A few of the mainstream search blogs still offer up some morsels of meaty metrics, but many bloggers have turned from meat to “designer milk.” I can’t say I blame them, but I’m not going to keep looking to them for the best data, testing, link-building advice, etc.
The state of the search marketing blogosphere looks something like this:
Most SEO blogs tend to repackage basic information. A handful dole out some frightening misinformation. If you use social media like Twitter to learn, a lot of what you’ll find isn’t misinformation, but it falls under the “linkbait” category – creative, controversial, but otherwise unactionable.
So how can you find the best blogs that give you great content? First, a few assumptions I make when doing this type of research:
- Generally-speaking, blogs with the best content are coming from individuals rather than companies.
- Because of #1, there’s no editor, and there might be some inconsistencies in quality between posts. Some might even be hardly readable because of grammar issues. You might be looking for posts rather than full blogs in these cases.
- The best blog posts are coming from newer bloggers (who may be experienced SEOs) trying to prove themselves by putting their best stuff out there up front.
- You’re still likely to run into some false information when dealing with blogs that don’t have a reputation to uphold. You still have to run everything through the cheese strainer.
Based on these assumptions, here are some useful tricks for finding new blogs and posts to help you learn.
- Search Thesis-using bloggers. Search [“from DIY themes” + keyword] to find individual blogs running on the Thesis platform. The syntax included above is usually in the footer, but not linking back to the template maker. You’re also likely to get results that include some more serious bloggers who are running on this theme. You can also do similar searches using syntax found on other commonly used blog templates.
- Search recent. Search by year and/or year and month, e.g., [2010 + keyword]. You’re more likely to find current bloggers as opposed to older authority blog posts.
- Check out your own commenters. Look at who’s commenting on your posts or other SEO blogs’ posts. You may find some roses among thorns, or at least some blogs worth testing out for a few weeks.
- Develop a closed sharing system. This is easy if you work at an agency or with other SEOs. Create a system using Delicious, Google Reader, Google Docs or any other collaborative platform that allows everyone to share the best of what they’ve read. You’ll be surprised at how much you miss in a day. The best part is, you all benefit and the posts have already been pre-screened.
Once you find what you’re looking for, you can either bookmark the posts you like or take the blog for a test-drive. Most of these non-mainstream blogs aren’t updated as frequently, but the quality makes them worth keeping an eye on. Lastly, don’t be afraid to drop the blogs that aren’t providing any actionable value, even if they’re the popular ones. You need all the spare time you can get when you’re in this industry.
How do you uncover the best blogs outside the mainstream?