Mike Levin SEO

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Early Morning Selfie Videos And The Art of Thinking Clearly

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 07/14/2014

Okay the selfie-videos that I needed to shoot to help me clarify my thoughts and tackle the day and to deliver deliverables are done. Instead of now getting distracted by actually publishing them, I can just queue them up for optional publishing later—either in their raw form with a simple time-delay on publishing, or in a more edited documentary style. Either way, I save the time now to plow into deliverables, and avoid unnecessary distraction, and still have all the good thought-work done.

All my distractions should be aligned to the same goals: delighting clients. I am currently falling a fair bit short of that. I must resist the temptation to go start building my own tools immediately, but rather, I must focus on getting all the deliverable work done. The deliverables will almost always inevitably be in Microsoft Excel format. It is just the cost of doing business. It provides a better “feel” than giving them in Google Drive (they should never have changed the name from Docs). You get to insert logos, and refer to emails with attachments. People like to pass those around in their companies. He or she who organizes their emails and file attachments best wins.

Okay, so what next? If not tool-building, then what? I need the power of Python to manage keyword lists. I need to put the love into the work. And to that end, I should work-on and document the process of creating all my deliverables on an actual site. I get my high-speed Verizon FIOS bandwidth here at the office tomorrow. I have to meet them between 11 and 2, and that opens the door to a whole bunch of incredible things.

It’s time to put the love in it, wrap a story around it, and start something big. I had a week or two of difficulty “starting up”, but that’s because… I was truly starting up. As an SEO consultant, I can indeed travel light, but not so light that I don’t have some awesome power tools to help me in the creation of some awesome deliverables. I have to bring process to the table, which is not actually tools, but something inside myself that comes from experience. And so now I document things in a way that is compatible with, complementary to, and un-obstructive to what I need to do for my clients.

Clients come first. I’m putting on a show. I’m teaching them to fish. I’m producing deliverables, and empowering them to use them. I need to put this into place, both for them on a paid-basis, and for the public at large. In the question of build vs. buy, I ALWAYS use to build because I had no budget and the tools back then were so expensive. More recently, I almost always buy, because the tools have become so much less expensive and commoditized and standard. But whenever anything becomes a standard commodity, everyone else is using the same tools, and competitive advantage has to come from somewhere else—usually design and expert use of the tools, which is totally fair. But that approach fails to use an inherent built-in advantage of better, different, and otherwise uncommon proprietary tools.

Okay, always avoid rambling. But this becomes the first entry in something big. Looking back at my past, it is fairly easy to identify the “genesis moments” of my largest endeavors. And my largest endeavors have usually been frameworks that made a whole series of smaller projects easier, and sometimes even possible in the first place. But always, it preceded fairly long builds before I got the advantage of the framework, and I was working for companies drawing a paycheck, which covered for the development time. Things are different now, independent.

First-off, I have to be more productive more quickly. In some cases, I can use tools I created in the past. But more often, the “giant reset button” has been pressed on me. I have the knowledge and know-how in my head, but the actual code is lost. Part of what I’m doing now is to make sure that the giant reset button can never be pressed on me again. I am going for timelessness. No matter how things change, the tools I create now should always be applicable. These are the criteria now for what I build.

But also, what I build should be built around processes and techniques that don’t inherently call for the tools I’m going to build. That way, I can “slam out” the deliverables pronto without getting hung up on a tool-build. In fact, slamming out these deliverables will be the furnace in which the tools will be built. First time will be almost manual. Second time, less manual, and so on until the tools are built up and refined in layers. First, something with no user interface. Later, with a rudimentary user interface. Later still, slick web and mobile-based apps and much higher levels of automation.

Next decision in the thought-process, this type of writing, no matter how rambling, has a place. It is interesting to a portion—no matter how small and geeky—of my audience. This type of writing is MOSTLY for just me to process my thoughts, but it also for them. This is where the love is created. You can’t get into sports until you start to really get to know the rules and the players. This is the getting to know part—but inside my own head. It all gets back to that genesis moment of my large, interesting projects. I am trying to make THIS into a new genesis moment.

It can’t be forced if the potential is not already there inside of me busting to get out. And I can feel it. It is. I just have to do it in such a way that I can also be productive for my clients out of the starting gate. And what I build has to be better and potential more long-lived than anything I’ve done in the past. The very field of SEO is getting long in the tooth. The field itself is an anomaly, mostly based around catering to how Google likes information organized so that it can most efficiently index and deliver it in search results. This is so artificial to the human condition, that it isn’t even funny.

The fundamental nature of human beings is stories being told and spread with technologically aided word-of-mouth. At the beginning of this story-telling process is original discovery and writing of the story—which is much more difficult and much less common. It’s sort of where Google focuses, in reaching out to “searchers”. The opposite is TV-style advertising that tries to slip influential messages into the story-telling taking place around the fire. That’s Facebook, and why social media is so big.

However, the justification for me staying in the field of SEO is that even though it is an anomaly, it is a darn powerful one with a lot of staying power with the ability to predispose the rarer but more important “searchers” of the world. Anyone can repeat a story, and well-connected “hub” people are indeed very valuable. But information gathering and curating doesn’t hold a candle to the world-changing potential of doing something actually new. “New” can change the world, while content regurgitation can only inform it.

I’ve always been torn with articles like this—whether to publish them raw on my personal site that carries my personal branding, MikeLev.in, or to edit and refine it into a ready-for-prime-time article that could be picked up and repeated in social media and really work for me, or even to not publish it at all and use it as a true personal journal just to guide my thoughts and actions. I’ve done a little of all of these approaches in the past, but now that I’m going independent, that all changes.

And so a new site will be born that starts to auto-describe itself. It’s going to be about itself, and document its own development, using all my SEO best practices. It will complement the github repository where I’ll be publishing the code, and will be rolled into my Levinux Linux distribution, where you will be able to run all the same code as I am, without even doing an installation on your own machine or getting a cloud server. I’ll make it as easy and painless as possible, but it will be a formulaic way to follow a very difficult path that I’m hereby clearing out with a sort of info-tech machete.

I have three candidate domains in my portfolio for this: whatsametafor.com, supertechyou.com and pythonseo.com. The question of which to use—or even whether to use a new site at all, instead of hosting it on MikeLev.in—is a classic quesiton in SEO. Perhaps I will even use all three sites as appropriate, rolling them out over time to reach different audiences when I’m actually ready to reach them, and to optimize the experience.

SuperTechYou.com will probably come last, because it’s going to have to be fairly polished, and will inevitably interfere with client work. I am sorely tempted to use WhatsAMetaFor.com beause I can make the site totally self-referential, making all this rambling writing I do into a sort of meta data of the site—still marked-up per schema.org for optimal indexing in the engines—but written as an SEO-site with a focus on branding. However, I’m pretty sure I’m going to use my built-in SEO-wisdom and go the literal route and use PythonSEO.com. It combines two very literal things that have some chance of appearing in search together—no matter how infrequently. I know I will be able to reach 100% of that audience automatically by mere virtue of existing, and that is the toe-hold needed to begin the online presence growth process.

I often call SEO as the spark of flame in the process, and Social as the baton or torch-carrying and passing process (and the lighting of other torches). Without SEO to spark the flame (plus some content marketing), there will be no torch to carry and pass on (story to retell and amplify). And so, despite how appealing a more branding-oriented approach may be—even in writing a cuter, more repeatable story—I hold more faith in the spontaneous repeated discovery of a site that I make that “reaches out” to my intended audience by virtue of its fairly generic descriptive name that aligns with searches amongst my target audience.

Okay, its coming up on 9:00 AM. Switch gears to actual deliverables now, and create a few to-do lists to keep the day-to-day momentum going. You created something love-worthy with this post. The trick now is to fan the flame day-to-day while delighting clients with the work I do as I actually hammer out process.

Give your deliverables each a very strong identity. This is probably where you want to do one of those drawing-videos to make the nature of and reason for each deliverable 100% clear. That will make great content for the launching of PythonSEO.com. I can plan out the hierarchy of the site as I go, which is such an important step in SEO—formulating the keyword importance within the site, counting clicks off the main homepage and such. And this is where I will cut this article entry. I think in order to get these articles working for me, and for commitment and consistency, I’ll simply push them out on MikeLev.in undecorated with any videos.