The difference between being on top of and ahead of your (SEO) game
Warning, this is more of a philosophical post then it is a “technical” one as you’re used to of me. It’s also late here, so my english might not be up to par either, but this post needed to be written now. So here we go.
One of the things that keeps amazing me when I look at the SEO community, is how the people who seem to be the brightest of all, and the people bringing in real *-loads of money, are not the same people.
My colleague and pal Roy Huiskes, (who recently started blogging in English) writes about Reactionary vs. Visionary SEO, and sees a difference between reactionary SEO’s and visionary SEO’s, and though I get what he talks about, I think he’s wrong. You should probably read hist post first (and while you’re at it you might as well subscribe to his blog, he’s a darn good SEO).
If you have the time and resources to do an awful lot of testing, you’ll see what’s changing in the algorithm pretty soon. If you start to think ahead, and feel that you “know” what’s coming, you might be right. But are you serving yourself or your customers well by using that knowledge already?
If you test well enough, you know what works now, and that’s what that group of money making people is using. The group of people that probably are the brightest, also fall into this big trap of trying to be too far ahead of the game…
People who stopped buying links two years ago, weren’t doing their clients a favor. People who stopped doing that recently, like somewhere in the last 5-6 months, do a better job IMHO: they cut the risk when they need to.
If you become one of those SEO’s who dive into search patents and act immediately on those, instead of thinking: “OK, so in two months/years/whatever, I need to make sure that…” etc. Are you doing your clients a favor by acting on those immediately? Of course, you have a defensible story, but really, are you doing your clients a favor? I don’t think so.
Knowing what’s coming at you in the coming years is very important. As is staying “on top of your game”, as it allows you to do the kind of SEO that is currently needed to rank well. But please, please, do not make the mistake, of mistaking the first for the latter…
So, if you think you’re a good SEO, and know what to do, but aren’t getting the rankings you think you should be getting, it might be wise to turn the clock back a few years in your head: what would I have done a year ago. Try that, and see if your rankings go up! If they do, you owe me a beer.