By Kate Smith
24 Nov 2015

Thanksgiving 2015: What We're #SEOGrateful For

Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather and for communities to share their bounty with each other.

We take this time to express gratitude for what we have, be that our loved ones, our health, or something simple and small. There’s a lot to be thankful for and it feels good to focus on that.

Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather and for communities to share their bounty with each other.

We take this time to express gratitude for what we have, be that our loved ones, our health, or something simple and small. There’s a lot to be thankful for and it feels good to focus on that.

We were inspired by Aleyda Solis’s brilliant hashtag, #SEOhorrorstories, to celebrate the season by investigating what the SEO community is thankful for.

We went around and bothered our workmates and industry friends, who were busy doing their jobs, and asked what they’re thankful for in SEO this year.


We're Thankful for a Fulfilling Career in SEO

SEO and online marketing requires unique skills, encourages creativity, and lets intellectual curiousity flourish. It's easy to be wrapped up in our first world problems day in and day out, but when we stop to reflect on the course of our lives, nearly every SEO is ecstactic with the direction our career provides and the fact that we truly help businesses succeed. 

Not everyone is lucky enough to build a career that they genuinely enjoy, but by and large SEOs seem to be the lucky few that have a fulfilling career.

SEO for me is definitely more than just a job, it has given me the opportunity to develop not only professionally but also personally, with a fulfilling career and amazing experiences; contributing with amazing organizations and products to reach their audience, for which I'm also well retributed; while meeting, sharing and learning with knowledgeable people from all around the world. Thanks SEO!

We're grateful to use our knowledge in disparate fields in a meaningful way, like Alex:

I've never thought that my classical offline PR education would be valuable for dealing with searching marketing and SEO. Everything in our industry seemed to be extremely geeky and I was certain that there was no room for communication. How stupid I was! Right now, I'm thankful that Google has changed SEO so much that I've started to contribute a lot in building relationship and investing in improving my communication skills. Because right now I'm sure that you can only succeed in SEO (and in any other job) by giving the highest priority to effective communications that provide value to other people!

And we're thankful that the skills we learn from SEO follow us wherever we go, whether we like it or not:

In a way, I'm thankful the ghost of SEO haunts basically everything I do on the internet. I don't even do a ton of SEO work these days, but once you've seen 'behind the curtain,' and you kind of understand who the Great and Powerful Oz actually is, you can never look at anything the same way again. Understanding SEO basics forces me to think critically about stuff I used to take at face value. SEO is also constantly shaking me by the collar, demanding that I continue to read and learn, just to keep up. I am thankful for all of these things.

Oh, and I guess some of the people in the community are pretty cool too or whatever. idk. 

Ideas are powerful in SEO:

Jeremy Rivera|SEO consultant at FastPartitions

I am thankful for the opportunity to live in a time where the power of my thoughts and ideas can be enough to feed my family. I'm also thankful for being born in a place where I have the freedom to express those opinions freely. 

And we get to give back to an industry that gives us so much:

Working in an industry I know first hand genuinely helps businesses grow and prosper. Over the last few years I've heard some fairly damning accusations of what I do for a living; from those politely claiming "SEO is dead" to the outright rude (and incorrect) accusations of manipulation and spam. I used to let this bum me out, and then one day I realised if other businesses and webmasters don't see the value of SEO, that's their loss and my gain. Less competition in the SERPs is never a bad thing!

I'm also really thankful I work in an industry I not only enjoy, but one that has allowed me to develop both intellectually and professionally.

We're thankful for the independent, empowering nature of SEO (and the lack of SEO monarchs):

Of all the American holidays Thanksgiving is my favorite yet it failed to spread across the world and back to Europe where I live. We have children dressing up in costumes for Halloween here by now and we also celebrate Valentines Day but Thanksgiving failed to move back across the pond.

I guess the reason why we have no Thanksgiving here is that Americans celebrate their independence and gratitude for freedom and prosperity they earned themselves. Many people have died during the initial years of the early settlements as hunger and illness had spread. Others have fought later in order not to have to obey kings and queens.

Thanksgiving has been a positive celebration of human creativity, cooperation and freedom.

This is also what I'm thankful for when it comes to SEO. It's an industry fostering all three of them. Like the early Americans we have no monarchs. Many search engine optimizers are still independent consultants like I am. Others work at small teams within versatile agencies.

You can't make SEO a moronic top-down corporate toil. SEO practitioners always display a higher level of self-reliance. Even with Google becoming more like the monarchies of the past we still manage to improve the Web. This is what still makes me enjoy this work and what I am thankful for. 

SEO gives us extraordinary opportunities to grow, learn, think, and do. Not everybody gets that out of their career.

We're Thankful for the SEO Community

Arguably the best part of SEO is the people.

The SEO industry is a tight-knit group of people who genuinely care about one another and often willingly help those that need it. We're not the typical group of jaded marketers — we're a community.

I am most thankful for my industry friends who are always there to answer questions, give me feedback, and let me whine. I'm very lucky to have a lot of people in different areas of SEO so it's nice to know that there are people that I trust when I need something. 

 We brighten each others' days:

I am thankful for all the wonderful people who has made my journey, learning and experience in SEO worth it. I can not but mention people like Andrew Dennis, Cory Collins, Julie Joyce, Brian Deen. It would have been terrible without you guys. Thanks a lot.

 We share with each other:

I'm grateful for the amount of knowledge sharing that goes on within our industry — it can be said for digital as a whole, not just SEO. There's a wealth of information on blogs (yes, you still have to sort through the crap; we're not perfect) and the conversation is always flowing on Twitter and Webmaster forums about what others are finding/seeing. And yes, not everyone shares all of their secrets publicly (who would?), but when you build up your network — Thanks to the amazing conferences that make that happen — you're able to ask those one-off questions offline that may get a little more specific. 

 And love one another:

I'm grateful for all the people in our industry who want to make the world a better place, not just online, but in their communities as well. When I hear individual and team stories about giving back it reminds me that we aren't just here to punch the clock, but to make a difference. A recent example is how our community came together to fight with Dana Lookadoo after her accident, and then in celebrating and remembering her life and impact. The story and memories she left behind is the perfect example of how we can all make a difference if we're willing to give of ourselves. 

We keep each other going:

I'm immensely thankful for the generosity, openness and enthusiasm of the SEO community (particularly our customers). In building BuzzStream, our relationship with the SEO community has always felt more like a partnership than a vendor/customer relationship. This is what keeps us motivated day in and day out. :)

Like family. Kind of:

I'm thankful to be part of such an amazing SEO community— that I consider family, yet don’t have to spend Thanksgiving with! 

This was the unifying theme throughout putting this post together: who we talked to and what they talked about. People. SEO is absolutely full of the best people.

We're Thankful for the Improvement of the Internet

We can all agree that today's SERPs are so much better than they were even three years ago. Collectively, as an industry, we've put a higher premium on quality content and it's made us stronger for it. 

I am thankful for the multitude of algorithmic updates that Google and other search engines have implemented to make their search engines smarter, provide more accurate results, and expose the spammers! 

 We're grateful that these changes reflect well on our industry:

I'm thankful for the fact that SEO is becoming a progressively cleaner trade in the years since I started. The era of spam left a horrid aftertaste that sullied our industry for years. As long as a standard Penguin recovery can take, our recovery in terms of public perception has taken even longer. But I think that's starting to change. Thanks in no small part to certain enforcement policies on the part of search engines, search marketers are being forced to adapt to a "user first" mindset, rather than the old boom-and-bust model of carefully manipulating algorithms. This is good news for our business. Rather than the frequent aspersions I see cast upon Google in comment sections, I believe we should express gratitude to them for keeping the industry as honest as possible.

Note to Google: Can I have my self-driving car now please?  I'd be even more grateful for that. 

 And we're grateful that these positive changes can also make our jobs easier:

I'm always fundamentally grateful that Google and Bing / Yahoo send searchers to websites :). More specifically I'm grateful that there seems to be an increasing trend in SEO pushing towards longer-form, higher quality content creation and promotion as a more efficient, favorable way to increase search traffic. For us I think this has actually made it easier to sell services to clients in many instances, because what you're selling is a more logical and natural extension of their general marketing and brand building than some of the "grayer" tactics (lower value links, large-scale creation of thinner content, etc.) where the benefit would be SEO-only.

Clients becoming more and more educated about this shift has also made it easier to sell against the X00 dollars a month SEO services, since its pretty clear that what you can get at that price is generally not only not going to be effective but also will be risky. Also I would much rather do work on these types of assets / projects than spend time thinking about things like scaling mediocre guest posts or when the other shoe might drop on a given tactic. 

 Updates can be slow and teeth-gnashingly frustrating, but we have hope for the future:

I am thankful for each time Google sees fit to run their Penguin or Panda data refresh. Agencies and brands alike invest hours, effort and dollars to reverse their sagging search fortunes. Months elapse with no change, despite claims that those updates are being incorporated into the primary algo and one day their effect may be felt in real time. For all of those who have chosen to don the white hat, or seek conformity with Google's Quality Guidelines, I have a holiday wish that your link remediation for Penguin, and content and presentation tune ups for Panda, are met with a timely data refresh and a subsequent recovery of rank.

I am also deeply grateful for my marketing team and the support of developers who keep hammering away at becoming the world's best digital marketing power suite. I am astonished by the brands and audiences and speakers that support me as I grow my reputation for storytelling in a world where you, dear marketers, are the true heroes. And I am always buoyed by the support of my beloved wife, beautiful daughters and sincere friends as I continue to improve. I pray you've the will to progress and enjoy the fruits of your labors. 

And it's all worth it in the end because we're grateful that we're moving in the right direction:

I'm thankful to be in SEO at a time when guiding clients to make the web better by creating content actually useful to their visitors, improving user experience, and linking responsibly actually results in measurable rewards in search traffic.

I'm also thankful for Rand Fishkin's shirts, which help me to wake up during early morning conference keynotes. 

...and let's not forget to be grateful for tools that allow for optimization in all things:

I'm thankful for the =vlookup formula in Excel, without it I would've spent many a night crying myself to sleep as I manually match up keywords to metrics. 

 Hear, hear.

What P1People Are Grateful For

And us? Here at Page One Power, we’re thankful for many things. We're grateful that search is continuing to improve, so we can continue to stand behind the work we do every day. We're grateful that people and companies are starting to really embrace link building as a legitimate (and necessary) SEO tactic. We're grateful for the studies done throughout the industry that provide data we can build our future on.

But more than anything, we're grateful for the hard work and creativity of our employees. Here are just a few of our kick-butt SEOs and what they're grateful for.

Jon Ball|CEO

I'm grateful for all the hard working link builders at Page One Power. They do their best every day and truly care about the links they acquire for our clients. I'm also thankful for Google. They've been excellent through the years at maintaining a quality search product and have been careful to use caution and care in their administration of their relationship with SEOs. 


Nicholas Chimonas|Head of Research and Development

I am thankful for Google and all the other search engines, but I especially appreciate Google’s story. They created the best search engine in my opinion, and became popular enough that SEO could become an industry. I’m a fan of the direction they’re heading with machine learning intelligent systems and robotics too, but that’s an aside.

I’m thankful to Google for essentially creating the SEO industry and thus offering me the opportunity to work for a living the way I do. It’s afforded me the opportunity to meet some incredible people which is also one of my favorite things about SEO. There is an infinite amount of knowledge shared freely by brilliant minds, it’s just up to you to go read their blog posts and test some stuff out for yourself. People are helpful and supportive, perhaps because there is so much potential business in our realm that we do not really need to compete against one another.

It would be remiss of me to not thank Jon and Zach Ball for creating the company that I’ve worked at for the past 3 years, and all the opportunities this place has offered me. So thanks, guys. 

We're grateful for getting to make a difference:

Ben Dahlman|SEO Specialist
Ben Dahlman

I’m grateful for being able to help the internet meet its potential. We help real people get real information in the places they’re looking for it. If we do our jobs right, everyone wins. People searching the web get useful information they need. Website owners get helpful content on their sites. Our clients get their name and expertise out there. All in all, the internet becomes a better place. 

We're grateful for what we learn in this job:

Chuckie Carbone|SEO Specialist

I’m thankful that SEO teaches me about the internet. Everyone uses it everyday, but it wasn’t until I started my job in SEO that I started to understand how the internet really works. 


Danica Barnack|Project Manager
Danica Barnack

I’m thankful that SEO helps me learn about people, from the discussions that we have about searcher intent to the data we study on keywords. Also, being on the internet all day at work means I go outside when I go home. 

And how we learn it:

Aaron Farnsworth|SEO Specialist
Aaron Farnsworth

I’m thankful for SEO blogs— Linkarati, Search Engine Land, Moz Blog. They've really helped me learn about SEO.

We're thankful for tools:

Laura Green|SEO Specialist
Laura Green

I'm thankful to Buzzstream for partnering with us to create a project management software that truly fits our company. Their customer service has been fantastic.

We're grateful for awesome clients:

Chelsy Ranard|SEO Specialist
Chelsy Ranard

I am thankful for clients with great blogs! 


Devin Boudreaux|SEO Specialist
Devin Boudreaux

I'm thankful for working with clients with real branding and engagement with their communities. It makes link building much more do-able. 


Kyle Ochsner|SEO Specialist
Kyle Ochsner

I am thankful for a client that cares. They actually pay attention to our work and answer all our questions in a prompt manner. It makes for a much more successful project. 

We're grateful for our teammates:

Karen Bresnahan|SEO Specialist

I am thankful to be working in a room full of smart and dedicated people! I am also thankful about how we all work together, providing feedback and solving problems in order to do our jobs. 

And, of course, for webmasters who give us the time of day:

Mary Wilson|SEO Specialist
Mary Wilson

I’m thankful for timely responses from webmasters! It saves me time and gives me an accurate view of how my outreach is going. 

We’re hugely grateful to everyone who contributed to this post. Thank you, everyone. 

We have a lot to be thankful for in our SEO community: clients we love, algo updates that help us work better, tools that save our butts, and each other. Cheers to you all.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Kate Smith

Kate Smith is a Content Marketing Specialist at Page One Power in Boise, Idaho. When not at work Kate enjoys obscure movie trivia, reading Shakespeare, and the occasional zombie video game. Sometimes all three at once.