by Mike Arnesen
About the Author
Somewhere along the line, we all start to believe our own bullshit. Most of the time, it’s because we don’t have anyone bold enough to call us out and challenge us. We may not have people around who are kind enough to remind us that, in fact, we don’t know everything about our respective specialties/industries. Sometimes we do have those helpful people, but we’ve either built or were born with the unique ability to tune it out.
Well, one thing I’ve learned over the years is the importance of getting called out. One option for getting called out is to wait until someone else does it for you. However, my preference is for us to do it ourselves. Yeah, call yourself on your own shit.
I’ve made a career in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and in that industry (or any fast-paced world), there’s nothing worse that holding on to the same ideas, practices, and theories year after year without giving them a good old critical analysis. Chances are, some of these beliefs and practices are no longer relevant. Still, I see all kinds of people who, more often than not, are some of the louder voices out there preaching outdated information to beginners, clients, and other susceptible parties. Don’t be THAT GUY. Learn the importance of calling yourself out on a regular basis and admiting that you don’t really know everything.
Sometimes though, it’s hard to know what’s BS and what isn’t based on your internal thoughts alone. Sometimes, you need an outside factor to help the process. One of the ways I’ve found that never fails is helping other people by sharing your expertise. Unless you’re a half-head, going through the process of putting together a thoughful response to someone’s request for information, expertise, or other help will really make you think carefully about what you believe.
In the SEO world, consider the following situations:
Assumption: Pinterest is blowing up right now and there was a major article last month about how killer it was for SEO. That means I should recommend adding Pinterest buttons to every webmaster I talk to.
- “Does this apply to all sites or just sites with shareable images?”
- “Are nofollowed Pinterest links really that valuable anymore?”
If you’ve been pimping Pinterest as an SEO silver bullet, hopefully you’ll realize that might not be the case for every website you run into.
Assumption: Last time you checked, paying a “grey area” blog network to include links to your website seemed pretty effective. Last time your shelled out $100, you actually saw some of your rankings jump.
- “Is this really a quality tactic that I should be using?”
- “Did Google just bring down the fury on a major ‘grey hat’ blog network?”
- “Am I just looking for a quick fix?”
Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what you’ve been thinking.
Anyway, here are some of my favorite resources for forcing you to call yourself on your own shit. Also, you may even have the benefit of having someone else call you on your shit by participating here.
A great new(ish) question and answer site. I highly recommend signing up and subscribing to a couple topics that you feel like you know a lot about. Start there. Also, follow me.
Save a couple hashtag searches. However, it can be a bit hard to filter since you’ll get a lot of crap. You can also start following other like-minded people or, if your following list is already into the thousands, try using ManageFlitter to cut out the crap; that way, you’ll be able to more efficiently navigate your feed and actually start meaningful conversations.
These will vary by industry/specialty, but try to find one or two popular ones and sign up. Participate. It’ll help.
Yahoo Answers is a really valuable…no. I’m kidding. Don’t go there.
Taking a few minutes everyday, or an hour per week, to really engage others in a helpful way is going to do wonders for reducing the amount of BS that you spit. And if you see me running my virtual mouth online, please don’t hesitate to call me on my shit. I’ll call you on yours. Yeah, then we can grow together and make this shithole planet better, in time.