The Art of SEO (and Seeing Beyond Vision)


Andrew Steven
March 18, 2019


Guest author Tony Grant of CommonSenSEO

INTRO by Andy Steven (POP Co-founder)

I met Tony last week for the first time when I interviewed him for our latest user surveys. He struck me as an intelligent SEO, thoughtful with his words and analytical. He told me he can get any business into Maps and local but struggled with pure organic rankings. That is, he told me, that he had struggled, until POP and the scientific SEO movement made everything all of a sudden fall into place and make sense to him (brilliant!). But it was what he told me next that completely blindsided me and resulted in me respecting this man at a whole new level. And this is why I asked him to guest author this piece for us on his story and his way of working. The very next day he sent this through to me, and although it speaks rather favourably of our tool, this was not in fact the point of the article (so feel free to ignore that part if you wish). I encourage you to read Tony’s words through to his admission at the bottom as it may just make you rethink the way in which you see the world. Also, almost as if it were a sign from Google itself that I was meant to publish this, I went onto Google just now to check something for this story and the Google graphic for the day could not have been more appropriate, I pasted a screenshot at the bottom.

"When the knowledge is there, but you still cannot see,
The way to distinguish the wood from the tree.
When you really can't figure the clearest decision,
It's time you found answers by Seeing Beyond Vision."

This anecdotal reference was written to encapsulate a belief of how many of us struggle to see solutions, whether in SEO, in business or life in general. The obvious is often overlooked, in favour of seeking a solution that is far more complex. Yet simplicity can be misleading, and once that concept is understood, things become so much easier.

What Has That To Do With SEO?

                                                                                           June 6th

                                                                                           June 15th

                                                                                           June 27th

Still no movement of the test page.

Poetry and prose are not so commonly found living side by side with SEO. Yet when the complexity of SEO is understood, there is little doubting that the results become almost poetic. Putting that aside however, the following words will open up a clarity of thinking, that for the author, became the key to SEO success.

Becoming a Part of the Problem

While so many were turning towards expensive tools to find the answers, I turned to Google. It seemed obvious to me that if Google were the ones presenting the problem, they surely were also the ones holding the keys to the solutions for ranking. Despite this belief, I still seemed somehow unable to rank organically in Google. I could put a Google My Business listing in the 3-pack at the drop of a hat, I could rank YouTube videos on a whim, yet for some unfathomable reason, I simply couldn't infiltrate the organic listings. I held on to the belief that the answers were still on Google Page One, but somehow my logical thinking wasn't joining some dots somewhere along the line.

I could put a Google My Business listing in the 3-pack at the drop of a hat, I could rank YouTube videos on a whim, yet for some unfathomable reason, I simply couldn't infiltrate the organic listings.

Turning to the Tools

Although I avoided a dependency on tools, I wasn't averse to using them where needed, and this was a time of need. I turned to PageOptimizer Pro in an effort to budge those stubborn SERPs. Almost expecting little in the way of results, I was actually pretty amazed when results started to happen. I mean, to this point I had tried almost every trick in the book to budge those sites, but suddenly things were starting to POP. With one run of PageOptimizer Pro, one test site jumped from page 3 to page 2 almost immediately. Another run saw it jump again on to page one, and suddenly I had arrived.

The Dawning of a Realisation.

Was it this low cost tool that had given results where other more expensive tools had failed? Well I would have to say yes, although I half doubt, and half hope that my knowledge also played a small part in these new Page Ones. You see, while the software did deliver the data, you still need to be able to act on that data, and have sufficient skills to analyse and interpret in order to gain the best results. The years of SEO learning and experimentation suddenly became much clearer thanks to PageOptimizer ProAlso, along with the first ranking came a confidence that hadn't previously existed.

I had the feeling that as a SEO, in organic rankings at last, I had finally arrived.

Making Sense Out of SEO

Since those early epiphanel moments, I have gone on to get many successes in ranking, either with or without PageOptimizer Pro. I would very definitely point to the software as being the tool that helped me join those missing dots together. This was partly because the software produces results that clearly show what ranking factors there are, and how they influence ranking. Also though, in a slightly tenuous way, it brought me into an awareness of Kyle Roof, the co-founder of PageOptimizer Pro. After listening to Kyle, his eloquence of speech and clarity of vision made everything make so much sense.

So, between the creator and the creation, my SEO understanding became complete.

A final Thought

Just as most of us need, or should be impelled to take driving lessons when first wanting a driving licence, I believe that SEO wannabees should spend time with PageOptimizer Pro to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanics, or the science behind SEO. It may not be the end game in most people's SEO journey, but it certainly should be at their start. The tool is easy to use, easy to understand, has a low cost of ownership, and does deliver ranking results. But beyond all of those benefits, the awareness that is brought through using the tool will undoubtedly make any SEO a better SEO.

So Why Seeing Beyond Vision?

If you are still reading, you might be wondering what this all has to do with Seeing Beyond Vision. Well, in fairness, I was initially asked to write about this fact, but I felt that the software and it's benefits were the bigger story here. So now I have covered that, I will quickly glance upon another little facet of my development as a SEO. One of the factors that I attribute to my SEO success is that I can rationalise problems extremely effectively. I hold much of my learning in my active memory, and apply this to whichever situation I am faced with. The things that I deem as common Sense, are not seen as such by others. So what is actually going on, and how can this understanding help you?

Figuring Out Common Sense

If a solution to me is common sense, then why would it not be to others. Surely this must suggest that it's not actually common sense at all, but whatever my thinking is bringing to the fore must be as a reason other than just simple thought processing. It would be great to think that I had an ability to see into the future. Wouldn't everyone like that power? SEO would become a thing of the past, as I could then make money at will, either from knowing which horse was going to win the Derby or which stock was going to move fastest tomorrow. Sadly, when I finally realised what was happening, it was nothing so magical, or so I now believe.

You see, I am actually totally blind. After an accident at work, an injury led to me having absolutely no light perception at all. Of course, I had once seen, and this I guess helps play into the phenomenon, as at least I could perceive what things were, based on what I had seen up until being 28 years of age.

I now believe that a part of my success in SEO is actually as a result of my being blind.

So What’s This Got To Do With SEO?

I now believe that a part of my success in SEO is actually as a result of my being blind.

To do any simple thing in my life, I have to rationalise and filter so much data in my mind. things that sighted people would do subconciously. things like walking down the street. A sighted person simply walks, but I have to think of overhanging trees, kerbs, whether there are broken slabs, whether it is dustbin day, how many side roads I need to pass etc. Every single step involves thought and information which most everyone else doesn't need to consciously process. This means that my brain has become extremely efficient at taking on all this trivia, and ignoring what parts are not critical to the outcome I am focused on. I arrive extremely quick at a solution that will ultimately save me from harm. Take this occurrence and place it into a SEO situation, and now you might see how it becomes a benefit. I can absorb information from all corners, wrap it all up and let my conscious mind sift through and filter the data, leaving me with a clear vision of the solution. I call this Seeing Beyond Vision purely because I am not limited by what I see, which unfortunately most sighted people are.

It is almost always the case that when something is lost at home, I am the one to find it. Again because I apply logic to where it might be, and not run around like a headless chicken in panic mode. So I hope you don't mind me sharing that little window into my life. I am not sure what good can be taken from this, but maybe, if you take time to think things through, you actually should always arrive at a better decision.

Being blind, I seem to do this at an extremely fast rate, but I am sure, with practice, anyone could benefit from Seeing Beyond Vision.

Featured Google Doodle today celebrating Seiichi Miyake’s bumpy tiles which help the vision impaired navigate complex metropolitan environments around the world safely. I can now strangely drawer the connection between these and tools such as POP for us SEOs who are in other ways also vision impaired.

About the author 

Andrew Steven

Andrew has been building and managing SEO teams since 2008 where he led the largest SEO firm in Australia. Since meeting Kyle and partnering to form High Voltage SEO Andrew has been Kyle Roof’s man behind the scenes and together with Maria Dubretic have since co-founded the SEO tool PageOptimizer Pro. Andrew wishes he could stop dreaming about digital marketing in his sleep and would love to hear from anyone who has a cure for this.

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