Cyrus Shepard

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#1 Rule for SEO Success: Build Spaceships

by Cyrus Shepard · SEO


Once in awhile I’m the luckiest guy I know.

In this instance, it was the dream job of a lifetime: working as the In-house SEO for SEOmoz. The entire time there I walked around grinning like an idiot. This was SEOmoz. And I was the SEO! Holy S*%t!

During my tenure I watched organic search traffic, already impressive, rise by over 75%. Paid memberships doubled. The reports I delivered every week were filled with charts that went up and to the right.

Was I responsible for this online success? Not by a long shot.

It was the folks building spaceships.

Out of 45 people working at SEOmoz, do you know how many were dedicated to working full-time on SEO? (I mean, other than Rand)

Just one.

That means 44 other people spend each week working on something more important than increasing pageviews or improving the site’s link profile.

It’s not for lack of knowledge. This is the most SEO savvy group found in any tech startup, anywhere on earth. These are the people who built Linkscape, for Pete’s sake. They invented MozRank and Domain Authority.

But these 44 employees almost never work on directly improving the SEO for the SEOmoz website itself. Still, they are the ones responsible for organic search traffic rising by leaps and bounds every week. How can that be?

Do SEO Like NASA

Take a look at the domain statistics for NASA.

NASA SEO

By all accounts, NASA should be terrible at SEO. Their title tags are horrible. They use flash everywhere and the hierarchy of the site’s navigation is a spider nightmare. But look at these statistics!

How many SEOs do you think made these numbers happen? How many search marketers did they employ to earn a Domain Authority of 96? To market a website with millions of pageviews per month?

My guess is zero.

NASA doesn’t work at building links because they’re busy building rocket ships instead. They put people into space. When you do something so fantastic and amazing that people have to talk about it, then SEO becomes much, much easier.

If you’re spending 90% of your time doing SEO and only 10% creating something useful, then you’re doing it backwards. On the other hand, if you’re spending 90% of your time creating something wonderful, then the 10% you spend on SEO will be the easiest 10% of your life.

It doesn’t have to be rockets. It can be great ice cream, or software, or blogging.

Doing SEO for SEOmoz was like doing SEO for NASA. Extremely talented people dedicated themselves to building fantastic, useful and engaging products to improve our part of the world. It made my job as the In-house SEO small by comparison.

If you want to do SEO right, build your spaceships first.

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