One of the challenges a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) copywriter faces is keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest SEO news and goings-on.
And, it’s important that you do for these three reasons:
1) If your client asks you about something they read or heard about, you’ll never be caught flat-footed. You’ll always be poised to discuss the latest industry trends and issues.
2) You’ll be able to proactively advise your clients if there are changes coming down the pipe that affect them. This is a great way to get repeat business from your clients, because they’ll view you as someone “in the know” who will always keep their SEO current.
3) You’ll always be using the latest and greatest SEO tools when performing work on your client’s sites. Which will make your job easier and you’ll be able to do more in less time.
SEO expert Heather Lloyd-Martin concurs …
“If you want to be an SEO copywriter, it’s crucial that you stay informed about the latest SEO happenings. You don’t need to be an expert in “everything” SEO, such as technical, social search, link building, etc. But, it is important to know the latest and greatest. That way, when a client asks, you can tell them what you know – and you can always refer them to someone else if they need more in-depth information,” she says.
Keeping up-to-date doesn’t have to be challenging if you know where to go and how to do it.
I’m going to do it in two parts. First, I’ll tell you where to find the information, and then I’ll show you the fastest way to access it.
Part 1: Seven trusted sources for accurate and up-to-date SEO News and Innovations. Here are the seven sites I’d recommend you pay attention to:
1. SeachEngineLand ─ This site is led by journalist and well-regarded “SEO guru” Danny Sullivan. Danny has been covering search since 1995 when he undertook a study of how search engines indexed web pages. His site is a must-read for SEOers.
2. Searchmarketing Standard ─ This is the online version of the print magazine Search Marketing Standard which launched in early 2006. The print version reaches 50,000 Search Engine advertisers and marketers. They offer practical, easy-to-understand information about the search marketing industry.
3. SearchEngineWatch ─ This site will provides “tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry, and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines.”
4. REELSEO ─ If you have clients who use video as part of their marketing efforts, this site is an ideal resource for you. They deal with Internet video marketing, video advertising, SEO, video production, the online video industry, social media, YouTube, and anything else that will help you leverage the power of online video.
5. SuccessWorks Blog ─ SEO’s pioneer Heather Lloyd-Martin provides you with tips and information on how to be a more effective SEO copywriter. For example, in a recent post, she answered 10 common questions someone might have if they’re just breaking into SEO copywriting.
6. Matt Cutts’ Blog ─ Matt Cutts works for Google’s Search Quality Group. On his blog, he advises readers on how to achieve better visibility for their site on Google.
7. Seroundtable.com ─ A blog written and maintained by some of the top SEO copywriters working today. The mission of this site is to save you time by providing you with a single source for the most interesting threads covered in the Search Engine Marketing forums.
Now obviously, if you had to go around to the above sites each day and browse for relevant items, you could easily get carried away and spend a couple of hours taking everything in.
Which brings me to …
Part 2: How to stay current without wasting time.
The best solution is to let the information come to you. And, the tool I recommend to do that is Google Reader.
Google Reader is a web aggregator – meaning it takes website feeds you choose and brings them together on your computer desktop. It’s compatible with ATOM and RSS Feeds, the two main technologies sites use to push information to your computer.
To subscribe, go to the above sites (or any other sites you fancy) and click on the orange feed button or the “subscribe to RSS feed” link. Then select Google Reader. If Google Reader isn’t listed, you can also subscribe by copying the URL into the “Add a subscription” field in Google Reader. Google Reader also has a search function that enables you to search for SEO-related (or whatever related) feeds. Google Reader will also recommend feeds that you might want to subscribe to based on your history.
Once you’ve subscribed, with a few clicks of the mouse you can quickly browse through all the latest SEO news and information. Shorter items can be read within Google Reader. For longer articles, you’ll need to click on them, which will take you to their site where you can read the items in their entirety.
You can sort the items by newest, oldest, or “by magic.” When you select “by magic,” Google does their best to sort them for you by what they feel is the most relevant order.
To manage your feeds, simply create a folder called “SEO” and move all your SEO-related feeds to it. You can rename your feeds for easier identification (if necessary). You can also create customized tags. For example, you could create a tag called “SEO─Important” and then any items you feel are a must read, simply attach that tag to them. You can also star items for quick recall.
1) Go to Google Reader download page. (Google Account required!) Click “try it out” and download and install Google Reader.
2) Go to the above sites and add the ones that you feel will benefit you the most by clicking on their orange and white icon or the “Subscribe to RSS Feed” link.
3) Organize all your SEO feeds in one folder.
4) Every other day or so, review the items that come into Google Reader.
5) Tag or add a star to items that you feel are important.
Follow these steps and I guarantee you’ll know more about what’s new and relevant in SEO copywriting than the vast majority of SEO copywriters working today… which will firmly establish you in your client’s eyes as an indispensable part of their online marketing team.