Five Pieces of Blogging Advice I Wish You’d Stop Giving

Erik's Tumblr Feed

I don’t know why I bother sometimes.

(“I don’t know why you bother ever.”)

Whenever someone writes a “five blogging secrets” post, I keep thinking, “maybe this is it. Maybe this is the one. Maybe this blog post will have at least one useful blogging tip that I can use.”

But it didn’t. It doesn’t. It never did. It was written, just like every other post on blogging, for the absolute beginner, who, given the constant bombardment of amateur advice, no longer exists in this world. We’ve polluted the Internet so much with useless, remedial blogging advice that it’s gotten into the water, and our children are born knowing the five most important steps to successful blogging.

I’ll admit, I’ve given this advice. Hell, I still give it in talks, depending on my audience and who I’m writing for. But everyone is giving it. I’m seeing it all over the goddamn place, and if I see much more of it, I’m going to scream at someone.

So, please, if not for me, then for the good of the country: stop it. Just stop it. Stop giving the same damn advice over and over and over again. Stop copying and pasting each other’s “five blogging secrets” posts.

These are the five pieces of blogging advice I want you to stop giving.

  1. Write good content: Blah, blah, blah! People say this like it’s The Most Important Advice Ever. It’s stupid, vile, and utterly useless, because everyone a) knows it, and b) thinks they do it. “I think I’ll write completely utter crap,” said no one ever. The problem is, everyone already thinks they write well, and that their work is just as good as everyone else’s. Even the conspiracy theorists who write 10,000 word treatises in a single day think what they’re producing is gold, and they’re surprised the world isn’t beating a path to their door. Telling people to write good content is like telling people to breathe or chew their food when they eat. It may be important to hear for anyone who’s brand new to blogging, but the people who know enough about the Internet to find the blog post where you shared this little piece of dreariness have already seen this more than once.
  2. Grow your social network: Really? I thought having my brother and a couple friends from work following me on a Twitter account I rarely use was a guaranteed step toward social media rock stardom. So you’re saying that the more people who read my stuff, the more success I’ll have? BRILLIANT! Give that man a Pulitzer prize for extreme cleverness! Next week, check out my new wealth creating blog post, “buy low, sell high.”
  3. Find your niche/passion: Okay, this one might not be such a Duh! piece of advice, but I’m tired of it. Anyone who has a barely detectable pulse has heard this one before, so it’s nothing new. Combine this with item #1 — write passionately about your content — and Tony Robbins will personally punch you in the nose.
  4. Erik's Tumblr Feed

    Alright, alright, fine! I have a Tumblr feed. But I have it ironically.

  5. Create value: Value is in the eyes of the beholder. And if you’re giving advice like this, there’s a whooole lot of beholders who are more than a little annoyed with you right now. Everyone perceives value in their own way. While I might think your literary comparison between Dr. Who and Mr. Ferrars from Sense and Sensibility is completely useless, there are plenty of Dr. Who/Jane Austen fans who would disagree with me loudly. No matter what you create, there will always be someone who finds some value in it, somewhere. So as a piece of advice, this is value-less.
  6. Blogging is Dead: Muh-huh. And what are you reading right now? That’s right, a blog. And what’s that place where you share all your photos and pithy little comments about your friends and their quirky hats and ironic bow ties? That’s right, your blog. What’s that? You have a Tumblog, and that’s not a blog? The hell it’s not. That’s exactly what Tumblr is, a blog for people who can’t read more than three sentences without their lips getting tired. One day, when you grow up and move out of your mom’s basement, you’ll start writing longer pieces of content, like a job application at a coffee shop. Until then, stop telling people blogging is dead. If your world view can be summed up in 140 characters and a retro photo filter, that tells me it’s not a world view worth listening to. Stick to bumper stickers on your fixed gear bike.

Just once, I would love to see someone share some useful blogging advice that did not include any variations of these five completely useless tips. While I know many people are still new to blogging, I don’t think anyone would ever knowingly violate these little “gems.” You can stop sharing them, and move on to the next lesson.

How the FDA Lost Our Trust During the Meningitis Outbreak

Tweet from the CDC about the meningitis outbreak

In the face of the meningitis outbreak, which was caused by tainted drugs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be leading the crisis communication.

But they’re not.

That responsibility has fallen to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).Tweet from the CDC about the meningitis outbreak

Why? Because we, as the public and consumers of media, trust the CDC. We don’t trust the FDA.

The FDA should be embarrassed.

Jim Garrow pointed out on his Face of the Matter blog — Building Trust is an Everyday Job — that the FDA should be in charge of this outbreak, since it was caused by tainted drugs, which fall under the FDA’s purview. The CDC oversees contagious disease outbreaks, which this is not.

Yet, according to a recent Mashable article, “. . .Twitter users searched for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more often than the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” Furthermore, the CDC is regularly updating the media through conference calls about what’s being done about the outbreak, not the FDA.

Why is that?

We Trust the CDC, We Don’t Trust the FDA

Believe me, there is a distinct division between agencies. They usually don’t cooperate or communicate, even when they’re treading some of the same ground. I can only imagine there has been some jockeying for position, for credibility, and for Top Dog-ness between the two three-letter agencies.

So when the CDC, and not the FDA, started holding media conference calls, we should have gotten a clue about the problem, and gotten a good indication about who the media (and the public) trusts and who they don’t. Who has done a good job of earning our trust, and who hasn’t.

Who uses social media well, and who doesn’t.

Tweets from the FDA

Irony, thy name is FDA. (I honestly wish I was making this up.)

We trust the CDC, because we see them on social media more. We trust the CDC because they communicate with the public more. And we trust the CDC, because they tend to talk to us more like people and less like little children.

The CDC has been getting some great press coverage over the last couple of years, thanks to things like the CDC’s Zombie Preparedness campaign, which actually taught people how to prepare for a viral outbreak like pan flu. (Pretty sneaky, CDC.)

While the FDA has tweeted one time — ONCE! — about the meningitis outbreak, in between tweets about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments of the 1960s to its 13,875 followers (seriously? I have almost as many followers as the FDA?!), the @CDCemergency account has tweeted updates 6 times to its 1.375 MILLION followers.

(Pro tip: If you’re in the middle of an outbreak of a deadly disease because of tainted drugs, it’s probably not a good idea to commemorate the historical signing of an amendment to make drugs safer. Or to tweet about that more often than you tweet about the contaminated drugs that are currently killing people.)

Any wonder why we trust the CDC more?

The Fight For Credibility and Eyeballs Begins NOW

If you want people to trust you on social media (and other) channels, you have to start using them now. If you want people to know they can turn to you when there’s a real crisis, you have to start sharing information with them before the crisis hits.

The CDC has been doing this by tweeting out important information during small crises, and treating them like practice before a big event. They communicate regularly with people, they use social media to its fullest — complete with Facebook page, Twitter accounts galore, blogs, YouTube videos, and just about anything else (hell, they even have a Google+ page for their National Prevention Information Network!). Meanwhile, the FDA’s website still has a starry night background with a dancing baby animation (okay, not really; but they’re still referring to Twitter as a microblog; it quit being a microblog in 2010.).

The short of it is this: You can’t wait until the day of a crisis to launch your crisis communication plan. That thing had to be in play months in advance. And the FDA has lost all control of this crisis, and abdicated it to the CDC.

Maybe this will be a wake-up call to the FDA that they need to do better, so the next time it happens, they can actually be prepared, and we’ll be more likely to trust them.

And you can read all about their efforts on their new Friendster page.

Five Social Media Jokes That Make Me Want to Poke You In The Eye

Please stop making these social media jokes

Some days, I believe anyone can make up their own clever jokes and make the world laugh.

Other days, I weep for humanity.

Humor is a dangerous thing in the hands of people who don’t know what they’re doing. And apparently, that’s a lot of people, especially when it comes to making jokes about current events.

They deliver the line — which, believe me, I’ve heard hundreds of times before — with an expectant grin like they’ve said something hysterical, and they’re waiting for me to laugh.

(Pro tip: If you tell a joke, never use the “TA DA!” face, like you’re pleased with yourself, or are in a recorded-in-front-of-a-live-studio-audience sitcom. Act like what you said was not a joke, so that when it bombs, you can continue on like nothing awkward just happened.)

So if you’re making these social media jokes, stop it. Just stop it.

  • Twitterererer: Said with a confused look on the person’s face, like they don’t quite get it or aren’t really sure what to call people who use Twitter. They act like they’re so unfamiliar with the word — even after three solid years of it being a pop culture mainstay even the Amish are aware of — they’re not sure how many “er” syllables there actually are. They’ll go on for five minutes if you let them. Because nothing is funnier than feigned confusion and stupidity.
  • Calling Twitter Users “Twits”: “But people who use social media aren’t actually called. . . oooh, I get it. Ha ha ha, that’s so FUNNY! ‘Twit’ is a name for a stupid person, and you’re saying people who use Twitter are stupid.” Whatever. People who say this think “working hard or hardly working?” is also funny.
  • Saying “Hashtag-__________” in regular conversation: As in hashtag-that’s-funny or hashtag-hilarious. Seriously, hashtag-shut-the-hell-up. I hate it when people use text speak in real life (although I really do like The Instagram Song, below), and I say “O! M! G!” only when I want to make fun of someone for doing it.
  • “Smart phone? No, I just have a regular old dumb phone.”: When people say this, I want to say something I learned in my years of woodworking: “There are no bad tools, only bad carpenters.”
  • “I don’t want to know when people are going to the bathroom:” I don’t know what kind of people you hang out with, but no one I know ever discusses their bathroom habits in polite conversation, let alone broadcasts it to the entire Internet. Maybe you need to hang out with a better class of people. Also, I don’t think anyone anywhere has ever said this ever. But if you think they have, by all means, show me. Dive into the social media deep end, find a tweet where someone said they just went poo, print it out, and show it to me.

 

“New” SEO Tip: Keep Your Keywords In Your Headline

Search result about Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule

SEO practitioners are painfully aware of Google’s hatchet job on the tips and tricks they used to get their pages to the top of the search rankings.

And it’s funny to see many of the SEO pros — who were hit hard by Google Panda and Penguin — who look down their noses and wave dismissively at those people who still preach old-school SEO tactics.Penguins

“On page SEO?” they sneer. “What are you, Amish?”

But before you sneer too deeply, keep in mind that a few of those on page tactics still have value.

For one thing, Google didn’t eliminate their importance. They just devalued these tactics so they have almost no effect on the overall SEO. Instead, Google is putting its focus on the quality of content on a website, whether it’s the writing, photos, or you’re using videos, blah blah blah. Typical content marketing stuff.

But one old SEO tactic is new again, for a different reason: your readers.

What Readers Have to Do With SEO

You remember your readers, don’t you? Those are the people who actually visit your website and, you know, read it. They’re not visitors, they’re not clicks, they’re not eyeballs.

They’re real, actual people. And they’re who Google is focusing on.

Google wants to make sure you’re providing high-quality, interesting content to the people using the search engine. To determine whether you are, one of the things they measure is the click-through rate on their search results. If someone clicked your link, it may be good. If they didn’t, it wasn’t compelling enough. If they don’t click it enough times, you get dinged.

So how do you get readers to click the link to your blog post?

By having a descriptive headline that contains the keywords.

That’s it. Nothing fancy. No formulas, no putting the keywords within the first few words of the headline, no cramming it into the body copy a set number of times. That’s not to say that these things don’t work or will get you dropped from Google. They’re still useful, but they’re like looking for pennies when you’re dealing with thousands of dollars.

Your readers want to know what your blog post is about, so you need an informative, useful, and direct headline.

For example, a post I wrote back in May called “What Malcolm Gladwell Really Said About the 10,000 Hour Rule” has been one of the most visited pages on our own blog. And I attribute part of that to the headline I wrote. (I attribute the other part of that to the fact that it’s 5th on Google for the search term “10,000 hour rule,” but that’s not important at the moment.)

Search result about Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule

This particular post ranks 5th on Google right now. Note my photo next to the result. That’s a result of Google’s rel=”author” tag and AuthorRank.

In this case, it’s the headline that’s important: For one thing, I used the keyword in the headline, so that when anyone searches for it, they immediately know what the post is about. In fact, when you do the search, they will even bold-face the key phrase so it stands out for you a little more.

Don’t Be Clever, Be Descriptive

But the other thing that I did was write a headline that told you exactly what that post was about. We didn’t try to be clever and say something like “Experts vs. Outliers: Who’s Right?” or “Are You An Outlier?” or even “A Rumination on the Meaning of Expertise in a Post-Malcolm Gladwell World.”

None of those headlines would have generated any interest. But by describing what the post is about — what Malcolm Gladwell really said — we were able to grab the interest of people who might have otherwise skipped over the post in search of something else.

Don’t Believe Me? Ask the Expert

We’re big fans of Wil Wheaton Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz, and seize as much of his knowledge as we can. This little tidbit came from his latest Whiteboard Friday video where he talks about the new on page SEO, and what still works, and what doesn’t (hint: everything you were doing in 2010).

Get Ready For AuthorRank: Set Up Your Google Author Identity

Erik Deckers' AuthorRank

Google AuthorRank is going to become a deciding factor in search engine optimization, as well as personal branding. As we’ve discussed recently, Google seems to be setting itself up to use AuthorRank as a ranking factor, although no one is sure when that will happen. (A couple people I’ve talked to think they already have).

Erik Deckers' AuthorRank

This is the Google Author rich snippet. It tells Google that this collection of letters is “an author,” so it can act accordingly

How do you set up for AuthorRank? Do you have to do anything special? Or is it all done for you?

First, you don’t actually need to do anything for AuthorRank. That’s the name of the signal Google is using, like PageRank. It’s their assessment for your page, or your name. And they’ll most likely keep the actual ranking number a secret.

While you can’t set up your AuthorRank, what you can do is start using the rel=”author” tag in your blog posts so when they launch the algorithm, you’ll be ready.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Set Up Your Google+ Account

Go to plus.google.com, and log in with your Gmail account. If you’re not using Gmail, you should be.

(If you’re setting up your Gmail for the first time, just remember this is going to be your identity and your legacy email that goes with you wherever you go, even if you move across the country and change cable systems (i.e. and lose your cable-provided email address). So don’t pick something stupid like HotCougar68 as your Gmail address. You’ll kick yourself if you ever have to use your Gmail in a professional manner.)

2. Fill Out Your Google+ Profile

This means filling out everything — past workplaces, education. Everything. Anything that Google could find and associate you with elsewhere.

Your photo needs to be a real photo, not you with a friend, your dog, your kid, or even you as a kid. Remember, this is the photo that will be shown when your name appears in a Google search. So a backlit photo of you standing on the beach at sunset from 200 yards away is not a good idea.

Add your other social network profiles too. Keep in mind that these are public, and anyone who’s looking at them can find you through your Google+ profile. So if you have a secret personal account you don’t want anyone to know about, don’t include it. Otherwise, include as much as you can.

Google+ Contributor Screenshot

The “Contributor To” box: List every place you provide content for, even if you only do it once in a while.

3. Fill Out the “Contributor To” Section With All Blogs

This is where you tell Google where your work can be found. Your blog(s), your website, anywhere your written content appears. Even if you wrote a guest post for a blog a year or two ago, include it.

4. Include Any Email Addresses Associated With Your “Contributor To” Links

This will help Google+ verify that you really are the author of the pieces you listed on the actual blog. For example, this particular blog post is published on the problogservice.com blog. In order to get Google to recognize that I’m the author, I had to include my problogservice.com email address.

5. Update Your Blog’s Bio With Your rel=”author” Tag

First, copy the URL of your Google+ profile. It may include the word “posts” or “about” at the end. I recommend leaving the word “about,” because that takes people directly to your Google+ profile. The “posts” at the end takes them to your timeline.

You’ll end up with something like this:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/105373352538863833629/about

You can go to Bitly.com to shorten your Google+ URL. That way, you can track whether it got clicked on. And you can even customize it so you know it, and can type it from memory (mine is bit.ly/erik-plus, because I’m a bit of an egotist).

Next, go into your blog’s bio and add the following code:

<a href=”Your Google+ URL” rel=”author”>Your Name</a>

When you’re done, it will look like this:

You just told Google, “I wrote this! And to prove it, I can be found at this Google+ profile.”

Google will then go check, see that you listed this particular blog in your “Contributor To” section, and say “VOILA! We have an Author!” And the circle will be complete.

Then when that particular post shows up in a Google search, it will have your name and smiling face right next to it, so everyone knows it’s yours.

Erik Deckers' WordPress Bio Screenshot

This is my bio from this very blog. Note the rel=”author” tag. We had to use the AuthorSure plugin to get that to stick.

6. WordPress Users Get the AuthorSure Plugin

One thing I don’t like about the self-hosted WordPress platform is that it strips out the rel=”author” tags from the user bios. It doesn’t matter how many times you try, they remove it every time. So download the AuthorSure plugin to your WordPress blog. This will keep the rel=”author”, rel=”me”, and rel=publisher tags intact, and working properly.

7. What Do Those Other rel Tags Mean?

You should use rel=”me” when your name appears in a blog post or article, but you’re not the author. This is especially useful for speaker bios on someone else’s page. When you submit a bio to be published elsewhere, hyperlink your name to your Google+ profile, and use the rel=”me” tag, so Google recognizes that it’s you, but doesn’t think you wrote that particular page.

The rel=”publisher”, according to Google’s Webmaster Help, “. . . tells Google that the Google+ page represents the publisher of the site, and makes your site eligible for Google Direct Connect.” In other words, it’s useful for companies and brands that are publishing their website. Link the company name to its Google+ page.

Summary

Setting up your Google Author profile does two very important things for you:

1) It tells Google who you are, so if you’ve written something that shows up in a search, your name and picture will be highlighted, and will appear next to the entry. That’s great for personal branding.

2) When people do a search, Google assumes your Google+ friends will want to read your stuff. That means, the bigger your Google+ network, the more people Google can/will show your content to.

There’s No Such Thing As a Gifted Writer

A recent email newsletter from Jeff Goins posed the question, “is writing a gift or a skill?” That is, are you a gifted writer, or did you work at it?

The better question is, “are the things we do well born within us (innate or a gift) or are they developed through hard work (learned or a skill).

It’s an age-old philosophical question: are we born with all the knowledge and abilities within us, and that knowledge is uncovered as we go through life? Or are we a blank slate, a tabula rasa, and we fill that slate up as we go through life?

If writing is a gift, I want mine to be wrapped in Thomas the Tank Engine paper.

I lean more toward the blank slate side. That we learn what we know through experience, rather than uncovering it. That it takes hundreds and thousands of hours to get good at anything. That we need to practice over and over and over to get something right.

For those people who are very good at what they do — writing, football, music — we work our asses off at it every day. It’s not a gift, it’s not innate. There’s no such thing as a gifted writer.

To call it a gift is to minimize that hard work. It says that only by some quirk of fate and randomly firing neurons did we become writers, athletes, and musicians. It means that we don’t have to work at it, we just have to discover that we’re good at it, and then run with that. It means you can pick up that skill any time you want, and with a little bit of work, you can be awesome a it.

The Myth of the Gifted Writer

While there certainly are people who have specific gifts, these gifts are usually physical in nature, and can’t be developed. For example, Peyton Manning is 6’5″, which contributes to his success as a quarterback, but that’s a gift. You can’t learn “tall.”

But beyond that, the person’s skills — strength, quickness, shooting ability, hand-eye coordination, game knowledge, even Manning’s laser rocket arm — are all developed and/or learned. You can train and learn everything else. You can work out and gain strength. There are drills that will develop quickness. Even fast-twitch muscles can be developed and enhanced (and built up). You may never be as strong as a lineman or as fast as a sprinter, but you can certainly do it better than most people you know just by working at it for a while.

Think of it this way:

  • Peyton Manning is a student of the game, and has been since he was a young boy. He watches countless hours of game film over and over so he can understand and learn what every opponent and coach does in certain situations. He will even watch the game film of a head coach’s former boss to see where the coach learned his game calling skills. The guy is a computer who dumps GBs of data into his brain like they were candy.That’s knowledge and experience learned over the years.
  • After Manning was forced to take 2011 off, he had to rehab not only his neck, but his arm. Sports journalists talked about how Manning’s arm had lost its zip, and they worried that he lost his ability. But his arm strength is back and the laser rocket arm is firing correctly again. That’s not a gift, or the strength would never have gone away. That’s exercise and redeveloping muscle memory.
  • Several years ago, the US Women’s Softball team had an unusual training exercise to improve their reaction time. Their coach had written different numbers on different tennis balls, one per ball. He then fired them out of a pitching machine while the women took batting practice. They had to call out the number they saw before they swung the bat. He was teaching/training them to see and react faster.
  • WNBA Indiana Fever player Katie Douglas grew up in Greenwood, Indiana, graduated from Purdue University, and is now a star in the WNBA. A few weeks ago she became only the 10th player to score 5,000 points in her career. But she got that way because she spent countless hours shooting baskets, over and over and over, from the time she was a little girl up until she scored that 5,000th point. And she still does it. She wasn’t a gifted athlete, she worked constantly.
  • One of the things that every good writer did when he or she was little was read, and read a lot. In fact, they still read constantly. And writing expert after writing expert will tell you that the best way to practice writing, other than actually writing, is reading other people’s work. That’s because we’re still learning and honing our craft
  • When you listen to stories of successful musicians and how they started out, especially the guitar players, they’ll tell you the same thing every time: “I used to play for hours at a time. I was obsessed. I would just sit there and try to learn that new song from the radio, and play it over and over until I got it right.” I met a guy this past Sunday, the lead guitarist for The Plateros. At age 20, he’s better than most guitarists. I asked him how long he had been playing. He said he started when he was 9, and would come home from school every day, start playing, and play until bedtime. At 4 hours a day, that’s 1,000 hours a year. In 10 years, he’s put in Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours to become an outlier.

My point is this: nobody is gifted. Nobody picks up a guitar and starts playing at age 27, and is immediately awesome. Tall, athletic kids don’t go out for the high school football team for the first time, and become the starting quarterback. Serena and Venus Williams were not goofing around with tennis rackets one day and decided to give this tennis thing a try.

Every one of them worked hard from way back when they were kids and pursued their dream of doing what they loved when they were adults. They developed the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue the game. There was no gift. There were just thousands of hours of hard work.

So it goes with writers. We were all readers as little kids. We all liked telling stories, and even wrote them down. And we did it obsessively, never realizing that we were building skills that would make us writers when we were adults.

Is writing a gift? No, unless you count the gift of those thousands of hours we all used to read and write when we could have been playing football, tennis, or a guitar.

If writing was so easy, then every athlete who wrote a book wouldn’t have a co-author.

Photo credit: Donovan Beeson (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Google AuthorRank: A Conundrum for Content Marketers Who Don’t Do Bylines

AuthorRank, Google’s possible new search signal, can have some serious implications for a brand’s content marketing efforts.

And it’s going to create a problem for content managers who don’t believe in publishing author bylines in their websites. Or the ones who don’t want to publish the entire bio at the bottom of a blog post. Those “we succeed or fail as a team; no one is more special than the other” types who learned everything about management from Little League baseball.

If you stick to your guns of never granting bylines, your website’s rankings may suffer. But if you let writers have their credit, you could see big improvements to the posts written by your best writers, because their own AuthorRank will give you a boost.

We’re not sure exactly how AuthorRank will be evaluated, or even when it will be implemented. But according to Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, there are people who do really, really evil and wrong things on the Internet, and it would be useful if we had strong identity so we could weed them out.

Conversely, what Schmidt didn’t say, is that if you can weed out the really, really evil and wrong people, you’ll also need to identify which people are as far away from “evil and wrong” as you can get. The farther those people are, the better their content.

And assuming you’ve hired people who way down on the other end of the “evil and wrong” spectrum, your site should get credit for it.

That’s not to say that if you don’t give them credit, your site is evil and wrong. Rather, it’s just one more positive tool that you should be able to take advantage of and use to your benefit.

It means you should let your writers have a byline and link it to their Google+ profile. It means you should encourage them to write about their own not-evil-and-wrong hobbies as much as they want. Let them improve their AuthorRank as much as they can.

It Also Means You Shouldn’t Delete the Work of People Who Leave

There are companies that will delete the blog posts and work of people who have left their company, as if they don’t want to admit those people ever darkened their door.

This may end up being a big mistake for the the former employer.

Think of it this way: At one point, you thought enough of this person to hire them. At one point, you thought they did some excellent work and were really smart, and you wanted to show them off to your clients and visitors, and to gain all kinds of competitive advantages by harnessing their intelligence.

So you published their blog posts under their name, with their bio proudly displayed for everyone to see.

And, if you were forward thinking, you even used the rel=author tag in their bio to help your own SEO efforts.

So why would you undo that once they left the company?

Presumably, they’re going to work for someone else who thinks they’re smart and do excellent work. And they’re going to want to publish that employee’s work on their own site too.

In fact, the more they write and publish, the higher their AuthorRank could rise. And everything they wrote will get some positive Google juice.

Including the stuff on your own website.

Except you deleted it all.

Who knows, this may all lead to a more interesting problem: a wildly popular employee with a stratospheric AuthorRank who decides they don’t want to be associated with your company at all, and demands you remove all of their work.

Don’t laugh, it could happen.