“Like the circles that you find…in the windmills of your mind.”…Dusty Springfield

A couple wacky ideas about SEO that up until now I’ve been afraid to write about:

First, I’ve felt for quite a while that the prevalence of ADD amongst people in the search marketing profession had to be quite high. I wasn’t particularly comfortable bringing this idea to light…so I never wrote on the topic. I was quite surprised to see Mark Jackson addressed it and from the best I could tell, my fears about talking about the SEO/ADD connection were unfounded (and many in the community seem to see ADD as a career enhancement and a badge of honor).

So, here’s my other crazy idea…

My visual sense is pretty poor making my taste in art relatively unsophisticated. While I’ve always enjoyed going to museums, my appreciation for particular pieces is pretty shallow…I either liked something or I didn’t and my judgments were always made on surface aesthetic criteria.

The Surrealistic art of Salvador Dali is my one exception to this rule. I not only love his work, I am awestruck by it. Furthermore, Dali’s paintings seem supremely logical to me…far more so than more conventional art…and at some subconscious level, I feel I might even somewhat understand some of what he is trying to convey through his artistry (though I don’t have the vocabulary necessary to communicate to others what I perceive).

Surrealism and the ability to decode concepts and meaning in a seemingly alternate reality is a process unique to each individual…however, I’ll attempt to universalize “Surrealistic Perception” by using the following definition I’ve picked up somewhere along the way:

“The ability to see logical connections between any two objects in time and space.”

I could look at pictures such as “Still Life Moving Fast” and immediately, my mind could connect the large number of objects on the canvas in a myriad of different ways. Most conventional thinkers would see the picture as a jumbled mess of randomness while I could impose logic and order upon what I was seeing.

To many folks at first glance, the Internet could be viewed as a chaotic hodgepodge right out of a Dali painting and certainly if these people aren’t able to discern how its various components work and mesh together, they can’t work the medium successfully to achieve business goals.

Fortunately, the best online marketers have the ability to view the Internet in Dalivision. They are able to see Page Rank Sculpting in the light of the perceived added value of keyword-laden domains. They are able to study the changes in the Digg algorithm and alter their Twitter tactics to better help them in Digg. They are able to see Google’s newfound ability to stem words and adapt their content creation strategy in light of it. In short, they are able to look at any web strategy issue, no matter how opaque, and be able to pull out the right mix of actions and tactics that will help the business achieve its aims.

I’ve always thought that talent and ability in SEO is far more reliant on personal perception than actual knowledge. A person’s ability to extrapolate creative solutions to a unique problem set (which is a very hard skill to develop) is a far more critical and rare ability to have in a SEO consultant / employee than being able to recognize the need for a mod_rewrite and then code it (which most of us can learn to do). The people I admire most in our industry are the people who are able to perceive uniquely and communicate that information for others to share.

ADD isn’t the only commonality that unites many of the best in our industry. While I wouldn’t suggest that all the top SEO’s are closet Dali fanatics, I would offer that they share the same amazing spatial cognizance that allows them to see the surreal as logical and understandable. If such traits can be seen and recognized in a youngster, they should be encouraged to consider a career in our industry because such people possess traits to be our future leaders.

Todd Mintz
Todd Mintz knows PPC...knows Social Media...knows SEO...knows Blogging...knows Domaining...and knows them all real well. He is the SEM Consigliere for 3Q Digital and is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association, and he can be found here on Twitter and Facebook.
Todd Mintz

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