Top 21 Signs You Need a Break From SEO (2008 version)

Filed in MY BEST POSTS, SEO by Matt McGee on September 17, 2008 44 Comments

It’s that time of year again: Time to find out if you’re spending too much time on SEO and in desperate need of a break. Here’s the 2008 version of “Signs You Need a Break from SEO.” Enjoy!

Top 21 Signs You Need a Break from SEO

1.) While everyone else searches for wedding photographers, senior portrait photographers, and the like, you’ve spent weeks looking for a “social media avatar photographer.”

2.) The thought that SoloSEO is actually a team of two gives you a slight headache.

3.) You travel to so many conferences that your spouse struggles to keep track of your whereabouts. And one day, while trying to update her calendar with your schedule, your wife says to you, “Okay, SES in March. SMX and SEG in April. And what’s the one in May? SEX?” (This actually happened.)

4.) Instead of showing the number of RSS feeds you’re subscribed to, your feed reader just says “TILT.”

5.) There’s an indentation in your mousepad that exactly mirrors the path from the “What’s New” tab on Sphinn to the “Report As Spam” button below the most recent submission.

6.) You know how to “match client sites to the 70+ part algorithm formula that is used by Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask and every major search engine worldwide.”

7.) You know where that quote came from.

8.) It doesn’t strike you as strange that you sometimes communicate with your spouse via your blogs.

9.) When Danny Sullivan moved his family from England to California, you tracked their travel on

10.) Your spouse says your family is “going green.” Your first thought: “Did our PageRank increase on the family blog?”

11.) While telling your son about your favorite childhood books, you wax poetic about the “Wikipedia Brown” series. You never correct yourself. He doesn’t, either.

12.) You get in line at the public library, and while your son checks out a book, you whisper to the librarian, “Eric Ward says you have the best links around. Can I get one?”

13.) One day your wife tells you, with no prompting, “I really like the name ‘Mihmorandum’. I wish we had a cool last name that we could do something with.” (A true story.)

14.) You spend the next four days trying to come up with clever puns for “McGee.” (Also true.)

15.) You think Lively, Google’s virtual world, offers a lot of marketing potential.

16.) When Matt Cutts posts his personal travel schedule, you sync it to your own calendar.

17.) When your alma mater emails you about its new Alumni Directory, your first thought is, “Ooooh. A clean link from a .edu? Gotta check that out.” (True story.)

18.) You vow to never make a donation when you learn your alumni listing is blocked to search engine spiders. (Also true.)

19.) You’ve never been on TV, and never will be, but you still create a TIVO “wish list” search for your name. You convince yourself it’s all in the name of reputation management.

20.) You use social updating services like and HelloTxt, but those aren’t enough for you. No, you need a master service that updates your updating services. You’re that connected.

21.) You laughed at anything on this list!

Previous Versions:

Top 21 Signs You Need a Break From SEO (2007 version)
Top 21 Signs You Need a Break from SEO (the original)

(photo courtesy preciouskhyatt via Creative Commons)

Comments (44)

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  1. Matt, fantastic post! I laughed at almost all of them! Just what I needed to give my headache a break. 🙂

  2. David Mihm says:

    I wish I’d read this post at around 4:00 this afternoon when I needed a jumpstart. Having read it at 7:30, the day can only go downhill from here. A worthy sequel in your series!! (or is that SQL?)

  3. The best part, well one of the best, was reading your communication with Carrie on her blog!

    Will look forward to your 21 Signs in 2009! Great series!

  4. Chad Gardner says:

    Ha, when you can’t find a social media avatar photographer are you forced to go to Managa?

  5. Ha Ha, are there social media avatar photographers? I could use one.

    I’ll spend the rest of the day thinking what rhymes with McGee. 🙂

  6. Matt McGee says:

    Thanks for the great feedback, gang. Much appreciated. 🙂

  7. Sean Galusha says:

    Great list Matt – All of them so true, yet so funny!!

  8. Kate Morris says:

    LMAO, love it. Totally love it. I have someone willing to photograph me for my avatar, seriously. 🙂

  9. Wil Reynolds says:

    The SMX / SES as SEX thing just happened Sunday night when I was in Denver with my GF and two other friends, freaking hilarious!!!

  10. Will H. says:

    Good stuff Matt. So what did you finally decide matched ‘McGee’? I’m not much of a rapper, but SmallBusinessSEM doesn’t seem to rhyme.

  11. Corey says:

    Nice post!! Really liked the list!

  12. Lauren Cobb says:

    Very funny Matt! I made the SMX mistake too – talking to my teenage daughter. “Hey, I’m going to Seattle for SEX.” I got quite a look from her on that one.

  13. Larry Chasse says:

    Making folks laugh on a Wednesday is always a good thing. Nice post.

  14. Ryan Rose says:


    I laughed, I cried, I said to myself, “Oh wait, that’s me” 21 times.

  15. When you meet Matt McGee in person, you’ll find it’s not difficult to poke fun at him (or find clever nicknames for him) 😀

  16. Mike belasco says:

    #22, you start seeing Matt Cutts in your dreams (or nightmares) (actually happened in a dream)

  17. Matt McGee says:

    @Kate Morris — no way! That photog could be a pioneer in this new niche. 🙂

    @Will H. — I gave up after four days.

    @Vince Blackham — I’ll take that as a compliment. 🙂

    @Mike Belasco — I mentioned an SEO dream I had in the 2007 version of this list. Didn’t involve Matt Cutts, but a couple other well-known industry friends.

  18. robert watts says:

    #20 had particular significance especially from where I’m commenting 😀

    sent from: [FID1858665]

  19. kpaul says:

    Heh. re: #4 – at first I thought TILT was some crazy new acronym related to the field and that I was behind again. So I googled it … then it dawned on my what you meant.



  20. This is greatness! Definitely laughed at most of them! 🙂

  21. Erfan says:

    If i didnt laugh, does that make me a bad seo?

  22. David Temple says:

    Great new list, hilarious and yet so sad that I can relate. Could add;
    You wonder what the other half of Matt McGee looks like.

  23. Eric Ward says:

    Sad but true:

    I have actually requested links IN-PERSON at more than one library, in more than one city.

    Worked both times. 🙂


  24. Matt McGee says:

    That’s awesome, Eric! Hehehehe. Thanks for all the great feedback, gang.

  25. Virginia says:

    Rhymes with McGee
    Oh Si ?

    Funny List! We all need a break sometimes just to breathe free 🙂


  26. Adam Lefever says:

    That was freaking hilarious. Loved it. Very creative!


  27. Brian Carter says:

    Awesome Matt, glad to see another installment. Love the “wife” quotes. Ok, but tracking Danny’s flight is a bit creepy. Stop that.

  28. Missy says:

    My favorite was the library link. LoL. Good stuff, Matt.

    I have never really considered myself an SEO, but as a blogger, i do plenty of it. So i can relate to much of what you wrote on the list. Very funny.

    Have a great weekend.

  29. Cari McGee says:

    I remember reading the ’06 version of this and not finding too much of it funny. I thought the ’07 list was great. This list is my favorite (and not just because I figure so prominently in it!) because I understand so much more about SEO now. I need to come up with my own list – Top-21-signs-you-know-too-much-about-SEO-because-you-love-one!

  30. Derek says:

    I starting reading your list on a break from working on a clients website and that was at 01:00am. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. Great posting.

  31. Kris says:

    I’m not even an official “SEO guy” and I thought that list was hilarious. Thanks for the laugh on a Monday!

  32. Donace says:

    lol hilarious list. thankfully I can only relate to one or two at the moment!

  33. Sam says:

    Very funny and so true!

  34. Mike Kelly says:

    Thanks Matt, Funniest thing I read all day, I ‘ll to forward the link to the wifes blog.

  35. Morkel says:

    Yeah, I laughed at anything on the list, It is so funny but it is true also. And I am newbie in the field of SEO, so still I haven’t faced such problems. One thing I really like in you, you have great sense of humour. I am not going to say “good” or “great” article, but surely it is humorous.

  36. What a funny post, I laughed a lot. 🙂

  37. Tania says:

    Is it possible communicating with your spouse through your blog could be a good thing? OK – might be a stretch.

    My hubby looks at me like a lost puppy as I peck away at the keyboard after the kids have gone to sleep. Can’t be a good thing.

    Clearly I need to learn more about SEO – a good deal of this went over my head. Thank goodness I have a friend who is certified who has promised to clue me in!!!

    Still made me smile.

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