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Old 12-08-2004   #1
SEGuru
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Smile An Oldtimers Perspective...

Over the course of the last 2 months, I have had a chance to reflect on where I was when I got into this industry. I've had long talks, with old SEO buddies recently and we've been reflecting the past as well as looking at where we're at now.

Interesting.

I remember, driving to my day job every day...reading SEW printed out, stapled together. The Gazette was a regular staple, along with my print-outs of I-Search Digest and Planet Ocean. I was armed to the teeth with more readng than you could possibly imagine.

I was active in this community and way above the radar in the forums.

I began moderating at SEF in the Excite forums and the Search Technology forums. What a wild ride those times were. It was the days of the spider and the algorithm in full force and rapid evident evolution, which has only made search a better place.

SEO evolving into SEO/SEM along with formal organizations both here in the U.S. and the U.K. I remember sitting in Stockholm during the formation of WAIM and being a founding member.

Good times it was.

I've been a part of this industry since practically the beginning and made a rule for myself. Don't get caught up in the politics and bs of the boards and the space we work in. "Not a good practice!"

I discussed things like this with the GREAT SEO's of the day, such as Jim, Brett, Detlev J, Marshall S, Dogboy, RodB, John Heard, WebGuerilla, Mackin, and many more (sorry if I didn't mention you and you were there on the field of battle with me)!

It's a different space and we're (those of us who were back there and remember) in a different place now. We have evolved.

I'm often asked, if I am still in the game. I am. It gets in your blood. The rush, the roller coaster is addictive. However, I evolved as to how I stayed involved.

I state it that way because, numerous old and trusted friends have asked of recent what I thought about where we are as an industry as a whole. Also, about how some of them want to do different stuff yet do things a bit closer to home. The list of them is long.

A lot of us who have been around for awhile have evolved and sought paths within the space to "stay in the game" yet get the fresh, excited feeling about what we are waking up for everyday.

Algo busting can give ya a headache after awhile eh?

The ebb and flow of what we do, how we do it, who we do it with...will always remain. If not, search will not improve. This is painfully obvious.

I welcome the challenge Microsoft will bring to the space. Competition breeds a marketplace and ultimately will have the top 3 working to create and deploy the best search experience that is the utmost of relevance and that will only spurn us all along towards the ultimate in targeted delivery of serps.

The overall experience for the end user, the engine for enabling that experience and seeking to increase usage loyalty, and those of us seeking to successfully play in the land of serps and make clients happy..."Is the name of the game!"

We have evolved and its been a good evolution in my opinion. To get a return email in the old days from an Engine was an utter miracle. So we'd dwell and ponder publically and then Danny might come along and drop some good nuggets to make us think in a different light.

Exciting when that happened. Great to see Danny come and post somewhere when he was feverishing carrying SEW himself back in the day.
Then all of the sudden, SES arrives on the scene and timely it was! The spotted participation in the forums from the engines began to show us that the wall was coming down between webmasters and the engines, and this new tradeshow proved that as well.

That taboo thing for us to mingle or talk to each other began to waft away.

That was nice and about damn time! I have always been about bridging the gap between us and the portals. It just made sense. If we know more about what "they" need...then we can do what we do and it be ok (black hat shizzy aside guys), relevenace is and always will be the key factor here.

Yes, the spammers have always existed and then those who pushed the lines of acceptability, yet were still so relevant that it was hard to justify banning their sites as what they did was so subtle, yet so relevant.

Win/Win/Win = EndUser/SE/SEO

I think that as an industry, those of us who have been around...can identify with this. I know some of you who have banged away on the engines with the perspective of, "if I can still exploit it...they haven't made it good enough it!"
I know some of you are tired of running in what feels like a circle, and tell you that its not a circle...but more like a cycle. I would encourage you to find how you fit into this natural evolution and stay involved.

Its encouraging when Microsoft comes to the community and says, come up and check under the hood and tell us what ya think! Beat it up! The Chammps.

Its encouraging to see Yahoo stepping up to do a webmaster radio show.

Those of you who have been around, I mean been around. You know who you are. I look to you, as well as to myself...to watch this space from a birds eye view.

Why? Because you hve an "OldTimers Perspective!"

That perspective in the face of the "wall" coming down between our community and the portals, is extremely exciting to me.

Search has been something that I immersed myself into and it affected me on so many levels it would be hard to touch on (as this has been the longest post I've written in a year or so). To say that how I work in this space is a bit different than it was in '96, is true indeed yet my passion for it remains the same.

Do I miss the old the days? Yes...great times and what a ride. Good friends, some still here and some now gone. Props still go to Jim for helping us in the beginning and seeing us begin to evolve just before his passing. Thank you Jim, for what you so freely helped give to me. My entrance into a new world.

Search!

I am proud to have been there back "in the day!" I am even prouder to be a part of this space today. We all have to work smarter and having full open communications is fantastic.

I would also encourage newbies and old timers alike...the politics...is BS. Do not get caught up in it. Stay productive and keep your eye on the ball, and you too will find your groove and "happy place" to make a positive contribution in this space.

My apologies for the long-winded post, but felt that a mirror for your perspective would be a good thing for us to hand each other. Maybe hold it sideways so you can see our industry at a new and different perspective and to encourage you.

This is just an "OldTimers Perspective!"
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Old 12-08-2004   #2
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Those were the days:)

Hey Guru man your post gave me a lump in the throat. First off I am deeply flattered to be included in such a list of old timers . Those were the days my friend - we thought they would never end - to coin a phrase. Remember Infoseek when we used alter the page in the afternoon and see how you ranked the next day and then tweak again until you hit #1.

Last edited by RodB : 12-09-2004 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 12-09-2004   #3
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Exclamation

Rod, I most certainly do!

I know alot of newbies won't get this post...I've already heard tale of a few peeps asking...what is this post about?

LOL

If you are asking that? Read this post again in 2 years!

Then you'll get it!
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Old 12-09-2004   #4
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Quote:
I would also encourage newbies and old timers alike...the politics...is BS. Do not get caught up in it. Stay productive and keep your eye on the ball, and you too will find your groove and "happy place" to make a positive contribution in this space.
I have read the post and this paragraph spoke to me the most. Unfortunately, I have gotten caught up in board politics. So much so I have thought seriously about abandoning being in this field because I would have to deal with the same people. And yet, I am still drawn to this place. I've been in the field for a long time, but I've never felt like I've been on the court. Aye yiye. So many deep thoughts from this one little paragraph. Thank you.
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Old 12-09-2004   #5
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Nice post SEGuru, it's not just you old men that all this pertains to though ya know
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Old 12-09-2004   #6
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Yeah Nick, agreed.

This was meant for everyone, new and old alike. I was surprised to NOT see more discussion on this topic considering it has been so heavily discussed in private.

Have you guys felt that before? In the space awhile, feel like you are going in circles??

I've even tried to equate it to burn-out, and no matter how ya look at it...you as an individual are looking at it from your "fixed" perspective.

I just know that we are evolving and that I am too and how I contribute to a space that has given so much back to me.

Newbie or oldtimer...there's a lot in this thread to help show you my perspective. I hope its one that helps webmasters and answers a few questions from some of you who (you know who you all are) also asking yourself alot of the questions I have.

I'm curious about the rest of ya though...anyone else ever ask themselves if they feel like they are running an endless race in this game and am I right for it? Yet you just can't shake the bug?

SEO ADDICTS? Just curious?
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Old 12-09-2004   #7
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Admitted addict. I always say I'm working to retire, but its a lie. As long as the game exists, I plan to play.
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Old 12-09-2004   #8
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Wow, thats a long post for you daron, well for a guy yer age that is
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Old 12-09-2004   #9
SEGuru
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Nice...the odd thing is, there is a walker right in front of me as I type this. Sheesh...hard to get away from that one! lol
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Old 12-09-2004   #10
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Ok, I am gonna keep my mouth shut on that one
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Old 12-09-2004   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamC
Ok, I am gonna keep my mouth shut on that one
LOL, I think I'm thankful for that?!?!? HAHAHA
Let me look around here for my glasses first to make sure that's what I'm seeing!

HAHAHA
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Old 12-09-2004   #12
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SG, my B-S meter just went way off the scale (as it always does when around you). You've been over-medicating again, haven't you?
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Old 12-09-2004   #13
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I'm certainly addicted. I love SEO. I love watching the rankings jump up (as they usually do), and I'm on the edge of my seat when my rankings fall.

I generally do more working than talking. I don't participate on the boards as much as other people, for sure. True, I'm modding a couple search related forums, but I have never been sucked into the political crap that goes on, especially on the large forums. I'm here to make money, not to win a popularity contest.

That said, I'd like to drop a couple hints to the newbies, and it's going to sound obvious, but a huge number of people (newbies, several SEO firms, etc..) need to take a lesson.

I'm always shocked at how many people say they're good at SEO, but actually suck at it. If I could give an SEO newbie only one paragraph of advice, it would be this:

Don't waste your time optimizing for keywords that don't get searched for (amazingly, still a very common mistake), and (in most cases), don't waste too much time trying to be #1 on a really competitive keyword. There's a fine line between value and vanity. The key to good SEO is to generate a lot of quality traffic without generating a lot of costs for the client.

Keep your eye on that ball... that win/win/win situation, and you'll be ahead of the game.

- Eric

Last edited by dilvie : 12-10-2004 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 12-09-2004   #14
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And one for the oldtimers...

People who have been around for a while tend to get caught up a bit too much in what's going on right now, and we (yes, myself included) tend to forget where we came from.

If this industry has taught us anything, it's that everything changes. Google is king right now, but how long will that last? Google came out of nowhere very recently (relatively speaking) and upset a lot of major players. They literally changed the rules over-night.

It isn't just about the next algo. In the end, it's all about usability. We put the most relevant pages where they should be: At the top of those SERPS. Hats aside, that's the core of what this game is all about.

You can take a client with deep pockets and lousy relevance, and launch them up the SERPS, to be sure, but if the target site is not relevant to the users, it'll be an up-hill battle all the way. Your work can be undone over night.

That's less likely the more you concentrate on delivering relevant results for your customers and the searchers.

The best SEO's are more than mere algo hackers. They forge tangible connections so that real value can flow between the links.

- Eric
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Old 12-10-2004   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcjordan
SG, my B-S meter just went way off the scale (as it always does when around you). You've been over-medicating again, haven't you?
No....we'll talk in NYC. In fact, it was a topic on our radio show tonight. Think about it mate. I know you understand the evolution?!?!?!
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Old 12-10-2004   #16
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The interesting day was the one ....

.....when I realised there were other people in the game.

And then found out where they were talking.
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Old 12-10-2004   #17
SEGuru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali
.....when I realised there were other people in the game.

And then found out where they were talking.
I bet that day was more than just interesting! I know it changed my life.
No doubt there.

Still loving the game, just in a different way!
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Old 12-10-2004   #18
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The best SEO's are more than mere algo hackers. They forge tangible connections so that real value can flow between the links.
Nice! Great post SEGuru, I can relate to a lot of that. Although I have to say the last 2 years in particular have seemed like 5. But I do miss the old days of search engines that worked like clockwork. Not that things are worse, they are quite better, but its definately was a fun for that time.
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Old 12-10-2004   #19
SEGuru
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Talking SEO Mid-Life Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix
Nice! Great post SEGuru, I can relate to a lot of that. Although I have to say the last 2 years in particular have seemed like 5. But I do miss the old days of search engines that worked like clockwork. Not that things are worse, they are quite better, but its definately was a fun for that time.
Indeed Phoenix!

I had someone last nite equate it to SEO Mid-Life Crisis! Now that cracked me up!
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Old 12-11-2004   #20
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Smile

RC turn the BS meter off for two mins

Talking of old times -

Its been an exciting road - full of traps and pitfalls and highwaymen and general sneaky buggers.

However:-

One of the things that sticks with me is the many people who gave their valuable time to help me learn something or solve some problem. It was time that was given freely and willingly. This spirit still lives on, perhaps a bit more guarded these day, but it still is there for which I am eternally grateful.
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