100 Lessons Learned From 8 Years of SEO Experience

I’ve gone through Heaps of Various changes along with Implemented search engine optimisation methods on tens of thousands of web sites.

This expertise, although I have worked equally in house and in bureaus Does not signify that I have the answer. In reality, I have made a lot of mistakes on the way — and I wished to talk a few of the lessons I have heard during my livelihood now.

These classes are based in my experiences and Screw ups. They are linked to search engine optimisation, but in my entrepreneurial and own life, business pursuits in general. I trust you will find them handy in regards to preventing!

1. Do not link-build too Quick — After I started In search engine optimisation, I started moving, perhaps maybe not understanding I should pace myself and assembled a website. I had assembled all the connections I am, and be wholly inconsistent in my efforts within the subsequent months. Tumbled a situation that I might have avoided by choosing a more sustainable strategy, my positions shot as you may anticipate.

2. Meta-descriptions matter — even when they haven’t some search engine optimization value today, they are still of use out of a CTR stand point.

3. Do not worry over traffic and rankings — Matters move monthly; perhaps maybe not weekly or daily.

4. There is a fine line between becoming being obsessed with — After I started, I’d watch my site’s positions each and each single day, every hourthinking something could change. I had been wasting time over something that I couldn’t change, if my period might have been spent writing website articles or assembling links.

5. There isn’t any substitute to get a fantastic merchandise — I have done search engine optimisation for tens of thousands of internet web sites, and that I discovered the ideal search engine optimisation strategy is a good product — and which won’t ever change.

6. There’s a Enormous difference between refining e commerce, lead generation sites, small Websites and User-generated websites — You want to know a website’s position, however the sort of web site as the kind of site should revolve round it’s you are dealing together.

7. Tactics go and come, but ingenuity never expires — I Despise following search engine optimization experts’ advice, for their own respective sites they are using work before contemplating whether the methods. You can not make a mistake by finding ways to achieve it and putting the emphasis on providing respect.

8. Age is Only a few — The era of a domain name and Site help a site ranking, but do not let you intimidate. There are a lot of different facets weighted from the algorithms, gives plenty of chances to you to overcome on your contest.

9. Enormous brands are not that hard to conquer — Generally speaking, The slower they have been supposed to go although I have discovered that the larger the brand, greater the funding. Think about how much effort needed to go a rate ship versus a freight boat.

10. Diversify all you can really do — Google devalues entire link types on a normal basis, and thus do not get caught with your trousers down!

11. Search Engine Optimization is growing together with advertising — Search-engine Optimization grows more complicated daily, and that explains the reason why it important to remain up to date on news.

12. Write articles to Achieve your viewers — YesSEO Is very vital, but in the event that you do not possess something good awaiting your own site for those people who find your company throughout the SERPs, there isn’t any reason to visit all the trouble to getting the website ranked well.

13. Every Search Engine Optimisation Should understand programming languages — The code of your site performs a part in its own optimisation spend the opportunity.

14. There is no solution to encounter — With Search Engine Optimisation, You’re able to read website articles and the novels . However there are many moving parts which, if you don’t truly do it, then you wont know whether this plan or strategy is still workingout. I have been fortunate enough to focus with a huge number of websites and also have learned the hard way what works and what does not. You become punished and repair this punishment And soon, you are never likely to be 100 percent convinced.

15. Exotic animals would be the most peculiar — Whenever Google sparks an animal-themed upgrade (just such as the recent”Panda” and”Penguin”), you are aware that it’s time for you to get stressed!

16. It is all comparative (believe”rel=canonical,” “rel=other” and”rel=au thor”) — you will find lots of distinctive rel tags around the market, therefore it is search engine optimisation 101 to maintain tabs on them as each option could help ensure the appropriate flow of Page Rank and search engine optimisation value all through your website.

17. Online marketing never expires (whether that is Search engine optimisation, ASO, PPC, CRO, cellphone, email or display advertisements ) — Each month or 2, I read a post on how a few different part of search engine optimisation is expiring. This is what… search engine optimisation will not perish. The concepts and theories will still continue to conduct internet sites and also will soon likely change, although It’ll evolve.

18. Keyword study is the One Thing That things — Do your research erroneous. You’ve got to nail down this off the bat as, if you are wrong, every thing implemented subsequently is likely to soon be considered a wasted effort.

19. There is absolutely no replacement unique content — Cease looking to fool your self your cracked articles represent any sort of significance for the own audience.

20. It is always better to be organic compared to over-optimized — Penguin was the initial part of what’s likely to become a very long lineup of prospective penalties. Remember I did not warn you if your internet site that is optimized-to-a-fault becomes dinged!

21. Page Rank is just another amount — You will find Lots of additional, more crucial numbers which you ought to really be tracking — for example numerical links on a web page, outside outbound links and in bound links — as opposed to focusing only on tool bar PageRank.

22. You’re able to quantify trust and authority — In case you are not focusing to metric, odds are you are being overcome by the competition.

23. Bounce rate Is Quite important — It is a little Variable in search engine optimisation, however, a element in ROI. You ought to really be working constantly to boost your bounce speed, since thus giving your customers better worth and supplies you with a improved ROI. That more traffic that could take action, In the event that you’re able to lower your bounce speed by 25%.

24. Your Search Engine Optimisation and merchandise groups Will Need to operate collectively — Possessing good services and products is among the most useful things that you can perform to help your own search engine optimisation. Because of this, you want to work closely together with your product team to ensure your web sites are correctly optimized. Out-of-sync teams may spend your time burning off their tires to catch upon optimizing the product releases.

25. Programmers Want to use Huge words — Do not let You gives! Treat them with respect and make an effort to speak in their degree to them. Dealing together with technical heads does not always need to be complicated as you believe.

26. Long live the <title> tag!

27. Both 301 redirects and 404 pages matter – If you haven’t optimized these two site components, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to capture web visitors.

28. SEO is magic – After working on SEO for hundreds of sites, I find that there’s always a little unknown involved.  Often times it’s due to not fully understanding the situation, because of a lack of tools or information on a site’s history.  But there’s always a little bit of unknown evolved, so you should always be prepared for that.

29. There’s no replacement for relevancy – Whether in terms of content creation, on-page optimization or link building, relevancy matters and should be a top priority for your website.

30. Speed has been an issue since 1999 – The faster your website, the better (even though plenty of people seem to forget about this one).

31. “(not provided)” is not a problem – Even if you don’t have all the information you need, you can still move forward as long as you understand your product and customers.

32. Never try to screw over your competitors – It’s just good karma to avoid shady stuff.  Instead, use that energy to build an extra link or do more SEO for your site.  You don’t need to play defense until you’re at the top of the SERPs (and even then, the best defense is a strong offense).

33. Always try to learn from your competition – Don’t get frustrated about being outranked.  Instead, try to identify the strategies your Top 5 competitors are using to beat you, and then turn around employ them on your own site.

34. The only thing I miss about Yahoo is the Open Site Explorer – Seriously, talk about a company that’s behind the times…

35. Don’t pay for fancy SEO tools, build them – There are hundreds of great tools out there, but I find that my favorite tools are usually the ones we built internally that help us speed up the simplest task

36. Money doesn’t buy rankings – It helps, but what you really need is a good strategy.

37. It’s better to be safe than sorry – This goes for all SEO tactics. Google is getting stricter and stricter, so avoid anything that might be construed as over-optimization at all costs.

38. Don’t build links, build customers – Google updates can’t destroy your business if it’s built on people, not SEO metrics.

39. Too much of anything is bad – Don’t focus on any one technique too much.  One year from now, your link building tactic could get you penalized, so if it feels wrong morally, don’t do it.

40. SEO can be applied to many aspects of your life

41. Always do amazing work – This is the only rule in my life that I’ve stuck to.  Because of it, I’ve had some amazing opportunities.  Doing good work will always help you – just try it and see!

42. Build an army – Our first hire at Single Grain was Ross Hudgens, and now, he’s one of our biggest evangelists.

43. Get some fresh air – There’s so much going on in the SEO industry that sometimes you just need a break.  Take a vacation, drink a beer and don’t forget that there’s a world beyond your computer.

44. Learn how to improve your CTR from billboards – Billboards have very little time to capture attention, so they’re masters of the quick sell.  When a billboard catches your eye, figure out what they’re doing and how they caught your attention.

45. Happy hour is the best place for ideas – Often, you’ll have your best ideas when you’re not directly thinking about work.  If you ever feel stuck, grab a beer and sleep on it.

46. Networking is the only thing that matters in the first five years of working – Start as a peon.  To get anywhere in life, you have to meet the right people so get out, get a good position and focus on listening to the knowledge of experts.  Success will come with time and, in fact, I can pinpoint key achievements in my career from the people I met in my first five years of working in SEO.

47. Give everything you know away – SEO is hard, which means that there are always opportunities to help others.  You don’t have to be secretive about what you do (heck, most of the time, when I give everything away, people don’t ever react on it).  It’s still good karma though, so give it away and good things will come.

48. Teach as many people as possible – You never know when the people you help out will return the favor with future business referrals.

49. There’s a difference between marketing, advertising and branding – If you don’t know the difference and have a strategy in place for each aspect of your business, you’re missing out.

50. There will always be ups and downs – Don’t take your “up” times for granted, and don’t let your “down” times cause you to give up.

51. Always go for sustainability – This is true whether you’re talking rankings, income, happiness or anything else in life.

52. Location matters – Living in an industry-concentrated city like San Francisco leaves me feeling motivated and inspired at the end of each day.

53. Take risks – Make them smart risks, but don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a rut.

54. Talking shit works – It isn’t necessary to burn bridges to do so, but don’t be afraid of rocking the boat every now and then.

55. You will always have to suck up – Whether you’re dealing with investors or clients, keep in mind that your livelihood and happiness often rest in other peoples’ hands.  Deal with the fact that this means you’ll have to suck up to them every so often.

56. Think scalability – Always have this idea at the top of your mind, as it’s the ultimate key to earning higher profits and making more money.

57. Always have a strategy – There are enough resources in the world that you shouldn’t ever feel like you’re approaching things aimlessly.

58. There’s an app for that – In this day and age, there’s an app available for just about every problem you have.  Whether it relates to SEO or life, it’s just a Google search away.

59. Lawyers suck – Whether they’re on your side (in the form of legal fees) or not (if you’re getting sued) they cost a lot and are best avoided at all costs.

60. Fire fast – Bad employees hurt the people around them much more than it’ll hurt to let them go.

61. Don’t optimize for social media, be social – You don’t have to try to “look natural” if you simply are natural in the first place.

62. Just f***ing do it! – Dont Continue with same failed methodology

63. Don’t rely on other people’s money – If you’re starting a business, don’t build it just to raise money.  Even if you’re running an SEO campaign, you can still do it with little to no money.

64. Read books – Fiction, non-fiction, whatever.  Reading helps improve your writing skills and exposes you to tons of new ideas.

65. Figure out the difference between fad and trend, both in SEO and life – Don’t jump on every bandwagon you come across if it doesn’t make sense in terms of your overall plan.

66. Avoid the SEO hangover – Just like having too much alcohol will leave you feeling poorly the next day, taking in too much SEO information can leave you feeling overwhelmed.  Avoid information overload by researching only the subject you need at any given time.

67. More isn’t always better – Practice tasteful SEO that’s in line with your overall goals and vision.

68. Don’t forget about your family and friends – If you let your relationships with your family and friends fall apart because you’re too busy with work, they won’t be there for you when you need them most.

69. Capitalize carefully – Don’t rush into accepting financing without a careful consideration of the impact on your business.  Trust yourself, and use this faith to stick to the business growth plan you’ve identified.

70. Fail fast – If something isn’t working, drop it to pursue other opportunities.

71. Focus on habits – Having goals is important, but it’s the habits you adopt that allow you to achieve these overall visions.

72. Validate your learning – Take time to assess what’s working in both your SEO campaigns and in your life.

73. Be prepared for the pressures of a public life – It’s not all bad, but there is a certain amount of pressure on public personalities to perform.  Don’t get into the world of web management if you aren’t comfortable being found online by strangers.

74. Don’t feed the trolls – Some people just suck, but don’t let them drag you down too.

75. You can’t have everything – Or, at least, you can’t everything all at once.

76. Avoid income inflation – If you’re successful in business, your income should go up, but be careful not to let your spending get out of hand.  Bad things happen to even the best of people, so don’t over-extend yourself.

77. Be grateful – Try finding at least one person every day to say “thank you” to.

78. Eat well and exercise regularly – I like good beer and rich foods as much as the next guy, but I also know that I’m more productive when I’m healthy.  Everything in moderation!

79. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it – Don’t chase after the newest, shiniest SEO tool or ebook.  Work with what you have and only invest in your business when you can afford to do so.

80. Give back to your community – Take time every year to help the less fortunate, out of recognition of everything you’ve been blessed with.

81. Pursue ideas thoughtfully – Even if you have dozens of great ideas, don’t rush into them all at once.  Wait for the right moment.

82. Learn to say “no” – Not every request you get will be a good fit for your business.  If an opportunity doesn’t fit with your long-range vision, take it off the table.

83. Don’t overextend yourself – Taking on more clients or projects than you can handle leads to stress and burnout (not to mention missed deadlines!).  Avoid it whenever possible.

84. Eliminate clutter – Clean desk = clean mind.

85. There aren’t any shortcuts, in SEO or in life – Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something.

86. Quit bitching and do the work – Don’t complain about how hard it is to find good links or to get to the top of the SERPs.  Reinvest that energy in actually doing the work and you’ll see much more success.

87. Conversion rates should be your top goal – SEO only matters if you’re seeing an improvement in your bottom line as the result of your efforts.

88. Pay attention to your ROI – Quantify your actions and be ruthless about eliminating any SEO techniques that don’t contribute a positive ROI to your website.

89. Baby steps make a difference – SEO can seem overwhelming, but doing as little as building one new link a day will make a difference over time.

90. Listen to Matt Cutts / Rand Fishkin

91. Be wary of overselling – If you can’t do something, don’t tell your clients that you can.  Overselling is a quick way to ruin your reputation.

92. SEO is a race, not a sprint – Don’t get frustrated if you don’t see results right away.  SEO is something you’ve got to be in for the long haul.

93. SEO isn’t the “end all, be all” – There are tons of different ways to get traffic online.  If SEO isn’t the right fit for your company, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t dozens of other techniques you can use to build your web presence.

94. It’s easiest to secure backlinks by publishing great content– Building good content and getting people to share it is one of the easiest formulas out there for generating backlinks.

95. SEO is never “done” – Continue with your quality efforts.

96. Coffee is no substitute for good sleep – You can’t do good work if you’ve been up for three days in a row, so cut the crap and get a good night’s sleep.

97. There’s always something you can be doing better – Even SEO experts make continuing education part of their businesses, so make it a priority to always be looking for ways to improve.

98. Make monitoring industry updates a regular part of your routine – Every day, try to scan through SEO news site headlines (I use seo.alltop.com for this) so that you don’t miss out on major announcements.

99. Take regular digital sabbaticals – If it works for Bill Gates, it’ll probably work for you, so try to find at least a few days a year to regroup and tune out popular media.

100. You can’t outsmart Google – Google hires some of the top scientists, engineers and PhDs in the world every year.  The odds of some “sneaky trick” you’ve found on an SEO blog outsmarting this brain trust aren’t very good.

Conclusion

If there’s any one thing I’ve learned from my decade in the business, it’s that there’s no substitution for failure.  You’re going to make mistakes – and it’s going to suck – but if you can draw lessons from your experiences like I’ve done above, you’ll ultimately wind up more successful than if you blow off your mistakes.