The Power of Persistence: Seriously, it may be all you need
Doing SEO is hard. It’s long. It’s challenging. It’s technical. There is so much out there that you don’t know. Tap into any informed blog about the topic, and you will be hit with a firehouse of information. Whether you are building your first website, or your sixteenth, you can rest assured that you haven’t yet begun to “grok” the many myriad facets of the SEO biz.
Okay. So, fine. Given all the obstacles you face — technical, psychological, physical, and financial — what can you do to move the ball down the field?
The answer is a single word: persistence.
That persistence yields results is a cliché. When you hear the word, you think of one of those office motivational posters of a bald eagle soaring over a cliff with a lightning bolt in its beak or something. Still, the power of this concept should not be undersold.
Consider all the new research that’s come out, indicating that persistence is far more important than natural talent in determining success. One great book on this subject is Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, an editor of Forbes Magazine.
Colvin makes the case that great performers in history succeed NOT because they possess innately better genes but simply because they work harder and persist through obstacles.
Of course, persistence isn’t just about grinding through difficulties. It’s about doing so SMARTLY. If you practice incorrectly, you will end up like one of those wind up toys with a broken wheel — going very fast, indeed, but going in circles.
Keys to successful persistence:
- Get good coaching.
- Learn from the mistakes and successes of others.
- Sharpen and review your process.
The SEO monster can be mounted and tamed. But you will not do it in a day, and you will not do it without significant tolerance for failure.
Tips on Persistence
Okay. So you want to bulldoze your SEO process forward. But how? Here are some ways to withstand the inevitable forces of attrition, fatigue, self-doubt, and angst.
- Set small goals that you absolutely can accomplish. Small successes are crucial.
- Get feedback from people you trust. Perspective can blind you to things you do wrong. No one has twenty-twenty vision all, or even most of, the time.
- Pay attention to longer-term horizons of focus — if you are caught up in the Sturm Und Drang of the day-to-day, all the time, you may end up like our broken wind up toy — generating lotsa energy but no forward momentum. Point your compass in a direction that will get you somewhere good. Then GO!
- Knowledge is power. Another overripe trope, but so true. Understand the landscape of your business — in particular, your niche. Establish yourself in your community, and build solutions your customers will need (but don’t know they need yet).
- Develop a core competency. What can you do better than ANYONE else in the entire world? Find something you are passionate about (that you would still do if you didn’t have to earn another cent in your life). Become the ruler of the roost.
- It can’t be just about the money. Your passion must come from somewhat deeper, somewhat more sincere and human. Only then will you find the internal resources to push through the (many) unpredictable obstacles that come your way.
- Expect the unexpected — you can have the most ace business plan in the world, but the universe will find a way to blow it out of the water. You need to able to find a way to, in the words of the poet T.S. Elliot, “be still and still moving.” Be flexible enough to respond to dramatic changes to your SEO or business plan but steady in terms of your long-term vision and principles.
Remember: It’s a balancing act. But persistence is the great equalizer. With it, even the most uncredentialed novices can outgun Fortune 500 companies.
Go to it.