Disclaimer: I have no idea how much Matt Cutts makes, nor is it really any of my business. I just thought his visibility and transparency made for an interesting hypothetical and analogy. OK read on…
I was driving home a few days ago, thinking about a persons “value” to an organization. Not what they think they deserve because of pride, not what their friend at an agency makes, but how much they truly bring to the table.
In the case of a summer intern, most would say they are easily replaceable, but what about larger than life figures like our annointed industry guru Matt Cutts?
Over the last few days I’ve thought about what it takes to prove that rockstar value inside a company. Here’s 4 things I feel like each of us can do to bring more to the table, and get more in return.
Make it Impossible to Fill Your Shoes
Companies are always on the lookout for top talent, and most are willing to pay top dollar for it. When it comes to high risk/high reward roles like SEO, the data speaks for itself.
Think about Matt and his role at Google, it would be darn near impossible to fill his shoes. It’s not because he is the smartest man alive, although from what I’ve heard he is a very bright guy.
Matt didn’t get where he is today by collecting paychecks every two weeks. He is constantly learning, networking, and pushing the limits of what his mind can accomplish. His various 30 day challenges are 100% repeatable in each of our lives!
Make a Practice of Adding Value in Your Industry
If you come in each day and punch the clock as an advanced/expert SEO, you are extremely valuable. But take it one step further in order to become borderline Jedi Knight irreplaceable.
Get out there and speak at conferences, teach others what you know, and don’t be afraid to become an evangelist inside your company for SEO best practices. The intangibles will pay kudos, dividends, and bacon in the end.
Make Written and Verbal Communication a Priority
Matt Cutts webmaster videos are a great success, mainly because he does a few things really well. Want to be more valuable to your organization? Practice these things on a regular basis.
Matt is great at telling stories. He speaks using analogies, and uses real life examples. There is no point in continuing to talk over our clients heads, leaving them dazed and confused with very little clue as to what we actually do for them. If you are in in house SEO, it is equally pointless for your executives and co-workers to remain in the dark.
When answering questions, Matt either explains industry jargon, or avoids using it altogether. A great sign of intelligence is being able to explain complicated ideas to someone without their head exploding. Anyone can make things bigger, more complex, and more confusing.
Make your Compensation Match Your Value
When it comes to negotiating annual raises, chew on this. If your efforts directly led to organic traffic increasing 40% from last year, then you might deserve more than a 3% “cost of living” raise when it comes time for your annual performance review.
If you bring additional things to the table, that should be part of your salary as well. Matt has developed a reputation for being a thought leader, gifted communicator, and trusted adviser.
A company expects an “SEO guru” to increase organic traffic, leads, and revenue. But when you begin to change the culture around you, and gain a reputation for being a thought leader, you begin to become irreplaceable.