We so often here from SEO bloggers about the dross and regurgitated content that features online. We as SEO’s and social media folk, more than most, know how to make a noise about our point of views and the news that we want to share. As such, it creates more than a small heap of posts to sift through each day!

At times though, it can all get a little too much; reading the same headlines and the same content all over the place. BUT, that doesn’t mean to say you should exit the community or stop reading. I’ve had a little spell of feeling these frustrations lately but here are a few thoughts that kept me reading...

Reading helps develop technical competency

Reading 104:365 by The Real Estreya.

Some guys take an extraordinary amount of time to share technical advice and recommendations online. Great examples of websites that have taken this approach include resources like Sebastian Pamphlets, Jane and Robot and Bluehat SEO.

I love websites like these listed here – they just add so much value in what they write and only appear to write when they can share something of fantastic value to the community at large. Important to remember though is that technical competency should, as a matter of habit, include marketing dexterity too.

If you have a few quid to invest, give a private community a go – these often share more valuable insights/resources as opposed to giving them away from free on their blogs. A number of paid-for communities that I’ve been lucky enough to have access to (and would recommend to others) include SEOBook, SEOMoz and SEODojo.

Reading helps inform SEO’s of latest developments online

Learning Gateway University of Cumbria (formerly St Martin's College) by jisc_infonet.

Some of the finest SEO’s are indeed the finest because they maintain a monetisation shrewdness that helps them to spot opportunities quickly following technological and marketing developments online. I remember asking my pops when I was 12 what would happen if a company couldn’t get hold of the domain they wanted...if only I’d developed that thinking one step further!

The point is, even in those times of frustration with all the rehash that goes on, keeping your finger on the pulse might just be skimming the headlines of a Search Engine Land, SEO Dojo or HighRankings newsletter, but might just present you with the next great idea for you or a client – something that certainly shouldn’t be missed!

As always, a good motivator is fear too! If you’re agency-side, you don’t want to be in a client meeting and be caught off-guard by not having a point of view about a recent development. And if you’re in-house, then missing an opportunity to a competitor can be just as cruel.

Reading helps creative juices flow

Entropy ≥ Memory . Creativity ² by jef safi.

Whether or not, the information you’re reading about is anecdotal or based on well planned, scientific testing, it is helping to inform ideas or trends to look for in your own day-to-day optimisation. It might even inform ideas for your own tests that might act as a rebuttal to the previous test, or help substantiate these findings. Either way, keeping your mind open to new ideas keeps you developing professionally and creatively.

I read search engine patents not to inform my perception of fact, but to spur on my ideas, help spot trends, and feed my fascination and intrigue in what powers some of the world’s largest search engines and commerce. An excellent starting point if you're interested in search patents would be looking at Bill Slawski's website. A site you can really invest days mining into his archives - an awesome resource!

Needless to say, there isn’t a person in the industry that can handle any question on SEO. For this reason, I like the fact that there is no hard and fast solution that can be given to each and every client. If there was, there would certainly be less chatter and dross out there, but much that feeds technical and marketing debate and prowess would die out too – and that is something that I love too much to encourage. Wouldn’t you agree?

Reading keeps you sociable

Seven Principles of Learning by dkuropatwa.

There's a whole lot of information out there, but with much of the information out there you can engage and interact with the writer and other commentators either on SEO blogs, SEO Twitter lists or forums. As much as the dross can cloud matters the sociable aspects of SEO either online or at events can make this a great sector to be part of - and that's something that is probably more prevalent than most industries so let's make the most of it!

The wrap-up: being the best you can be

be the best you can be

Ultimately, I think treating SEO content online as seeds not trees might be quite helpful. To me the content might not be fact, but it might help to inform ideas, develop technical and marketing solutions, and of course keep you progressing to be the best that you can be.

There are after all a lot of very average or even poor SEO professionals (like there are in any industry), but those that want to stay at the forefront of what can be achieved with the resources at hand, then managing working behaviour becomes as important as managing the work itself.

What do you think?

About Ben McKay

Ben McKay is an SEO Director at Mediaedge:cia in Manchester and SEO blogger in the UK. Say hello to Ben McKay on LinkedIn.