In a recent post I talked about some dumb job posting terminology found on job sites. It occurred to me that SEO specialists aren’t “rock stars” or “gurus” at all. The more accurate descriptor of an SEO consultant is “Mad Scientist” as they both share these qualities:
- Unquenchable thirst for knowledge — Like the mad scientists of countless horror stories, SEO folks are driven to learn secrets that “no man is meant to know” (i.e., how Google and Bing really work). They read articles, discuss ideas ad nauseum, and attend conferences and seminars (despite the fact that many of them just reinforce stuff they already know). The drive to really understand search engine optimization never ends for them, despite the fact that the secret algorithms (like life itself) are essentially unknowable.
Pathological need to experiment –Sure there are reference works out there that say WHAT CAN AND CAN’T BE DONE, but the mad scientist and SEO jockey can’t accept limitations. Regardless of what everyone says, they must conduct their own experiments to figure out how things really work. Often these turn up very interesting results, such as the Monster or Yahoo’s continuing use of the keyword metatag (despite their contention that they do not use it.)
In fact, this is a fundamental requirement for both occupations. No card-carrying mad scientist or SEO expert can avoid experimenting. Once you stop doing experiments, you have to turn in your credentials. It’s the law!
- Willingness to try new toys tools — Dr. Frankenstein has all those cool machines with giant electrodes and bubbling test tubes and stuff. Similarly, SEO junkies are big into trying the latest things to come out like Twitter and such. Also, like the esteemed doctor, SEOs tend to hang onto stuff so much that they clutter up the lab. Many still use things that maybe don’t quite work really well anymore, but we drag them out again from time to time to see if perhaps things have changed again. Like 80s hair metal, maybe SEO benefit will come back for paid directories…?
- Unwillingness to do grunt work — When he needed unintellectual stuff like grave digging and flipping giant switches, Doctor F had his trusty sidekick Igor to help him. For the SEO specialist, the SEO intern is the one we turn to for the unglamorous grunt work we need done but would rather not do ourselves. That includes link building, SEM research, and the occasional graveyard foray.
How else are mad scientists and SEO folk alike? Leave your comments below, if you dare!