For most companies search engine optimization (SEO) is less about getting a good ranking in Google and more about understanding their market positioning.
Ranking high against a certain search term is great, but not always that easy. Plus you’ll need to sacrifice producing original content in order to satisfy the needs of the algorithm.
Imagine a world where every article on the internet is written exclusively for the purpose of SEO. Well, it’s actually not hard to imagine. If you search for anything on Google the top results are likely to have been optimized for search.
When was the last time you Google’d for something and came away saying ‘that was one of the best things I’ve read this week’.
Not to say that articles and blog posts should never be created for search purposes. It just shouldn’t be your primary focus if you want to create original, compelling content.
Two have recently come to mind that I’m attempting to remove from my lexicon.
‘To be honest’ – The idea is that we should always be honest. Not just when we explicitly state it.
Honestly, I use this phrase too much.
‘I know how you feel’ – Whatever you’re going through, I don’t know. Because I’m not you. I might have been in a similar situation. But surely, I don’t know how you feel.
Here are all the previous posts that I’ve used one of the above phrases (or a variant of it). Why am I sharing? So if you’re inclined to search, you don’t have to.
Why is everything a rush?
The 2-1 work cycle
Now it feels like I’m reaching
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Everything in hindsight is 20/20. At least that’s how the saying goes.
But this isn’t true. When we look back at things we tend to shape things to fit wherever we are. We can (and do) distort them to our (dis)advantage.
Most people are aware of the ‘boiling frog’ phenomenon.
The idea is that if you throw a frog into boiling water it will immediately jump out to save itself. However, if you put a frog in lukewarm water and then very slowly increase the temperature it won’t notice and will eventually be boiled alive.
Here’s the thing though, it’s been proven false.
If a frog was thrown into boiling water it would most certainly be burned badly, and even though it might survive, it would be hurt terribly.
And if a frog is placed in lukewarm water which is slowly being heated. It will jump out as soon as it isn’t comfortable with the temperature (assuming it has the ability to do so).
The analogy is often compared to human behaviour. But we aren’t frogs. We are humans.
Most of the issues that we face are less about the boiling frog phenomenon and more about procrastination and resistance to change.
It’s like we enjoy sitting in an overly heated hot tub. We feel that the temperature is too hot, we know it is hurting us. Yet we are too lazy to get out and change it. And the worst thing that can happen to us if someone comes by and politely suggests that we get out! For then surely we will stay in.
Yesterday my youngest daughter reminded me of an important lesson. It’s more important to enjoy the process than the result.
I was watching her solving puzzles (currently her favourite activity) and I noticed that as soon as she was done she didn’t even take a second to enjoy what she had built. She joyfully moved onto the next puzzle.
Not that we shouldn’t enjoy our milestones and achievements. But seeing it in this sense serves as a reminder of where we should seek our fulfilment.
I used to be a culprit of this. Especially with books.
Fiction – If you don’t like it, stop reading. It’s a sunk cost! (Same goes for movies)
Non Fiction – Same as above. But at section/chapter/paragraph level. As soon as it’s not of value, skip it.
It’s funny how we hold onto things that are of no value to us.
Why write a short blog post when it could be a tweet?
Twitter, and all other social platforms, will come and go.
Writing for yourself, on your own terms, on your own website is more robust.
It’s funny how we like to grab onto easily measurable leading indicators as a proxy for lagging indicators.
Are we trying to lose weight? Or are we trying to be healthier?
Are we trying to make more sales calls? Or are we trying to grow revenue?
Are we trying to memorize new vocabulary in a foreign language? Or we trying to communicate in it?
Are we trying to make more money? Or are we trying to be more happy?
Sure there are some correlation between these things and it can be helpful to know about them. But the more we push and measure for leading items, the less it helps with achieving the lagging.
A few days ago was our quarterly 100 Men Who Give A Damn Calgary meetup.
For those who don’t know, we are a group of 100 guys that meet quarterly and give $100 each to a charity in our community. Small group, big impact.
The selected charity this time around was Variety Alberta. Specifically they were looking for funds to support their Go Baby Go toddler mobility program.
Their mission as a charity is to “ensure that all children with specialized needs can be active participants within their communities.” And the goal couldn’t be more noble. Giving these kids an opportunity to participate in activities that they normally wouldn’t be able gives them a unique opportunity to be independent, just like any other kid. It gives their parents the opportunity to see their kids joy when they get to do something fun, all by themselves. And it also teaches a valuable lesson to everyone about the importance of inclusivity.
During the meeting I was thinking about Seth Godin’s post from February of last year titled ‘You can’t say you can’t play’. According to Godin, this was the one rule that a kindergarten Lenny Levine ran his class by. It means if kids are playing games, and another kid comes along and wants to play they have to be included. That’s it.
While there are plenty of opportunities in today’s society for selection (winning/losing and the lessons that come with it, for example), everyone should always be allowed to at least try. Everyone should have the opportunity to be included.
P.S. 100 Men is currently recruiting. If you’re in Calgary and surrounding area and interested please reach out. Also check out 100 Women Who Care Calgary and 100 Kids Who Care Calgary.
I know I’m not the only one guilty of this during the past year (or ever) so I thought I would share.
I haven’t (until recently) been adequately planning time away from work.
What happened was the following cycle:
- I would work longer than normal, because something had to be finished.
- This resulted in less rest, the next day I was less effective.
- Which resulted guilt and then working longer than normal.
- Which resulted in even less rest and less effectiveness.
- And the cycle goes on.
The only way to break the cycle is to unapologetically plan (and stick to the plan) time for rest and leisure.
Working more, isn’t going to solve anything.