SEO Sometimes Takes Bloody Determination

SEO-SuccessMany years ago, I was in a two mile run with about 100 other people.  We were all, for the most part, in top physical shape.

Well, actually, we really didn’t have a choice at the time, we were in the Army.

Okay – we had a choice – but the consequences of not being in shape were a fairly good motivator.

On that particular day, I can recall everyone crowded around the starting line – a sea of olive green uniforms on a concrete road lined by a gaggle of trees on either side.   I don’t recall the time of day, except that it was pretty early in the morning.  (Lots of things happen early in the morning when you’re in the Army)…

When you’re in the Army, some people prefer to just be in the middle of the pack – not wanting to blaze trails (for fear of the concept that the people up front tend to get shot first).  Others really would rather be somewhere else, doing something else.  These people tend to end up at the rear of the pack.  Then there’s people like me.  – You will usually find us up front, doing what we think will give us a competitive advantage in the race – unafraid, because our minds are only on one thing in that moment – victory.

Now, I’m not so competitive or driven that I have that attitude in everything.  Believe me – I’m a lot less business-focused and a lot more life-balanced.  It’s just that when I decide to focus on a really succulent prize (like being able to say I was the fastest one in our Company that day), I can have a fairly intense focus. When it came to running, at least back in those days, I was truly passionate about the experience.  Not quite obsessed – heck – I never ever practiced on my own even.  Just passionate about the in-the-moment presence – like meditation in motion…

Except life isn’t always going to support us in our efforts, or make the task effortless.

In fact, on that warm sunny spring morning, life decided that, shortly after the start of the race, someone behind me would, themselves, be so determined to get where they were going that they only focused on the goal, and not their surroundings.

Because in that moment, I felt a foot stepping on one of my heels.   And then I felt the slow-motion sensation we all feel as we’re about to come crashing to the ground, helpless to do anything about it…

VictimSupportAnd come crashing down, I did!  down, onto that hard, pebble and grit strewn concrete road.   Hands flailing in front of me to instinctively break the fall – a true cave-man inborn survival reaction.  I could feel the burning sensation in the palms of my hands, the scraping of my elbows, and knees…  and at the same time, I also felt that sea of green wash over and around me, like waves crashing into the rocky shore.

Because my adrenaline had been so properly primed before the race however, once Newton’s law of motion had worked itself out, I didn’t just lay there, not even long enough to assess the damage.  Instead, I had an instantaneous vision of someone else, other than me, crossing that finish line first.  And I was pissed.

Fortunately, only a smidgen of my anger was directed at the unknown assailant.  Heck, I wasn’t able to picture a name or a face to target my wrath at.  All I knew was that someone did something – intentional or not, to knock me off my course, prevent me from reaching my goal, and all it did was cause me to double-up my determination, get up off the ground, and jump back into the race.

When adrenaline REALLY kicks in, like it did AFTER I had been knocked down, something clicks in the mind that causes the body to react and go into tunnel vision.  Kind of like – that cave man, when a big, bad dinosaur suddenly appears just behind him, already in attack mode, ready to eat lunch after not having any decent human flesh in days or weeks…

OptionsAnd that’s what happened to me in that moment.  Not because I was afraid I was going to die, but that someone else was going to achieve the goal that I had set out for myself!

And other than fleeting glimpses of others ahead or around me, or the twists and turns of the road as I would prepare for each next one in turn, I have no memory (nor did I later that day) of anything much else, because of that adrenaline induced tunnel vision…

Now, I’d like to be your hero here, and say that I won the race…

But that would be a bold-faced lie.  And while the Cancerian in me tends to express himself visually through a bold and emotive face, I would prefer to be honest and let you know that I actually came in second place that day…

Having had to catch up with the entire Company of 100 men and women.

And the only person who I wasn’t able to catch up to was the Company Executive Officer, a West Point graduate and former college athlete.

And he only beat me by about 30 seconds…

But the real kicker here, and the wrap-up on this prelude to success in SEO, is that after a few moments of exhilarating happiness of what I’d achieved that day, in spite of some snot-nosed low-life (yeah – at some point, even though the adrenaline, I had been able to muster up a re-visiting of the “incident”, and had, by then, formulated a belief that it was either intentional, or worse, that it was due to someone’s ignorance and lack of respect), that I had come back and nearly won the whole thing!  And in that moment, I felt completely joyous in coming in 2nd place.

Until I went off to sit on the curb, and catch my breath.

Because as soon as I sat down, I saw, and felt, my knees.  Both knees of my olive drab uniform were soaked through with blood.  And both knees of my 20-something year old body, were all-of-a-sudden, in serious pain! And my hands – OMG – the palms of my hands had little tiny pebbles and grit buried in them – and abraisions all up along both my fore-arms… and one of my elbows had enough flesh ripped away from it that the skin was kind of dangling…

HEY – come back – barfing, even just a little in your mouth,  is not an excuse from finishing this article!

And that brings us to modern day.  Alan as an SEO consultant.

One of the reasons I consistently get my client sites onto the first page of Google (or whatever your cup of search happens to be) organically is because of that same passion and determination.  Whether it’s after having been slammed into the concrete pavement by some black-hat SEO, or if it’s having to catch up to a sea of competitors with years of lead time, or having to counter the next “Vince” update.

That’s the beauty of our industry.

TheWinnerWith enough time, leverage and client budgetary willingness, by applying best of breed SEO techniques, anyone can achieve high organic rankings.

Oh sure, you may not get your client into that coveted #1 organic slot for every keyword phrase.

But you can get them there for some if you’re determined enough.  And you can get a lot more of them somewhere on the first page of results.  And you will, if you consider how big a deal it is, be able to look at those achievements, and smile.

In spite of the bloodied knees you get along the way, or better, you’ll be able to smile KNOWING you got there even when some people played by different rules.

About Alan Bleiweiss

Just another guy. Who happens to have a lot of experience living, breathing and sleeping organic SEO. So that's my primary focus - high end SEO audits and consulting for sites ranging from thousands to tens of millions of pages. In my spare time I blog, rant, write eBooks, and speak at industry conferences.

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2 Comments

  1. Wow, I’m exhausted just reading this. And I’m utterly compelled by your passion for winning. Here, here!

    Btw, pound for pound, I think an angry, crying little girl can be the most persuasive, baddest-ass force on the planet.

  2. Rebekah,

    I think the key for that crying little girl is her getting angry – and using that to drive herself forward. There have been plenty of times in my life where I played, and stayed, the victim. Turns out that doesn’t really contribute to long term success. Go figure.

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