SEO is growing up, the geeky little outcast has gone to college gone out into the world and gone all mainstream, but there is still more to learn, still some growing up to be done, and it’s time SEO looked to its elders for guidance. so here are 3 mature industries that SEO should be looking up to if its going to be a contender.
Law When was the last time your solicitor offered to spend an afternoon looking at something for you for free? When was the last time a solicitor felt guilty about charging for their time (do solicitors feel guilt? maybe that’s a question for another time). As SEO’s we need to learn to appreciate just how valuable our time is, it doesn’t mean that we can’t give things away now in return for future reward, but we have a very specialised, difficult to learn skill set, and we need to start acting like it. This doesn’t just go for free v’s paid either, it means that we need to put an accurate value on our time, and having come across some SEO’s pitching at less that 2000 a month for clients that are easily going to require 40+ hours work I think we still have a long way to go with this one.
When I try and think of the industries that SEO is most like, I always come back to psychology, itself a relatively new discipline It straddles the worlds of science, art and instinct in many of the same ways as SEO. Also similarly to SEO it is based on the idea of untangling a knot more complex than any individual could devise, with as many different situations as there are stars in the sky. I can’t help loving the idea of Google sitting on the couch ready to have it’s issues dealt with. Because of these similarities, I think there are many ways that we should learn from our psycologist cousins, however the thing that I think would have the biggest impact is if we learnt to embrace our differences in approach. In psychology there are many different ways of understanding human behaviour, some offering conflicting practices, but each suitabe in their own way to particular circumstances. How much better would we be able to deal with the situations presented by different clients if we understood that client A needed a Fantomastarian, where client B needed a Fishkinist SEO. Black and white hat simply can’t define us any more, it’s time we started looking to a more grown up method of definition
There are many different types of doctor, and not all of them are good at everything, as SEO’s we need to learn to accept our strengths and weaknesses and work with that. Your average SEO is like a general practitioner, able to diagnose a wide range of problems, they look at the symptoms and try different prescriptions until they find the one that works for the patient. in most cases they are the only SEO that the patient client will ever need to see, and there is nothing wrong with that, and this is the type of SEO that most of us will practice.
Then you have the specialists, the people who have a particularly strong skill set in a particular area, are they still able to diagnose a wider variety of general problems of course, but they understand the intricacies of link building or site architecture or link baiting in ways that are beyond the skill set of the general practitioner, and these people should be referred to when necessary.
Then at the top tier you have the bleeding edge, in medicine this is the small group of specialists developing new treatments and techniques, these are the people who create new ways to perform open heart surgeries or administer life saving treatments, the pioneers, and we have them in SEO too, people who pounce on every new update and work out the whys and wherefores. Should every SEO be testing and researching and trying new things, no absolutely not, most SEO’s should be keeping up to date with the literature and applying that to their practice, it’s these pioneers who provide the information to allow them to do that and we should recognise and embrace that there are many different types of SEO required, and understand where our strengths lie.
So there you have it, three lessons that we can learn from other industries, but I’m sure there are more, after all, there is something we can learn from nearly everyone.