Lee Odden

Happy Birthday TopRankBlog & SEO Blogs Class of 2003

online marketing blog 5I am happy to say that this weekend, December 28th marks 5 years of blogging at Online Marketing Blog. From the infamous “Florida Update” of December 2003 to current, practical advice on social media strategy December 2008, TopRank has been a trusted source of information for thousands of readers.

The entire TopRank Blogging team wishes a sincere Thank You to everyone that has commented, subscribed and linked to us over the years.  TopRank’s blogging efforts have been recognized in many ways including being one of the top 50 favorited blogs on Technorati, ranked a top marketing blog on Advertising Age and endorsed by fans from The DMA, PRSA, Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo and many others.

We hope readers will continue to enjoy the mix of current insights, tactics, interviews and conference coverage on the topics of search, social and online PR content that we’ve been providing during the past 5 years of blogging.

A big thank you goes to Thomas aka TwisterMC who helps keep the blog back end and design running smoothly as well as making periodic contributions.  A big thanks also goes to TopRank team members that have endured gruelling liveblogging schedules.

One of the benefits of blogging for the past 5 years has been to use our own blog as a way to test a variety of content types, usability and blog software features, analytics and promotion tactics. We’ve been able to share some of these insights in our posts but more specifically with our corporate blogging clients.

Some of our Most Popular Blog Posts Include Resources:

Most Popular Tips Posts:

Most Popular Interviews:

Most Popular Polls:

Most Popular  Conference Liveblogging Posts:

There were many insipiratoins for the interviews, live conference blogging, SEO blog reviews, lists, polls, tips, news and commentary posted in the 2,000 plus entries at Online Marketing Blog.  I thought it would be interesting to take a look down memory lane and see what other search engine and search marketing blogs were on the scene late 2003. Keep in mind, these are true early adopters and pioneers. Google started their main blog late Spring 2004 and Yahoo in Fall of 2004:

ABAKUS – Blog born on our about February 07, 2003.  Initially written in English, this German blog from Alan Webb and friends  is now all German SEO all the time. At least as far as I can tell. Spreken ze deutsch? Alan was another pioneer in SEO blogging that I met early on.

Google Blogscoped – Blog born on our about April 28, 2003.  Phillip Lessen started this blog emphasizing information about Google  “Contains 80% Google” (news, products, tips/tactics) as well as many posts about search engine optimization and marketing. Not updated since 2011.

Searchblog – Blog born on or about October 20, 2003. John Battelle is the author of “The Search – How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture”, co-founding editor of Wired Magazine and CEO of Federated Media.  With over 140 thousand subscribers, Searchblog is by far the most popular blog on search engines not run by a search engine itself. Now the blog covers general topics.

Search Engine Blog – Blog born on or about April 15, 2002. Started and owned by Peter Da Vanzo, Search Engine Blog was a pioneer in the world of blogging and blogs about search engines. It isn’t really updated any more since Peter now writes at seobook.com and Search Engine Blog is no longer updated.

Search Engine Journal – Blog born on or about June 11, 2003, Loren Baker Search Engine Journal has fluctuated in it’s focus over the years from news to tips to news to a hybrid and in the past few years bringing on advertising and more staff bloggers.  SEJ is now a thriving search marketing blog and continues to grow subscribers and offer useful tips and industry news.

Search Engine Lowdown – Blog born on or about July 15, 2003 Started by Marketing Pilgrim’s Andy Beal when he was with a company called Websourced and when people spelled blogg with two g’s. 🙂  Andy paved the way towards respectable blogging of industry news and grew a tremendous following at SEL. After he left, Garrett French took the reins doing a great job of writing, but the blog never quite recovered. It’s now been dormant for years.

Search Engine Roundtable – Blog born on or about December 2, 2003.  One of the most unique  formats and comprehensive in it’s coverage, Search Engine Rountable is run by Barry Schwartz and includes a number of contributors and guest bloggers. Barry and his team of bloggers were the first I know of to aggregate search marketing industry forum threads of interest and provide extensive liveblogging of conferences. I have the utmost respect for the pioneering work Barry has done over the years and will always appreciate the guest blogging opportunity he offerred, which inspired me to liveblog conferences here at OMB. Still regularly updated.

SEOBook – Blog born on or about December 1, 2003. Aaron wall decided to document his quest to learn SEO and wrote a 24 page e-book online about SEO which has grown much larger and to be one of the most popular books online about search engine optimization. Aaron started out writing commentary about industry news as well as his own observsations. He’s gone in, out and back into consulting and continues to write provacative, original content. Peter Da Vanzo mentioned above now writes for SEO Book as well.

Traffick – Blog born on or about July 03, 2002 and called “Threads and Needles”. However, the Traffick.com site has been posting savvy and insighful industry observations since 1998. Cory Kleinschmidt and Andrew Goodman were two of the first pioneers of commentary on the search marketing industry. The last post was January 15th, 2015.

Besides the pioneering search engine and and marketing blogs above, there were a number of other informative resources on search engines and search marketing available in late 2003 (and before) that eventually added or moved entirely to a blog platform later on including: Search Engine Guide, Pandia & ResearchBuzz and Search Engine Watch.  Sites like SEO Today and Li’l Engine also focused on articles about search marketing in 2003 and are now blogs.

What other search marketing blogs were popular in the latter part of 2003 that I missed?

Photo adapted from Rev Dan Catt

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Happy Birthday TopRankBlog and congrats to Lee and the TopRankers! You continually provide great content and unique insights into the world of online marketing. Great work, keep on bloggin’.

  2. Congratulations! I’m looking forward to reading another 5 years of great blog posts!

  3. Hey David, thanks for the kind words. We all appreciate them and hope things are going great in your part of the world.

    Andy, you do know that meeting you in person at SES New York in 2004 or 5? was a pretty cool deal. I’d been reading your blog at SELD and more than likely borrowed ideas about blog structure and style while figuring out what we really wanted our blog to be when it grew up. Not sure we’ve quite grown up the blog yet, but will always appreciate your smarts and “tell it like it is” perspective.

  4. Thanks Lee, the feeling is mutual!

  5. Excellent service you have provided the community for the past five years – we all look forward to the next five years of content.

    This site has been an inspiration to a huge number of readers and continues to gain support, you are and have been an inspiration to all of us marketers.

    Thanks for your contribution in making the Internet Marketing arena reputable and not leading anyone on the wrong path.

    Carl Tambeau

  6. Avatar Tobias Fransson says

    Happy Birtday Lee, or well to Top Rank Blog actually but you being the founding father I am guessing you both deserve a well round of *Applauds*

    -Tobias Fransson

  7. Avatar Tom @ The Home Business Archive says

    Happy Birthday Top Rank Blog! I

  8. Congrats! Happy Birthday ! Awesome content in the past 5 years and more to come.. thanks..

  9. Hey Carl, Tobias, Tom & Paul – thank you for the kind words. We hope to earn that appreciation In 2009 as well.

  10. Happy Birthday Lee & Top Rank Blog Team!
    Always great to stop by here!

  11. Congratulations and Happy Birthday! I look forward many more years of great posts! Keep up the great work and I wish you a successful 2009.

  12. Happy Birthday and congratulations for thriving in a world that can be and is sometimes ‘iffy’. I have learned many good things from following you and your staff. Keep up the good work.


  13. Wow, 5 years and never better. Congrats!

  14. Congrats Lee on five years. That is amazing.

    I look back over my tenure, which also spans five years (December 2003 was when I started as well) and only wish I could say the same thing. Instead, my blogging has been almost schizophrenic (Radiant Marketing, Weblogs Inc, Creative-Weblogging, Allbusiness.com, Active Rain, Blogging Systems, Strategic Business Blogging, Conversational Media Marketing, MarketingProfs… and that may not cover the entire list).

    How I wish I had taken the same tact as folks like you, Toby Bloomberg, Steve Rubel, Wayne Hurlbert and others. Too short of an attention span I guess and no need to lament the past either.

    In either case, we can both say blogging has been a game-changer, and maybe even life-changer. If nothing else it’s brought me into contact with some of the finest people and smartest minds I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. You, sir, number among those.

    So, here’s to another five years Lee. Blog on!

  15. Congratulations Lee! SO many bloggers start and don’t follow through. We love this publication and wish you another 5 years of growth.

  16. Congrats and good luck for future (got a lot of useful stuff from your blog – thanks ..).

  17. A little late to the party but sending you Congrats! and happy blogging for another 5 years!

  18. Happy Happy birthday

  19. Avatar Richard Mowry says

    Keep up the great work. Keep blogging another 5 years looking forward to reading them.

  20. Happy Birthday Top Rank Blog and Happy New Year to you all Lee. Sorry I missed you at SES Chicago, was looking forward to meeting you. In any case, looking forward to your in-depth posts for 2009.


  21. Avatar Tom Sweeney says

    Congrats, Lee. Your blog will be a big help as I start a six-week eClasses course on SEO Monday with Cindy McMahen. We are using Stephen Mahaney’s (Planet Ocean) Unfair Advantage eBook and related SE News blog in the course. Enjoyed meeting you at recent MIMA party. Best – Tom


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