Imposter syndrome is real and something that almost all of us will have encountered at some point in our career. The technical nature of what we do is such that there are some ridiculously talented people continually pushing the boundaries of SEO and finding new ways to drive success for brands and clients alike.
Negotiating Google’s algorithms is no mean feat and with limited help from Google when compared to paid channels, being a successful SEO is harder now than ever before.
Thankfully, there are plenty of seasoned and reputable SEOs out there giving great advice and sharing their knowledge and techniques, but it can be very easy for SEOs of all experience and knowledge levels to let imposter syndrome creep in.
It’s certainly something I have experienced in my career but there are few things I’ve learned over the years that could help you to combat something that can have a crippling impact on your morale. Read on to discover my tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome as an SEO in what has become a thriving but ultra-competitive sector.
No One Size Fits All Solution
With the vast amount of information published every day about SEO, it can be difficult to work out what you should implement on your campaigns and how. Don’t think you need to apply everything you read to your strategies and remember that not everything will be suitable for your SEO strategy.
There is no one size fits all approach to SEO and how you should optimise a brochure site or local business website differs a great deal from a high traffic, transactional e-commerce domain, so think carefully before you try to action every SEO buzz word you read about.
Stop Looking for Silver Bullets
This leads nicely to my next piece of advice, which is to spend less time looking for silver technical SEO bullets that you hope will propel your campaigns.
They are often few and far between and as mentioned, there is no guarantee that what has worked for one website will work for another. Authority, however this is measured by search engines, is still one of the most important ranking factors and will often determine how much impact your technical implementation will have.
So don’t let imposter syndrome compel you to search for advanced SEO techniques that may not even exist.
Don’t Forget the SEO Basics
As a young SEO, I spent far too much time trying to compete with other techies or find the latest advanced techniques I could show off in my next client or internal meeting. This probably isn’t the best use of your time.
Your client, board of directors, or manager is very likely to be far more impressed with ROI from your SEO campaign and this is best achieved by ensuring you have your site is well optimised, starting with the basics that we know are still ever so important.
Title tags, meta descriptions, canonicalisation, URL structure and well written and researched content should still be the bedrock of your campaigns. You can concentrate on finding the coolest new advanced SEO techniques when you have completed your housekeeping.
Imposter syndrome usually creeps in for SEOs when they start thinking they need to be recommending mind-boggling new technical techniques all the time. But solid SEO and transparent and concise reporting are far more likely to enhance your reputation than obsessing over the aforementioned silver bullets.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Another great way to combat imposter syndrome is to put yourself in the shoes of the very colleagues to whom you feel somewhat inferior. Imposter syndrome is by virtue very insular and the result of an assumption that someone else is better or more knowledgeable than you, but there is every chance they could feel exactly the same.
Again, the technical nature and jargon associated with SEO can over-complicate what are often fairly simple principles. There is every chance that you have said things or presented techniques that have had the same impact on others, but this is not a barometer of success.
It can often be a very worthwhile exercise to put yourself in the shoes of your colleagues and even your client, not just when tackling imposter syndrome but in a range of scenarios. Not only can this help you to realise that you are in fact doing a stellar job, but also collaborate and support your colleagues in the way that you want.
Finally, back yourself and try not to compete with other SEOs either within your organisation or generally. Strive to be the best but realise that success will not come overnight and the best value you can add is through well planned and organised SEO strategy.
If you have chosen a career in SEO, then the likelihood is that you have the most important prerequisite for success, which is a passion for the industry. The fact you have been given an opportunity at an agency or brand that has SEO high on its agenda suggests that someone has seen something in you and you have the required ability.
Don’t Let Imposter Syndrome Take Over
There will inevitably be times in your career that you will receive pressure from clients and colleagues to drive success and demonstrate technical ability but try not to let imposter syndrome affect how you react. Have confidence in your ability and just react prudently by backing your strategies.
If you have or indeed are suffering from imposter syndrome yourself, then I hope this article helps you to find your confidence and fulfill your potential. If you have any questions about any of the themes in this piece, then just give me a shout at Whitworth SEO.