“Step inside my mind for a moment…” Robin Williams from “Reality, What A Concept”
When I saw this Tweet from John Andrews, I knew I had to question him about it…and here’s how the conversation went:
Just from this brief exchange that has nothing to do with search marketing, I have learned a tremendous amount about John and the traits he has as a search marketer.
- He is extremely observant and perceptive.
- He learns from experience.
- He’s a planner and always thinks several steps ahead of where he is.
- He is very careful.
If I were looking for a search marketing professional and were considering John, even if I hadn’t had much interaction with him or looked his blog, reading this exchange alone would almost be enough for me to decide to work with him because he has exhibited many of the top traits of search marketers while speaking in a relatively unguarded fashion away from a professional or sales situation.
I have spoken to John in several conference settings and I’ve never gotten the indication he’s any better at the technical aspects of SEO than the rest of us (likely because he’s never talked of such things). However, he has told me stories of his experiences and within each story, if I am savvy enough to see it, exists nuggets of information that I can (and have) applied to my online activities and profited from that insight.
Plenty of search marketers write solid functional articles about search marketing that inform us about what they know and these people do a decent job positioning themselves as “experts” in the field. Sadly, many of these articles are bereft of something much more important…how these people think and perceive the world around them. Because once somebody has maxed out on the “nuts and bolts” portion of the SEO learning curve (and many of us have), their success in search will directly correlate to their ability to perceive the unobvious and act upon that knowledge.
So, when I read Aaron Wall’s interview of Fantomaster, I can see how smart Ralph is by seeing how he thinks and reasons, knowing that if I ever were in the market for cloaking, I could trust that he’s put out a product that would likely work for me even if I were incapable of evaluating the offering. Similarly, people like Aaron, Brian Provost, Adam Audette, and Neil Patel have offered deep enough glimpses into their way they think and view their online environment so that I would feel comfortable working with them professionally even if I knew little else about them besides what they wrote.
There are a few reasons why I rarely write “actionable” SEO articles. I think they expose my Achilles Heel as a writer (writing in the neutral third person). I think many others do a much better job at it. But most importantly, I think that any competitive advantage I might have in the marketplace relates directly to my unique way of thinking and communicating. To show myself in the best possible light, I need to be real and present the unfiltered thoughts in my head in the most honest manner possible. If the public knows I am a search marketer and feels that I offer insights they find valuable, hopefully they’ll realize that I can use the same thought process to help them with their online marketing issues…or so I hope.