5 SEO lessons learnt from snowboarding

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Below is a guest blog post I did for the great SEO app guys Yodelay on lessons from my experience of snowboarding that I apply to search engine optimisation first published here.

There appears to be a disproportionate amount of digital marketers that snowboard. eConsultancy is just about to head off for its Digital Ski 2013 event and there are many SEO blogs by snowboarders such as Steph Woods SEO who sums up snowboarding perfectly for me: ‘I would snowboard every single day of the year if I could. It’s incredible to have the ability to be at one with nature and scare the shit out of yourself at the same time’. So are there any SEO lessons from the so-called sport that is snowboarding?

Stick with me as I have a fair bit of both relevancy and authority having lived and worked in Whistler, Canada for the 05/06 season and became part of the powder snow obseesed collective. Here are the top five lessons from snowboarding for SEOs:

The 5 SEO Lessons

1) Check your setup

Before going off-piste or venturing into the backcountry it’s imperative to check your setup. Have you picked the optimum board or lens for the conditions, is your base performing well or does it require some wax love?

The same goes for the ever evolving world of SEO. Is the process which you are putting out content and acquiring backlinks the most efficient. Could there be better software to make your hourly more productive such as Buzzstream (no affiliate link).

2) Find the best conditions

Snowboarding is a constant search for finding the best powder snow and the best line before others get there and track it all out.

The same analogy can apply to choosing the path with least resistance in terms of focussing on new and breaking keywords just as a big news event breaks to sweep your site along. Timing is everything.

3) Don’t go alone

Snowboarding alone just isn’t the same, it’s a social and shared pursuit. Many SEOs, like myself, are one man outfits and it can get lonely even in a digital non-stop landscape of top SEO blogs and communities. In terms of staying relevant and motivated it’s important to build real world connections and to pay it forward by offering help so that when times are tough you have a supportive network to get you through (or dig you out of an avalanche of negativity).

4) Respect the mountain

Even though snowboarding makes you feel totally alive and free you need to be aware and respectful of the rulebook. I’ve gotten myself into very bad situations before by not respecting the power of the mountains and weather and thinking I can create my own rules.

The same applies to SEO – take out the ego and shady practices, be respectful and follow webmaster guidelines and best practices or you may be removed entirely from the index of life!

5) Be creative

In the most epic action sports film in terms of film cinematography The Art of Flight there’s a great line:

“Snowboarding is more than just a sport, there is the mountain, there is you and you pick your own line, it’s your soul that does that, that always feels good. When a human being can be creative, that’s when really anything is possible.”

The best SEO is not automated and soulless; it is creative in terms of new tricks that get you noticed and leave the competition stuck on a crowded piste.


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