We’ve had a huge blogroll on Search Engine Land since we started last year. Inspired by some recent posts, I’ve now organized that massive list into categories, to make it easier for those looking to find some good blog reading. Below, a guide to our blogroll, designed to help those who want to seek out information directly. I’ll also cover some new tips and resources in tuning into search news via blogs along the way.
Search Engine Land Blogroll Categories
I’d resisted organizing the blogroll beyond basic alphabetization for ages, mainly because it’s so hard to stay on top of lists like this once you start categorizing things. In addition, categories are never perfect. However, I do think the attempt is worth the time, so I’ve finally bitten the bullet. Here’s a guide to the blogroll categories and why sites are listed in the order they are:
- Search News: These are places that keep you up to speed with the
latest developments in search. I’ve really tried to focus on sites that stay
regularly updated and focus entirely on search or where search is a good chunk
of their coverage. The focus is also on NEWS, rather than commentary or tips,
as I’ll get into below. That’s not to say you won’t find commentary or tips on
these blogs (Search Engine Land, for example, has all three: news, tips, and
commentary). However, I decided blogs could only exist in one category on the
blogroll, and these sites are the heaviest on news.
We’re listed first, as I think we provide the greatest concentration of fresh headlines about search. Search Engine Roundtable comes second as giving you the same but with a "heard on the street/forums" perspective. After that, I’ve listed the remaining sites in terms of how focused and fresh they are on search news. Please keep in mind that this isn’t precise, and the quality between the sites is very close. All are outstanding. I know those in charge of all these blogs, and I think of them far more as colleagues (esteemed ones at that) than competition.
Below the links for this category are a set of links that will place all the Search News Blogs in an at-a-glance format on the iGoogle personalized home page, My Yahoo, Windows Live, Netvibes, and Pageflakes. This makes it easy to scan and see what the group collectively is reporting as major stories. An OPML file for the group is also listed, for those that want to roll their own application.
- Search Commentary: These sites might not keep up with search news right
when it breaks, but they often have interesting commentary soon after it does.
Check them out for that often valuable "post game" analysis. I’ve
placed John Battelle first for those who might feel they have only time for
once such site — John has outstanding observations. But all these sites have
wonderful content and deserve attention.
- Search Marketing Advice: Looking for those tips on succeeding well
with SEO, paid search, and search marketing in general? These sites make it
their business to especially focus on tips and advice. SEOmoz is up tops. Yes,
we have a cross-promotional arrangement with SEOmoz, as Rand Fishkin, who heads
explained. As he also explained, that doesn’t impact editorial decisions
– and editorially, I’ve put SEOmoz first on the list because of the
outstanding efforts the team has done there to try and break down search
marketing for the beginner. But as with the other categories, the quality of
all these sites is great.
- AOL, Ask.com, Google, Microsoft, & Yahoo Official Blogs: All the
major search engines have official blogs where they often communicate
important information. I’ve listed major ones that we watch in particular here
at Search Engine Land. There may be more (especially in the case beyond Google
– see here for more
about that) than what’s listed in the blogroll.
- Conferences & Events: Gatherings are an important part of the
search marketing world. These sites give you news about various prominent
events or connect you with calendar listings so you can keep up on what’s
coming. Search Engine Land’s own events, the
SMX: Search Marketing Expo
conference series and SMN:
Search Marketing Now webinar series, are listed first. ‘Cause it’s our
- Domaining: These sites focus on generating income through owning
valuable domain names, which sometimes intersects with search marketing.
- Facebook: The darling of the social networking space has impacts on
search, and these blogs track happenings with the Big F.
- Forums & Discussion Sites: If live gatherings are important to the
search marketing world, then virtual gatherings at online forums are even more
so. They’ve been going on since before live events happened, and much sharing
and debate, along with plenty of community connection, happens at these
places. Our own Sphinn site comes first
since, yes, it’s our site. After that, everyone’s listed alphabetically, since
the last thing I need is to update the various forum communities by suggesting
one is more important than another. Indeed, it doesn’t matter if a forum is
big or small — what matters is that it provides someone with a home, and
these places do that.
- Google, Microsoft, & Yahoo Employee Blogs: More and more, those who
work for the major search engines are also blogging outside official channels.
Sometimes, this just lets you discover more about the humans behind the
machines. Other times, there are tips and information to be had. I’ve definitely
not listed all the employee blogs out there and likely am missing some
important ones in terms of search — I’ll try and improve over the coming
months. In the Google list, Matt Cutts comes first, as he is quite simply must
reading for anyone who cares about SEO. Over at Yahoo, Jeremy Zawodny comes
first, as I also consider him a must-read among the Yahoo bloggers. But the
usual caveat — there’s great content beyond the top picks.
- Google & Microsoft News Blogs: Google is so huge in the search
world that there are several blogs devoted only or mostly to Google itself.
The first three I’ve listed do an especially outstanding job watching over the
Big G. Microsoft also has a set of site just tracking its efforts.
- Humor: Everyone needs a laugh now and then, and these blogs poke
fun at search and search marketing.
- Link Building Blogs: The focus here is on building links, and Eric
Ward tops the list as being the earliest professional link builder on the
internet, to my knowledge.
- Local & Map Blogs: The focus in this group is on local search and
- Old Fart SEO: It’s a compliment, really. Really (but if you
disagree, let me know). Indeed, I suspect getting on this list will probably
be a badge of honor to some. These are blogs where you can
regularly find commentary relating to "old school" SEO and search marketing,
often with a cynical and bemused tone. As opposed to the Search Marketing
Advice categories, these tend to be blogs run by individuals, sharing their
personal experiences and usually not worrying about maintaining a corporate
tone. Greg Boser and Dave Naylor top the list as the old fartiest of SEOs I
know. If you have a chance to talk with any of these people, do so and
listen lots. Otherwise, read what they post.
- Paid Search & Contextual: This group focuses on buying and selling
ad space through the search engines.
- Search Data & Analyst Blogs: These are good places to find numbers,
if for some reason you feel lacking after browsing our own
Search Stats category.
- Searching & Researching Blogs: Want to learn how to search better?
Check these places out.
- SEM Companies & Individuals: These are blogs from companies and individuals who have
had interesting things to say about search or are notable in other ways,
though they might not blog on a regular basis.
- Search Podcasts: You can learn about search by listening, rather
than reading. Check out these podcasts. My own
Daily SearchCast comes first on the
list, followed by news editor Barry Schwartz’s
Pulse because of the whole it’s our site thing! Plus, they’re great shows
– but definitely give the great shows a listen, too. Webmaster Radio comes
last on the list, but that’s not because it should be last for consideration.
It’s the opposite — we didn’t want it lost in the middle, when it’s one of
the first places to go when seeking podcasts on marketing. Webmaster Radio,
indeed, produces most of the podcasts on the list.
- Social Media Marketing: Learn more from these sites about that
kissing cousin to SEO,
social media marketing, which is growing as an essential skill needed for
- Vertical Blogs: These are blogs focused in some particular area not
listed above, so I’ve placed them in this catch-all category.
- Related News Sources: These sites don’t focus on search, but they
often touch on search or have interesting stories related to search, from
time-to-time. Check them out! Techmeme leads the list as an essential resource
we consult throughout the day.
- Related Tech People: Similar to Related News Sources, these are
individuals who might not be focused exclusively on search but whom still
touch on it in interesting, informative, and sometimes controversial ways.
- Our Staff’s Personal Blogs: What Search Engine Land blog about when
they aren’t blogging about search!
- Blog Compilations: These are places to get an overview of search news from across many or all of the blogs on the blogroll. SearchCap: Daily Search Recap is our daily newsletter that culls out the best, in our opinion, from everything on the blogroll above and more. We list it first because as our Feed & Information Overload? Read SearchCap! post explains, it’s especially designed to help the person who does NOT want to read over 100 blogs individually. SearchMonth is our corresponding monthly summary of search news. Down at the bottom is TopRank’s "Big List" that goes beyond our blogroll, covering hundreds of search marketing blogs. If what we list isn’t enough, check out that list!
Getting On The Blogroll
How do you get on the list? First and foremost, the blogs on the list tend to have written stuff that’s interesting on a regular basis. Most of them are either in the feeds I regularly read or the feeds of Search Engine Land news editor Barry Schwartz.
Can you ask to be included? Sure. Will that guarantee you get on? No, unless you’re doing as I said above, writing quality material on a regular basis.
In particular, if you’ve just started a blog, don’t email asking to get on the blog roll. Give yourself a month or two to build some content that makes it self-evident that you should be included. Also, you don’t have to list us in your blogroll to be included. But c’mon — if you’re asking to be on someone’s blogroll, you ought to think about linking back. I’m somewhat amazed, actually, at the number of requests I’ve gotten to be included from sites that have no blogroll at all.
More advice. The world does not need another general search marketing blog. Or maybe it does, but the odds of you getting noticed are harder if you don’t stand out in some way. Consider focusing on a particular topic. Build a space for yourself (there are plenty of vertical search areas not being covered in depth), and you can always branch out.
Finally, I KNOW there are important blogs that I want on the list that have been left off. Categorizing our existing list was a massive job. I added a number of new blogs, but there are more I plan to get to in the coming weeks, especially some of the good ones I’ve noticed through our Sphinn site.
Thanks & Inspiration
Evan Carmichael recently named Search Engine Land the top search marketing blog to watch in 2008, which was great to hear and another award to add to our growing bragroll. There were some others on his top 50 list that I thought should get added to our blogroll when another surprise came in.
That was being placed on the Original Signal: SEO page, which is a wonderful resource that lists several top search blogs all on one page, making it easy to scan headlines in an at-a-glance fashion. Check it out!
I meant to post about the new page but Lee Odden beat me to it at his TopRank Online Marketing Blog. His Search Engine Optimization News, Blogs and RSS Feed Aggregators post covers some additional tools, such as SEOmash, which also has long given an at-a-glance view of headlines. That’s gave me a few more gems to add to our list.
Then yesterday, Rand Fishkin published his Re-Ranking the SEO Blogosphere (and My Updated Firefox Sidebar) post, covering the top items that Rand visits on a regular basis — all nicely ranked and annotated. Aside from being a great source anyone should read, it was the final kick I needed to get our categorization going. And so here we are!