03 Nov 2008

SEO Blogs Make You Teh Dumb

This may sound crazy coming from me, but someone has to say it:

All those SEO blogs you read are making you a crappy search marketer. Get out of your damn feed reader and live a little.

There, now I said it. Your torch is already waiting for you on the left. You’ll have to get your own matches, though. All I have is a snow scraper (Thanks, Jim!).

Truthfully, I love SEO bloggers. I love them so much that I am one. I get how we think.  We want to share information. We want our readers to be up-to-date on the latest search activity. We have opinions that we think are important for you to keep in mind when making weighty decisions about your search campaigns. Bloggers are awesomesauce. However, we’re often guilty of paralyzing you and trapping you under a mound of information too large for you to ever act on. Basically, we contribute to making you suck. Or at least we do when you let us.

(I’m sorry for that, BTW.)

There’s a great value to SEO blogging. Reading blogs is how a lot of upcoming SEOs learn the field. We can help answer questions, start interesting conversations and open your eyes to techniques you didn’t know existed. However, for every point, there is a counter point. For every failed way of doing something, lies four ways that are less talked about and more powerful. For every ounce of signal, there are four tons of noise. If you’re investing your entire afternoon reading SEO blogs looking for that golden nugget of information, you may want to head to your favorite SEO blogger’s home and smack them in  the face. They’re effectively stealing your day and putting you out of business.

Okay, maybe that’s a tad harsh (please don’t really hit anyone.  Hard.), but you are hurting yourself, your company and your clients when you get so bogged down in the research and theory of it all that you fail to act. You waste time worrying that the sky is falling when it’s really not. Or you become too afraid to try something because a blogger told you not to. At some point, you stop being a real SEO and devolve into someone like me. Someone who just reads an awful lot about it.

That’s something I’m working to change about myself, and it’s something you should work to change, too.  I’ve sat in on approximately 8,000 search sessions during my stint at a conference liveblogger and next week I’ll be sitting in on a dozen or so more (watch for the PubCon liveblogging schedule coming later in the week!). And while they’re great sources of information, not one has taught me how to be an SEO. I may have heard about all the upcoming techniques, but I haven’t applied a single one of them. I’ve never touched a live page. Personally, I think it’s about damn time I get my hands dirty and now that I have that chance, I’m jumping at it. I’d recommend the same for you.

You’re not going to become an SEO expert by reading about it on the Internet or fawning over those who have come before you. You’re going to become an expert SEO by actually doing SEO and investing your time in conducting tests and following patterns. The answers you’re looking for aren’t hidden on the popular SEO blogs, they’re in your server logs, in your rankings, and buried deep in your head. If you want to be an SEO, maybe you should start actually being one.

It’s Monday. I propose you do something crazy this week. Up for it?

I want you to leave a comment here saying how much you love me and then close your feed reader. Take the week off from obsessive feed-checking and use that time to conduct a new SEO experiment. Something you’ve long been interested in but haven’t had time to dig into because your favorite blog had 47 new posts to read.   You don’t have to tell anyone you’re taking the week off. There’s no need to Twitter it. Just do it. All of your favorite blogs will still be there when you return on Monday. I promise.

What do you say?