Building a personal brand? Here’s why you need to ignore SEO

ignore seo

By Mark Schaefer

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this idea of “personal branding” in the world today as I prepare to launch an exciting new book called KNOWN: The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age.

I was recently asked about the biggest decision that has helped me build my own personal brand and it is this: I have largely ignored search engine optimization (SEO). That may seem like strange advice but let me explain.

When you optimize content for SEO, by definition you are trying to “own” the most common keywords and phrases. If you become obsessed with SEO, you become just another dog fighting over a bone. It’s a battle you’ll probably never win unless you are the biggest, meanest dog in your industry … forever.

SEO has its place, especially in the high-stakes world of eCommerce, but to stand out as a personal brand today, you need to earn a sustained emotional connection with your audience by being original and interesting, not by being common. If you ignore SEO and focus on creating content that is your own and exceptional, you become a beacon.

To be known today, you must have the courage to bring your own uncommon story to the world.

SXSW 2016 3Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant. The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Illustration: I took this photo in Laguna Beach, CA.

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