John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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Understanding the Google

I say it over and over. Stop projecting your own beliefs onto Google, and start listening. Google is practically shouting at you, telling you how to rank well.

Take the Buying Links session at SES as an example. Nyeah nyeah nyeah Google’s not fair and whah whah whah Google’s getting rich and pooh pooh pooh my spam doesn’t rank any more… and meanwhile Matt Cutts tells us not only what Google doesn’t like (observably purchased back links), but what Google rewards and wants to see more of (creative content). I suspect everyone was distracted by the side show to Matt’s right, and maybe not listening. When I attend a panel at these trade shows, I size up the speakers and listen accordingly. One throws around “facts” about search engines so casually I wonder why no one in the audience heckles her with “how do YOU know?” comments. Another starts off saying he has limited experience but has already made more mistakes than anyone he knows, and I wonder whether using that as an intro was just another “big mistake” he was making, or if I was making an even bigger mistake by staying to listen. The Buying Links session was especially colorful.

One panelist likened Google’s rules to the HOV lanes on the highway. He scoffed at those rules and said if they would just remove them, and let the cars drive in all lanes, there wouldn’t be traffic jams and everything would be better. I’m guessing this same short-sighted consumer still hasn’t heard of global warming, and still doesn’t understand that 50,000 people commuting in 50,000 cars is not a sustainable situation. He also said the $300 ticket was worth paying, because it was more costly for him to be late to his meeting. Well, I’m glad he’s willing to pay $300 per violaton, and I hope they raise it to $600. Obviously there is a market, and at least some of that HOV fine money suports the green energy buy backs and such which sponsor research into alternative fuels. But the judgement… look at the judgement. If I have to hear the other guy say “I didn’t prepare anything, because I knew the excellent people before me would cover almost everything….” I’m going to puke.

Anyway, back to Google. Google is telling us how to rank. We have to pay attention.

In the 1980s the telephone companies were extremely competitive, but they didn’t focus on stealing customers from each other. They focused on growth of the telco industry and development of the underlying infrastructure. They assigned business units to seek out and invest in anything that promoted increased use of the phone lines. I lived in New Jersey at the time (home of Thomas Edison, Bell Labs, AT&T, Verizon, “the telco state”), and I knew several of these business managers. They attended entrepreneur meetings, visited research labs, and participated in local community events to promote increased use of the phones. More calls, especially short calls, was the goal. More connections, more switching, and more lifestyle committment to the phone. Such growth would fuel development, as growth in usage and obvious lifestyle committment to the phone convinced investors of the value of investing, and convinced regulators of the value of permitting the phone companies to advance. Companies like ATT and Verizon arranged for investment into startups that promised to increase phone system usage. Pre-Internet, it seemed odd to meet “the Verizon business development guy” at an IEEE meeting on telemedicine, but it was certainly a smart business practice in hind sight.

Google is today’s telco. Matt Cutts communicated very clearly that Google wants to see more of the kind of content that drives adoption of the web. Google is a carrot and stick company, as we all know too well. The stick goes to paid links. The carrot goes to good content. For those who weren’t there, I’ll recap.

The session was about purchased back links, and why Google says they are bad. One of the complaining panelists asked why Google values links earned by a funny video but devalues links that are bought. Specifically, if a real estate guy posts a funny video on the politics of the search marketing industry, and earns a collection of backlinks, why do those back links count when they are off-topic and have nothing to do with real estate? That was a good question. And there was a good answer. Matt answered that the funny video was creative, was unique, and added something to the web, but the paid links did not. Did you hear that?

Google is talking. Are you listening?

Just as the telcos wanted to encourage adoption of the telephone, Google wants to encourage the growth of the web. The web for business, the web for fun, the web for progress. The web as lifestyle. More web, not less. Google doesn’t know what the future holds, but Google is pretty sure that future is more likely to sprout from creative expansion of that commerce-driving web than the institutionalization of link buying. If you understand that everyone today searches, and most searchers use Google, you can see that Google wants more people to adopt the web, right?

For the linear thinkers out there, I don’t mean to suggest you pay those Social Media consultants to make silly videos for your real estate site, and I doubt Matt did either. But if you could just move beyond the obvious “if links have value, I’ll get a million of them” mentality you may start to understand how Google thinks, and earn some Google carrots. If you’re an SEO and you get annoyed by Google’s answer, I have to wonder if maybe you’re in the wrong business.

If you’re an SEO, it’s not all about “make good content” and it’s not all about “buy more links”. If you’re an SEO, it’s all about help make search work to increase utilization of the web, and drive commerce via the web.

There was a chiropractor in San Diego, who wanted to rank well…” goes one story. Listen to it. That chiropractor isn’t getting rewarded for the viral videos. That chiropractor is getting rewarded for adopting this new thing called the web, getting creative, and trying different ways to push chiropractic on the Internet beyond “get listed in as many directories as you can”. Does Google know where chiropractic will go if it creatively adopts the web? No. Do you? Neither does this new “web evangelist” chiropractor. But maybe his next appearance as a guest speaker at the Society for Chiropractics will generate a working group that addresses that issue, and spurs progress in that area. Carrot, meet web evangelist.

How many times have you heard a Googler say “mom and pop“? Listen.

I met a Googler at the Google Dance. She worked on Webmaster Central. She told me a story of a man who discovered, with her help and Google Webmaster console, that his #1 referral from Google was “rainbow sandals”. He had a shoe store, and, as she told me, he didn’t know that his highest ranking search query (according to Google) was “rainbow sandals”. That was, according to her, a “great opportunity” for him to increase his business by selling rainbow sandals. She was so enthusiastic I found myself holding on to the table, as if bracing myself against the wind of her enthusiasm. I swear my hair moved.

I didn’t have the heart to ask her why Google ignored his entire inventory of high-end name brand shoes for which he had probably fronted considerable funds and to which he is probably beholden to sales quotas. I didn’t have the heart to suggest that the profit on a $14 pair of Chinese white brand “rainbow sandals” that local drugstores routinely sold on sidewalk racks for $4 was not very exciting, nor defensible. But I didn’t need to. She was talking, and I was listening. She is Google. Google doesn’t see value in his shoe store ranking for ecco loafers. The consumer can easily find those anywhere. But rainbow sandals…. ahh, those elusive raindbow sandals. They are SOOOO hard to find!

Is Google “right” in it’s approach to the web? Is Google “just” in it’s delivery of the carrot and the stick? Is Google “fair” in the way it operates? None of that matters to the search marketer/SEO. If these attacks are funded as diversions to keep Google busy or otherwise threaten it’s dominance, I understand. But if you’re interested in ranking well in Google, this is all nonsense. You need to get to know Google, and listen to what Google says. You don’t need to agree, and please, stop whining.

Update 11/27/2007: Nicholas Carr just published “Understanding Google“, a commentary on Strategy & Business’ article “The Google Enigma“, which discusses the concept of Compliments in the context of Google and the Internet:

Because the sales of complementary products rise in tandem, a company has a strong strategic interest in reducing the cost and expanding the availability of the complements to its core product. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that a company would like all complements to be given away. If hot dogs became freebies, mustard sales would skyrocket. It’s this natural drive to reduce the cost of complements that, more than anything else, explains Google’s strategy. Nearly everything the company does, including building big data centers, buying optical fiber, promoting free Wi-Fi access, fighting copyright restrictions, supporting open source software, and giving away Web services and data, is aimed at reducing the cost and expanding the scope of Internet use. To borrow a well-worn phrase, Google wants information to be free — and that is why Google strikes fear into so many different kinds of companies.

It’s an interesting read, related to my post here, and not too deep, and it will go under “subscription only” after a while so best read it while it’s “free”.

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40 Responses to “Understanding the Google”

  1. Dave Pye Says:

    You had me at “stop projecting your own beliefs onto Google”. Luckily, it was in the second sentence. I had a long chat with… myself recently and heavily touched upon that very point with… myself.

    SEOs die on the vine every time the seasons change, and it’s for that very reason. Am I an expert because I call myself one and because I have a string of industry-related successes behind me? No. It’s all about stop, look, listen (and read a sh*tload of the best blogs).

    Well done. I enjoyed that.

  2. Phillip Hershkowitz Says:

    Hi John,

    It’s great to read your stuff as usual.

    I break out SEO folks into three categories.

    First are the kids – they are under 30, don’t understand business or customer relationships, and rarely concern themselves with integrity, morality, business process – all the stuff that comes from working day in day and out for 20 to 30 years with PEOPLE.

    Next are the conference diva’s – they go to trade shows and conferences to see and be seen with the other conference divas – they swap fat contracts, get their name up in lights, etc. They are famous in SEO circles because…. they are famous in SEO circles.

    Some of us came to SEO organically over many years. We have been in big companies and small, we have worked with smart people and dumb, we have sold good products and bad. Maybe with luck we have developed a moral compass, maybe we understand that the technical skills needed to promote a website are half the story. That the other half of the story is being able to tell the truth, caring enough about what’s going on in the world to stay informed, taking the time to really listen to people and understand both sides of the story.

    Your wit and humanity show in your writing. Keep up the good work.

    Regards,
    Phil

  3. António Says:

    It’s articles like this that condemn me to be forever behind on my feed reading. Yet another feed to the list :)

  4. Andy Beard Says:

    John, I would accept your reasoning, and even Google’s if they would narrow and explain the “grey” area.

    You are allowed to buy links in Yahoo
    Whilst Matt has never said this specifically, you can probably safely buy links by joining various trade organisations who publish lists of members, eg WOMMA

    Then everything else is grey to black, and not explained.

    Matt seems to be allowed to link to Google as an employee and I suppose stockholder, and I would think some of those links are promotional.
    I wouldn’t class his reviews of Google Reader as objective, as I can find lots of things wrong with Google Reader.

    On the other hand I get employed for a day to review a product, and publish my findings on my blog, sometimes up to 3000 words, and there is no requirement to be positive.
    Matt Cutts says if I don’t use nofollow on the links the ftc will be after me, and I will possibly loose trust in Google.

    I can see the logic in just being a good boy, drinking my coco, taking my tranquillizer, and not saying anything, because of course Google is my friend, and the friend of all mom and pop webmasters.

    Then tomorrow Ebay will buy WordPress.com and gain links from “1,372,481 blogs with 29,026 new posts today” and I will think that is good for the internet for Ebay and their other sites to gain all those links.

    Ebay are not yet funnelling juice from Stumbleupon, 3,259,086 blogs on subdomains with no other external links.

    That real estate guy has to make videos because Ebay bought rent.com and is funnelling link juice around as I pointed out in my extensive writeup.
    Maybe not being in the room, and not going to the Googleplex saved me from being Googlewashed.

    John replies: Andy, I am far from Googlewashed, and if you look back I was one of the first to refer to Goolaide. I think you take things too literally here. Technologists don’t like this, but business is never about black and white. eBay is business, and people who ask Google to explain the grey areas are thinking in black and white. It’s not easy to compete with eBay, for sure. But literal interpretations and comparisons won’t change that. David didn’t beat Goliath by dropping gloves and fist-fighting. The way the SEO world talks about “black hat” and “white hat” is indicative of this disease. Such terminology only helps Google. It’s all gray… as gray as Google’s own behavior. Noone will ever give you a way to win a SERP. Ever. Period. You have to earn it.

  5. fantomaster Says:

    John, good piece, esp. the bit about not projecting whatever personal agenda on another one, namely Google’s, which is merely silly and a waste of resources.

    However, your “listen to Google” does require some qualification IMV. I mean, it’s not as if Google (or any other search engine for that matter) were terribly famous for being open, outright and truthful in their public communications. Sometimes they may be, sometimes they blatantly aren’t, and sometimes they (or at least: some of their speakers) don’t seem to be too certain about what they’re actually saying, either.

    Which, like it or not, brings us back full turn to exegesis. Like “what do they mean by ‘excessive’ reciprocal linking?” (Just one example so as not to blow up this comment.) And: Are they always in full command of their own language? Most people aren’t (even many, many pros), so why should we assume they’re the exception?

    John replies: Ralph, when I say “listen to Google” I don’t mean “do what Google says“. I mean “pay attention to what they are saying, and how they are saying it, in light of the bigger picture of the web and it’s history and the situation Google is in“. The mere fact that Google said “reciprocal links” and then almost immediately clarified it to “excessive reciprocal links” is very useful information. I’m saying pay attention to that.. the clues to ranking are hidden in that behavior. No, they are not always in command of their language, and they make mistakes (plenty of them). But they are the game master. They set the rules of the game, but not the rules of being gamemaster. Sometimes you need to play the game well, but sometimes you need to play the gamemaster well.

    Google hires people and loses employees. Google has policies and corporate events and Google employees have blogs and they speak at conferences and they meet you in the hallway and they are the same people voting on issues within the Googleplex. In tech world people go to conferences to keep up and aware, but in other businesses it’s all about competitive intel. Who is doing what; what is coming next; who is vulnerable, who is poised. I’m saying pay attention and listen because from where I sit, Google people are saying alot of supportive and helpful things that will help you rank, which they simply cannot say directly or in the context of “here’s how you outrank eBay”. They will never be able to say such things directly, nor would they want to in most cases. Many of the overly literal listeners will read this and say “Googler’s are telling secrets to certain SEO people in the hallways” which of course is ridiculous, but evidentiary of the listening problem. They don’t get it. They don’t listen except to hear the words.

    Ralph you used the word exegesis which thrills me, because I define exegesis cynically. I don’t believe scholarly exegesis applies at all to Google’s statements… they are not yet so calculated. Things are moving too fast, and I believe they genuinely want to deliver more carrots than sticks, to encourage growth. That’s why there are so many clues to ranking in Google’s communications… they aren’t spending the time to manage their statements, except as they are required to by the “define grey for me” peanut gallery. In some ways we surely need to point and demand attention on issues, but in my view Google will work on those willingly because they are good for Google and good for growth. It’s the “define grey for me” stuff that hurts us right now. Exegesis applies to crafted content. I am looking at the actions of making the statements more than the words themselves. Sadly the opposite of exegesis — eisegesis — does apply.

  6. Rose Sylvia Says:

    While listening more is always good advice and I appreciate the insights you’ve shared, I find the hypocrisy involved regarding the various entities buying and selling links – which are rewarded and which are punished – ironic. I’m with Andy on that one.

    From a PPC perspective (I am a PPC specialist rather than an SEO), if Google really wishes to be seen as an advocate for “mom and pop” – or even small businesses as defined by the SBA – their implementation of expanded broad match and our current inability to opt out of is belies that claim.

  7. netmeg Says:

    I break out SEO folks into two categories.

    Those who get it, and those who don’t.

    You appear to be one who does.

    Well done.

  8. fantomaster Says:

    >Exegesis applies to crafted content.

    Fair enough and I’m quite with you re that their public communication is generally not really concerted or crafted (or, if so, either only partially and certainly not very tightly).
    However, one would expect their webmaster guidelines to constitute one such “crafted” document, wouldn’t one?

    > I am looking at the actions of making the statements more than the words themselves.

    True, it’s essentially an issue of semantic fundamentalism on the webmasters’ and SEOs’ part – “excessive is obviously no term that’s supposed to be broken down into neatly calibrated integers and fractions thereof. (As “grey” is just that, grey, duh…)

    On the other hand, realizing that the gamemaster is playing the part in an essentially arbitrary manner (albeit presumably ruled by the agenda of, as you say, expanding the web and Google’s attention market share), IS, of course, eminently actionable intelligence in and of itself, no contention with you there, either.

    I still find it a mite problematic to pretend to the capacity of eisegesis if all you’re able to base it on is surmise (shrewd and informed, or not). But that, of course, is a whole can of worms in its own right. :)

    John replies: “Surmise”, backed up by numerous strategically-placed web sites and  links, with and without Google’s free tools for watching Google. Problematic for sure, but it’s the reality we have to navigate. Risk management, innovation,  participation…. it’s all good. Of course, clearly good SEO needs to be rewarded. Checked the cost of a top, reliable web developer lately? Or tech lead for a web app development project? You don’t find those jobs listed in the general job classifieds anymore.

  9. AndrewGirdwood Says:

    Thank you! I was beginning to worry that I was the only one.

    When I hear arguments for paid links they are always about “what’s fair” or “what Google should do”. None of them seem to admit or take on board what Google is *actually doing*

    Can you imagine trying to defend link buying in a year. Can you imagine saying, “Sure, I knew Google was against, I didn’t think it was fair so I kept on doing it?” That’s crazy to me. It’s twice as crazy as Google is also telling us to concentrate on content. Spend the money on content.

  10. graywolf Says:

    I’m all for doing what works, and I guess it’s somewhat odd for someone who has the majority of their consulting business come from “viral” marketing to be complaining about the trend google is creating, but it’s more than that.

    For example google defines certain practices as “illicit”

    http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769

    Depending on your definition illicit means unlawful or unethical. Google has zero authority to make either of those claims. However it represents the culture shift at google where they truly believe that they are they arbitrator and regulator of the internet, it’s policies, it’s growth, and direction. While clearly they are an important part of the internet appointing them as it’s guardians without question, or regard for the obvious conflict of intrest which exists is foolhardy and shortsighted. If you don’t think that page passed in front of multiple people before going live … well I don’t know what to say to you.

    Don’t think paid links are fair, perhaps you think it’s fair that coke has a bigger budget to buy more advertising, super bowl commercials, or celebrity endorsements. The world is not egalitarian or fair. To try and impose some quasi-equalizing rule set from a company who has a financial stake in the outcome has a certain rose colored glasses appeal, but isn’t slightly tethered to reality.

    So do what works and get you results, when the rules change adapt and overcome, but don’t be someone’s lap dog and blindly accept their table scraps and wishes, simply because they profess to “do no evil”.

    John replies: Michael, thanks for commenting. I’m considering a small local trade show booth this month and they want $1500 for a small table which is very questionably worthwhile. It is double last year’s cost. Is that fair? Should I complain? The telcos drove DSL companies out of business by locking doors, rewiring wire rooms, and cutting off power outlets, despite laws establishing access rights. Was that fair? Did they do it on purpose? Can you prove it? A beer company says it “tastes great” but I think it’s bitter. Do I demand to see their survey data? Call the FTC? Beg Verizon to be more fair and less evil?

    Google can call it illicit or unethical or even illegal if it wants to. I agree that guideline document was well reviewed, but I wonder what else they could do but stay fuzzy on specifics and imply FUD? You are free to voice your own opinion, of course. But you know better, right? Look at this guy… he suggests doorway pages are illegal, and says his staff wear (gestapo-like?) arm bands in the office, where it sounds like the policy is to “report spam” whenever discovered. Take a look at his business… selling expensive marketing services (SEO?) to dentists and medical professionals. Browse thru the 3500 or so websites on 208.252.207.101 and see what you find. Check siteexplorer for a few of those. Doorway pages are illegal? Hmmm… I don’t know who built all those doorway pages, but I suppose it wasn’t him, because he says they are illegal. Call the media… a businessman stretched the truth (am I being too nice?). I doubt it was anything intentionally deceptive… he seems so genuinely concerned about spam and what is and isn’t proper. Yahoo deals with this all the time, as does Google. As do I. And you probably do, too. That’s how it works, no?

  11. Stuart Says:

    When a Googler says ‘mom and pop’ I tend to think of all those mom and pop businesses on the Web that have taken massive and undeserved hits from Google over the years every time Google launches a new update – often just before Christmas.

    Google doesn’t care about mom and pop and you can listen all you like when they’re talking but they’re not really talking about anything but their own bottom line.

  12. Halfdeck Says:

    The “political” debate surrounding Google exists, at least in part, as a link bait tactic for attention whores to get their 15 seconds of fame. As long as the tactic continues to work, the bitching will continue.

    Some bloggers refuse to come to grips with the fact that this “Google is Evil” bit gets old – real old – real quick. But ya know, Terminator 2 made $204 million, so why not roll out Terminator 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

    Morality-based discussions are also much easier to write about than SEO tactics where real experience and knowledge come into play.

    The SEOsphere is pack-full of noise these days. Reading about Google acquiring company X or Google being hypocritical or how you can become a social superstar in less than 7 days isn’t going to help anyone’s business.

  13. Link love, 8/24 | The Invesp Blog Says:

    […] Love Google, hate Google, or maybe you just need to understand Google […]

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    […] Well, corporate hierarchies being what they are, it’s probably futile to bewail the fact that such hopes are utterly unrealistic to begin with. Nor could we for our part care less. At the end of the day, it’s all about what things are actually like, not how we may or may not want them to be, as John Andrews rightly points out in both his recent blogs post itself and in the comments section: Understanding the Google […]

  15. IncrediBILL Says:

    @Graywolf – Google has every right to dictate how they enforce rules of behavior on those sites indexed in their service. If you participate in certain activities they have the right to drop you from their ranks. No shirt, no shoes, no reciprocal links, no service.

    If you don’t like it, you can always find another search engine like Yahoo or MSN that likes how your sites behave on the internet.

    However, I think Google steps over the line at paid links if they ever penalize someone for selling “advertising”, technically a paid link, vs. a link farm which is obviously about gaming search engines including Google. The day Google starts hitting anyone with penalties for ANY type of paid advertising, which is anti-competitive since they run AdWords, is the day it really hits the antitrust fan.

  16. fantomaster Says:

    @Bill: They’ve crossed that line long ago, beginning with its relentless scraping of other people’s copyright protected content without permission.
    They’ve crossed the line and are persistently continuing to do so by doling out threats camouflaging as “helpful advice to webmasters”.
    They’ve crossed that line by requiring AdSense publishers to feature Google’s specific service offering contextual ads alone.
    Etc. etc.

    Agreed that a link farm is about gaming search engines – but where, pray, can you actually draw the line (yet another one, heh) at paid links not doing the same? They’re being offered all over the place for just that purpose. Time to get real about this, I’d say, rather than fret over merely academic disctinctions.

  17. IncrediBILL Says:

    @fantomaster – we gave up the protected content issue when we let inktomi, altavista, lycos, and a bunch of others scrape trhe web so don’t start whining about Google now as the cows have been let out of the barn already.

    The very thing fine point is when they start penalizing others for advertising vs link farms which is when the antitrust gets trotted out and Google takes a major hit.

    I’m waiting as I’ve been selling links for 10 years and I’ll be damned if I’ll be quiet if I get a penalty for doing something that existed before Google existed.

    Stat tuned to this First Amendment channel.

  18. IncrediBILL Says:

    @fantomaster – we gave up the protected content issue when we let inktomi, altavista, lycos, and a bunch of others scrape the web so don’t start whining about Google now as the cows have been let out of the barn already.

    The very thin fine point is when they start penalizing others for advertising vs link farms which is when the antitrust gets trotted out and Google takes a major hit.

    I’m waiting as I’ve been selling links for 10 years and I’ll be damned if I’ll be quiet if I get a penalty for doing something that existed before Google existed.

    Stay tuned to this First Amendment channel.

    Maybe John can delete my previous typos…

  19. Darren McLaughlin Says:

    “Google is today’s telco”

    You aren’t kidding. They’re today’s WorldComm.

  20. m1t0s1s Says:

    I wonder if google will be undone, like the telcos probably will be (because of voip), due to some new unforeseen technology?

    Tim Berner-Lee’s the semantic web?

  21. Geoff Says:

    Amen. When so much of your business model rests on what Google does, you have to listen. Like you said, you don’t have agree with it. And it is probably good to keep inconsistencies in mind, but you have to listen if you want to use it well. Great post.

  22. Paid Links - a UK SEO perspective Part II Says:

    […] I have just read John Andrews recap of the SES session on Paid Links (hat tip to Andrew Girdwood for the initial post on this), and have to say from my earlier post, possibly one aspect I missed was the subject of content development. […]

  23. Rico Says:

    Nice post Mr. John Andrews…. By the way why is Google contradicting that they hates buying but some articles I’ve read that Google is doing it underground… Hmmmm… Fishy.

    John replies: Can you link to those references about underground link buying?

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  25. SEO "Kid" under 30 Says:

    I suppose I would be labeled a “kid under 30″. But that doesn’t mean I meet #2s characteristics. I think to label people by age and say they “rarely concern themselves with integrity, morality, business process” is too much. I try my best to be a white hat SEO, and believe I have great integrity. Be careful who you stereo-type. This post has helped me a lot, mostly uplifting what I already thought.

    Editor’s note: that quote “rarely concern themselves…” was from a comment by Phil Hershkowitz (a.k.a. “#2″), and not the original post.  One good way to direct comments at previous commentors is to start with “@phil: ” so everyone knows it’s directed at Phil (in this case).

  26. Blogs for Money Says:

    Just found your site via Google – very interesting articles. Look forward to reading some more :-)

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  29. John H. Gohde Says:

    I have written both a spoof and a rebuttal to your post and to those others who have whined about the Google Bashers.

    I came to SEO organically only a few months ago. And, I am a spokesperson for the exact group that you seem to be so upset about.

    Relax, it is only how many people have chosen to deal with the stresses of Google. My SEO blog offers a natural organic and scientific approach to SEO. I avoid humanizing problems with Google as much as possible.

    But, I sure do love to whine about Google. But, not nearly as much as I whine about WordPress.

  30. » If I were Google, I’d be just about to…. - John Andrews - johnon.com Says:

    […] Lower the cost of PPC for entry level and small markets. This is more easily done than imagined, as there are simply so many hooks available to Google for “managing” the total costs (thank you QualityScores). Show success stories of small merchants earning profits without the overhead of SEO. Again, the SEM army will be happy to help with this, since they understand how easly the flock can be managed once so engaged. Free targeted traffic is what they want. They will accept low-cost targeted traffic (they did it before). Yes, it’s a lot like the Long Tail carrot, and the “but you can rule the world of rainbow sandals!” approach to search marketing, but it will work if you make them feel relief from the stresses of competing with the BigBoys of eTailing. […]

  31. Bret heart bobby Says:

    Its a valuable article…it is a good idea not to mess up with Google pagerank…..i thought that understanding google was very hard but after reading this article i got some ideas…..the main thing of this article is its written in simple language….john u did a wonderful job man…..keep posting….

  32. » Google vs. Innovation - John Andrews - johnon.com Says:

    […] I was reviewing my DiamondsDirect.com post and noticing that Google had (manually?) corrected all of the embarassing bits I noted in that post, while avoiding acknowledging their censorship of the web via profiling (parked pages, innovative methods etc). In the past I have vocally encouraged Google’s support for creativity and the expansion of the web. But for many years I have also noted that Google’s business model leads it towards biased censorship and anti-competitive practices. It looks like we are seeing plenty of that now. […]

  33. Top 50 SEO zapisov leta » Optimizacija strani | Bloganje | Internetling Pika Kom Says:

    […] Understanding the Google […]

  34. » Google Wants to Rank Your Page #1 - John Andrews - johnon.com Says:

    […] Think that through and you might better understand the Google. Topical Tags:SEO […]

  35. Adam Tal Says:

    Well the posts here just keep getting better and better. I just discovered you through a link from Aaron’s blog, started with the SEO Lemon market post and now I’m here.

    The first commenter stated u got him with the “stop projecting…” line. You actually got me with the “She was talking, and I was listening…” Seems you got a knack for that. Most SEO bloggers tend to come with their own preordained agenda. They have a strict line of what they think and the blog about it (most of the time is, Google is evil, now let me show you why blah blah blah). You actually display a different view. A truly rational no flaming discourse.

    I agree SEO is becoming such a shady business. Most competitive industries, such as medical, gambling etc’ do nothing to develop the web and add to the users experience. They focus (most of them, I do not want to generalize because some companies actually do provide some value) on getting as many backlinks as possible, mostly by outsourcing to Indian firms who just get links from everywhere on the on the web.

    The sad thing is that in the meantime it works. This kind of mass backlinking does get results. And from my own experience it doesn’t matter what type of links as long as there are a lot (1000 quality related links in comparison to 10,000 poor unrelated links with some PR value, will get a better result). But hopefully Google are getting better and their link value calculations and in the future even super competative keyword terms, will yield quality results and not just a site with a lot of backlinks.

    Cheers,
    Adam

  36. » Go Google Go! - John Andrews - johnon.com Says:

    […] I speak from the viewpoint of publisher here. Today’s Google is way beyond the text engine of yesteryear now, and much smoother than the early LSI stuff we played with in ‘03. If you’ve been writing off 3+ term searches as “long tail” you should take another look at your logs today. I’m seeing highly relevant combination queries which clearly reflect user intent, ranking my theme-targeting pages with dead-on precision. If users haven’t adopted the “say more so we better understand your intent” method of searching, they will when they get used to this performance. It’s rewarding. Yeah, it’ll be tough to define what your “target terms” are going forward, but I’ve been singing that tune for a year at least already. The future of SEO is relevance, and there’s no avoiding it. The key is defining relevance, and understanding the Google’s approach to rewarding it. remember, folks. WE define relevance, not Google ;-) […]

  37. Maui Girl Says:

    Excellent article. It looks as though the future of SEO is in those that have no idea about SEO. In that, I mean, those with the interest of their visitors at heart will undoubtedly rise in the serps over anyone with only SEO in mind.

    I’m listening.

  38. K D Mains Says:

    John

    I could not have put it better myself. Well I might have a bash at it to reiterate or reinforce what you have said but really I could not agree more!

    Google really does tell webmasters or seo and seo writers how to give the web the best but as you say many are just not listening.

    As the last poster said excellent article.

  39. » Google Barters Backlinks to Show The Way - John Andrews - johnon.com Says:

    […] community jumped into that trap yelling “Google is not the Government“, I was disappointed that so much energy would now be wasted on a negative, endless argument that would lead nowhere. Of […]

  40. warkworth Says:

    great article, but i still don’t understand the google