I’m currently reading a very interesting book called Antifragile written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. To those that haven’t read it here’s a brief definition of Antifragile.

“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better“.

Simply, antifragility is defined as a convex response to a stressor or source of harm (for some range of variation), leading to a positive sensitivity to increase in volatility (or variability, stress, dispersion of outcomes, or uncertainty, what is grouped under the designation “disorder cluster”). Likewise fragility is defined as a concave sensitivity to stressors, leading a negative sensitivity to increase in volatility. The relation between fragility, convexity, and sensitivity to disorder is mathematical, obtained by theorem, not derived from empirical data mining or some historical narrative. It is a priori“.

Unfortunately we’ve got to admit that it’s rare to find an ‘SEO’d’ site that is antifragile.

In fact the more ‘SEO’ work that has been done on behalf of a site the greater it’s fragility before any algorithm update.

This may have not been the case a couple of years ago but Google is now showing that they will not lay back and allow SEO’s to take the piss. In their eyes you’ve had it good for too long.

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different techniques that you can use to develop that perfect SEO strategy but how do you know when you shouldn’t be doing something?

When everyone else is.

The more a technique is used, written about and discussed the more fragile it is. The more fragile a technique is the more chance Google will fuck it (and you).

This isn’t a post to tell you to purposely go your own way (although you probably should). To be different just for the sake of being different.

It’s a reminder of the things that matter. Variety of strategy, testing, idea/tactic recall (the most important and very underrated area) and learning how to shut your fucking mouth once you’ve learnt something decent.

It’s simple and easy to mock the low level content that is written within our sphere but a lot of you forget that there is also a shit tonne of brilliant (free) articles out there that many of you have ‘read’ but have forgotten.

Make good use of your time, keep learning, be the best SEO that you can and create an antifragile strategy that doesn’t just float along avoiding penalties but thrives post update(s).

p.s. This isn’t a fucking rant.

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2 comments on “Antifragile SEO

  1. You lost me at this point:

    “In fact the more ‘SEO’ work that has been done on behalf of a site the greater it’s fragility before any algorithm update.”

    I just cannot agree with that. Search engine OPTIMIZATION is not destroyed by an algorithmic update. It may need some adjustment, but if an update actually knocks a site out of the top SERPs it wasn’t optimized to begin with.

    Optimization is not fragile.

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  2. Hey Michael.

    I know what you’re saying in terms of optimisation. It is seen as a positive, after all optimisation is the act of rendering something to an optimal state.

    However I didn’t mean SEO in it’s literal sense (hence the ‘SEO’) but as in the day to day, month on month work of your average agency. I think it’s fair to say that a large majority of agencies will have (and probably continue) to do the wrong kind of work and thus experienced their fair share of disappointments and penalisations.

    Maybe we should set a new definition for this SED (Search Engine Diminishment)?

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