Are we journalists, or marketing professionals?

Ian Lurie

I read a great post today about a tricky link-building technique. The technique is totally legit, builds links from a major domain, and is pure gold.
Of course, now that’s it’s been published, 150,000 other people will immediately run out, abuse the hell out of it, make Google take notice, and flush the entire technique down the toilet.
I am all for sharing information. I do a lot of it on this blog. But before you publish that secret technique, think about whether you’re:

  • A journalist, reporting on happenings in the industry; or
  • An internet marketing professional with a responsibility to represent your clients.

I mean this as the friendliest criticism. I will continue to read the blog in question: The authors rock. But our first responsibility is to our clients.
We cannot kill valuable techniques and assets we use to build our clients’ businesses in a quest to get attention.
If you know a ‘secret weapon’, share it with other SEOs you know and trust over a beer. Don’t provide it to the entire internet so every spammer from Mumbai to Manhattan can turn it into a worthless turd.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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  1. @MikeTek don’t make me come over there. I will PULL THIS BLOG OVER RIGHT NOW AND THEN YOU’RE IN BIG TROUBLE MISTER…

  2. You mean you’re not going to let us in on the secret link-building technique? No fair, waaaah, waaaah. (Holding breath, turning blue.)

  3. will you email the link…pretty please!! or DM me on twitter @twoliadeb again…pretty please! our site is just starting out and I need some new ideas

  4. Ian, I think you are on to something that not a lot of the SEO bloggers talk about, i.e. the line being walked between being a journalist and being a marketer.
    So many of the SEO blogs are being run by individuals or organizations whose primary business is writing the blog, selling premium content (a la SEOmoz), speaking at conferences, etc. There seems to be a dearth of SEO blogs from companies that are still practicing SEO on a day-to-day basis.
    That’s not to say the people behind the blogs where blogging (and selling content and going to conferences) is THE business model have never done client work…far from it. Many did client work, learned a hell of a lot, and left for a more sane (and hopefully more lucrative!) endeavor. But in such cases, I think it becomes easy to shift into more theoretical content postings, and move away from the more actionable posts.
    Theory is important, and I am not trying to discount that importance here. But practical and applicable content appeals to a core group of reader that, in my opinion, are being easily ignored by many of the “journalistic” SEO blogs.

  5. @Eric That’s all well and good but there are maybe 3 blogs on earth that actually make money with SEO content.
    And there is a difference between ‘practical content’, which many of us offer up for free, and ‘rendering important stuff useless’. I can give lots of good advice around SEO without telling perfect strangers every tactic I have in my toolbox.

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