I haven’t been using Sphinn, a social news site angled to online marketing, much in recent months. It’s partially because I’m busy and my attention has been focused elsewhere, but it’s also due to the fact that I was not seeing topics of interest or that I thought I already knew.
Unless someone directly points me to an article of note or a headline via the Sphinn Twitter feed catches my eye, I haven’t done my part to stay up to date with the community on my own.
In that post, he takes a look at a week’s worth of submissions (900+) and boils them down to a concise list of approximately 50 posts that people who are new and interested in SEO/SEM may find of value. I have to admit that I found a good deal of them interesting and presenting new information or unique perspectives. But many of them talk about SEO topics I was at least aware of and probably would never have clicked into, had I seen them originally on Sphinn or my RSS reader.
The fact that search engine marketing people often revisit topics written in the past can be a good thing for the industry for a variety of reasons:
- There are new people entering the industry everyday.
- There are new people looking for search engine marketing resources every day.
- People searching for SEO resources and information don’t always find the original destination for any given topic, no matter how experienced they are in the industry.
- Quality search engine marketing posts illustrate how knowledge can be passed between professionals in our industry.
Regardless of whether a repetitive SEO post has value to me, a well written post may have tremendous value for someone new in the industry or using social news sites like Sphinn for information or working with a particular SEO vendor or consultant who runs their own blog or news resource.
I don’t believe it is a secret that we all have to learn from somewhere and oftentimes that’s from another online source. I also don’t believe it’s a bad thing to spread the message or offer perspective when it’s truly something of value.
When you decide to reposition what someone else said
Here are some things I consider when repositioning existing SEO information that is meant to provide value to any readership (including those who may have seen the topic discussed before):
- There’s very little to no value in simply copying another’s work (and less value – or ethics – if you don’t cite your source).
- Offer your own perspectives or provide new examples or ideas to the topic.
- I’m not a fan of the SEO post which simply repositions another’s position or observation, without testing for results or trying (and at least initially succeeding) with the original poster’s strategy. That’s my personal opinion.
- Sometimes you stumble across a great idea that is just not written well. If you’re a good writer, structure the position in a more readable format (but definitely give credit where credit is due).
- Make certain you really know what you’re talking about (and get assistance in tough subjects). Try not to get in over your head (at least at first :-))
The bottom line is that professionals working in search engine marketing for many years may grow tired of SEO posts which revisit documented topics or existing discussion. But oftentimes, these posts are not meant for everyone; they’re meant for people who are new to the industry in some way or another.
As search engine marketing professionals and industry contributors, if we take the time to revisit valuable topics, inflecting our own experience, examples and perspective, in a constructive manner, it really can only be a good thing in the end.
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