They say you ground your current experiences in past experiences. I worked in the music industry in the 90′s. Think Napster, Chemical Brothers, and music festivals. For me, the SEO blogosphere is reminiscent of that time.
I’ve been doing SEO for 11 years. There have always been SEO rock stars. Like Hendrix, many of them were pioneers of a new frontier. These SEOs are still around, but for one reason or another, many seem to have gone the way of Foreigner.
But today it’s a much different scene. We have a much bigger industry and heap of digital communication platforms. We’re so much more than just the HighRankings forum now. Still, I continue to see an odd centralization on today’s perceived rock stars. Almost as if there’s a (gasp) mainstream. Its amazingly cool to watch people sign autographs at SMX, even if these people won’t reply to you on Twitter. It’s also funny to see the egos on some of these peeps, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the singer of Everclear (That’s right whatsyourname singer from Everclear… Took me 10 years but I’m finally calling you out! I didn’t forget our fight!).
How can there even be a mainstream? There are hundreds more verticals than styles of music, hundreds more strategies than pop song formulas, and an endless need for experimentation. When’s the last time a rock star in the mainstream did anything new? And I’m not counting a meat-dress as experimental.
Looking back, Sphinn was pretty bad. Some of the most useless SEO content was sphunn up because of the name of the author or curator. But if you bothered to dig deeper, there was some great indie stuff. Google Plus is better because of the difference in interaction, but can be just as bad. In this case the curator (or DJ???) gets more rock god status. Twitter is the wild west, but my choice for really digging deep.
With all that said, there’s still great, “followable” people who have achieved rock star status. Rand Fishkin’s team at SEOmoz is still making hit songs. My friend Wil Reynolds and the SEER team still teach me actionable stuff weekly. They’re still highly relevant for the style of SEO I do. Alternatively, other friends like Eppie Vojt, Ian Howells, John Doherty, and Mike King make me take notes – these guys may not be on the Billboard Top 20, but they’re brilliant players. That’s who’s on my feed reader and my Twitter list. I have a lot more of these indie rock guys than the mainstream players (with notable exceptions).
I’m not saying you need to go alternative. I’m saying you should check to see if you’re looking deeply enough for your taste in SEO. And if you’re not stealing licks (in other words, actively applying what you learn), you may not be following the real artists of today’s SEO scene.
SEO is about searching; it may take a while longer to uncover some new personal rock stars, but so what? Is this your passion? Rawk on!!!