Sorry mom, I’m an SEO.

Recently I was introduced to a concept that I love, the five second bio.  The five second bio is a way to identify people when moving into a new social circle.  For example, when I refer to my friend Wade I tell a short identifying story about him, like he once shaved off half his beard.  So while the person I’m getting to know may not have yet met Wade, if I refer to him at a later date I slip in the five second bio so they have a frame of reference.

Wade = easy to describe in under five seconds.

Wade = easy to describe in under five seconds.

“So Wade, the half beard guy, decided to order a plate of goat cheese.”  I think this is brilliant, and I’m trying to find new ways to expand this into my networking repertoire.

However, as my oft-difficult to focus mind rattled this about it made me wonder how someone would describe me.  That quickly devolved into me thinking about how I describe what I do for a living.  I don’t know about everyone else out there, but it’s a real pain in the ass trying to explain what you do as an SEO.

“So what do you do for a living?”

“I’m an SEO…I do search engine optimization.”

“So, you click listings on Google all day?”

“No, I help my clients rank highly for terms that relate to their products or services.”

“Don’t you just buy those spots?”

“Well, you can sort of do that, but that’s pay per click marketing.  What I do is a combination of…oh, never mind.  I sit at a desk all day.”

I have never found a way to easily describe what it is I do for a living, because to be honest, from one client to the next the activities vary greatly.  Sometimes I’m thinking of linkbait content, sometimes I’m guest blogging, sometimes I’m using the reciprocity method to find new linking opportunities, sometimes I’m doing PR, and so on and so on.  And those are just the tactical pieces of link building, that doesn’t even count on-site audits, CRO and any number of other things I might be involved in on a day to day basis.

Which of course leads me back to my headline.  I never ask my mom how she explains what I do for a living, but if I can’t do it in five minutes, let alone five seconds, I feel like I should apologize for not becoming a shepherd or an astrophysicist or something easier to explain.  Sorry mom.  Take this as a plea for help, hopefully someone can clear this up for us.

So, any SEOs out there able to whittle their job description down to anything close to the five second bio?  I’ll buy you a beer if you can pull this off. Thanks.

And this is for you Technorati…4YGE9HKAP9WC

Adam Henige

Adam Henige is Managing Partner of Netvantage SEO. Adam heads the SEO and link building efforts for Netvantage and has been a contributing blogger for industry publications like Search Engine Journal and Moz.



How about: “I help businesses be found online by the people who are looking for them. This means helping them do the things that will naturally move them to the top search results for their key services, products and benefits. By helping companies become more authentic and transparent, and by understanding how search results are calculated, I help companies successfully connect with and acquire customers through relevant search without costly paid advertising.”

Bil Moore

How about: “I make sure that when you Google your name, you don’t come up as a carnival worker that plays dress up with monkeys.”


I do what all moms do: matchmaking. I help businesses and customers find each other & hopefully fall in love.


Sorry mom, I’m an SEO….

Ever have trouble describing to people what you do as an SEO? A free beer to whoever can come up with the shortest, easiest way for my mother to describe what an SEO does….


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