It is kinda weird when you build a decent amount of authority from scratch because eventually people start treating your errors much differently. There are ups and downs to exposure. The biggest ups are
- You get far more credit than you deserve, so it is easy to maintain your market position. Some non-news is news because you mention it.
- If you do something good it is probably going to spread.
- You will get a lot of feedback.
- You get opportunities that you would never expect, and get to learn a lot by partnering with great people to work on amazing projects.
- You can help friends and family quit working for others and work for themselves to do things they are passionate about.
The biggest downs are
- You get far more credit than you deserve - this causes many people to stagnate, trading off of past reputation.
- You get used to doing well, so you have to learn something really cool or something amazing has to happen for you to get excited about work.
- If you get addicted to reach or authority you can let yourself change to where you identity becomes more representative of what others want you to be - even if it is not who you are.
- If you get bored and want to change what you do it is hard to change if you let your living costs scale with your income.
- Your average client shifts from people who are passionate to include many people who are not.
- It is impossible to write something that is interesting enough to be worth reading and accessible to everyone.
- People look to pull you out of context any way possible, especially if doing so can improve their market position or sense of self worth.
- You can get bogged down with menial tasks to where you stop learning unless you are aggressive at filtering out noise.
As far as my errors go, I can write a post about how important it is to write well, but at my core I am still a bad speller. About a year or so ago spelling errors started to matter much more than they did in the past. Many other errors have become more and more important as well.
More recently friends advise me to steer clear of controversy, stating things like things that got you where you are are not necessarily things you should continue to do. Largely they are probably correct, but it is a big shift in perspective to go from looking for cracks in statements and policies to being a person who just casually analyzes markets and is rewarded for their observations and ideas...especially if you like to view yourself as the underdog. :)
And now when I do anything risky I am guaranteed at least one sharp response. And everything you do is one more opportunity to look hypocritical. My sales letter claims that SEO is easy, and I think if you are passionate about your topic it is not hard to compete in just about any field. If you are passionate it is not hard to spread ideas because pure passion brings out creativity and it is easy to detect...people want to be associated with that. People want to feel important and want to associate with people who make them feel their ideas are important.
The issue with Dave Pasternack (which got me that response telling me that I need to grow up) is not that SEO is easy or hard, it is that it is hard to scale selling SEO services because most businesses need more than just SEO... they need overall business optimization. Most people are too arrogant or afraid or shortsighted or distrusting to consider that. What is worse is that many people intentionally commit fraud, and we have to be sheltered to protect our egos and livelihoods.
I just helped get a great friend's new site to the front page of Google's search results. Now their phone is ringing off the hook, but because they need to streamline their sales process and work on making more compelling offers that filter out bad prospects they are probably getting a bit more exposure than they want. Was it easy for them to rank? Absolutely. But now they need more. And they are learning quickly, but it is much easier to help them for free as a friend than to build their business as a client.
And then you know pieces of stories that you can't share. Some days multiple mainstream media outlets will contact you asking questions about how they can better optimize their sites. The same companies publish articles about how sketchy the entire field of SEO is, while cloaking links or content on their own sites, and few people see the absurdity of the claims. And if you say anything about it then people may see it as an unjust rant. And if you divulge too much you might end up costing someone their job. Everyone wants results, and accountability for risk and errors usually falls on someone who can't afford to bear the brunt of the outcome.
If you are profitable and show your results you are accused of showing off, all while closing market inefficiencies you found. If you do not show results then you are arrogant and talking out of your...
As a person who shares market inefficiencies you are going to offend some people. Right now I think many bloggers are getting paid crumbs compared to what they are worth, but if I post about that suddenly I am a chauvinistic pig that thinks mom bloggers are naive and stupid and blah blah blah.
I don't think it is bad to be naive. I still am about many things, and if you feel that saying some people may be naive is a bad thing then you need to grow up and stop viewing the world in a black and white picture that makes yourself feel important. Everyone is not equal. And if we were the world would be a terrible place to live.
My girlfriend actually likes how crass and kurt I am, but I am nowhere near as much so on this blog. Yet after reading what others say about me I often feel like I just pulled this move.
Everyone is a minority with a broken ego and wants to feel important. No matter what you do people will hate you. Some idiot recently started leaving racist comments under Jim Boykin's name.
Everyone has cracks in their identities and egos. And if a person stands up for the rights of others sometimes they end up trampling others to maintain their own authority. It is an underlying theme in Animal Farm. From my Cliff notes style poem about that book:
what you fought against
is what you became
still, you kept fighting
to protect your name
People link at definitive statements. If your content is vanilla nobody cares. People link at definitive statements. People pull your words out of context and make them more definitive such that they create a self promotional controversy. But then sometimes I do the same thing. Everyone does. There are far more words typed each day than attention to consume them. Somebody has to lose.
As you get more authority you are expected to be less and less risky. I recently got one of my sites mentioned in authoritative political blogs and noticed that SEO Book typically sends link sites nearly as much traffic as many of the top political blogs. Should I take less risk? How do you balance self confidence and perceived arrogance? Should you worry about offending a few people so much that it changes your identity and how much you enjoy doing what you do?
Gain a Competitive Advantage Today
Your top competitors have been investing into their marketing strategy for years.
Now you can know exactly where they rank, pick off their best keywords, and track new opportunities as they emerge.
Explore the ranking profile of your competitors in Google and Bing today using SEMrush.
Enter a competing URL below to quickly gain access to their organic & paid search performance history - for free.
See where they rank & beat them!
- Comprehensive competitive data: research performance across organic search, AdWords, Bing ads, video, display ads, and more.
- Compare Across Channels: use someone's AdWords strategy to drive your SEO growth, or use their SEO strategy to invest in paid search.
- Global footprint: Tracks Google results for 120+ million keywords in many languages across 28 markets
- Historical data: since 2009, before Panda and Penguin existed, so you can look for historical penalties and other potential ranking issues.
- Risk-free: Free trial & low price.