Profound Works no image

Published on October 19th, 2012 | by 011100110110010

32

Being Wrong

How often have you read or even said the following?

  • “If you’re doing x like y you’re doing it wrong.”
  • “Oh I can’t believe that agency x still uses that link building technique…”
  • “Any clients that have been bludgeoned by an update were won after they were hit, nothing to do with us!”

When you read things like this do you think honesty, trust and authority or do you think…

“I know they are lying/talking crap, like the rest of us, but this is the game we play, we better keep a positive spin on it so it looks like we know what we are doing.”

This leads me to an interesting phenomenon within the SEO industry (the sector that does no wrong but see’s it everywhere else…) As you’ve probably noticed it is full of people who are worried about being wrong and shit scared of being seen as wrong. Why can’t we be a bit more honest and open? If I have a shit idea tell me why it’s shit, rip it apart, change it to something completely different. I would honestly be thankful.

If you don’t use a particular technique, don’t talk about how you use it with your clients. If you do a certain technique with a client, don’t take the piss out of other people for doing it.

I’ve seen you do it…

I don’t care about being wrong. In terms of my working life I don’t have to be right all the time. In fact if I was always right, I’d find the rest of my life a crippling disappointment (ok, more so…)

So lets take a gander at why once upon a time getting it wrong  was so, uhh, wrong. The two examples below are the old and new school views of SEO as defined by the SEO gods.

‘Old school’ SEO = More algorithmically focused. x links with y anchor text would generally equal z rankings. Often campaigns revolved around the same tactics regardless of niche and thus involved less creativity (99% of the time, I know there are some sharp SEO’s out there who do things I could never think of.)

‘New school’ SEO = More marketing and brand focused. Visibility is king, through different forms of online marketing (thanks inbound) this means an SEO’s role doesn’t begin and end with Google. Allows for creativity, new fresh ideas and probably a more enjoyable job. Well mine is anyway. Yes technical SEO, adding the right page titles and doing keyword research is still important but basically the average SEO campaign is a little different!

The interesting thing is:

If creativity is really increasing within online marketing

then so is the risk of being wrong

Create a piece of content that got no links? Do an outreach campaign that had no replies? Get a website penalised?

Fuck it! Did you learn something from it? Good, do it again, remember why it ‘failed’ previously and do it better :)

I suppose what I’m trying to get at is –> If your not getting stuff wrong, you’re failing to be creative and if you are failing to be creative you are probably going to struggle to attract links, customers (probably wrong order) to your website, now and in the long term.

I’m not going to say you’re doing it wrong because I fucking hate that ‘saying’.

Talk to your client about the volatility of organic search (without scaring them from it). Admit that no-one really knows exactly what is going on and work together in a partnership that not only makes it easier for you to work together but helps solidify your relationship.

Let the steering wheel go. Have fun, come up with ideas, be creative, make mistakes, learn from them and improve your clients brand. Yes this is dependant on how ‘cool’ your clients are but it’s also down to how well you negotiate or sell the ideas to them. If a few of your clients aren’t interested then that’s the way the cookie crumbles, if none of them are interested, well you’re not doing it right… :)

I’ve kinda gone off track but I hope you catch my drift. It’s a bit of a ramble.

Have a great weekend y’all.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.6/10 (11 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)

Being Wrong, 7.6 out of 10 based on 11 ratings

Bookmark this on Delicious



About the Author

One day I will make a living out of this industry, until then I'll carry on writing here.



32 Responses to Being Wrong

  1. Carps says:

    I can’t like this enough.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  2. Iain says:

    Yes. Yes. This. Absolutely.

    Also intensely annoying is the desperation to tell people they’re wrong. Don’t blog about this, don’t blog about that. You’re not worthy. Oh, by the way, aren’t we awfully wonderful and open and welcoming!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 4.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  3. Sean I do like a good refreshing ramble/rant on a Friday. I totally agree, if we want to be taken seriously as a legitimate part of the marketing landscape, then creativity is how we will get there. And ask you say, creative solutions must fail occasionally, as their success is often based on subjectivity. The risk is what makes it fun.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • The risk is what makes it fun.

      DING, DING, DING.

      Spot on man, hadn’t thought of that. Like this > risky advertising

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
      • MWAHAHAHAHHHHHAAAAAAA <— response to that link.

        We don't need 'content marketing' or even good old inbounding. Risky Marketing is the new Inbound.

        I'm registering riskymarketing.com – who's with me on this gravy train or unadulterated success/failure? (delete as appropriate)

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        • Haha, I think it’ll have to be adulterated if that’s ok with you?

          VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
          VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  4. Craig Addyman says:

    What a stupid idea!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  5. Julie Joyce says:

    I think I’ve learned much more from being wrong than I have from being right. Being right just makes you smug but being wrong makes you want to make sure you don’t fuck up again. I also have discovered that I have much more respect for someone who says “you know what? I messed up and it’s totally my fault” than someone who blames it on something or someone else. I also love Carps’ avatar and will most likely see it in a nightmare soon.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    • Haha, like being wrong once in a while keeps you on your toes? :)

      Definitely agree on this:

      I have much more respect for someone who says “you know what? I messed up and it’s totally my fault”

      I’ve also learnt that there’s nothing wrong with not knowing the answer to something. I’d rather not make something up and go research it!

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • I have to agree too. Holding up your hands and saying “Yeah, Sorry that was my bad” is a great trait.

        I’m wrong all the time (Don’t tell my girlfriend that!). I’ve found being wrong similar to falling over in a busy street. Do it once and it’s an accident to learn from…do it again and you need mental help.

        You can try to blame others/style it out, but you’ll still look a pleb.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        • Haha, I think if you fall over a couple of times it’s not so bad but if you keep doing it then…

          VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
          VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  6. “Good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment”

    I’ve been wrong a ton. I plan on continuing to be wrong a ton going forward. In-between, I’ll try to get a little bit of right in there as well.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  7. Andy McGarry says:

    An article that shows how far we’ve come on from the need to proclaim EXPERT status 24/7 online. Well said!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Oh I think we’ll carry on… This post just means I can look down on people for doing it whilst I continue on my way :)

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  8. Rob Duckers says:

    Yep, totally agree.

    I’m also not afraid to say “I don’t know”, pause for a second, and follow up with “but let’s try”.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  9. Anthony Pensabene says:

    Good thoughts, Sean. This post plays the flute of truth.

    I just read something in the NY Times this morning about being scared of people stealing one’s ideas. The author was saying thoughts themselves have no monetary value until well executed, (I think that precisely captures our seen ‘value’ as SEOs- not that we’re creative in our fighting styles, but that we must win each bout or the ideas are for naught) using the example of the UFC, which almost went bankrupt the first iteration around.. Meaning it could of failed the first time around. It didn’t mean success was unattainable, but another road needed to be adopted to get there.

    I think in part the horror of being wrong stems from the need to be right. It’s kind of like schools. In the states, a Blue Ribbon school designates one where students have eclipsed a stratum of standardized test scores. There’s pressure to get that Ribbon, thus the school is ‘doing what it’s supposed to do’ though so many variables affect a child’s learning and intellectual progress, but tests are “standardized,” so haha, all those factors are accounted for, right? So educators and supervisors often feel pressured, cutting corners to the point of downright cheating to get that Blue Ribbon for the school, or else, that school isn’t one of those Top SEOs…

    You’re right about being wrong; no one really knows the magic formula; because, there isn’t one. Way too many variables exist beyond our control, most of all consumer behavior. We can but research and make the best possible play, much like offensive coordinators. If I have Joe Montana and Jerry Rice on my offense, I’m going to be pretty fucking confident. But am I going to execute every play as planned? I can’t say that. In retrospect, and compared against the plays of other teams, could I have done something better with my plays, even though I have Montana and Rice? Probably.

    For instance, I can identify a bunch of things I can improve with my personal blog. Example, looking at engine referrers, my name and blog name are at the top, which is what I wanted, but NO TERMS related to my skills are.

    I didn’t mind what AJ suggests here. http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/content-recall I haven’t been thinking about my content’s ‘legacy’ aside from connection to my name and blog name. That needs attention. I’m doing it… not as well as I could… but I’m working toward improvement.

    (stands on a stool at the Sean’s Saloon of Literature yelling “I love this place!”)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
    • Thanks Anthony! Glad you liked the post. Always appreciate the efforts you go to in regards to comments :) (You guys could learn a thing or two…)

      I think in part the horror of being wrong stems from the need to be right

      I agree and personally I find this bizarre. Why is it necessary to always be right? It seems so lacking in esteem or confidence!

      You blog is coming on nicely man. I really like the way you link out to content as if when you’re writing you think about relevant documents/posts that will help the user. Maybe one day I’ll start thinking about other people ;)

      #SaloonOfLiterature :)

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  10. Tom Harari says:

    Very refreshing to read this Sean – I’d love to see more posts on failures and lessons from them. If you’re not failing harder, might we say ‘you’re doing it wrong’?? Teasing of course :)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Dude seriously so would I. If anyone wants to write about how they fucked up really badly I’d be more than happy to post it. Even anonymously.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  11. Zeph Snapp says:

    I don’t really have anything to say…just wanted to unlock the awesome badge. (OK, fine, great post :P)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Haha, yo Zeph! Unfortunately there is only one badge per post… Come back next time :D

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  12. Jared Reed says:

    Spot on, brother! Great post.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  13. Steve says:

    One of my favourite talks at BrightonSEO was by Rebecca Weeks, talking about the techniques that she implemented for a client, concentrating on short-term, grey-hat tactics (because the client demanded results ASAP), how they got slapped by Panda and Penguin and ultimately what she learnt from the experience. And it was absolutely brilliant. We need more talks and articles like that.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  14. Pingback: Sunday Morning Hangover at the Saloon - The Saloon of Literature

Back to Top ↑