An Editorial Note On My Stories, Sources & Coverage Here

It seems I upset about 25% of the SEO world yesterday with this story – that was not my intent and honestly, I didn’t even think if it would upset people. I think it is important for me to explain how I write here.

I’ve been in the search space for over 15 years, in the web space for over 20 years. I’ve been writing here for just about 12 years (December 2003 is when this place was founded). I have written around 30,000 stories on search topics over the 12 years across this site, Search Engine Land and then before SEL, Search Engine Watch. I write a lot about search.

Over the years, I have formed trusted sources for information on both sides of the spectrum and in the middle. From white hat to black hat to in between. From mobile SEO experts, to paid search experts, to technical SEOs around AJAX quirks, to Panda specialists and much much more. I even have sources within the search companies that trust me. I have never broken the trust of any of my sources, as far as I know, and never plan to do that in the future.

The other good aspect is that this is really, you might not believe me, a hobby. I write about search between 7 and 9am EST Monday through Friday. I do it because I love search, I really do. I love the industry, the people, how fast the changes happen both on the search engine side and spammer side. It is just a fast moving and always changing space. I don’t do this for the money, I really don’t. I barely make much on the ads here, thankfully I have a company (unrelated to search) that does pretty well and it funds me to support my family.

The point is, I don’t have alternative motives when writing here. It is my notebook of public search topics I can share with others. Some like it, some hate it – either way, it draws tens of thousands of views a day – which is nice for my ego. I post here because it is amazing to look back at how things change over time. There is excitement I get from finding a nugget in a forum that hasn’t been coverage or discovered on any other site.

The important point is that when I write something here, I write it fast, with as few words as possible. More often than not, the words I use are used for a purpose. I do often write when I am tired, so I am not perfect, I make mistakes. But I try to use my words carefully, keep them short and on point.

When I source a tweet that might look that it has multiple meanings and I take it to mean something that others might not see. I see it. I have 12 years covering search based on short messages from the industry. I am often very good at interpreting (maybe speculating) what is behind the words of those I follow. When I write a story on a short tweet, a forum post, chatter in the industry around updates or changes in the search results – I do so based on my experience of covering these over the years.

I wouldn’t post something that is abstract and make something big out of it if I did not think it was important. When I do that, it is easy to look at it and say I am a bad journalist. That is fine. But as someone who has earned the respect, credibility and trust of so many people across this industry, I ask you trust my experience here.

There are about 20 stories I can write a day here, I pick on average five.

Again, when I pull something out and write about it. I do so for a reason, to help the community. I do not do it for selfish reasons. I have no hate for others in the industry, I am not looking to post something with the intent of hurting anyone, I do it simply because I think a message needs to be made, that the industry needs to hear the chatter around things and they can do what they want with it.

I do so with as few words as possible, based on not just a simple tweet, but based on my years and years of experiencing covering the space.

So again, there is often more to the words I post in my stories than just the words you see on the screen.

Sorry for being long on this post, but I felt it needed to be said. Hopefully people understand.

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