As of late I seem to keep finding myself in unfamiliar territory, deep undercover and only a stone’s throw from home yet….still so far away. I take in my surroundings and nothing feels safe. Being thrown into such a melting pot of culture and vanity one could easily feel overwhelmed, however, I adapt. What horrible territory am I talking about that could inspire such absolute awe and terror? The heart of Pyongyang, North Korea? The back seat of Aaron Hernandez’s Car? No, I of course am talking about the Mother of all communities.
As a young, wide-eyed SEO strategist, I ventured over to a particular section of the Internet expecting warm reactions and merry conversation with those many laptop-happy new moms, aglow with the excitement of documenting their journeys in motherhood. Instead, I was bombarded with requests for free products, had my credibility strip-searched, and was accused of attempting to buy placement in their ever exclusive sorority.
A weaker more equivocal strategist may have given up, but I refused. I returned with the determination to assimilate myself so deeply into their culture they would have no choice but to view me as one of their own. As the days turned to weeks I walked amongst them, read what they read, and began to learn their ways. I learned of the hardships of being a southern beauty queen, the distress involved in finding the perfect pair of boyfriend jeans, and the pure elation felt when your DIY body scrub looks exactly like the one on Pinterest. Armed with this newfound knowledge and confidence I was no longer gasping for air in a sea of estrogen. I went back, and this time, I was nobody’s no-follow link.
Being new to anything can be hard, especially if it’s SEO. In order to avoid missteps and roadblocks, a thorough approach is crucial to understanding communities. If only it were as easy as going up to a counter and saying “I would like ten backlinks please, hold the spam” then everyone would be able to do it. In order to succeed, you must know your client, you must know your audience, and you must know what your audience wants. No matter how advanced our society gets you cannot replace human creativity and innovation, both of which are crucial to our profession.
Reflecting on my ordeal as a new SEO Strategist, I can say that I truly did learn a very valuable lesson: if you cannot speak the language of your target market you will never break down those barriers. Deeply engrossing myself in the musings of my new community taught me about not only the best cut to compliment Ombré hair but also how crucial it is to listen and understand. Man, I feel like a woman.