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The first day at SEO.com, I entered my cubicle and pinned up a fly-fishing calendar before I even sat down in my chair. It was the perfect setup for inspiring creative genius. I could look at both my monitor and April’s image of a large rainbow trout, hovering over some river and staring me in the face with its salmonidae eyeballs.

It wasn’t long before someone commented on it. A few hours later, from the back of the cubicle, I heard a voice: “So, are you a real fly fisherman?”

I didn’t know how to answer that, and I’m still not sure what a “real fisherman” would be. But, for some reason, it did get me thinking of fishing metaphors for SEO. What is a real SEO specialist? Well, that question may be just as ambiguous as understanding what a real fisherman might be.

There are lots of fishermen in the world. All kinds of them. Some use nets, some use flies, some use bait, some use arrows, some use dynamite, some wear all the fancy clothes while some don’t, some have all the right gear while some just have a stick and worn down line, some spearfish, some catch fish with their hands. There are all types of fisherman for different areas, too. People in the North Pole drill a hole in the ice while staving off polar bears and frostbite. In Belize, fisherman don shorts and light shirts to search for game fish in the warm, clear turquoise water of the Caribbean.

Not only are there a lot of different types of real fisherman, there are a lot of different tactics, too. But they all seem to catch fish. So, perhaps a “real fisherman” is basically someone who knows how to catch fish in any element, under any condition.

Same goes with SEO. There are many different tactics that work, and a real SEO specialist knows all the various ways to catch better search results. There are many more metaphors, but here are three specific fishing tactics that real SEO experts also use:

1. Use different lures/bait/flies. Fish of all kinds eat a variety of food, and they will start to ignore your bait, lure or fly if you use the same thing over and over. Anglers often have to change their lures to find what the fish will eat. Search engines react the same way. Google and other search engines don’t like duplicate content and they respond better to a variety of SEO tactics.

2. Guesswork. Even the best fisherman can get skunked. Good anglers know how to innovate and find out new ways to catch fish – whether that’s tying a new fly or attempting a never-before-tried method. Likewise, good SEO often depends on experimentation and innovation to improve search engine results.

3. Change with conditions. Nature is constantly changing. Each change – whether it’s more humidity, a full moon, an approaching storm, or even a slight swing in temperature – can radically alter fishing behavior and feeding habits. Real fisherman need to know how to adapt to the differing conditions. Similarly, search engines can be just as moody as nature. Real SEO specialists will be able to put tried-and-true methods behind them and adapt to the conditions.