Wednesday 21 Mar 2007
Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
When I first began visiting blogs, one of the things I found myself wondering about was which blogs the authors, themselves, were visiting to read industry news and share opinions and ideas with others. The blogroll segment of a blog can be helpful with this, but it doesn’t really explain whether the blog author visits the sites listed on a daily basis, or why they find the listed blogs to be useful.
And, so, I thought it might be good for me to make a small list here of the blogs and forums I visit, and to briefly explain what I like about each of them. Most of the following sites are daily reads for me (if they publish content daily or 5 days a week)…others I visit, perhaps, once a week.
If you are a small business owner, and are trying to improve your business by educating yourself about the Internet and search engines, beginning to read blogs from professionals in this industry will be a tremendous boon to you and almost certainly give you an edge over your small business competitors who are not spending the time to educate themselves.
Search Engine Land
This is a daily read for me, and the ‘big’ site I count on most to bring me industry news and advice on SEO and Internet marketing strategy. The authors of this blog are true experts, and their recent addition of columns on Small Business and Local Search makes them an important destination for small business owners.
This is my favorite Internet forum. If you’re new to socializing on the Internet, a forum is a website that any member can contribute questions and topics of interest to. By joining a forum like Cre8asite, you can post threads and other members will come and discuss your topic with you. In turn, you contribute your thoughts to threads other members post. Cre8asite has such a brilliant mix of both experts and beginners and the open, positive atmosphere of this forum is unsurpassed, in my opinion. You need not feel silly asking basic questions there. Their motto is There are no stupid questions and they stand behind this. I visit this forum 3-4 times a day to see what folks are talking about and to open discussions that I find important. Cre8asite has come to feel like ‘home’ to me on the Internet and my life is enriched by the contributions and comradeship of the members there.
SEO by the Sea
If someone new to the Internet ask me how best to present themselves in a professional manner, I would immediately point them to Bill Slawski’s blog, SEO by the Sea. Bill’s main focus is on understanding the patent applications of search engines like Google. He reads the patents and then describes how these documents might affect the way search engines work. Because understanding how search engines work is one of the main tasks of an SEO like myself, Bill’s blog is a boon. To the small business owner, this is an area of study that is also of great importance, and if you become a reader of Bill’s blog, I have no doubt that you, too, will become impressed by his professionalism, excellent writing and intelligence. I visit Bill’s blog daily and one of the things that really stands out about him is the care with which he treats people who comment on his blog. I am always sad when I ask a blogger a question and they don’t bother to answer. Bill never does this, and I always read the comments on his blog because he uses this feature to further discuss and instruct on the topics of his posts. One last point I will make about SEO by the Sea…I have never seen Bill bicker, make negative comments or sink to off-color humor on his blog. I know that when I visit SEO by the Sea, I will not be subjecting myself to feelings of discomfort or embarassment. Truly a class act.
Small Business SEM
Matt McGee’s site is a relatively new discovery for me and I count it a treasure. Matt now works for Marchex, but prior to this worked exclusively with small web businesses for many years. Within a few minutes of first talking to Matt, I realized he knew exactly what kinds of challenges my small business clients and I face and that he could be trusted to get it that we don’t have half a million dollars to spend on Adsense this year! While I greatly enjoy the blogs of the SEO/SEM firms who are working with the Fortune 500 clients, a site like Small Business SEM speaks directly to my own needs and has become a daily read for me. In my mind, I have begun thinking of Matt as ‘Homer’ (hope this gives you a smile, Matt) because he writes what I call ‘Odyssey’ posts. I will literally spend an entire hour following all of the links Matt includes in one of his posts on a given topic because he is a genius at assembling pertinent reading materials for readers to use to educate themselves. I prepare for a journey when I read Small Business SEM, and I always learn something new. I highly recommend that you start reading Matt’s blog, if you aren’t already. It’s going to help your small business navigate the opportunities the Internet holds for you.
Aaron Wall is the author of one of the industry standard publications – the SEO Book. The link above is to his blog. He is a very skilled fellow who offers valuable advice and I visit his blog several times a week. Often, Aaron’s posts are short, but at other times he delves thoroughly into a subject and I learn a lot from what he is saying about SEO and Internet Marketing. I think he’s a smart bet in terms of who to listen to in this industry and I am always keeping my eye on him. For the small business owner, Aaron’s blog may not be an ideal match, as it is clear from his posts that his clients must have quite a bit of money. Nevertheless, we should always watch the big guys closely to figure out how we can incorporate what they are doing on a level that is appropriate to our small business scope.
I have experienced countless a-ha moments at the blog run by this mid-sized SEO firm. Founder, Rand Fishkin is unquestionably one of the most skilled and visible leaders in our industry. However, I have to say, I do believe I have come to be a daily reader of SEOmoz not so much for the know-how they provide, but because I have been watching them promote their brand over the years to the point that their staff has attained a level of near-stardom. The readership of their blog is incredibly loyal and active. I honestly believe that Rand Fishkin could write a post about a breakfast cereal he likes and the post would receive 65 comments. But, far from resting on their laurels, the SEOmoz team’s ability to bang out post after post of useful advice and thoughts is unflagging and a small, humble firm like ours watches them in a sort of numb awe. The one thing that might be a bit confusing for the small business owner in reading SEOmoz’s blog would be that you might feel you’ve come in on the middle of the conversation. Rand’s team expects his readers to understand things like AJAX, LSI, Whatever 2.0, so the learning curve for easy reading is a bit high, in my opinion. However, their beginner’s SEO guide will start your task of getting up to snuff on all of the industry lingo and there is no question but that you will learn a ton from SEOmoz.
Owner, Sophie Wegat, is a member of Cre8asite Forum and that was how I learned about her blog. I read Sophie’s blog because her Australian-based firm deals with small businesses, like we do. It is so helpful for us to come out from under the cloud of code and graphics and SEO to look around at what other folks are doing. One of the things about being the boss of your company is that you can sometimes feel isolated, and the ability to have a chat with a peer can re-energize you because you see that the other person has been-there-done-that. Sophie has a nice, clean writing style and I have recently started reading anything she posts on her blog. (Sophie, I’d read your blog daily if you had daily posts!). Small business owners will benefit from a visit to the Think Prospect blog.
Improve the Web
Yuri Filimonov is another Cre8asite member whose blog I’ve become a fan of. The title of his blog says it all. I am a serious proponent of the idea of making the Internet as good as it can be. Down with junk and spam! I visit Yuri’s blog a couple of times a week to see what he’s thinking about, and he offers excellent advice for any business owner who is trying to position themselves in the Internet marketplace on a budget. Yuri’s comments on the Cre8asite forum assured me that this fellow knows what he is talking about, and moving from this to reading his blog has only further cemented my strong appreciation of his philosophy and often unique take on various web topics. I am enjoying getting to learn more about Yuri’s desire to improve the web via his blog.
Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local Search
This is Mike Blumenthal’s blog devoted to local search issues. Local Search is really and truly the big thing right now. Small Business Owners – are you listening? Local search has enormous potentials for you, and Mike’s blog is a very smart place to visit. I stop by a couple of times a week to read what he is talking about, and I’ve learned a great deal. Mike has also been very courteous about answering my questions and did not make me feel foolish for being a beginner at this new facet of search. Check this one out in your own pursuit of local search information.
Brian Clark’s blog is all about writing great copy that appeals to your readers. How do I know that his advice is valuable? The comment portion of his blog. HUGE READERSHIP! So, clearly, this is one fellow who knows how to write in a way that gets folks excited and wins loyalty. CopyBlogger is a recent find for me and one I’m very happy about. I can’t really critique the blog at this point, being rather new to it, but I will say that it is engaging and will really help a small business owner get thinking about how to connect with your user base (read: customers) in a way that sets you apart from the crowd. I’m definitely going to continue visiting Brian’s blog. Being a lanuage-oriented person myself, anything that focuses on how people talk is going to be of huge interest to me and is of great importance to any business owner trying to earn money from the web.
Search Engine Guide
This is another new one for me (though certainly not a new site) and I have just joined the Small Business Brief forum attached to this site. It has been the writing of Jennifer Laycock that has drawn my attention to Search Engine Guide. She asks really smart questions about subjects that folks in our industry sometimes take too much for granted. Do we all need to be on Digg? Why do we need links? Her approach does not assume that you are an expert, and because of this, new small business owners can benefit from her articles, rather than feeling somehow behind the times. I’m looking forward to seeing how things go in the forum and will continue to tune into Search Engine Guide to read what Laycock and her fellow writers are saying.
Rand McCarley’s blog continues to go through evolutions of improvement as time goes by, and his posts offer excellent tuition on subjects that are of great importance both to SEOs/Marketers and to small business owners. I have gotten to know Rand personally during the past year or so and really appreciate his no-nonsense approach to the web. I visit his blog several times a week (would visit daily if there were daily posts) and I am also a guest blogger there. Rand’s blog is important to me because, again, he is dealing primarily with the same kinds of clients we are. He is a driven, smart fellow who is always telling me about some new thing I’d not yet heard about and we appreciate his dedication. 14th Colony’s blog is a smart stop for small business owners.
So, there are 12 of the blogs and forums I’m at most regularly. SERoundtable, SEO-Wolf-Howl, Small Business Trends and a great many others are also places I head to in my quest for information. I’ve recently started listening to Webmaster Radio, as well. I like to visit blogs and sites that are new to me, in case I hit upon something that really shines and this prevents me from paying attention only to a few sources. The big conversation going on out there in this industry is being held in so many places, in so many ways, by so many people. It’s an honor to be a part of that, and I sincerely hope this post will help my readers to tap into some of the good things I’ve found.
Is there a blog not listed here that you think I’d like to know about? Tell me about it and I’ll check it out!