SEO and the Zen Factor

I don’t get a chance to read much that isn’t related to search marketing these days, but since I’m traveling more, I’ve been using those long plane flights to read different types of books. One of my favorites has been Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “The Power of Intention,” which I bought after seeing him speak on public television.

In the “The Power of Intention” every sentence has a powerful meaning that really needs to be pondered in order to get the most out of it. When I read a book that is packed with such deep concepts, I find that the best thing for me to do is read through it once without trying to grasp everything that is being said. At that point I find that I have understood the information at only a very basic level. I may know what the author is talking about, and I may not be confused by it, but I really can’t verbalize it to anyone else. I’m now on my third or fourth read of Dyer’s book, and am a bit more at home with the concepts he presents, but I find that with each read I get more and more out of it.

Currently, I’m reading another book on a similar topic, but it’s presented in a totally different manner. This book (“The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle) has helped me further understand Dr. Dyer’s book, just as Dyer’s book has helped me understand this book. I’ve also realized there is so much to learn on this subject that I’m sure I could read a hundred books and never understand everything.

By now, I’m sure you’re totally confused and wondering what the heck my personal reading habits have to do with SEO. Stay with me, as I do have a point! When I think about the vast information that *any* subject contains, be it SEO or personal growth, I realize that when people first get interested in something, there’s a steep learning curve involved. Every day I hear from people who are just learning SEO, and they’re simply not grasping what I consider the very basic concepts. For those of us who live and breathe SEO, it’s sometimes difficult to step back and remember what it was like when we were first learning.

Even though SEO isn’t as complicated as Zen Buddhism, it’s still going to take most newbies a lot of time and study to truly understand things at a fundamental level. For those of you just starting to learn SEO, you may read some of the more ethereal stuff written on the topic (such as my “Art of SEO” article) and simply not be able to grasp it — yet. But don’t despair! If you immerse yourself in the topic, you will find that every day you understand more and more.

When practiced at the level of those of us who’ve been in the game for 5-10 years, SEO is in fact very Zen-like. We can look at a website and know exactly what needs to be done to make it the best it can be for the site visitors and the search engines. Often, it’s easiest for us when we can just roll up our sleeves and do what we know needs to be done, rather than try to explain the whys and wherefores. Many times it’s not even possible to explain exactly why we are doing a specific thing, because it simply comes from the gut. Unfortunately, many clients and even more budding SEOs aren’t cool with the explanation “it just feels right”!

There will always be SEOs who need to do their work based on some logical, formulaic reasoning. These people may never be able to simply trust their own instincts. To them, it can’t just “feel right,” because search algorithms and how to beat them have got to have a logical explanation. However, as time marches on, search engines are becoming ever more sophisticated. The logical among us have all kinds of theories and acronyms (e.g. LSI) that supposedly explain how the engines will be determining relevancy in the future. Personally, I prefer to believe that they’re simply adding a “Zen factor” to the mix!

In fact, I think I’ll go meditate so that I can manifest the best title tags for my latest client’s site. 🙂


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