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What Should You Blog? Do’s and Don’ts of a Good SEO Blog

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 15 years and 90 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

A simple rule that sums up most of this post: “write what you know and what everyone else is thinking but hasn’t said yet, but don’t give away the gold”. A blog is a great asset, but can create liabilities if you don’t approach it properly.

Blogging really isn’t easy. Well, it *is* easy to spew a bunch of mindless bullsh*t onto a page and expect that a bunch of unemployed zombies will find some entertainment value in it. What *isn’t* easy is developing value-added material that vistors will find genuinely helpful and valuable to their personal needs.

To make things even more difficult, there is a delicate balance between creating good informational blog posts and being a straight up fool giving away information that is of extremely high value for a relatively short period of time (algo loopholes, niche opportunities, arbitrage opportunities, etc.). This is a dilemma that has faced folks long before blogs in the SEO/ webmaster forums as well. Since I was lucky enough to be taught by folks with an “abundance mentality”, I try hard to keep one myself, but sometimes a post just DOESN’T justify the link value (would a stock broker that knew the value of a link post his best information?).

Knowing what to blog is difficult. I’ve went through several phases myself, but what seems the most useful to me is aggregated lists of quality information to use as reference points when I need them. When I asked people to introduce themselves, many of them mentioned that the Mr. Ploppy SEM Tool lists were part of what kept folks coming back. I have to agree that they are extremely useful, and the intent of creating those lists was not entirely altruistic. I knew that they would be a valuable resource for ME to reference as well. The point is that they are valuable because I spent time to research and build lists of what I thought was good. Anyone could do a search and compile lists. It was quite time consuming, but it has been very worthwhile both in terms of traffic, and having effective personal reference points.

With lots of new folks entering the blogosphere all the time, I think it’s worth noting some things to keep you from making mistakes that some of us have made in the past.

Blog about…

  • What you know
  • A specific niche topic
  • How to balance user experience and good search rankings
  • How to improve your website
  • How to improve rankings with long term strategy
  • Applications of marketing to SEO
  • Emerging SE trends
  • Speculation of SE updates
  • The state of the SEM space
  • Your personal insights on whitepapers
  • Non-bias reviews of web technology vendors


Don’t blog about…

  • someone else’s idea without asking that someone’s permission
  • an unsavory story you heard 3rd hand
  • brand new techniques that aren’t talked about on panel sessions yet
  • an array of specific niches
  • how bad other SEO’s techniques are
  • sites that quality control engineers will torch an hour after reading your post
  • how great the affiliate garbage you’re hawking is

I think Barry and Rand both have some nice opinions on the topic, but I couldn’t seem to find either of their posts when I dug for them (I hate when I forget to bookmark stuff right). Special thanks to Jason for his questions and discussion on the topic.

More information about Todd Malicoat aka stuntdubl.

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  • tedster

    You wrote “I spent time to research and build lists of what I thought was good.”

    That’s exactly how Yahoo started out, if I remember my ancient history well. It was just an exported bookmark collection.

  • Lee

    Umm, you mean you’re not using bookmarks or personal search? to organize? :)

    Hey, regarding not blogging “someone else’s idea without asking that someone’s permission”, isn’t that the whole premise of Threadwatch and other re-blogging sites like Marketing Pilgrim? Or do you mean to not take credit for another person’s idea?

  • David Zuls

    Thanks Todd,

    I found your presentation at SES Chicago in finding your SEM niche inspirational. I’ve started a new Blog about my niche and I’m actively looking for helpful hints on how to make it worth visiting. (Without giving away the farm of getting fired from my day job) I also appreciated your post on Blog Titles. I’m sure it will come in handy.


  • site admin

    >Umm, you mean you’re not using bookmarks or personal search? to organize? :)
    I AM getting better at that, but I’m pretty anal retentive about my firefox bookmarks which are all in nice lil’ organized folders.

    >Hey, regarding not blogging “someone else’s idea without asking that someone’s permission”,

    I was thinking more about an idea that someone gives you in conversation, via IM, or e-mail. It’s ALWAYS best to ask if you are expanding on an idea someone else helped to inspire (or at a bare minimum give them credit). I’ve had a few people borrow ideas here and there, and it’s a bit frustrating when they don’t at least give some link love.

    >presentation at SES Chicago in finding your SEM niche
    Glad somebody liked it Dave:) It was pretty sparsely populated, but I really enjoy the topic. Niches are really amazingly powerful. Thanks again for the kudos:)

  • IrishWonder

    Nice list Todd, good job as always. You can add this post by Graywolf as suggested reading:

  • Aaron Pratt

    Mr. Lee Odden, I have a bone to pick with you sir, I see that you are outranking me by using those bookmark pages, I have to admit it is very smart so there is no hard feeling between us, thanks for the tip! ;)

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