an hour, discussing some of the present capabilities for making use of the data harvested online, and some future applications we may see coming down the pike. There’s some great stuff possible, that could help a lot of people. But like any other technology, there’s potential for harm, too.

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