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.

Gonzo SEO

I hate aspiring writers who bang on about HST as if invoking the name of Mr Thompson will somehow make them writerly Gods.

Take your heroes, burn them. Then spread the ashes on your toast as you wait for you latest bittorrent of Manga to download.

However, for those who know what gonzo journalism is – and if you don’t know, you need to read more – need to look at that writerly style and apply it to their blogging style. The reason being is that the words of a gonzo tracht do not fit comfortably into the nicely shaped holes that await information. The words and thoughts and ideas and feelings tend to scrape the sides and ruin the pristine condition that the grammar nazis like to keep their information brain holes in.

When you scrape the edges of someones mind you make them sit up and think, question, change emotion. When that happens the reader has been softened, sweetened, seduced for any kind of message you want to.

This is not new, it’s ancient. And don’t think that moist inducing companies like Apple and Google do not employ such tactics constantly. They are steeped in the dark arts of black ops marketing technique and will shaft you deep into the softer parts of your mind to get their message in.

Have I broken my own rule by invoking the “HST” bomb and then saying not to.

Of course I have.

The first rule of gonzo blogging is there are no rules.

Why are SEO Blogs Really Boring

I find most other blogs in the industry I inhabit really boring. Mostly because they are not meant for me, their purpose for existence is not to entertain or inform me.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Here’s what I notice though. A lot of people slag off blogs because they don’t give them what they want, even when the blog is not meant for them.

Just because you don’t get any juice, doesn’t make it a failure. You may not be aware of the objective. The objective may not be you.

I know that most blogs in the industry are not looking to entertain me, so when they don’t I don’t presume they are a failure.

But it’s very common for people to sound off opinions based on their narrow experience. What this does is illuminate the fact that the critic cannot see the bigger picture. And there is no shame in that if you are a technician or an engineer.

But if you are the head of a company wanting to bake and shake your niche it marks you out as a dork, not a market leader.

You do see it in the SEO industry a lot, mostly from the people who mistake opinions for knowledge. But that’s OK, it’s good to know who they are.

From a bloggers POV it’s useful to know that people will criticise not what you do, but how useful it is for them. So if you get a load of flack from a bunch of people you don’t care about, don’t sweat it.

Opinions are like Twitter accounts, everyone has one.
(Some may remember a similar quote from Clint Eastwood;)

If you are baking and shaking in the blog world, you WILL GET FLACK, the important thing to know is which critics do you listen to and which ones do you ignore.

What are the most popular WordPress plugins

A web host has conducted research on how many wordpress blogs they host and what are the most popular plugins are. The top most used are not surprising, but it’s always useful to see what people are using to see if a certain plugin can solve a specific problem.

Source, webhost Dreamhost

Mark Rein of Epic Games catches his nuts in the Gamer Blog Machine

It’s a bitter moment when your peers tell you to f**k off. But this is what happened to a big cheese in the game publising industry called Mark Rein of Epic games.

Go read it, if you like to see the Indie kid take down the big business behemoth you will love it.

I love these stories of bloggers whipping off the bed clothes of the previously untouchable executive types and letting everyone see them in the raw.

Cliff Harris makes the game industry sound fun.