Today is not only the final day of 2007; it marks the end of my 6th month in SEM. While that’s not a major milestone by any means, today’s symbolic end of the year has made me pause and reflect upon my beginning, the challenges I faced and the people who helped me overcome them.

It quickly became evident that a thank you must go out to each of you. You’ve become mentors, encourager's and virtual colleagues. You see, after the comfort of 10+ years in traditional media, the lead up to my first day on the job had me nervous. There was the usual first day jitters and uncertainty that a career change brings, but I also knew that I had a massive learning curve ahead.

In the first few weeks, I relied extensively on the knowledge of the outstanding team of Marketing and Technical professionals Jeff has assembled here at Search Engine People. I knew that I was driving them crazy with mundane questions and, to a certain extent, I felt embarrassed about that. As a result, it turned me into a voracious online reader of all things SEO.

I wrongly assumed that there wouldn’t be much information of substance online. I always thought of SEO as 'voodoo' marketing. Those with the “secret potion” kept it all to themselves. It didn’t take me long to realize how special the SEO community truly is.

There isn't another business sector which shares as much detailed information such as SEO tactics that work and why, what doesn’t and how to overcame those challenges and personal highs and lows, as much as our industry does. I found so many brilliant Search Marketers in the blogosphere that learning wasn’t going to be a problem, finding the time to read them was.

Today, as I reflect back on my move, I'd feel remiss if I didn’t stop and thank some of those writers whose blogs and online musings I’ve come to learn from and enjoy. You've help me transition from SEO neophyte to, at the very least, "seasoned" SEO.

In no particular order, here you are:

SEO by the Sea: I continue to be impressed by the variety of topics Bill writes about from patent technology to mobile search, always an informative read.

ViperChill: I still can’t believe Glen is just 18, what a talent! I wish I knew as much as he did at the same age. I became hooked on his blog when he wrote about his demographic profile of the top 50 Stumblers piece……by hand.

DoshDosh: Being Canadian, Maki’s blog caught my attention immediately. His writing and unique perspective has kept me coming back. He really knows his stuff!

aim Clear Blog: Marty Weintraub has been called a “search maestro”, the “chief mischief maker at Sphinn”, having “insight second to none” and “prolific”. Agreed, just love his posts.

Social Desire: What can anyone say about Shana that hasn’t been said? She’s an entertaining blogger and an outstanding source for social media news and views.

stepForth: Jeff mentioned that I should check out Ross Dunn's blog and I can see why. Ross has been at this a long time and his blog contains helpful tutorials and checklists that got me off to a great start.

seo2.0onreact: Tad seems to be ubiquitous online. It’s very hard to miss this pseudo mustached German with the only white sombrero ever made. His avatar is like his posts, unique, amusing and always makes you think!

Techipedia: A true Social Media starlet. If you haven’t read Tamar’s ‘Best Internet Marketing Blog Posts of 2007’ it really sums up how deep her knowledge of this industry is.

All Things SEM: It’s great to see a fellow Hellene in SEM. Marios Alexandrou’s blog comes at you from the heart and is impressive. I’m not sure if I’d be here though if I read his December piece ‘A Career in SEO? Bad Move’ in May.

SEO Book: I can’t believe Aaron shares as much raw data as he does. I felt like a kid in a candy store on my first visit with so many useful tools to play with and the search engine marketing glossary to learn. He should put it in a book! 😉

Sebastian’s Pamphlets: Very detailed and, at first, very intimidating for a newbie like me. But then again, you’d expect that from a guy whose StumbleUpon profile says “I sleep with database manuals dreaming of genial software architectures”.

Now Sourcing: I can’t remember reading something Brian wrote that didn’t have me changing the way I think about SEO. Here’s a guy who really gets it!

SEOBrian: I'll admit it, Brian served as the inspiration for my social media moniker, SEPTom. I truly enjoyed Brian's writing style, topics covered and honest approach.

SmallBusinessSEM & Local SEO Guide: Anyone that talks as much about local search, yellow pages, small business marketing & SEO as Matt and Andrew do will always have my attention.

Thank you again. Each of you has shortened my learning curve by creating valuable blogs with real analysis, opinions, news, trends, interviews and above all, passion!

Whether you’re on this list or not, if you’re an active member of the SEO community, you’ve immeasurably been influential in my professional development too!

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Successful New Year!!

~ Tom