Anyone who has taken Marketing 101 learned the “4 P’s of Marketing” – Product, Place, Promotions, Price.  These elements are the foundation of marketing basically anything.

How does SEO fall into this mix?  SEO is a form of promotion, a sort of “underhanded” form of promotions designed to bring free visitors to your Website.  In the overall “marketing” world including university classes and professors, it’s treated as more of an ugly stepchild, a process that will not endure the tests of time and in an industry that won’t ever seem to mature.

But that said it works.  And for every person that says SEO is easy, there is at least one that says it’s not easy.  I’d like to contrast what I believe are the two most important aspects of SEO with my own “P” list.

I’ll admit I’m cheating a bit.  Yes, the 4 P’s of marketing are more tangible ideas whereas mine are more about the mindset.  But I can assure you without a foundation of these three things, efforts at SEO are absolutely worthless:

Proficiency, Persistence, and Patience

Yes, you can be a complete Web know-it-all, you could have a silver tongue with clients, you could be a rockstart developer/designer…. but if you lack persistence and patience, you will never achieve good Search engine rankings.  Let me explain why these are the most importance parts of SEO.

This is, in my opinion, the easiest of the three.  It is very simply knowing what you’re doing.  Most basic SEO skills can be read from a book or taught, but proficiency is also your experiences from your own tests their results.  Proficiency brings confidence in your abilities and your work as well as happy clients.  It brings with it the ability to see more opportunities and spot the realistic possibilities.  An attitude of always learning and honing your skills is necessary in this ever-changing environment – and this is where persistence comes into play.

Never stop testing, never stop creating, and don’t think too hard about what you’re doing.  In the big scheme of things, you want all of the little things you are doing to make a big impact, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way.  Don’t respond with excuses and don’t be afraid to lose.  It’s temporary and if you’re not making mistakes you’re not trying hard enough.  You’ll build Websites that may never rank, Websites that get kicked out of the Search results, and Websites that do well.  Understanding the reasons why these things happen is key to growing your proficiency.  Whether you are doing SEO for one Website or a dozen, you must always act and never lose sight of the goal.  This brings to me one of my favorite quotes, mounted proudly above my desk:

Don’t think.  Thinking is the enemy of creativity.  It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy.  You can’t try to do things.  You simply must do things. – Ray Bradbury

In an online world where everything comes at you immediately, we’ve adapted to have little or no patience.  I am one of the most impatient people you’ll ever meet.  But after years of persistence and gaining proficiency, I’ve learned my labor of love can take months or even years to come to fruition.  There are no shortcuts and very few jackpots.  Just like any other business, you work hard, you learn, and you grow.  SEO is no different.

Lack of patience is where I believe 95% of people fail.  They mayhave knowledge, they may even try really hard at first, but they get discouraged too quickly if they don’t see the Internet turn into an ATM overnight.  This really does take time and effort – effort that will leave you at the end of the day with the same desk, keyboard, and mouse in front of you with no physical achievement to show for it.  But for those who keep at it, the rewards are limitless.

If you want to truly be good at SEO, always remember the Internet favors the proficient, the persistent, and the patient.  This is true with most things in life.  Follow these basic values as the crux of your SEO career and there is no doubt in my mind you will see success in your endeavors.