Sometimes Your Heroes Will Let You Down (Even the SEO Heroes)

By Janet Driscoll Miller | May 31, 2011
More Articles by Janet


I’ve been closely following the recent doping controversy surrounding Lance Armstrong, and on a run on Sunday, it really hit me how much I have believed in Armstrong since the beginning.

The older I get, the more I sadly realize how those we look up to, in any industry, often let us down. Heroes are humans, and they often can make bad, but human, mistakes too.

And the SEO community is not immune to this same phenomenon. There are those in our industry who have used negative techniques for personal gain. There are those that are simply “Internet famous” — ones that are composed primarily of smoke and mirrors and couldn’t optimize their way out of a paper bag. There are others that mislead customers with incorrect information or techniques. In the end, some of those we look up to in our own industry disappoint us in the end as well.

So how do you overcome it? For years I wore a “Livestrong” bracelet. For years I ran with that bracelet to remind me that if Lance could overcome cancer to win seven Tour de France races, then I could run a little harder and a little faster too. But I no longer wear that bracelet. Not because I don’t support cancer research, but because it’s time I stop turning to the Lance dream to inspire myself — it’s time that I inspire me.

When you’re wondering who to admire, take a good long look in the mirror. If you’re a hard working SEO and try your best to be in what you do. If you do, you should be your own inspiration. You don’t need the “Internet-famous” or the speakers at conferences to confirm your approach — Do what you believe in.

At Search Mojo, inspired by similar approaches by companies like Zappos and JetBlue, we recently decided to create a sort of “core values” document, which we’re still working on. But one thing became abundantly clear to us — we’re going to do what we believe in — what we believe is right. I encourage you to do the same. Be your own hero — in business and in life. You, hopefully, can always count on yourself to do the right thing!

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  • http://www.lothian-seo.com Andrew

    Interesting article. I met one of my hero’s (Legendary Rock Drumming God) Cozy Powell shortly before his death in the 90′s. He was shorter and shyer than i imagined, but he is still a legend in my eyes.

    The points in the feature are in line with my core beliefs about SEO. SEO takes time, i dont believe in short cuts

    Any SEO provider should be able to deliver to set KPIs and their work transparent. I have recently reviewed a site where the owner was happy with his 180 links, but these were junk, non related links from the same site. The SEO “expert” has just taken easy options. The site owner was bamboozeld with the number of links. Quality of link and content was not mentioned. For the same money, a better job could have been done.

    Janet I look forward to reading your best practices document
    Well done.

    • http://www.search-mojo.com Janet Driscoll Miller

      Andrew, thanks for the compliment! One of my greatest frustrations about SEO is that there are so many people out there that do a poor job at it — or actually just are smoke and mirrors with no substance. It’s got to be difficult for clients to know who to choose. Sadly, there’s just no simple gauge for clients to find a good SEO. I started this firm because I was frustrated as an in-house SEO with the agencies I worked with, and like you, felt I could do better. I’m glad to hear you feel the same way I do! :)