Good Blog Writing Without Worrying About SEO

Cranial Soup has some great advice in Friday's post "How can you rank well on search engines, without fussing with SEO?"  Ironically, April's advice does contribute to good SEO, since so much of SEO comes down to putting good, useful content on a well-structured site. I agree with all but one of her points, which, since I have written enough to satisfy her 3:1 ratio of commentary to quotation, I can now insert here:
Don't copy other people's stuff, write your own.
If she means don't plagiarize or rely on form-letter posts, email chains, etc., then I wholeheartedly concur. If, however, she means write your own stuff instead of linking to others, I respectfully disagree.

Granted, I don't think she would recommend completely eliminating linked/quoted material (see the 3:1 rule), but that's a suggestion I frequently hear. Usually with the rationale that quoting someone else promotes them in a space that should be promoting you. However, one of the best services you can provide to your busy readers is to bring them important articles from around the net, saving them from having to build the reading list it took you years to develop. As she says, though, add your own viewpoint to it.

Beyond that, she talks a lot about building a community by being part of a community:
Reach out to blogs by reading and participating in discussions. Never leave a "nice post" comment. Put some thought & work into your responses. You want to catch the attention of other readers and the bloggers themselves, and make them ask "Wow! Who is this guy?" so they will click your name and visit the site it links to. Always make your comments increase the value of that bloggers page. 
 I think this is a too-often overlook piece of building blog readership. Part of the way people find you is through your participation in conversations they already follow. Furthermore, demonstrating your commitment to other people's blogs encourages them to participate with yours. Given the tightly define niches most building product manufacturers work in, the "rising tides lift all ships" philosophy is a powerful force online.