Does SEO Attract People With Emotional Disorders?


Barry Schwartz posted an interesting article not long ago about a Webmaster World poster that claimed he considered killing himself after Google devalued his site in the SERPs. As a result the poster's business was killed, as SEO was it's only marketing channel. Now of course any business owner than is hit that hard over night is going to go through some serious mental and emotional distress, but to me it seems that SEO is the perfect storm for fostering and attracting emotional imbalances.

Think about it this way, in a very real sense, SEOs have an immediate measurement (in the form of SERPs and traffic) of the success or failure of their work. The coveted #1 position can be the peak of a SEO's career, and the sudden fall from #1 to even #10 can put a business on it's knees. Those that thrive off of instability are maybe attracted to this line of work. And those that are prone to emotional instability might be ruined by this type of work.

This type of instability can have similar effects on other industries, so it would stand to reason it can happen in SEO. Do we need to spend more time as a community talking and considering the mental health of our colleagues? 



Do you submit yourself as evidence?

I am exhibit A.

I am exhibit A.

I actually thought both us

I actually thought both us were well lost long before we found the internet :)

SEO or the Myth of Getting Rich Online?

As with any serious business, putting all your eggs in one basket for success is not doing good business.  What was easy to do and sell online a dozen years ago is no longer possible.  What sucked in the 90's sucks even more now because there are so many rules, algorithms, competitors with money and SEO's duking it out.

You can emphasize with a business owner who is out of biz after a Google hit but there are other search engines and other ways to market online, plus offline.


While not directly related to the stress of the job, I do know that there are MANY MANY MANY people in our industry that suffer from various disorders (not to be confused with a disability hehe). From Panic/Anxiety to ADHD, BiPolar and others, there's enough of us to form an 'SEO Nutters' group out there.

I say 'we' because due to TBI (traumatic brain injury) I was diagnosed with a fairly severe panic anxiety disorder some 15yrs ago. In fact, it was due to this and me being stuck indoors on a computer, that I got into web design and ultimately SEO, (the passion of my life). Always silver linings huh?

Over the years I've not kept this a huge secret, I just don't advertise it. Because I am not 'ashamed' of it, I have been fortunate to discover more than a few others in the search world with disorders of they own. Methinks the ADHD folks are probably most prevalent. lulz

Anyway, just putting it out there since it is a topic close to my heart.


Thank you so much for your comment David. I have always regarded you as one of my most valued SEO mentors. I think you have mentioned in the past the TBI, but I wasn't aware of the panic disorder. I think its great that you are transparent about it, because I have a feeling that so many in our community stay quite about their mental health, and thus never let most of us empathize with their situation. I know in the past I have viewed the behavior of some of our community members as odd or inappropriate, only to discover later they have a mental health diagnosis. So its great to see others be so transparent about it. :)

No I disagree

"Those that thrive off of instability are maybe attracted to this line of work.".

Not true. There's risk in any business. SEO is no different. It is down to the individual temperament. I've been in SEO for 6 years and taken hits. So what. You pick yourself up and start again. That's the great challenge.

Transparency - take that Google!

@Joe... well, hey, you of all people would know that something is only a disability (in many cases) when you allow it to be one right? I have always been open about my disorder with the SEO Dojo members, not so much in the larger community. When I was first diagnosed more than 15yrs back, people ran from me like it was contagious or something...lulz. But at this point, I don't really care. As far as I am concerned, "being an assh*le" or "being ignorant" is a far worse disability than mine. We all have em.

Over the years, probably because of me being relatively open about it, a loot of others we know have privately told me of their own mental health issues. More than a few names most of us would know too lol. We need an "SEO Group Therapy" session each week. hee hee


@Joelhall @theGypsy

@Joelhall @theGypsy @businessenergyonline


That's the real truth of this SEO industry - There would many changes and many up and downs in SEO due to algorithms and market values.  But its not important to make it more prior. 

First of all - Let me introduce myself - I am Denish, I am working from last 8 Years in SEO industry and dealing with clients from through out this globe. and I faced many times ,...i.e. 2-3 times in a year - all that such type situations. 

Its real and specific - Mental Disorder but - its all depends on that particular person - how strong he/ she is in mentally. 

Business means - Busy Ness :) ! And There is no business which does not have challenges. Every business needs more time / management and many other things.


Due to only Google algorithms and other updates - we can not leave our passion. 

In my suggestions - A person must be work on self-confidence and its can be the same like - SEO confidence or other business confidence. 

Let me give you some real points - 

1) Do not think - google algorithm or search engine changed, its modified. Its not over and there are many other things to get it back. If your SERP dropped then there is a solution. 

Google always do this - 

- No any prior notice for any changes 

- No any support to resolve any SERP related issue. 

Moz  is also good to support all these. I am the member of this community and have great profile there. 

2) Only SEO work can not give you a growth.  Put all other related terms like - Web design, Development, Training , etc. Its will ask you for some small investment but more hard work, then you can manage your related future issues. I mean - do not dependent on 1 business industry. 

3) AS I have 8 years experience in SEO industry and Certified professional. But  there are many different people , who have lack of  information / knowledge and experience. They worked for cheap price as well - low quality work. By which client can not track exactly , what they did.  I think there must be a unique thing between the client / seller / professional. 

We always work with that person , whose are more trusted , valuable and works good. but - how we can found, ?  Its always a BIG QUESTION. 

4) Some people which are ready to work with less price and they never knows the terms and value of SEO , its really bullshit. 

5) Some buyers/ Clients are also have the same mentality. They found new guys and cheap price - then at last they - never get ranked. Even finally, their websites are banned or spammed with low quality work. 

Its purely showing - waste of time as well money wasting task. 

These reasons are - exactly showing that - these are specific and a big reason of mentally disorder for SEO people. 


I hope you would like these points and share a lot of experience with it. Please put your suggestions.

"I also apologize for any kind of misbehave / legitimate / Un-ethical words used in this comment" 


Denish Verma


Scary SEO

When I was a journalism student in college researching an article on the history of sex, (still one of the funniest things I ever wrote), I found a statistic that claimed journalists have the least amount of sex than any other career.  It didn't explain why and decided it wasn't true.

When I was a newly divorced mom of two young kids working full time my co-workers would tease me about when I would need Prozac. I didn't need it.  I just wanted to be paid the same as my male coworkers and support myself and kids.

Then the stress of working full time as a user interface engineer by day and SEO consultant at night and being alone must have done something to me because the result was first my thyroid went. If you know anything about thyroid issues, they can make a person seem very different. Then, my autoimmune system attacked again, this time with arthritis in my spine and knees and neck.  Though not a chemical brain problem, being in severe pain every day, at conferences, and at work is not fun.  

The stress from work, being alone, raising my kids, raising a forums, making a living, trying to keep my reputation solid, plus often months and months of endless physical pain appeared to lead to panic attacks.  The kind where being in a traffic jam or elevator made me beg to die.  THAT was chemical imbalance. Today I still take a tiny pill to stop me from freaking out on elevators.  I'm not sure I even need it but am too scared to test that theory, especially before going to PubCon.

My point is that the work we do is truly difficult on its own and when added to life, can be crippling.  Marketing techniques, in the hands of someone with a disease where they are not always thinking clearly, can be dangerous.  To me, a larger situation exists that isn't discussed.  It's the one where many people have slipped away from the limelight because they have suffered an ordeal. It's the one where a combination of SEO/M and social skills plus a mental disorder that is unchecked or not being treated wreaks havoc on a business or person.

I personally don't believe SEO's are any different.  However, they are trusted by companies and provided sensitive information.  They know how to use Google like a baseball bat to score a home run or bash an enemy. 

Subject close to many hearts

Like David, I suffer from a condition that isn't directly related to the stress of the job, in that I suffer from Chronic Clinical Depression.  I honestly can't say in what ways it affects my work, because I've had the condition for years, and sometimes these things simply change your outlook on things in very subtle ways, that then affect everything you do.

I do think that SEO generally takes "a questioning mind".  Someone who wants to know how things work, and why.  And I do also think that suffering from any sort of ongoing mental issues can lead to you asking a lot of questions about your own mind, that inevitably lead to questioning the world around you, your perceptions of it and how they differ from others, etc.  In other words, I do think that having a mind-state you question, can directly lead to having a questioning mind.

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