As an SEO I’ve always been very focused on learning. When I started I realized almost instantly that in a fast developing business like ours you need to be ahead of developments all the time. Therefore I made some choices to make sure I would be obligated to stay on top of the developments and know my stuff. One of the best choices for my development was to start blogging about search (and online marketing).
It all began when I decided to start a blog for my former employer. As the only contributor at the time I was forced to produce something with a certain amount of regularity. Based on the posts I produced there I was asked for some guest posts on different blogs in The Netherlands. Which finally led to me being asked by Bas to blog for State of Search. Which of course I gladly accepted although I knew it was a level of audience that would force me to achieve a higher level of blogging I was used to (and in different language as well). Later on I also picked up blogging on my own blog in Dutch on jeroenvaneck.com.
Almost 200 posts later I realize blogging for all these platforms gave me a lot of benefits. Much more than I expected. I recommend everyone who wants to be good in this business to pick up in blogging. And here are four reasons why you should.
1. You really need to know your things
When you write for an audience you have to make sure you really need to know your stuff. You have to make sure that what you write is true, clever and/or insightful. That means you have to think really well about what you’re saying, you have to do proper research and you can’t assume anything.
The higher the level of the audience, the bigger the challenge as a blogger. I know I’ve learned an awful lot from writing posts for State of Search. I did some extensive research for posts like AJAX and SEO, will they ever be united? and 301 redirects: not so good for SEO after all?. And I’m certain those posts really improved my knowledge on the subjects. I wanted to be thorough and complete.
2. You learn how to formulate and explain
Besides knowing your facts blogging also makes you learn to formulate the things you know in a way other people can understand it. And within search that’s not always easy. For the company I wrote for, the primary audience were the clients. That meant formulating things in a way clients could understand. And that’s harder than it seems at first. But I believe, in the more than 100 hundred posts I wrote there, I really learned to explain things on a client-level properly.
On the other side blogging for State of Search in a non-native language meant you really thinking through how you write things down. It means you first have to understand exactly what you want to say. Being able to formulate things more easily really helps you in doing your job as a SEO and understanding what you read.
3. Getting feedback on your insights and opinions
When you write for a blog with a large audience it means getting feedback on the things you publish. And although processing feedback on your posts might take as much time as writing them I really recommend you to do it. When you are prepared to listen to the feedback and accept the criticism you can learn an awful lot more than when you just publish your posts and ignore what follows.
Especially with an audience like State of Search you get some really interesting feedback that makes you rethink your opinions and directly contributes to your knowledge and insights. It’s great reading all the different views on posts like Retargeting: a blessing or a curse? and How to Handle the Declining Status of SEO?
4. Getting to know interesting people
Besides all the benefits of gaining more knowledge and insights blogging also gives you the possibility to get to know more interesting people. I know it did for me. Once you get your name out there people will interact with you more, whether it’s on conferences, social media or wherever you might meet those people. If they’ve read something you wrote it’s a great conversation starter.
State of Search got me some great interactions with some well-respected people in the industry, but also the regular interactions with my co-bloggers are really valuable in my position. If I’m ever in a tough situation where I do not know the answer by myself, I now have a great amount of possibilities to interact with people that might know.
Conclusively I have to say blogging really got some interesting opportunities and I learned a lot from it. If you can, you really should do it. I know it takes some time and dedication to get it working for you, but it’s definitely worth the effort.