Don’t Blog What You Don’t Know

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One of the things that’s scariest about being a blogger is that your @$$ is on the line literally every time you publish a new piece of content. Anything you say on your blog can and will be used against you by your readers, your customers, your competition, and anyone else who can cause problems for you. That’s why I live by a simple rule:

Don’t blog about things you don’t know about.

Recently, there was a bit of a dustup over on the Search Engine Journal blog (a blog I absolutely love and highly recommend, by the way). One of the authors wrote a post entitled “New PageRank Formula May Change Your SEO Priorities.”

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that it turns out the post was filled with outdated information and blatant misinformation, as David Harry so passionately pointed out. Now, I’m not here to dissect the arguments about SEO and PageRank, because frankly, it’s beyond my realm of expertise and I leave that crap to the true search geeks.

Instead, what I want to talk about is what led to this whole incident—a blogger writing about a topic in which he wasn’t knowledgeable. In the blogger’s own response to David’s post, he said “Nowhere in my article or the comments did I claim to be an SEO expert. I am not. Also, that is not a requirement for posting on SEJ.”

What?!

If you’re posting on a blog, especially a leading industry blog, about a particular subject, you’re automatically expected to be an expert on the subject.  Otherwise, why are you writing about it if you’re not knowledgeable on the subject and have nothing of value to add?

Look, I’m not here to pile on the author of the original SEJ post. That’s why I didn’t mention his name. I just wanted to point out how harmful it can be to your personal reputation, your website, your business, etc. to blog about things that you don’t really know about. You’re just begging for trouble.

Just because blogs are more informal than newspapers or magazines doesn’t mean that you can slack off on your research and fact-checking. There will always be someone there who is going to hold you accountable for your words, so make sure you choose them carefully.

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