Why Using own Voice to SEO blog may Offend but Increase Credibility

I have taken the decision to re-brand this blog, or rather take it back to its roots of being an independent SEO blog that does not try to be anything other than a collection of views, thoughts and opinions of the world of seo, social media and the wider world of online marketing and web development.

I have decided that authenticity and credibility are more important to me than building business partnerships within the industry and creating a conventional business. It’s really how this blog started off in 2007, by being honest, passionate, highly opinionated, not afraid to poke fun at industry icons and sharing as much knowledge as I myself gathered, I quickly made a success blogging.

But this wasn’t instant success. I had previously spent a couple of years blogging without success, then one day I decided not to care if anyone gets offended and simply tell it like it is.

If you follow this ethos, you will instantly make friends, but also you will instantly make enemies. Usually the people who get pissed off are the people with power and influence, this is the same in any industry.

It’s impossible to have credibility and not annoy people. For example if you come across an seo tool which you know doesn’t really do the do, you have to be honest if you review it, and if it’s a steaming pile of bull excrement it’s essential to state that.

The problem is, as you get more connected within the industry it becomes harder to do this, because the guy who makes the seo tool may have offered to do you a favour and if you piss him off it’s not going to happen.

Do you go out and deliberately look for trouble, not at all. But I think causing trouble should not be a reason for me to “play the game” and keep quiet when I spot a steaming pile.

Naive? Possibly? Bad for business, in the short term yes. But the audience I want for this blog is not the movers and shakers of the SEO world. It’s not the head corporate agency who drives the fancy, expensive car that I wish to attract. It’s the one man band web masters who are grafting away online, carving out a living in the dry dust of the World Wide Web.

This blog is for The seo engineer who is working at the life sucking, seo factory that is some seo agencies, not all but some are like this. I know because I talk to seo engineers all the time, these are the guys and girls who do the actual work, they share horror stories and confide in me, which of course always is kept confidential.

Not all SEO agencies are like this, but some are apparently.

I want this blog to be somewhere that you go to get the real stuff, not that there aren’t other great seo blogs out there, there are quite a lot of great seo and social media blogs I read regularly. To know that when you read stuff here it’s not because I have aligned myself with a certain group or clique, but because it’s what is on my mind. Not that there is anything wrong with being in a gang, it makes good business sense to do so. I would advise others to do this as you can really get a boost from great networking.

But, it’s not for me.

I look at other people who are having great success whilst retaining credibility and authenticity. Sure, you may hate them or they are not your cup of tea but they are people who realise they may give reason to have people despise them, but at the same time give voice to those who perhaps have no voice, who resonate with groups of people who get ignored.

People such as:

Jeff Jarvis
Jason Calacanis
Gary Vaynerchuk

Not everybody’s cup of tea, and they do create enemies and sometimes attact derision. But they do have their on voice and they also have their rabid fan base, which is the point.

I mean come on, Jason Calacanis turns up at an SEO conference to announce that SEO is snake oil, although completely wrong you have to admit that’s some cajones.

As an aside if you Google “jason calacanis seo snake oil”, the results are rubbish. The SEL article is the one I wanted and should not be buried behind 3 posts from the JC blog.

You need big balls for this kind of blogging, you also have to have the kind of personality that does not mind coming out with stuff that people hate and get offended by. Unfortunately, I have this manner about me. I say unfortunate as it does burn bridges, lose friends and alienate people. As Mike Grehan of Search Engine Strategies pointed out.

You may not like or even agree with what I will say. But, it’s going to be my honest, straight up opinion. If I don’t do this then what’s the point? This is the skill set I have. Brent Csutoras once blogged that I should STFU and stop letting it all hang out and it some part he has a point. Most people are not up for following such a high risk strategy and it does close doors and can be seemingly bad for business.

So, I have made a conscious decision not to pander to any particular group or individual, or have any association with any online business apart from my own link building agency, which as I want to keep boutique, small and effective and doesn’t really need me to make powerful friends. I have no real ambition to create a huge agency and simply get by on my ability to provide my small amount of clients with a brilliant service.

And you know what? It feels bloody good to sit here and tell it like it is and not to worry about not being liked.

Maybe it’s not really re-branding, but more going back to the original brand and ethos. Ironically one of my original goals when I set up the blog was to speak at a top SEO conference, which I have done on a number of occasions.

I expect my RSS subscriptions to plummet, but at least I will be having a good time.

I also am going to do little editing of these blog posts, it can be a little clunky to read a stream of consciousness, but I find it more authentic and a lot more easy to write.

Is there a danger of me coming over like a bit of a plonker, oh yes. In fact I can feel the eyeballs rolling as I write this.

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Comments

  1. says

    Good for you. I keep getting told by people that I’m too blunt and should “play the game” to attract new clients and not alienate people but you know what? The whole point of being online is to be yourself and be honest. I’m fed up with the bitchy backstabbing crowd who tweet one thing and then say another in the pub.

    Also, it means that when you praise someone they know it’s genuine.