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Stop Obsessing Over Things That Don't Matter
Quit trying to optimize everything before you even start
Based on the quantity and types of messages I receive on Twitter, I think I have a unique insight into a common problem that most beginners have: obsessing over irrelevant minutiae and ignoring the things that really matter. Here’s why it’s such a common problem and how to fix it.
Advice from midwits is preventing your success
It’s clear to me that the problem that some of you are having is that you’re trying to apply life advice from midwits to a situation where that advice is completely invalid. Throughout your entire life you’ve heard from teachers, professors, guidance counselors, coaches, and parents that things like “having a plan” and being “detail-oriented” are the keys to success.
The problem with “coming up with a detailed plan” is that the SEO world moves FAST. There are major updates that Google rolls out a few times per year. Every time they do, something big changes and you have to pivot and adapt to the new reality. In addition the major updates, they roll out minor updates several times per day.
There is no plan that you’re going to make that you won’t have to alter in the future. Since you know that your plans are going to change, why make them to begin with? Instead, learn the next step and execute it without thinking about what comes next.
If you’ve just emerged from a lifetime in the educational system or the corporate world then you likely feel a wave of anxiety and fear wash over you any time you think about “winging” something.
Want to know what else is normal?
Not making it.
If you follow the advice that was given to you by mediocre midwits, then you will end up as a mediocre midwit. If you spend any amount of time thinking about it then it becomes painfully obvious. How can you ever hope to succeed if you’re following a roadmap that was developed by the unsuccessful?
Stop overthinking and start doing stuff. You can’t plan for every eventuality so don’t even try. All you’ll succeed in doing is psyching yourself out of success and back into the comforting bliss of mediocrity.
Being “detail-oriented” is a mindless platitude that people put on their resumes and regurgitate during interviews. No one really knows what it means, but it “sounds good” so people roll with it.
The problem is that this is another perfect example of a midwit fallacy that is fucking your life up.
Paying attention to details matters, but only when it does.
Most of the time you’re better off focusing on the core aspects of SEO that actually affect your site’s growth.
Based on my conversations with you guys, I can tell that most of your are above-average in intelligence. That means that you’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule. Applied to SEO, the 80/20 rule means that the majority of your traffic is going to come from a small amount of actions you take (looking at it another way, a small percentage of posts on your site will account for an outsized amount of your traffic).
There is an endless list of ranking factors, but there are two that have the most powerful effect: topical authority and links. This means that you should spend the majority of your time focusing on creating relevant content for your silos and building links to your site.
This ESPECIALLY applies to new sites. If your site is less than six months old, there is essentially a 0% chance that you’ll get decent traffic. Keep your head down and focus on creating content and building links.
Even at my level, the vast majority of my cognitive effort is focused on the content velocity and link velocity of my sites. You can’t let either of those two things slip when playing at a high level, which I am (YMYL sites).
All of the other stuff that I write about still matters, but it only matters if you’re publishing content and building links. If you aren’t doing those two things, then techniques for getting away with stealing images and optimizing your EAT score aren’t going to make a difference.
Reasons why midwit thinking is common
Procrastination is a dream-killer. The problem is, you likely don’t view yourself as a procrastinator but rather as a perfectionist.
Perfectionism is just the positive-sounding version of the word “procrastination”. Think about it for 2.5 seconds and you’ll realize that there is no meaningful difference. When you waste your time over-optimizing irrelevant minutiae what you’re really saying is that you’re too scared to ship a finished product and want to delay the inevitable.
Black-and-white thought process
Some of you have this insane idea that you won’t make any money if your site isn’t 100% perfect. This is complete insanity.
Look at a site like Forbes. It sucks. It’s riddled with ads, the content is fluffy, their articles aren’t structured right. Yet they rank highly for tons of important keywords. Why do you think that is?
Yes, part of it is that they have a successful brand name that goes back decades. But they also have a high level of authority and publish tons of content. If you have a large volume of content and a high authority score, you can get away with breaking most rules.
Perfection is nice, but it’s not necessary. It’s definitely not necessary BEFORE YOU EVEN LAUNCH YOUR SITE. Focus on what matters now, you can always fix things later if you’re doing something minor that later turns out to be a problem.
Not wanting to change “who you are”
Getting started with WiFi money is a huge change for a lot of you. It involves switching your mindset from consumer to producer. It forces you to honestly evaluate yourself and your capabilities in a way that a normal career doesn’t.
This makes a lot of people uncomfortable. This is when you throw up weird mental barriers about “not planning enough” or “needing to learn more before starting”. Then three years later you’re still in your planning phase when you could have been making serious money instead.
Another aspect to this is the idea of “fear of success”. If no one in your immediate environment has been successful, you might have a fear of the unknown. You’re worried that you’ll change, or that people will hate you when you make it.
The fact is that you will change and they will hate you.
It’s a good thing.
Trust me, as someone who grew up in a fucked up environment, succeeding in business is a better way to live. If people get jealous then you’re better off without them. Don’t let them drag you back into your pit of mediocrity.
Quit taking advice from midwits and just start.
Focus on the things that make the most difference during the phase your business is in RIGHT NOW. Don’t waste time thinking about what-ifs that don’t even apply to your current situation.
Keep working. When you come across a problem, then ask a comment on this Substack or DM me on Twitter. Avoid making yourself crazy by thinking about random hypothetical scenarios and you’ll remove the biggest barrier to your success.
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