When I first heard about search engine optimization, I was given a set of CD’s and tasked with learning how to bring traffic to a website from the search engines. While those CD’s helped educate me in the basics, it wasn’t until I stumbled across an SEO forum that I really started to learn the methods and tactics that produced results. Since that time, SEO blogs have become increasingly popular as the default place to learn the discipline.

However, as search engines takes a more and more active roll in the community and SEO bloggers continue to publicly discuss previously untapped link sources, little known but effective methods, and conversations held in private, I’ve found myself asking a recurring question:

Is SEO blogging worth it?

That question may seem obsurd, especially since it’s being posed on an SEO blog, but I think it’s an important question. Obviously blogging allows us to communicate with others in the same industry or profession. It allows us to share our knowledge with newcomers (as I said, this is essentially how I learned what has become my profession). And for some SEO bloggers, it attracts clients.

Unfortunately, all of those benefits are not without their costs. Every time a blogger posts about a new place to obtain a free clean link, or reports a site selling links, or demonstrates how one of the search engines is being gamed, they are making every other SEOs job that much harder. The link source closes the loop hole, or the links are devalued by the search engines. The site selling links receives a penalty and the buyers lose value. The site being used to illustrate the point loses rankings, loses authority, or loses it’s competitive edge.

The next time you come across a great source of free links, wouldn’t you be better served by using that information to improve your site’s or your client’s site’s rankings? Sure blogging it might bring you some attention and maybe even some links, but will a few extra subscribers benefit you as much as increased rankings would? Do you really get enough business from your blog that it would be more valuable to expose that link source than to use it to improve the quality of service you’re providing to your current clients?

I realize many of these types of posts are written with the best of intentions, to achieve all of the benefits we mentioned earlier, but many times that’s not the end result. In this age of social media, interactive SEO courses, and cheaper and more frequent confrences or events, do we really need SEO blogs to achieve the benefits we’re seeking?

Someone once told me that with every decision I need to ask myself whether or not the juice would be worth the squeeze. So I ask you, all you SEO bloggers out there, is SEO blogging really worth it?