Robert Fulghum is a contemporary philosopher known for his short stories about living life simply with care and understanding. He's one of my favorite authors because he contends that everything a person needs to know is out there somewhere -- you just have to find it. His "answer engine" of choice is to look at the world through the eyes of a child, which he readily exemplified in "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
Originally written as a guide for global leadership, Fulghum's suppositions can be applied to family, life in general, and most certainly work. Search engine optimization (SEO) does not escape this enigmatic purview. To Fulghum, SEO would be short for search engine observations more so than optimization, which is something one which we all could spend a little more time. For example, follow along with a few Fulghumisms, including:
Share your thoughts, share your data, share your content, and share your images. But most of all, share your personal observations within the sandbox of your own unique style. Do so in a search engine friendly manner and you will be rewarded with an onslaught of links that raise your conscious-streaming thoughts from oblivion to universal awareness. Sharing is a core concept of creating search optimal content that is readily embraced by the search industry.
Tricks, tips, and secrets of the trade are just part of the game. Be content to play fairly within the confines of the rules of the game, even though the rules are always changing. There is great satisfaction and just rewards for those that don't take short cuts to come out ahead. But patience is required if true wisdom is to be found. Your content can get found if you play fairly. Accruing the trust that is earned by doing so will sustain positioning for years to come.
Don't Hit People
Lashing out only earns you a reputation for bullying. Allow time for emotions to fade and permit cool logic to prevail. There is no "unsend button" that can take back comments made in the heat of an argument. Think before you text and edit yourself before you blog. Words have staying power that do not fade as readily as a bruised ego. Remember, it's never too late to say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Isn't that what reinclusion requests are all about?
Put Things Back Where You Found Them
Organization is essential to SEO. Having the right tool for the right job at the right time can make all the difference in the world when it comes to building a successful search engine strategy. A little PC tidiness goes a long way to providing you with a consistent process to analyze, observe, and make recommendations. That goes for your bookmarks, too. And it's consistent with clean up your own mess, another tenet of search engine optimization and Web site development.
Don't Take Things That Aren't Yours
This includes other people's content. It's perfectly fine to emulate others and attribute their content or code accordingly. Stealing other people's content simply lacks originality. Take the time to look, lurk, and learn. Plagiarism isn't a compliment; it's contemptible behavior. If you take a thought and make it unique to your circumstance to make it your own, originality is reborn.
Be Aware of Wonder
Wondering is what gets us into the business of SEO -- and keeps us there. Pondering why something ranks higher than another something drives our curiosity to new heights. Conjecture is a prime consideration when causality provides little more than a trace of a whisper of a doubt. Wondering about how stuff works provides a playground for trial and error, which is at the root of nearly every assumption made about SEO. Without wonder there can be no proof that there is value in each tactic you employ, which is why warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Or at the very least, they help wash the data down.
Wonder and metrics make an intrinsically invaluable skill set pairing in the SEO business. So when you go out in the world watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. The same holds true for the World Wide Web and search referral traffic -- the best results are produced by linking tactics that bind general themes together.
So you see, Fulghum is right. It is true that all I really need to know about how to optimize a Web site was learned in kindergarten. Wisdom wasn't found at the top of the rankings, but in the sand box, learning to dig my way out. I hope you too enjoy taking a little time to learn some and think some when it comes to building your SEO acumen too. Remember, everything you need to know is out there somewhere -- you just have to apply a little wonderment to find it.
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P.J. Fusco has been working in the Internet industry since 1996 when she developed her first SEM service while acting as general manager for a regional ISP. She was the SEO manager for Jupitermedia and has performed as the SEM manager for an international health and beauty dot-com corporation generating more than $1 billion a year in e-commerce sales. Today, she is director for natural search for Netconcepts, a cutting-edge SEO firm with offices in Madison, WI, and Auckland, New Zealand.
March 19, 2014