Before moving to Israel and diving into my internship with the SEO masterminds at Kahena Digital, I spent my leisure time diving out of planes. Skydiving is not a hobby one simply falls into (she’s so punny!) it’s a sport that takes dedication, trial and error, out of the box thinking and some serious nerves of steel. Unsurprisingly the same can be said about starting out in SEO (okay so maybe not nerves of steel but dedication, creativity and trial and error are KEY!). Being that I’m viewing the world of SEO through completely new eyes, I figured I’d write about my learning experience, and what better to compare it to then learning to skydive.
Finding My Feet
When learning to skydive, the first thing you’re taught is how to fall… with finesse! My coach put me up on a chair and showed me how to let my body absorb the impact of a bad landing. He had me jump, over and over, off the chair onto the ground in this awkward toes-side-of-shins-thighs-back-roll until he was satisfied with my newly acquired dance move. Come my first landing this was extraordinarily useful and saved me from eating the field, literally.
Here at Kahena, they have yet to have me jump off of a chair to show my ability to absorb an impact (hopefully they never wish to see that…). What they are doing, however, is giving me the tools to begin my exploration into the world of SEO. I’ve come to them as an intern, ready to learn ALL THE THINGS about SEO (Aaron’s face after I said that was priceless…), ok what I mean to say is I wish to learn as much as I can about all the different facets that make up SEO and dive deep into the piece that interests me most. What’s cool is, like in learning to land in skydiving, the expectation is that I will not be a master in the beginning, not even close. As Shlomo puts it, I am the quintessential newb, and most likely will be for the majority of my time here. The idea for me is to try and fail, and LEARN.
So… Where am I Supposed to Land?
It’s a massive shift in perspective navigating a horizontal landscape, to using a real-life-Google-maps-satellite view of the terrain to find your location, from 13,000 feet up. Add on altitude, wind speed, flight speed, forward-momentum (and a whole bunch of physics Id rather not get into) to the equation and it becomes overwhelming, fast. In my first 20 or so jumps I figured out my footing on my landings, the problem was I was landing about 100 yards (or about a football field) away from the hangar. Fortunately, my canopy coach stepped in, in the nick of time, and helped me not only learn to land where I intended, but also how to fly.
I feel like the engineers at Kahena act as the canopy coaches for their companies. Many companies that lack SEO haphazardly fall somewhere on the google results page, with luck near the top but for the most part in an area that most eyes do not see (when that happens in skydiving you get to take the golf cart back in). Kahena take’s their clients under their wing and helps them land intentionally near, if not at, the top of search results. In both skydiving and marketing, landing where you intend to is a major factor to success, and saves you a lot of preventable leg-work.
Be Ready for ANYTHING!
A common saying in the world of skydiving is “every jump I learn something new.” The unpredictability of this sport is immense and you have to be ready to handle anything; your shoe falling off, getting rammed in the side by another jumper, avoiding canopy collisions, uncontrolled spins, landing off the dropzone in a cow field next to a river… yes these are all things I’ve experienced and learned from. But none of this has stoped me from jumping.
I feel the same dedication to learn and persevere is similar in the field of SEO. Its common knowledge that what’s true in technology one day can change completely the next; anyone knows going into this field that you have to be perpetually learning to stay at the top of the game. A perfect example of this is Google’s recent overnight transition from the Keyword Tool to the Keyword Planner. I personally never had the opportunity to experience the Keyword Tool, but from what I hear it was “so much more SEO friendly than this new one! grumblegrumble…” Point being is that instead of throwing their arms up in defeat, the team moves forward, inventing new ways to use the tools provided and still landing safely on their feet.
Time for some fun
Skydiving has proven to me to be one of the most exhilarating sports I’ve ever participated in. Now that I’ve figured out the basics (i.e. land solidly on my feet where I intend to without hurting myself and/or others, and I can control my body in free-fall) I can thoroughly enjoy all aspects of the jump and have some REAL fun. (You’ve never lived until you’ve jumped out of a plane with a bunch of friends in tutus… trust me)
I hope the same can be said of my future self, at the end of my internship here at Kahena. I do realize I wont be a pro by the end of this, not even close. But I do have quite a few coaches ready to teach me ALL THE THINGS they can in my few months at Kahena, and I cannot wait to dive in.