Like Me? Follow Me.
Last week Matt unleashed his pet gripe about SEO blogs in relation to all the deliberate misinformation they convey. I'm going to go one better and suggest that it probably doesn't even matter if SEO blogs are deliberately providing half-truths as a means of linkbait, because chances are, nobody's reading that closely anyway.
Last month, in order to back up a post I was writing about why businesses should optimise for local search, I searched for someone else who was blogging about the benefits of local search - because citing sources always provides credence to what you're saying. I found hundreds of results telling me how to optimise a page/site for local search - pretty much all identical in terms of recommendations. I found nothing about why. Not a thing.
Now, call me crazy, but the average SEO client doesn't really need to know how you're planning on getting his site ranking for "bespoke widgets in Slough" - only that there's a good reason that you're doing it, and that the reason involves improving his or her profits. It's only when you begin to make visible changes to the site and site copy that it will matter to him how you go about doing it. So, assuming we're actually interested in educating our clients - surely we should be blogging about things that interest them?
Exactly who is your target market?
As I-COM is an agency, providing SEO services to other businesses, one of the key audiences for our blog is our client base. If someone looking for some SEO advice or an SEO company gets some good, simple, clear advice from our blog, we know they'll pick up the phone to call us. This is why we try to blog about things that are important to our clients.
I find it remarkable when looking at SEO blogs produced by other consultants, how little thought is given to what will be useful to clients, or potential clients.
Give your peers a reason to look at your blog.
As I-COM wants to rank well in search engines for SEO-related terms, we do also want to enage with other SEO blogs in hopes they like what we say and when they do, that they link to us. Now, I hope our ranting gives people in the industry cause for thought, or the odd laugh. I hope it adds something to the overall discussion. I think it does, because sometimes people do link back to us.
What amazes me is how few SEO blogs, ostensibly kept in order to obtain those vanity rankings, or (more likely) to help the blogger build a name for himself as an SEO "Rockstar" (or "ninja" or "guru"), get onto the conference circuit, get famous among geeks... actually have anything at all to say.
There's nothing useful in regurgitating SEO and tech news stories that have already appeared on TechCruch, Slashdot, The Next Web, Search Engine Land, etc.
If you're not breaking the story, you're really just adding to the mountain of white noise in the SERPs. I'm always amazed, however, at the number of SEO consultants who spend time (time they could be using to work on clients' sites, improve their own sites, go for a walk, read a book, chat to their girlfriends/wives, get a life, etc.) repeating news stories that I've already seen come through various top-line news sources.
If you want to discuss the news, then fine - discuss the news. But add something - an assessment, an opinion, something. We give this advice to clients daily, yet the professionals don't even seem to understand it.
There's also nothing useful in regurgitating the same tired SEO lists, jokes, examples, day in and day out - especially if you're just doing it to try and get some attention on Sphinn, Twitter, etc. The number of times I've seen compiled lists of the same link resources, tools, people to follow on Twitter, basic SEO checklists, etc., all pitched solidly at other SEOs has actually made me almost stop reading SEO blogs entirely.
Again, if you're not contributing something new - some research, new tricks, information about where search marketing may be heading in future, UNIQUE observations about the state of the industry, etc., chances are it's not interesting to other SEOs, yet it's probably really not something that clients will find useful either.
So, the question you have to ask yourself at this point is - why are you blogging?
- If you're blogging to help you win business, then talk about what business owners need to understand about the online space.
- If you're blogging for links, then say something that will be meaningful to other SEOs.
- If you're blogging because you think you should be an SEO rockstar, then, erm...you should rethink your priorities and refer back to 1 or 2 in the list because it's the only way your blog will ever be read and respected by either your clients or other SEO professionals.