The following is my favored reading list when it comes to search marketing, especially on the SEO side. It includes PPC and usability/conversion optimization stuff too because you can’t really become advanced in this field without focusing on the bottom line. Check out my description of each blog to see if it fits your interests.
I’m focusing on those that, while they may have some following (a few thousand RSS readers), are not mega brands in the space. On a related note, my own blog fits the generalist/link building categories, so if that’s your bag, add my RSS feed to your reader.
Original & Creative Internet Marketing Generalists
The folks in this category will blog the gamut from analytics to social media.
Dave Davis’ of Red Fly Marketing’s Online Marketing Blog . Dave’s writing features some of the best material on AdWords you can find, as well as its frequent overlap with SEO. What’s great is that the writing is accessible, insofar as it’s not too heavy on tech jargon.
Marty Weintraub @ Aimclear Search Marketing Blog for an ad agency, in-house and PR. Marty’s got to be one of the most creative thinkers and writers in the business, and his writing reflects that. I can’t honestly recall reading a rehashed post here, while the original insights – which just share a fraction of the advanced stuff they do – are abundant.
Wil Reynolds and the gang @ Seer Interactive’s SEO Blog – Again, I enjoy the creative thinking a lot! The case studies and tactics they share often reveal a new approach to skinning the cat, which a tactician like yours truly just can’t get enough of. As with Marty’s blogging, it feels good to get a confirmation for your own ideas when you see them show up on Seer’s blog [without having told the idea to the Seer guys], which has happened a few times.
Blogstorm search engine optimiSation blog (that’s UK spelling for ya!) – Pat Altoft runs a wonderful, well-read blog that covers a range of internet marketing topics. While it’s a generalist in scope, the posts are very much original and useful to your ordinary SEO consultant.
Tom Demers & gang @Wordstream’s Internet Marketing Blog – Out of nowhere, the guys at Wordstream keyword research have quickly emerged on the search marketing scene with a series of excellent interviews with insightful SEOs/PPC marketers. Of course, their own material
SEO Smarty’s SEO Consulting Blog – Ann doesn’t blog regularly, but when she does, you KNOW it’s going to be something valuable. She’s a pleasant woman to work with as well, and an excellent contact to have as she’s a connector in the “Tipping Point” social media sense.
Nick Wilsdon, UK/Russian SEO – Nick is experienced in foreign [SEO affairs] and his blog accordingly touches international SEO issues. You’ll also see him covering social media questions and tech/security stuff. Nick was one of the SEOs I spoke to regarding how SEOs deal with international currency fluctuations.
Stephan Spencer’s SEO & Web Marketing Blog (aka Stephen’s Scatterings, which is an unfortunate name IMHO, since it sounds kind of like what pigeons do…). Featuring a wide mix of content, Stephan’s frequently got advanced nuggets buried around his blog. It’s worth digging through his archives.
Richard Baxter’s London SEO Blog, SEO Gadget – Richard’s writing tends more towards the technical, covering particular tags, formats, Ubuntu, etc. His interests are wide-ranging though, and his own link building ideas and tips on the human relationships necessary for successful SEO are quite valuable.
Link Building Devotees
As the name suggests, these are the expert link builders.
Wiep’s Link Building Blog – Wiep’s monthly link roundups are must-reads. You can’t really be following the latest in link building unless you pay attention to Wiep’s roundups, which canvas both the popular and the unknown [where lots of goodies are]. And Wiep’s own linkbait content is quality, too. I can’t say enough good things about Wiep’s blog, so to supplement, I’ll say something bad – he doesn’t publish frequently enough!
Debra Mastaler – Alliance Link Building Spiel – What more can I say besides that Debra knows link building inside and out and reading her blog is a great way to get up to speed on the field.
Local SEO, search and related internet marketing tips and news get done by these fellows.
Understanding G Maps and Local Search – Mike Blumenthal is the de facto starting point for local SEO. I think many SEOs who ever practiced local SEO learned the trade from Mike’s site (including myself!), and it continues to be a reference today. From tactics to bugs and spam in Google Maps, Mike’s got the scoop.
David Mihm’s SMB Web Design and Local SEO blog – Another reference for anyone involved in local search, David Mihm has made a reputation for himself notably via his annual local search ranking factors linkbait, as well as his informed contributions to Search Engine Land and SMX.
SMB & Local SEO Guide – Andrew Shotland mixes the traditional local search marketing fare (comparisons with the Yellow Pages) with the latest in local tech, like social local search (yeah, I think it’s a mouthful, too).
Greg Sterling’s Screenwerk blog on Local Internet Marketing – Greg has got the lowdown on the Yellow Pages, having worked at one of the largest Yellow Pages publishers around (The Kelsey Group), but he’s also got the latest news coverage of the topic. No kidding – if it’s a story with any local connection, Greg’s on it.
Dev Basu’s Search Marketing Insights – My fellow resident of Soviet Canuckistan (that’s Canada for those of you who don’t know) shares a lot of the same interests with me: building a following, how to sell more effectively, affiliate marketing and local search. The topics range around, but Dev keeps it fresh.
Not only do the folks in this group think critically, but they also take your hand and get you to do so as well.
Michael Martinez’s SEO Theory and Analysis – Michael’s one of the deep thinkers in SEO. He’s one of the few people around who understand what the scientific method is (I’m guessing most SEOs who don’t have a math/programming/science background slept through those classes in high school), and that’s reflected in his critical thinking. I respect and really look up to Mike, but he at times turns others off with what is easily perceived as arguing for its own sake, and/or as nit-picking technicalities.
SEO Scientist – As the name implies, Branko Rihtman is cut from the same cloth as Michael and Marios. While he doesn’t publish regularly, Branko does run experiments to discover how the algorithms work in specific instances, and he also provides a great roundup of advanced SEO posts similar to what Wiep does with link building.
All Things SEM – Marios Alexandrou is one of those who, like Mike Martinez, understand the scientific method and can actually apply a/b split testing to discover ranking factors. When this guy publishes his research results, you are compelled to read… on pain of banning from the index :D. Now if only he’d publish more than once a month…
Tim Nash’s SEO consulting and techie/code blog is another writer in this category of standouts, who got my attention via Sphinn I believe, but also gained a lot of notoriety generally for his Flash indexing studies and tests on PDFs and the like.
Dave Harry’s SEO Blog feat. Search and IM News, at Huomah.com. A self-proclaimed patent and information retrieval (IR) geek, Dave helps make the techie speak accessible to the rest of us, though he’s still a bit heavy on the jargon at times.
Eli’s Blue Hat SEO – The goto man on blackhat techniques, Eli’s tactics have inspired more than one person’s creative thinking. In fact, his desert scraping combined with Slightly Shady SEO’s scrape of expired domains with Yahoo backlinks leads to my idea of resurrecting sites from the dead.
Easy Tricks For Great PPC by Dan Soha – If you’ve ever thought of a trick to use in AdWords… get over yourself, because Dan thought of it first. Between his background in math and his unbridled creativity, Dan is probably the most advanced PPC guy I know.
BG’s PPC Theory – If you’re looking for AdWords and conversion optimization nuggets, Brad Geddes is your man. I have to admit that I’m not a regular reader, but only because I don’t spend lots of time on PPC. Those times I played around in Brad’s archives, I had a big grin on my face like a kid with a birthday cake.
Conversion Optimization & Usability
All the work we do to get traffic would be useless if it didn’t convert, right? Well, that’s why you need to read these people’s blogs!
Malcolm Coles’ blog on newspapers, SEO, WordPress, etc. – Malcolm’s take on things allows me to get a fresh perspective on several issues I wouldn’t think about on my own. For instance, I believe it was his review of various newspapers’ usability that led me to increase font size here.
Ion Interactive’s Post Click Marketing Blog – I have a love-hate relationship with Ion’s blog. I love that they have great ways of explaining things that I find to make more sense than, for example, FutureNow’s Eisenberg brothers. I love it when they share new ideas or methods. But I HATE how they repeat themselves so frequently…
CLM’s Thoughts on Usability and Conversion – Closed Loop Marketing’s founders, Sandra Niehaus and Lance Loveday, really got me started on conversion optimization by giving me their classic book, Web Design 4 ROI. Their blog continues to innovate and shares a mix of tips on PPC and conversion optimization.
WiderFunnel’s Marketing Optimization Blog – I forget how I discovered Wider Funnel, but they have a great way of illustrating their posts and sharing case studies that just keeps you hooked. I find their site pretty impressive as well, so it’s nice to see the shoemaker’s kids wearing patent leather booties ;)!
Tim Ash @ SEW – Tim shares a variety of ideas, and lately he’s been on a kick of helping conversion newbs get into optimization. What stands out to me about Tim and his writing – and this is also true of his book – is that he doesn’t accept assumptions easily, but is rather inclined towards critical thinking. And that’s a theme of advanced search marketing in my books… or book rather, as I’m working on an Advanced SEO book…
Usability Post – What’s neat is that this site talks about usability beyond the standard stuff that you hear over and over on other usability blogs. I’ve also found Dimitry’s ads exceptionally useful as I catalog usability tools.
The Conversion Doctor – Eric Graham is particularly focused on writing quality sales copy. And I don’t mean just any keyword-stuffed descriptive text. I mean copy that sells. You see so many fluffy copywriter blogs full of posers online… Eric is at the opposite end and kind of goes overboard on the pushy sales technique side of things.
VigorFish – They’ve got case studies, tips and all sorts of goodness. Me likey :).
Web Analysts Web Business and Conversion Optimization Blog -While this site features some great content, it’s really oriented to hardcore web analytics guys and gals. They’re not overly enamored of jargon, but you need to have your thinking cap on to follow. (For more blogs on conversion, check out this preso and the firms who ran these tests.)
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