For some people, moving home at 31, might be an indication that life… isn’t going so well. In my case it’s actually kind of the opposite. Because for me, home is WeBuildPages.
6 Years ago, I had never even heard the words “Search Engine Optimization”. I certainly had no knowledge of the power of links or the numerous tricks and techniques for getting a website ranked in Google. I saw Social Media as a place to connect with friends. I thought reputation management was keeping your embarrassing escapades off of MySpace. Of course all of that changed when I met a man named Jim Boykin.
It was through him that I got my first introduction to the complicated and fascinating world of SEO. It was because of him that I found my path in life. WeBuildPages is where I was raised on SEO. I took my first steps here, I learned to pronounce and correctly use words like “Canonicalization” and “Hexadecimal”. But like all children, there came a time when I needed to explore this world for myself.
So for 2 years I was on my own, running the Online Marketing division of a small company called Search Slingshot. That’s where I began writing monthly columns for Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Watch. I made guest post appearances on other sites like Ontolo, SEM-Group and Search News Central. Through writing and attending conferences, I met a lot of amazing people. All of whom have guided me and given me new perspectives and insights into the community I live and work in. I had gone from a large agency to a small boutique. I went from studying under one legend, to learning from a collective of great minds. It was an incredible, educational and strengthening experience.
But as anyone on the hustle will tell you, it’s a fight to survive. It’s not so bad when you love what you do, but it can still be a lonely undertaking. Being alone, or almost alone, is a long way from being surrounded by a family of ninjas.
I like to think it was fate that first led me to We Build Pages and that it was destiny which brought me back. Somehow the stars aligned, the universe spoke and Jim asked me if I would consider returning to WeBuildPages. I’d like to say it was an easy decision but, as with any major life change, I had to do a lot of soul searching. It’s not easy to give up something you’ve built, it’s not simple to say good-bye to a familiar lifestyle and embrace something new. But in the end, it came down to one simple truth; there’s just no place like home.
The More Things Change…
A lot has happened here at WeBuildPages in the last 2 years. In fact, we’re not even going to be WeBuildPages anymore, we’re becoming Internet Marketing Ninjas. When I first came here we were “the link guys” it was our thing, and we ruled it. Now don’t get me wrong, IMN is still killing the link building. I mean seriously, I was here when the foundation of the current system was being built and the consistent quality of links that we get still blows my mind. But what’s even more amazing is how big the staff has gotten and how expansive our services have become.
But what hasn’t changed is the spirit that makes WBP, and now IMN, so incredible. Jim is still as creative as ever with the vision of an SEO clairvoyant. The team is full of good people, who are as kind and supportive as they are brilliant. And we still have tools that would rock your world, if only you could get your hands on them. These are the things I missed. There really is no substitute for working with the intricate tools, an exceptional team and the most influential industry leaders.
In the end, I’m glad I ventured out, but I couldn’t be happier to be back. In my own way, I suppose I did see the world. I learned what I could do on my own, but more importantly, I learned that I didn’t want to do it on my own. You might say I grew up while I was gone, and IMN, well they just grew. It was Thomas Wolfe who wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again”, and perhaps that’s true. The home you leave is never quite the same when you return. But if it’s also true that “Home is Where the Heart is” then I guess in a lot of ways, I never really left at all.