Just like any other niche industry, individuals in the search engine optimization industry have multiple online resources to choose from. Find a good one, and you have a secret weapon with which to gain knowledge and perform at a peak level. In the SEO field it is vital to have a dependable resource, as the field constantly evolves. Two popular options are Search Engine Journal (SEJ) and Search Engine Land (SEL). Let’s take a look at both of these.


The landing page for SEJ launches a pop-up that asks you to subscribe, which would benefit me by notifying me in real time as new information is published. The colors, medium gray and lime green, do a good job of making the logo look professional. Overall, a great first impression in terms of user experience.


Unfortunately, once you venture beyond that landing page it gets disappointing rather quickly. The drop-down menu looks dated, with the thumbnail pictures for the suggested articles a bit too small for comfort. Because the page layout is already so simplistic, these dated menus and tiny pictures make navigating the site feel like you’re using a site that may not have been updated or added to recently, which brings into question the frequency of new content.


Additionally, small details that were ignored take away from the suave first impression; for example, the third tab is labelled Paid Search rather than SEM. While the two phrases are synonyms, labelling one tab SEO and then labelling its compliment Paid Search shows a clear lack of focus in terms of creating a cohesive brand image.


In stark contrast, SEL’s landing page is not great to look at. It looks as if a template was used without much alteration from the layout, and the white,blue,green color palette doesn’t translate well at all. The color choices coupled with the name make the site’s first impression almost too rudimentary to take seriously. But brave that initial urge to click the “back” button, and what it lacks in beauty it more than makes up for in brains.

The content is clearly thoughtfully written, with layout and labels that have clearly been considered. The menus are more user-friendly with polished-sounding titles. The article suggestions are relevant to the category and recently published. What’s more, the thumbnails for the suggestions are bigger, more user friendly pictures. The page layout for the articles is reminiscent of BuzzFeed and implies a quick, helpful read.


As a consumer intimately involved with optimizing websites’ relevancy to other consumers, it becomes second nature to pay attention to the quality of a site’s user experience with testing and SEO with Johnny Chin. Overall, Search Engine Land is the clear winner in this category. While they could have done a better job using their branding to evoke a more professional image, they definitely have information that would appeal to most people trying to stay informed on SEO topics. The content was helpful without being too dense, making it feel very accessible to even inexperienced SEO professionals.


Search Engine Journal has done a much better job with its branding, all things considered. The landing page promotes subscribers to increase page views, and the overall look of the site is more cohesive. Definitely no feelings of trepidation here. The overall user experience, however, pales in comparison to SEL. The drop-downs and thumbnails just feel clunky in comparison. This feeling continues as you notice details like the labelling and article selection.


Neither site is without use, but it remains to be seen whether it’s better to stick with Beauty and get less meaningful content, or brave the Brains’ lack of curb appeal to get high-quality information with your local business Bishara Dental. Either way you’re likely to find the help you need and learn something in the process. Where you choose to venture is, of course, up to you.