Let me start this post by saying that it has nothing to do with your website being over optimized or how you can recover from Google’s newest Penguin (webspam / over optimization) algorithm update. If that’s what you are here for, and you most likely are, go check out Danny Sullivan’s post on Search Engine Land: Google Penguin Update Recovery Tips & Advice.
For everyone else still reading, do Google’s updates and the fast paced nature of digital marketing have you feeling over optimized? This happens to me from time to time and I’m sure it happens to all of you. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed.
Why does it happen?
It happens because you care about your clients. It happens because you are always trying to stay one step ahead and it happens because you are probably good at what you do.
In one way or another, you have probably heard of a man named Cal Ripken Jr. (disclaimer: I am an Orioles fan). Cal Ripken Jr., now a hall of famer, is one of, if not the greatest shortstop to ever play the game of baseball. Ripken played 2,632 straight games spanning over 17 Major League Baseball seasons. Not one game missed. Would he have reached these milestones without constantly pushing himself? Probably not.
My point here is that dedication, drive and sacrifice pays off. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional athlete or a business professional, if you aren’t dedicated, constantly pushing yourself and willing to sacrifice, you better be willing to just blend in.
With dedication comes stress, mental wear and that over optimization feeling.
To be considered a great SEO (or anything for that matter), you have to produce. You have to show results. You have to walk the walk. I have been doing SEO for about 6 years now and have personally worked on a countless number of websites in almost any industry imaginable. I love doing what I do. I can also admit that given my love and passion for the industry, I have been one to wear down mentally.
To me, SEO isn’t a 9 – 5, it’s much more than that. Now before you tell me to get a life outside of work, understand that without this attitude (dedication, drive and sacrifice), I would be selling myself short. But why stay so dedicated if it wears you down and causes you stress? Simple answer – it’s life. My co-worker Peter Baio said it best – “we do this now so we don’t have to when we’re 50” (I don’t know who he’s fooling thinking about retiring at 50 though). It’s how you deal with and overcome this mental wear and stress that defines you as a person and a professional. If Cal Ripken Jr. were to cave in to his mental and physical wear and throw in the towel at any point during his career, you can bet that he would constantly look back and think about what he could have achieved. On a side note, I do find time to enjoy the finer things in life that do not involve SEO which brings me to my point – how can you recover from that over optimization feeling?
For many, myself included, it’s not easy to just “put down” something you are passionate about. SEOs don’t have an offseason or spring training; we are in regular season mode 365 days a year. Similar to how you budget time and resources with SEO clients, try to do this with your personal life. When you are feeling mentally fatigued, turn to something positive that you know will relieve tension and get your mind off of things. For me, I stay active with team sports (bar leagues of course) throughout the year. During my SEO career, not once have I thought about an algorithm update, clients’ traffic, Google, keywords, conversions, reports, meetings, etc. (you get the point) while on the field or court.
Find that something that completely takes your mind off of things and helps you relax. Find that balance.
Hard work does pay off.
Remember, in the end, you are doing everything for a reason. Take it from Cal Ripken Jr. and all of the successful SEOs, business professionals and entrepreneurs, hard work does pay off. When you are feeling like you can’t take another report or conduct any more research, sit back and think about why you are doing it and then look for that something that will help you, as my man Martin Lawrence says, woosah (sports, traveling, drinking a beer or 5, etc.).
About the Author: Craig Kilgore is a digital marketer with Mainstreethost and currently heads up their R&D department. Craig’s interests include SEO, paid search, content marketing, social media marketing and business development. You can find Craig on Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin.