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During my relatively short time working in SEO (or Digital Marketing to be precise) I’ve become slightly perplexed with wannabe ‘SEO rockstars’. What’s the point in them? And why are some SEOers hell-bent on becoming the next big thing? Here’s what I’ve discovered.
(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
Despite what you’re currently thinking, this is not a whinge or a moan. I’m not annoyed that I haven’t been invited to the SEO party with all the popular SEO kids. I wouldn’t know half of what I now know had it not been for the real ‘SEO rockstars’ I first followed (and still follow) when I started out as an SEO Content Marketer. Rather, I’m simply trying to make sense of what has become a fascination within the industry – a fascination that has now turned into an obsession for some to become well-known and obtain that notoriety within the industry.
So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star
In effect, an SEO rockstar is a well-known figure within the industry; someone that holds an authoritative voice, and has a number of followers on social media to back it up. They talk at conferences, webinars, and are generally the go-to guys and girls for industry insights and tips. Without them, many within the SEO industry would not know half the stuff they know today.
However, those who I regard as SEO rockstars, Danny Sullivan, Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz to name a few, are not necessarily the same names that other people regard as the main voices within the industry. Yet, for me, this isn’t the issue. Rather, it’s the way in which people within the industry believe they can become overnight success stories without putting in the hard graft to become good at their jobs and become real SEO rockstars.
You’re so Vain
In an industry where opinion and insights are incredibly important, it’s actually networking and influence that will get you noticed. Okay, so this is nothing new. After all, we all know that even if you’re the most prolific writer on a specific subject, just because you have a blog, it won’t get you noticed. That’s where we as Digital Marketers help people and their website’s achieve that all important exposure. So are wannabe SEO rockstars just victims of their own knowledge? They know how the system works, so they want to use it to their advantage. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with building up your profile within the industry, you need to do it for the right reasons – not for the notoriety.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Not everyone can be an expert. When I see blog posts telling you how to become an SEO rockstar, making out it’s as simple as rocking up to a few conferences and tweeting, it makes me feel as though the title of being an SEO rockstar has been cheapened. Whilst having young, smart, passionate and innovative Digital Marketers is fundamental to the industry’s growth and evolution, if they’re good at what they do, I’ll be more than happy to read and hear their views. If however they profess to be a rockstar, I’ll switch-off.
(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)
There’s a fantastic post by James Carson, taking a humorous swipe at the ways in which you can become an SEO Rockstar. The reality is that you can actually find serious posts like this. It’s fairly easy to come across these types of blogs, all you have to do is search for SEO rockstar and they’ll be some ‘expert’ telling you how it’s done. However, doesn’t it all seem a little fake and pretentious that someone we’ve not heard of is telling us how to gain such status? Surely you should achieve this position by merit? Those whose opinions I take seriously are those that have been in the industry for years, not those that have turned up late for the party – like me
Money For Nothing
This may be indicative of the industry as a whole. There are those out there that are more obsessed with being influential, without actually having anything influential to say. In many ways, this is like an SEO agency or consultant that is more obsessed with just making money by offering a poor service, or worse, a scam. We’ve all heard of such scams, those that besmirch the good guys in SEO. We even uncovered one such SEO scam ourselves here at Koozai last year. But whilst this particular example is a little off-topic, it does highlight that within the wider SEO world there are those who do not seem to be in it for the right reasons.
Getting back-on-track, I’m not implying for one second that an unheard of SEO know-it-all has the same bad intentions as an unscrupulous ‘agency’ trying to sell ‘SEO’ to any sort of business. However, it does make me think that in an industry where being the most Tweeted, mentioned and liked is more important that what’s actually being said, we should all be pretty vigilant of who is saying what – not only ourselves, but our clients too. Everyone knows someone who knows a bit about SEO, in fact this is something Andy Williams has covered before [See: Why That Mystery Mate Can’t Do SEO].
There are so many people within the SEO industry that are from a variety of different backgrounds. Some are fantastic at technical aspects, whilst others are brilliant link builders. Then there are those who are awesome writers and those that think of innovative content marketing strategies. In this sense, I guess it’s clear why influential people are needed in an industry that is one big melting-pot of various Digital Marketing skills. Rishi Lakhani makes a really good case in his blog post We Can’t All Be SEO Rockstars, effectively concluding that we just need to concentrate on what we’re good at.
Come Back To What You Know
Ultimately, there are some really influential people within the industry who can tell you all you need to know, whether it’s SEO, PPC, Content Marketing, Social Media, or Branding. These are the guys and girls that create good stuff; so good that it gets shared amongst the industry by merit. And that’s the point. Those that strive to be an SEO rockstar are not in the industry for the right reasons. Stick to what you’re good at, share it with the community and then people will notice you.
Let me know what you think. Are you fed up of hearing about the latest and greatest industry expert? Or am I completely off the mark? Additionally, for a bit of fun, can anyone tell me all of the artists’ songs that are featured in the post? (You’re not allowed to Google them either!)
Rockstar Guitar Player via BigStock
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.