Business. Is it mental or is it (somewhat) physical?

Just ran across this on Tim Ferris’ blog :

The Billionaire Productivity Secret and the Experimental Lifestyle

“How do you become more productive?”

Richard Branson leaned back and thought for a second. The tropical sounds of his private oasis, Necker Island, murmured in the background. Twenty people sat around him at rapt attention, wondering what a billionaire’s answer would be to one of the big questions—perhaps the biggest question—of business. The group had been assembled by marketing impresario Joe Polish to brainstorm growth options for Richard’s philanthropic Virgin Unite. It was one of his many new ambitious projects. Virgin Group already had more than 300 companies, more than 50,000 employees, and $25 billion per year in revenue. In other words, Branson had personally built an empire larger than the GDP of some developing countries.

Then he broke the silence:

“Work out.”

He was serious and elaborated: working out gave him at least four additional hours of productive time every day.

All of us that are driven to achieve ultimately arrive at the notion of “focus” and how best to optimize our time. Clearly laundry, cleaning, dishes and shopping of (way!) off the list, but what is the trade off between being in front of the computer – on the ever expanding behind! – instead of sweating for an hour?

Until I have done what Richard has done, can honestly argue with his answer?

Too little Content? There’s no excuse. Here’s why

You think writing articles is hard?  How about 50,000 words in just 30 days?  That’s what a punch of folks do every year durning November.  Even Matt Cutts is giving it a shot.  Content really is not that hard, you just have to decide to do it and get it done!

“For November, I’ll be participating in National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo.” The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Does it sound like too much to do? Well, ask yourself: what’s the worst that could happen? The worst is that you write a little bit and then don’t finish. That’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s better than not writing anything.”

Read Matt’s full post at:

Mindset Reminder #10


Think in terms of laser beams instead of flashlights. Instead of lighting up all of Page 1 with a whole bunch of rankings, think about one key phrase at a time because No. 1 is so much more important than anything else.

The focus of a laser beam is what creates power, right? A laser beam actually puts out far less wattage than a flashlight, and yet it can burn through a wall. You can always outshine your competition with greater focus. All you have to do is get one No. 1 term (one search term that matters, of course) and you’re probably making more money than they are if they’re not at No. 1.

Ten top 10 rankings is a flashlight. One No. 1 ranking is a laser. Sequence what you do in your SEO so that you go after one No. 1 ranking and you beat it to death. When it’s No. 1, you then go onto the next search term, protecting what’s already at No. 1 as you go.

Always focus on beating No. 1. Don’t stop at No. 2 or No. 3. If you stop at No. 2 or 3, and say “good enough”, you’re giving up just before the finish line. Don’t stop till you’re No. 1.

So here are your ten mindset reminders all in one spot where you can refer to them if you find yourself slipping back into your old ways:

1. It’s Not About You
2. It’s Not Magic
3. Rankings Define Right
4. Rankings Don’t Matter
5. No Money In Measuring
6. Mr. Busy Wins
7. Knowing is Not Doing
8. Too Hard is Just Right
9. Twice 70% Beats Perfect
10. Laser Focus

Don’t memorize these. Instead inculcate them. Change your wiring so you don’t have to think about it, so that it becomes habit.

SEO Mindset Reminder #9

2 x 70% > 1 x 100%

I have to admit, this is my favorite mindset reminder. It involves both math and humor, two of my favorite things — the others are, um, well, nevermind.

About 70% of what it takes to rank is easy. It’s just three factors: title tag, link text and PageRank. The rest of those (supposedly) 200 factors account for the minority of ranking impact, not the majority. If you get really good at the three factors that make the most difference, you can ignore the multitude of factors that contribute much less.

Hence the reminder: twice as good at 70% beats 100%.

We know the three biggest factors do work. Work these as smart and as hard as you can, and you will outwork the parts that we don’t know and matter much less.

That’s one of the reasons “the algorithm” no longer matters as much as it once did. Rather than being highly skilled in the nuance of ranking, top positioning today is more about how hard you work. It’s Mr. Busy that wins, not Mr. Smarty.

Which leads to a corollary for our rule: twice as good at 30% is less than 70%.

This is another reason Mr Smarty loses. There is no money in studying SEO to the point you can figure out what all 200 factors are (if there actually are that many) because no matter how precisely you can measure and control that 30%, you still have to work the 70% that matters most.

Work the parts you know and work them harder than your competition. That’s the secret of ranking. It’s dead simple. It’s just hard work.

SEO Mindset Reminder #8


If it were easy, you would have even more competition. How would you like to have twice as many people competing for your keywords? Even if they aren’t any good at it, some of them are bound to get lucky and still others are likely to get good. Making SEO “easy” is bad for you, so don’t ever complain about how hard it is. Give thanks that it does take some skill and hard work, because the alternative is far worse.

Worse still, reflect for a moment on your alternatives to running a web business. Can’t quite make that picture? Go watch the movie Office Space. Or how ’bout this: watch all your neighbors drive to work one morning and then notice what time they get back home. Does that look fun? Now how do you feel about SEO?

And seriously, just how hard is SEO really? It is far more tedious than it is hard and most of that can be solved by being organized enough to use employees and outsourcers, so when you find yourself (as we all do!) complaining about not getting ranked where you want — just time your morning commute!

SEO Mindset Reminder #7


We are emotional creatures first, and intellectuals second. That’s why our decisions are ultimately emotional. Sales and marketing folks know this. Sure, you do have to provide the knowledge that justifies the feeling, but if you can not get the prospect to believe their decision is right, you will lose the sale, no matter what the facts.

Our own behavior is no different. Moment by moment, we “sell ourselves” on what we should do, and while we will always know the reasons why, it is not the reasons that make us do it. Our beliefs is what drives our behavior, our reasons just allow us to accept it.

That is why knowing what to do is so very different from actually doing it. To be successful, in anything, not just SEO, it is not enough to know what to do. You must also believe in the things that will cause you to take the right action to create success from what you know.

Don’t get me wrong: knowledge is important too. In particular, to be really good at SEO requires knowing a bunch of pretty esoteric stuff. But to get yourself to consistently put your knowledge to use, you have to have an empowering view of SEO — not just an understanding of the technology.

These 10 Mindset Reminders are what I think are the attitudes that are most critical to creating and sustaining correct action. Notice that none of them is about what causes good ranking. That’s not their purpose. These rule are about you, your beliefs about search and your beliefs about your ability to achieve top rankings.

Right Knowledge + Right Mindset ==> Right Action

SEO Mindset Reminder #6


A poor job now beats a perfect one later. Quantity generally beats quality, so get busy. But wait a minute! Busy at what? Busy at the right stuff. No good change occurs until you take action. Bad change, well that occurs all on it’s own. It’s called entropy. If you just sit still, things will go bad really quickly.

Wrong action therefore is usually better than no action at all, assuming that it doesn’t involve drugs or flammable substances. So get busy. Be ugly. Get rich and then clean it up. But start with busy.

Busy doing what? Well this one is one of the biggest questions we hear in the guru business on the Internet marketing circuit and I’m willing to bet your friends are asking the same question as well. The answer is two fold.

First off, knowing is not part of doing. To know is not an active verb. Study is not work. Yes, you need to study and know enough to get started, but don’t get so wrapped up in studying and learning that you never get around to the business you are studying for. By all means get busy studying at first, but once you’ve studied enough that you can get to work, then stop studying and get to work! You can come back to studying once you are making some money and need to take your business to the next level.

Secondly, the web is made of pages and links. There is nothing else, so whatever your study leads you to get busy doing, if it doesn’t result in creating more or better pages or more or better links, then it really has not much to do with SEO.

Don’t over complicate this. Look at the people beating you in rankings. I bet they have more pages, more links or more of both. SEO success is not a case of “working smarter instead of harder”. What’s required is to find the smart ways that enable you to work harder.

SEO Mindset Reminder #5


One of the huge benefits we have on the web is we can measure so much about user engagement that we can make very well informed decisions about what works, and what doesn’t. But there is a risk.

If we’re not careful, we can end up measuring so many things that what we end up in is the measurement business instead of the one we started out in. Don’t do that. Remember that your purpose is to actually make money!

Eighty percent of the stuff you can measure on the web is a complete waste of time. Most measurements are from really bad data to start with and they don’t actually measure anything that’s going to affect change in your business.

So whenever you go to measure something ask yourself this: “Does this measurement really, honestly change what I do?” If it does not have the power to inform a decision, then is it really something you should be doing at all?

The closely related question is precision. Even the measurements that are important are, again, important only to the extent they support decision making and almost no decision needs “perfect” numbers. For example, are you ranking at #5 or #7 for that keyword? Just how many data centers and how many times a day should you check that?

The difference between ranking at #5 or #7 does not matter. All you need to recognize is that it is below the fold on page 1. Any more accuracy than that is simply measurement for measurement’s sake and not one that drives business results.

It is the money that counts. Everything else counts only to the extent that it makes counting the money more fun! On the other hand, don’t get too attached to that either, because counting the money does not make it grow — work is what makes it grow.

SEO Mindset Reminder #4


Don’t get wrapped up in your rankings. Rankings don’t actually matter. Making money is what maters. Focus on the rankings only to the extent that they are the right ones – the ones that make you money.

How do you tell? Analytics. If you are not driving your SEO strategy from site analytics, then you are simply not doing the right thing. If you happen to be successful that way, good for you, but it was luck…not skill.

How many times have you heard someone brag that they have five top ten rankings? That’s great, and are you making any money with that site? Everybody has five top ten rankings for some off the wall keywords. In fact, almost everyone one has a dozen number one rankings! Wohoo. But do they make any money?

One top 10 ranking that makes money is worth more than a hundred that don’t. Quit bragging about rankings. Count the money.

SEO Mindset Reminder #3


You don’t get to decide what’s right. Your job is to admit what is and accept it. The rankings define whatever the search engine considers right and it is not up to us to change it. To be successful requires that you accept it and adapt to it.

In many cases the top ranked pages are not much to look at. It’s not a beauty contest. You don’t get a vote. Your opinion doesn’t matter, and there’s no court at all, higher or otherwise, so whatever sense of “justice” you may be bringing with you … leave it at home.

Second guessing what should be so and complaining about results quality are thoughts that do not belong in your search marketing mentality. Thinking this way is an exercise in futility and keeps you from focusing on your own site and your goals.

When you look at search results, realize those results define right and they got there by simple math. If you want to replace them, one way to do it is just do what they did.