Ch. 16 – Takeaways – Critical Thinking

Updated October 16, 2013

Doc Sheldon



You’ll decide which tidbits will be your takeaways from Critical Thinking. But I’m going to offer some notes that you might want to think about, by Chapter:


1.       Learn how to fish

  • Critical Thinking isn’t intended to teach you what to think, but how to think.

2.       Challenges

  • Internet marketing now encompasses more disciplines than in the past.
  • Engagement, client education and awareness play an increasing role in IM.
  • Changes such as the weighting of the link profile,, increasingly tighter budget constraints, attribution requirements, the every-broadening selection of social media platforms, negative perception of the IM industry and other distractions all make it more difficult to focus efforts where most needed.

3.       Managing Change

  • If there’s one thing that’s constant in the SEO/IM fields, it’s change.
  • A desire by some to see exact-match domain names and backlinks given less weight.
  • A need for more freshness. QDF.

4.       Who has Time to Waste?

  • Corporate blogging a waste of effort?
  • Too many voices to know which to heed
  • Determining which IM channels suit your client, because all don’t
  • Too much use of social media to replace customer service channels
  • Too many different social media channels
  • Rank-tracking instead of Revenue-Tracking a mistake
  • Not enough attention given to data analysis
  • Bickering about what does or doesn’t work, vs just doing it
  • Too much focus on quantity of data, rather than quality

5.       If Rumplestiltskin Could do it…

  • Conversion marketing – conversion rate optimization
  • Wealth of metrics available
  • SEO – Organic SERPs
  • Social media, if used properly
  • Effective KW research yields great results
  • Honest and effective networking
  • SEO – brand marketing
  • Proper content for the proper audience
  • Remarketing
  • A/B testing
  • Content is King

6.       What Do You Read?

  • No single source is sufficient… leads to tunnel vision
  • Twitter seems to be the most popular because it leads to more info
  • SEJ, SEL, SEO Dojo, Techmeme, Hacker News, Avinash Kaushik’s Analytics blog are popular

(There are some great links offered in Chapter 5…  I strongly suggest you check them out to find the best sources for you)

7.       Foreseeing the Future

  • – increasing linguistics capability
  • increasing social signals, personalization and blended search
  • Decreasing valuation of links, in favor of new ranking signal
  • increasing use of authenticity signals like rel=me, rel=author

8.       Your Tools

  • Some great tool recommendations

9.       Your Dream-tools

  • Some interesting wishful thinking

10.   Rubbing Elbows

  • Networking
  • Some recommendations for specific conferences
  • Smaller, more intimate conferences seem to be popular

11.   Who Were Your Mentors?

  • Some mentions of mentors that have helped form the contributors’ personalities

12.    Any Regrets?

  • Comments on whether they would make the same career choice again, and why

13.   Mentoring Others

  • Contributors offer the three most important lessons they would want to pass on to a protégé.

14.   Which is Your Font of Wisdom?

  • Some great suggestions of reliable sources of information and some discussion of what makes a source reliable.

15.   Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

  • Some great recommendations on how to sort the bad advice from the good.


You undoubtedly noticed that some of our contributors disagree on a thing or two. That’s to be expected, whenever so many minds are pulled together from different environments. As I mentioned earlier, some techniques will render entirely different results for different sites. And as more than one here has said, there are often multiple paths to the same result.

I’m sure you also noticed several areas in which many of the contributors agreed. Those are the areas that I suggest you give some serious consideration to their ideas. With nearly 300 years of SEO and IM experience gathered on these pages, I think they bear listening to.

Whatever takeaways you get from Critical Thinking, I hope they serve you well. If you’re just starting out, I think you’ll find them helpful in establishing your own mindset. If you’ve already been at this game a while, perhaps they’ll jog loose some old memories or help clear some cobwebs.

Whichever the case, thank you for taking the time to read this. I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed its crafting .


You can begin with Chapter One of Critical Thinking for the Discerning SEO here.