Do as I say, not as I do!

Every day I seem to offer the same advice, I seem to use the same web sites as examples, and I’m generally sharing the same message.  So why am I not following my own advice in a lot of cases?  To steal from Alicia Sanera’s recent blog “The Cobbler’s children have no shoes.”  It’s absolutely true, I need to practice what I preach.

Lately I’ve been hanging out at the Pear Analytics offices and if you haven’t heard of Pear they’re a group that really understands the math behind SEO, the value of each tiny little tweak you can make to your site and how that will impact your indexing process.  It is humbling to watch them work, and to hear their founder Ryan Kelly speak, he really knows his stuff.

Pear Analytics has a software suite called SiteJuice that takes your site and gives you pointers and scores on where your SEO is, and helps you track the progress of your rise or fall in various targeted keywords.  The software is still in Beta, but I tell you it is going to be on the lips of every optimizer if it isn’t already.  Anyway, Ryan wrote a blog called “Are SEO’s a Dime a Dozen?” and once again, I am humbled by his experience in this industry.

One of his points was, and rightfully so, how does the SEO you’re checking out rank in search engines?  Brings up something we’ve covered before, and that is even if you come up for your targeted keyword, do you come up for your own name?  I do, as we covered in an earlier blog, but as I said there was a time when I didn’t.  Maybe I am measuring myself by some imaginary SEO bar and not by the “I’ve been around for Six Months is this where I should be?” bar.

For the most part, I think I pass Ryan’s 5 stage test.  Do I rank in the search engines?  Yep.  Do I use out dated techniques?  No.  What was the last event I attended?  We’ll come back to this.  Does the SEO speak at events?  Yep.  Finally does the SEO talk over your head?  Well, probably!  That is always the struggle right?  How do you bring someone who has never heard of SEO, is interested in ranking on search engines, and show them even the most basic of techniques without occasionally blowing them away?  It’s tough, and truly, that is why I blog.  The feedback I get here on how to make SEO approachable to everyone makes for invaluable research when it comes to sharing what I do.

Lastly, I said we’d come back to events.  I don’t believe in trade shows.  I’ve been involved in trade shows since I was 16 years old, and what I know is that if you’re not selling a product, there is little you can learn at a Trade Show that you can’t learn from reading blogs and being members of frontier web communities.  That isn’t to say that Search Engine Expo won’t be a blast if I do make it, but when you look at the cost benefit analysis, I’m in the camp that those shows are a way for SEO’s to pat their ego’s and hell when I need that I’ll just read a happy e-mail from a client.

So what did I take away from Ryan’s article?  We are never “done”.  What he didn’t cover, that I know I’ve been dragging me feet about is the video element of Image Freedom.  I’m an old documentary producer, I’ve got a Hollywood production studio in my closet, there is no reason why these ideas for videos that I have haven’t been done.  That’s number one, number two is continuing to simplify and clarify what SEO is, find that best definition so your grandmother can be told just what it is we do.

The more I learn, the more I learn there is more to learn.  Thank you Ryan for writing a benchmark list for us to gauge our progress on.  I’m grateful to know someone as serious about SEO as you.