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Is Writing About Seo Worthwhile These Days?

seo writing writing about seo seo techniques bill slawski

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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:17 AM

Barry Schwartz highlighted a Twitter conversation at the Search Engine Roundtable where Bill Slawski asked

 

"Are people who write about SEO still important in SEO? Is SEO writing dead?"

 

The Twitter conversation provides varying opinions.  One of the most common feelings are that most articles on SEO are poorly written or just plain inaccurate. I would add that the moment SEO is written about, it is already out of date.  Books on SEO are always out of date.  I have a freelance client who sits with me in meetings with her SEO book opened up, ready to prove me wrong at every suggestion I make.  The book is years old and she is unwilling to accept that techniques change, as do search engine algorithms.

 

Bill is unique in that his writings are in-depth analysis on Google patents.  He is also exceedingly trained in SEO and SEM and has been doing the work since the 1990's.  This sets him apart from nearly everyone who writes on SEO today.

 

Someone in the conversation suggested that only those who did SEO in the 1990's truly understand the inner workings of this work and I agree with that.  I feel that my working in the SEO field since the mid-1990's adds a depth of knowledge and history to my skills, and helps me to see how SEO relates to web design.  Before the link craze, there was the math behind page rank that Chris Ridings wrote about that had SEO's competing for who knew the secret math behind the algorithm better.

 

Today, it is patents and people leaning on Bill's research to give them a peek at the future of search.  

 

I find, as do many in the Twitter thread, that most writing about SEO is boring, redundant and often containing incorrect information.  

 

Do we need SEO writing?

 

YES!  All you need to do is to wander into any forums where SEO is a topic to see the questions, frustrations and experiences from people struggling to make their sites come up in search, battle penalties or learn how to implement even the basics.  People come to forums after having been ripped off or hiring a company that got their website into huge trouble.  This is evidence to me that not only are there dangerous articles on SEO out there, but more importantly, a real fear and lack of trust not only towards the SEO industry but whom to hire.

 

I have never seen an organization like SEMPO attempt to directly find ways to correct this situation, other than holding conferences that most people who own websites can afford to attend, let alone have the time.

 

Eric Enge and David Harry, and Doc Sheldon come to my mind regarding those who stepped up to provide SEO information - correct and current information - via Google Hangouts.  Kudos to them for this.  They have each been around for years and years and have the cred to do these video gatherings.  MOZ and Internet Marketing Ninjas showcase thought leader writings, whereas other sites lean on newcomers breaking into the field.  

 

Are we too polite in this industry?

 

I sometimes wonder if there should be more writing about the bad information out there.  This is hard to do.  I launched my career by writing about stupid SEO tricks and warnings about the lies, bad information and ripoffs out there.  It was needed information but I was also attacked and threatened.  I still, on occasion, get fed up and write but for the most part it feels like the warnings are ignored.

 

I feel Bill's questions.  In my heart, I know he is asking questions because he cares deeply about the industry and the quality of information and practices performed by SEO's.  If he were to stop writing, this would be a severe loss in my opinion.

 

Is writing about SEO worthwhile?  Who do you trust?  Why?  What type of information would you like to see more of?



#2 jonbey

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:22 AM

Why not call it Google optmisation?

 

When was the last time you read something written about another search engine?



#3 margoupson

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 11:13 AM

Why not call it Google optmisation?

 

When was the last time you read something written about another search engine?

 

That. So much of SEO writing is about Google. What to do, what not to do, news and updates... I see the occasional article about Bing or DuckDuckGo, but those are few and far between. 

 

That said, as long as people are using Google, following their guidelines will continue to matter. They aren't all stupid rules; a lot of the guidelines do lead to a better website, even if it does turn into jumping through a lot of hoops. And while the people at the top might have the best answers, sometimes it's the writers a bit closer to the ground that are able to break that information down for someone new to SEO. There are still a lot of beginners trying to learn how to use keywords, and a lot of outdated information out there. If you hand one of those beginners some of the advanced research or more in-depth articles, they're not going to be able to use that information. It needs to be broken down so that they can understand it, too. And I think that's where the less detailed writing plays a part. 

 

Yes, there is a lot of repetitive, low-quality, fluff writing about SEO. Too much of it. I have 2-3 sites I visit, and the rest gets ignored unless I'm searching for something specific, but even there, I know which names/sites to look for. Someone with less experience won't necessarily be able to do that. I think that it's up to those with more experience to not only make sure that the right information is getting shared, but also to draw beginners in the right direction. Point them towards the expert thought leaders who write at a more accessible level (and then let them move up to the more complicated information as they progress). 



#4 EGOL

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 11:17 AM

Are we too polite in this industry?

 

I love this question... 

 

SEO knowledge is a squishy thing.  When you grab it, some of it squeezes through your fingers and you don't get the whole handfull.  And, only part of the full story is out there to grab at - so nobody understands the whole thing completely and a lot of people really have it wrong. 

 

In that environment a "community of friends" such as a forum is a great place to ask questions and toss stuff out to see how other people react.   So, lots of the stuff that is tossed out and a lot of the answers to questions are simply opinions, researched or not....  and behind every opinion is an ego of some size or another.

 

So, when you have all of those opinions flyin' 'round and some of them are golden and a lot of them ain't you gotta decide how to respond to them.  If you ignore them they become gospel to some people.   

 

But if you address them, it pisses some people off (testosterone is one of the most powerful things on our planet but at the same time it has the thinnest skin).  Or if you get into an argument with someone that ain't cool and they lock the thread or you get a talkin' to via PM. 

 

One thing that I really enjoyed about the good ole days at SEOChat is that people argued, fought, cussed, threw pies and in between all of that was some good SEO writing that solved a lot of problems and educated people, sometimes yourself.   The cussin', fightin' and throwin' pies was the entertainment you got as a bonus.

 

Since SEO forums have evolved into polite places people don't point out flaws very often.  They just allow people to believe crap... and since everybody believes crap there just isn't an awful lot of stuff to fight over anymore. 



#5 cre8pc

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 11:34 AM

One thing that I really enjoyed about the good ole days at SEOChat is that people argued, fought, cussed, threw pies and in between all of that was some good SEO writing that solved a lot of problems and educated people, sometimes yourself.   The cussin', fightin' and throwin' pies was the entertainment you got as a bonus.

 

So,  :moon:

 

Does this help?  :blink:  



#6 jonbey

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 01:55 PM

Maybe people are talking about SEO in new areas. I see a lot of SEO talk in business forums, no doubt social media groups are rampant with it too. 

 

Maybe we are just like a lounge in an old people's home; everybody sitting around complaining that nothing happens any longer while people outside are still living and partying.

 

God, I am bloody cynical this week aren't I?

 

Must write something positive next ..... 



#7 earlpearl

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 02:01 PM

A couple of points:

 

1.  On the local seo side, the first point is simply that there wasn't local seo in the late 90's and up through the mid 2000's.  Its less developed.  Therefore people who are smart on it, and write relevantly on it and its changing character don't have to and are not steeped in knowledge from the 1990's.  Current writings are relevant.

 

2.  If you are willing to do this, if you have a site or sites that aren't seo oriented, but you take your topic and direct it into the seo community and its of quality and relevant, its an out of the box way to get links in that the seo world is still link active.

 

So if you happen to have a site that is all about knee pads and sells knee pads and articulates about knees and knee pads...and you are seo cognizant and aware you can write about the site the serps and knee pads and make it both seo oriented and knee pad and industry oriented...and it will get seo links.  It might also get links from the world of knee pad commentators that might learn something and want to share it.



#8 glyn

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 03:53 PM

The people with answers on ranking dont write about it. The majority of seo writing focuses on the believability of an argument and seeks to exploit that point of view for commercial gain. Moz is a good example of this. I could count the number of articles on 1 hand that had any believability and actual seo research methodology behind them, and as writefully said, the moment it was published it was out of date.

I

#9 cre8pc

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 10:31 AM

Barry picked up on this again today http://www.seroundta...dead-18678.html and there is a guy in the comments insisting that there is absolutely no such thing as SEO and ways to influence search engines.

 

Dang.  For a moment I went there...in my imagination and visualized a world with search engines that by some form of mysterious power, know exactly what we want to find and deliver to us the exact BEST websites.  How do they do it?



#10 tam

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 08:42 PM

To me it's always felt a bit like the people writing about SEO spend a lot of time writing for/at people who also make a living writing about SEO.



#11 jonbey

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 04:13 AM

Yeah. It is a pretty strange niche to say the least!



#12 glyn

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 07:48 AM

I think it's just like QVC and you need to get in the club and then everyone is bending over backwards to support your view, or to have all the same view.



#13 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 07:49 AM

It's like any niche where businesses and consultants need to show their expertise in the subject matter, so that they will get hired, or get noticed, or get ranked, or...well...anything.

 

Joe SEO writes good stuff about SEO so let's hire him to do ours.

Jane BunnyHutcher writes good stuff about rabbits, so let's rank her site well.

Jon FitnessGuy writes good stuff about exercise and dieting, so let's buy his book.

 

Ya know?


Edited by DonnaFontenot, 12 June 2014 - 07:51 AM.
changed RabbitHutcher to BunnyHutcher cuz that just rolls off the tongue nicely


#14 TheAlex

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 04:05 AM

Focus on the Outstanding: Write Less and Write Better

http://authoritylabs...s-write-better/



#15 test-ok

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 04:07 PM

Is Writing About Seo Worthwhile These Days?

 How can one write about an industry in constant flux, with any real authority.

The question in my mind is...worthwhile to whom?





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