5 Virtues to Help SEOs Achieve Workplace Enlightenment

seo-industry-collaborationAt the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin said, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

This quote can also be applied to the SEO industry. It speaks to the necessity of sharing data and information as colleagues in an effort to understand the effects of the never-ending changes that cause our search traffic to inevitably fluctuate.

With all the different verticals and niches SEO professionals play in, it’s hard to gain insight from within our silos and keep perspective into everything that is happening, such as the impact of numerous algorithmic changes. Google recently released the Exact Match Domain (EMD) update on top of a Panda refresh, making it difficult for anyone to understand what might be the reason for a subsequent drop in traffic. Additionally, with more search query data disappearing, quantifying our work is even harder.

Luckily there are sites like SEW and numerous professionals who dedicate a significant amount of time to identifying trends and sharing the necessary data to help bring insight to what otherwise would be much more of a guessing game.

After 5 years of working in the SEO industry it seems that despite the bad wrap some people try to associate with this industry, there is virtue. From experience in many cases, this seems to stem from the environment those veterans create and those new to SEO grow up in.

Sticking to the Benjamin Franklin theme, here are some of his virtues and how they might be applied to coping and achieving enlightenment in the workplace even facing the insanity that is the SEO industry.


“Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”

This is the hardest virtue. SEO professionals aren’t good at this, through no fault of their own.

It’s proven that spending inordinate amounts of time staring at monitors causes inordinate amounts of consumption. That’s just science.


“Speak not but what may benefit others or your self. Avoid trifling Conversation.”

Discussion ranging from page titles to the devastation of the 13th century Mongol Empire should be encouraged! It makes work fun and provides a source of renewed energy in what otherwise might be a dull day – to a limit. It must not take away from productivity and focus.

Thought and awareness to prevent derailing relevant conversations should be a duty understood by every individual in the company. If an individual just started it might be a good idea to… not interrupt the president of the company mid-sentence in a discussion about SEO.


“Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.”

Resolution is all about making firm decisions. When accepting a job one is making a decision, an agreement to execute what is laid out in the terms of employment.

It helps if the job description is something you’re genuinely interested in doing. Finding a match is essential to reaching complete enlightenment in the workplace. Otherwise, perhaps gather motivation from books on tape? The feeling of self-worth will need to be had from somewhere.

Employers should be looking to reward those with high resolution who set to create and “resolve” issues for the betterment of the company, going above and beyond their typical duties.


“Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”

There’s nothing worse or more painful then getting caught pretending to know something that you don’t. What makes SEO so hard (and a good SEO or SEO agency so valuable) is the vast array of tidbits gathered from experience. This takes time and processes and perspective.

As long as one is doing their best and an effort is made to prepare, there should be no need to lie. In the context of talking to a client, the potential embarrassment can typically be saved by simply stating, “Oh, will have to talk to the team about that one” or “[insert best guess here], but not 100 percent and will need to double check on that.”

There is a degree of respect that is lost when someone feels it is necessary to essentially lie.


“Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at Accidents common or unavoidable.”

Tranquility can be found in ensuring that all that is done has been done in the client’s best interest. Use of this virtue in parallel with the virtue of resolution can be a powerful combination!

When working with people, conflict is unavoidable. After experiencing this more than once patterns begin to be revealed: lack of respect, degradation, and one-sided conversations.

Take a logical approach when this happens. Focus on accomplishing goals and the best interest of the client.

Try not to falter, even though the best interest of the person on the other side might be to stop hating life so much and fix traumatizing childhood experiences still affecting them as adults. Maybe they skip a meal before they jump on the call or need a nap – the possibilities are endless. Best not to waste time concerning one’s self with what infinitely may or may not be likely.

Related reading

The state of SEO 2019 - Infographic
Interview Marie Haynes: What you need to know about E-A-T
how to fix top UX mistakes for better SEO
Differences between B2B and B2C link building tactics