There is a koan that is sometimes referenced that says, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” (The koan was later used as the title of a popular book about psychotherapy.)

So the title of my post is, “If you meet the SEO guru on the road, kill him.”

But what’s that mean?

It’s not meant to be taken literally. If you do meet your favorite SEO guru while you’re walking down the road, you should NOT stab him to death. You could read this article which discusses how to analyze koans for some insight into what this one means. I’ll make a weak attempt to describe what I mean by this here too though.

If you find someone who you think is the perfect SEO guru, the perfect SEO role model, then you might be tempted to do everything the way he does it. Slavish imitation is never the path to SEO success though. Not permanent success anyway.

I’ve got a handful of people who think I’m an SEO guru or an SEO expert. But I don’t make any such claims. If you read through this entire site, the closest I come to claiming any kind of “SEO expertise” is to describe some of my accomplishments in a really low-key, factual way. I do write articles about SEO, so I’m an “SEO writer”. I have done SEO consulting for a couple of companies and a couple of individuals. So I’m an “SEO consultant”.

None of that implies that anyone should blindly follow my SEO advice.

“The road” here refers to your SEO work. When you’re doing SEO, you’re going down a path. And while you’re traveling down the road, and you think you meet the “SEO guru”, you might be tempted to stop and talk to him for hours or days. (If you come across his website, you might be tempted to read and analyze everything he’s ever written.) And you might also be tempted to listen to everything he says, and then do everything the way he says or writes that you should do it.

Both of these outcomes (talking endlessly and slavishly imitating) prevent you from traveling down your own SEO path. You won’t find “ultimate SEO wisdom” on this website, or on Steve Badger’s excellent poker SEO site, or on Michael Martinez’s fantastic SEO Theory site. You won’t find ultimate SEO wisdom at the GPWA SEO forums either, or at Poker Affiliate Listings’ SEO forums, or at WebmasterWorld.

If you want SEO enlightenment, then learn the basics of SEO, then start working on a website. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work.

Think, think, think.

Then get back to work.

The only wisdom you’ll find on SEO forums and SEO blogs is the wisdom you bring there.

And don’t be distracted by discussions of who is and who isn’t a good SEO guru.

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10 Responses to If You Meet the SEO Guru on the Road, Kill Him

  1. Giorgio says:

    Well said Randy!

  2. Matt Geer says:

    Right on! I knew if I checked back everyday I would run into a new post. I have to admit that I have “blindly followed” advice since starting. It never occured to me to step out of the box and try my own things in regards to SEO. Makes sense, especially considering that Im sure its how you, Steve Badger, Randy Layman, and Michael Martinez have done well. Get some advice and try your own thing. Great post Randy and thanks!

  3. Hazo says:

    Yep this advice resonates pretty true with my time of late.

  4. Roger says:

    Damn, I had my shank ready in hand on my way to Texas until I read the rest of the post!

  5. Jeremy says:

    Great article man. The best way to learn SEO is to truly learn it by reading and learning.

  6. Ridge says:

    Nice post man, I think you are spot on but selling yourself a bit short. :-)

  7. Kaus says:

    Great post Randy!

  8. [...] Ray made a blog post about a similar topic recently as well. His post made me wake up a little bit to the fact that to a [...]

  9. Mix and match / trial and error for me right now!

  10. [...] If You Meet the SEO Guru on the Road, Kill Him [...]

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