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Some people in the marketing community complain that Google has no right to police the web, that the Internet is an open place where anything goes. People complain that Google is ruining their lives when an algorithm change goes live that wipes out their network of spam blogs. But that’s not the topic of this post.

I want to highlight something I saw today that angered me, and make a bid for all of us to be good Internet citizens and police the places that we see that deserve to be kept clean. Just like it is – I think – our responsibility to pick up trash around our neighborhoods and not put gum underneath chairs for others to put their fingers in, it is also our responsibility to clear out spam when we see it so that the Internet stays, for the most part, an inviting place to be.

Let me show you an example. Continue Reading…

Do you cringe when someone says “I could have done that”? Whether it is a blog post, a new startup, or a piece of modern art, people say it all the time.

I have come to realize that there are two kinds of people – those who do and those who say they could. Those who win are the doers and those who don’t never move into the realm of the unknown and thus keep saying “I could have done that.”

The point is, you didn’t.

What separates the doers from the could-have-dones? There are a few key characteristics, which funny enough are the same characteristics that I often see being written about as characterisitcs of entrepreneurs. Continue Reading…

I finally get to write the “How I built a 10,000 visits/month site” post. This is that post. In February, I finally crossed the 10k visits mark, which was a goal I had set for myself. For some reason, 10,000 visits is the number that a lot of people choose to measure success by, whether it’s subscribers, money made, or visits.

This is actually a difficult post for me to write. Often these posts say “I did [this] and I tripled my traffic and built a huge following”. These posts frustrate me and others because they are such rare occurrences that they are not repeatable, or they give people false hope.

What I hope this post will show you, from my experience over the past year of writing on this site, is that blogging takes hard work. Add on a day job (in my case, switching jobs AND cities), a social life, hobbies, other sites, speaking engagements, and family (if you have one), or even traveling, and blogging gets REALLY difficult to do consistently. Then add on the fears of not doing well and combine that with perfectionism, and blogging becomes even tougher.

What I want to do is show you real numbers. I want to show you the events that have been paramount to my blogging success (if I can even call it that). I’ll show you how the traffic numbers going up is pretty even with the number of Twitter followers I have.

I also want to tell you both the things I have done, as well as the things that I have not done, to build the traffic to my site. What you read may surprise you.

Continue Reading…

Don’t Hire Remote Workers

John Doherty —  December 31, 2011

This post is outside of my normal realm of SEO writing, but I felt like it needed to be written.

Today I read a blog post on 37Signals called Stop Whining and Start Hiring Remote Workers. I have been hearing people say, at an increasing rate, that “We’re in a global economy, so get with the times and hire people who live far aways, or open an office there.” Last night I was at dinner with Rand Fishkin, Michael King, and a number of others when this conversation came up. It’s something I’ve been thinking about.

Continue Reading…

Let’s Be Thankful

John Doherty —  November 24, 2011

Today is Thanksgiving. I’m currently on vacation for a few days in Colorado, but I took some time a few days ago to really think about what I am thankful for. While riding on the plane to Colorado, forced to be off the Internet (unless I wanted to pay $15 and let’s be honest, that’s insane for 3 hours of access), I had a moment or two of clarity.

What am I thankful for? I am thankful for so much. I am thankful to have a warm place to live. I am thankful to have a job that I love, in a city that I am crazy about (New York City), with coworkers that I genuinely enjoy and can be myself around, wonderful friends spread around the world both from the SEO industry and my travels, and so much to look foward to in the future.

Continue Reading…

Who’s Hiring in SEO?

John Doherty —  November 2, 2011

I need a job imageEvery day it seems that I hear about another company that’s hiring, so while I’m working on another business idea, I thought I’d aggregate together all of the jobs that I currently know about in the SEO space:

Continue Reading…

I think that every SEO should develop their own website. I don’t care if it’s an SEO blog, a travel blog, a site about your cat, or a tribute to Metallica.

My argument is:

In order to be a decent SEO and to be able to stay current as SEO becomes more and more technical, you need to have a place to test out ideas that you otherwise may not be able to do on client sites (for ethical or practical reasons, such as making changes yourself/quickly).

Continue Reading…

Productivity. We all hear about it constantly and know that we should take steps to make our lives more productive in the time set aside to do so, so that we can enjoy the time where we do not need to be productive. Or, so that we can actually have free time.

I used to to be a productivity loser, but over the past few months have become much more of a productivity ninja. One important thing to note is that everyone is going to need to find what works for them, but here are some of the shortcuts and tools that I use to keep my inbox under control, my writing and drafts synchronized, and my priorities straight.

Google inbox shortcuts

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On Being Afraid of Failure

John Doherty —  October 17, 2011

Can I take a minute to write a personal post on here? This blog is usually all about SEO tactics, but today I’ve been doing some thinking and reflecting.

I come from a family that is really smart and well educated. I mean really smart and really well educated. My father has his PhD in institutional analysis. My mother is working on her second Masters degree, this one as a mathematics specialist. My older brother is in a fully funded MD/PhD program at Baylor College of Medicine, and my younger brother is a genius who will one day be an ambassador or something to a foreign country, helping to keep our country safe.

And I have a Bachelors degree from James Madison University in Virginia (a good state school). I work for the best SEO consultancy in the world, hang out with some awesomely smart people, and am trying to make waves in New York City.

And guess what?

I’m petrified of failure.

Continue Reading…

I’ve been reading a number of books and blogs recently about business. I recently got sent a copy of Tony Hsieh’s “Delivering Happiness”, thanks to Zappos Service. I’ve also been reading Michael Hyatt’s blog Intentional Leadership, where he shares a lot of tips about productivity and leadership. Both have impacted me in big ways.

Let me tell you a story.

I work at a company, Distilled, that is all about hustle. In the course of a week at my job, I will probably touch everything from a technical site audit to internal marketing for our conferences. I might be working on gathering research for an infographic and the next minute I’m fixing an issue on the website and cleaning out the spam queue. My job is never boring.

This lack of boredom is a good thing since I have a history of getting bored in or burning myself out on an industry within a few months and then look to move on to a new industry. We have a lot of awesome things going on here at Distilled – conferences in New York and London, blog posts on our blog and many other industry blogs, and numerous awesome clients to keep happy and effect change for.

Oftentimes however (and this does not reflect poorly on the company, but on me) I get caught up in doing so many things that I forget to do any one thing well. I’ll be jumping from one project to another and not focusing on doing any one particularly well. I’m great at starting, but not so great at finishing. Even while writing this post, I keep getting distracted by Twitter and email.

This is funny, because at the heart of the GTD methodology is this:

GTD enables greater performance, capacity and innovation. It alleviates the feeling of overwhelm, instilling focus, clarity and confidence.

Michael Hyatt, the Chairman (and former CEO) of Thomas Nelson Publishers wrote a blog post called The Unproductive Writer’s Guide to Success, wherein he says the following regarding keeping your audience’s attention. The same principles apply to work.

…Instead of spending five hours writing ten blog posts, spend five hours writing one good post….

If it takes me all day to write an email that makes me a lot of money, that is better than spending five minutes to write an email that fizzles on impact. Yes, the email must do its work efficiently, but I do not have to be productive in its construction.

Instead of shouting and splashing, slow down and be unproductive. Focus on just one thing and do it right. You will be spinning circles around your competition.

When we get bogged down in a lot of “stuff to get done”, we can lose focus easily. Too many awesome things really is a problem.

I’m trying to take the time to focus on doing things well. I wish a way existed to quantify the value of time. If I get 10 things done, but not well, I’d like to be able to quantify that against 1 thing that I did REALLY well and thoroughly.

Just some thoughts.