The Zen of Search
the Image Freedom blog
The Zen of Search
the Image Freedom blog
Pardon me for saying so, but America can be a pretty entitled country. It’s been so long since we’ve had to fight for the freedoms that we enjoy that we often forget how rare those freedoms are and how hard the men and women of our armed forces had to work to secure those freedoms.
We live in the greatest nation on the planet, but most of us have never known different. The era of Facebook, easy accessible internet access, entertainment, from CNN to Jersey Shore. We are a country that gets what we want, and if we’re ever bored, we just need to whip out our phones or change the channel.
In February of this year, I wrote a blog, “My Fear of Stairs” about my Air Force injury and how certain factors in my life were giving me a reason to climb the stairs, to even run up stairs, because what was at the top of the stairs was worth more than the pain that typically made me fear staircases.
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We all use Analytics to track the progress of our Internet Marketing. Whether we use Google Analytics for our PPC or our SEO, or we use something like Web Trends or my favorite getClicky, we’re all watching the page views, the bounce rates, tracking conversions, following the math of SEO. The numbers, up or down, good month or bad.
Analytics is like dancing to a song you’ve never heard before. Maybe you’ve heard the band before, or you quickly pick up the tempo, but predicting the next cords, predicting the next section or melody is simply impossible. If the musician did his job, the music will surprise you, the music will be unpredictable.
This dance, this instinct, this guessing game that we play with the math of SEO is everything. No one knows exactly what to do on every SEO project. Sure we put our Keywords in the Title Tag, we optimize key pages for specific keywords, we build links, we create content, we make our best educated guess as to what will work. It’s still just guessing.
Anyone that gets up and says they have the secret, the math down, the one size fits all approach is simply lying. No one has a partnership with Google for SEO, no one has an in that lets them change the rankings, Google’s algorithm is this brilliant fickle thing that just like a song, keeps right on going whether you’re dancing to it or not.
In SEO, whoever guesses the best wins. It sounds awful, to think that we’re all just doing our best, pushing along trying to roll with our mistakes and adjust our strategies to succeed. It’s the truth. We’re trying to guess better than the other guy, but the fact remains the same.
At the end of the day, Analytics is the tool, the tempo of that song, that helps us correct our methods, improve our own rythm and God willing keep us from stepping on the poor girl’s toes. All we can do is trust our instincts and learn from our mistakes.
My job is to be a better guesser than the other guy. Any fluff, head in the clouds “guru” “expert” “visionary” crap is just that, fluff. Filler. Buzz words. It’s about as useful as the best site ever with no backlinks.
Get out there and make your best guess, then follow up with Analytics and correct accordingly. It’s not a secret, it’s just a little faith and an educated guess.
Matthew Egan is the President of San Antonio SEO consulting group Image Freedom. When not dancing to the blues, Matthew helps web pages like yours get more traffic through content driven Search Engine Optimization.
This May I hired an assistant. Business had been improving and I knew that one of my biggest weaknesses was my Attention Deficit Disordered self. Being easily distractible is fantastic when you’re in the creative space, where I spend probably half my day, but when it comes time to returning e-mails, remembering appointments and getting things done, the mind of an ADD child suffers dramatically.
So I now have an assistant, and her name is Sarah, and she completes me in no understated way. Sarah is detail oriented, organized and difficult to distract. She is often my nemesis, and I’ll do my part to derail her plans to keep me on task. I once contemplated giving her Pink Eye so her absent self would be unable to remind me that I should be doing work. I mean, contemplated, really, I wouldn’t honestly infect one of my employees with a contagious disease. Honest!
So today Sarah and I were working on Excel and updating the budget for the company, and for myself. We discussed various aspects of the business, who we needed to contact, who to update, who to assign this or that to, etc. Sarah pointed at my Twitter client and said, “Why not just Direct Message her now?” We needed to write some checks, for both personal and business things, “Why not just write the checks now?”
So we did. Both. Right then.
We got to talking about a book I had been given called “The Power of Now” and it’s a book I always thought I should read but never did, so you’ll have to tell me if it correlates at all to what I’m talking about here, but essentially, those things “I should really do” are much more easily done if you just… you know, do them. RIGHT NOW.
I needed to e-mail a client. Do it now. I needed to update my spreadsheets. Just do it! I was behind on my blog. Now is as good a time as any right?
Now is truly a powerful thing, and when we sat down, and we identified tasks and as soon as we gave it a name, gave it a purpose, we just accomplished it. Didn’t create an action item, a calendar entry, or a separate spreadsheet, nope. We just opened whatever it was, completed the thing, and just like that it’s done!
What are you putting off? What are you planning to do that planning for, making a list for, or thinking about doing, is taking more time than it’d take to just freaking do it!? Join me in a culture of now! You’ll be glad you did!
There’s something about a sunset. A sunset slows you down.
My friend Michelle Poteet (Chief Executive Organizer at Reclaim Order) often repeats something Pattie Porter taught us about fear. Pattie asked us once, during one panic or another, exactly what the worst thing that could happen was.
Wait… you mean this isn’t the end of the world? Truly?
Michelle reminds me of this, I remind her of this, and I guess that’s what accountability partners are for right? Sometimes we forget that the sun will rise tomorrow, just like it did today.
Spending an evening on the Seal Beach Pier the other day, I watched the sun set. There’s something about that moment in time that reaches in and lifts you out of your life for a moment, reminds you that this is all temporary, that nothing is permanent
A sunset resets us. No matter how bad today was, tomorrow is a new day, and it’s up to us to make it better.
April of 2009 I was a fresh face in San Antonio, recently divorced, escaping the collapsing California economy, on my own for the first time in my life. There were plenty of bad days, plenty of lonely days, but the sun always rose the next day.
We all make the wrong choice sometimes. I think what will eventually define us is how many times we decided to do the right thing, I’ll tell you, speaking from very recent experience that it only takes the tiniest action to turn things around.
So you lost a client. So that proposal wasn’t picked up. So that pretty girl never called. Life goes on and I promise you the sun will rise tomorrow.
Will you sleep in, hit snooze, let today be as bad as yesterday, or will you rise and greet this brand new day?
Reminds me of a blog I read years ago at Zen Habits, I recommend you read it too. The most successful people are those who always take action, any action, even the wrong action, rather than choose to do nothing. That idea comes from the same place, we can choose to be stagnant or we can choose to be aggressive.
Even if we fail, the sun will always rise tomorrow and we can try again until we find our moment to succeed.
Have you found your moment?