14 Things I’ve Learned During My 20+ Year Career

Recently, someone asked me what I’ve learned in 20+ years of being in the SEO world.

Her question initially made me go “hmmm” — and then, the ideas started flowing.

I originally posted nine of these tips on LinkedIn. Here’s my original list, as well as five bonus tips! Enjoy!

🌀The only SEO constant is change.

🌀The smartest SEO expert is usually not the one with the biggest social following.

🌀Feeling weird about a prospect, but you can’t put your finger on why? Trust your gut and let them go. It’s not worth the pain.

🌀ALWAYS get a deposit up front. ALWAYS. Paying an initial retainer is a standard practice. If your prospect complains about paying you, don’t work with them.

🌀The only thing standing in the way of your success (and charging higher fees, and working with better clients, and taking more time off) is you

🌀Gaming Google only works short-term, and only if you know what you’re doing. It’s not worth it.

🌀Keeping up with the latest SEO changes is crucial. If you’re optimizing sites like it’s 2010, you’re doing yourself (and your clients) a disservice.

🌀Spend extra attention on your page Titles/headlines. They matter.

🌀If you’re writing content “for Google,” stop it. Your content is for readers, not algorithms.

🌀You *can* learn SEO by yourself — but, it will save you time, money and brain cells if you hire someone to help.

🌀Not every “SEO trick” you read about works in every situation. YMMV

🌀Social platforms go in and out of style. Remember MySpace? Or Friendster? Or Vine? Leverage them while they’re hot (assuming your target market lives there,) but know that your audience will eventually move on.

🌀”Writing naturally” and ignoring keyphrase research will hurt you. Even if you’re a big brand. Even if you “know how people search.” Put in the time and do the keyphrase research. It’s worth it.

🌀Google giveth, and Google taketh away. Authorship. Google Reader. Google+. Orkut. Decent keyword data. All gone. Poof. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because Google gave us something free (in exchange for our data, of course).

What would you add to this list? Leave your comment below!

8 replies
  1. Judith says:

    Love this, Heather! Have followed your articles and guidance forever. Going into my 25th year, (Yikes! Time flies when you’re having fun, right?) your list had me saying “Amen, Sista” out loud a couple times.

    Congrats, on your anniversary and 20 successful years! Here’s to 20 more? ;)


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