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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April 5th, 2013 by john andrews

Dedicated Class “C” IP addresses for SEO

The liars and schemers in the world are costing all of us a lot of money and “happiness” every day, but get away with it because in general, good people forgive them. So the bad guys go on and on hurting others. What does this have to do with SEO? Hah! Everything.

I just spent 2 hours on an issue that should not have taken 2 hours. It consumed the “extra” 2 hours (inefficiency in our world) because Google makes so many mistakes (at best) which spread disinformation, and because Google forcefully imposes it’s will to out-compete everyone else (at worst) for profit.

I believe the VAST MAJORITY of SEO publishers are complicit in those efforts. In other words, if you are an SEO person and you publish to the web about SEO, I am indeed blaming you for making things worse, and costing me that lost 2 hours (or at least 80% of you).

The cycle of silliness in web publishing related to search engines is endless and complex and laughable, if not only super boring. Many smart people have moved on not because they got tired of SEO, but because they got so tired of the nonsense time wasting parts of SEO that exist for no other reason than the fact that Google seems to create the mess on purpose, and seemingly clueless seo “professionals” propagate it.

Here I was teaching someone about SEO, and just this one little SEO issue cost over 2 hours to pursue with no useful information outcome.

I went back through a decent amount of the SEO “literature” about dedicated IP addresses for SEO. What trash! From the super-authoritative sounding rants of full-of-nonsense seo haters, to the imposter authority of Matt Cutts posting on his “unofficial” blog, and including contributions from Cisco-certified networking specialists who apparently have never had a real job,  as well as non-certified networking gurus who understand network architecture. Oh my god so much garbage and incorrect/deceptive information.

The CORE issue stems from SEO experts who say (over and over at every SEO meetup for like 15 years) that SEO demands a dedicated IP address for a website. From there, the nonsense begins. A reader of the historical record traverses a dizzying path of misinformation. Assumptions rule, and misdirection is common. Marketers (including accomplished propagandists like Matt Cutts) cleverly employ these situational factors to deliver point after point out of context, in ways that help confirmation-biased novices to conclude all sorts of “facts”. Hosting companies and vendors feed at the trough of confusion. One even named itself “SEO Hosting”, which I can only assume was a conscious decision to take the profits of successful marketing despite the risks of SEO. If that wasn’t the case? Then how sad was THAT!

Substitute any other common and valid “SEO question” for this IP address one, and it’s the same story. It’s no wonder so many web publishers suffered left-handed hockey stick growth charts in 2012, as Google ran off with the Internet money.

I attended a gold mining expo last week, and watched a seminar on panning for gold. For the demo, the miner loaded his dish with silt and water and then planted 12 flecks of “real gold” into it. After panning it empty, he had 10 of the 12 sitting all alone in the dish. Wow. That stuff is shiny! And the first comment from the peanut gallery when he showed off his black pan with 10 bright flecks of gold was.. “if you want to get rich panning for gold, sell gold panning equipment!”.

Exactly.

Google’s SERPs are a cesspool, and Google has been helping to fill it with crap. And all the while, fallible, judgmental, often righteous and commonly misguided Google employees flash the bright orange promise of the carrot, and whip the threatening penalty stick at web publishers, as if to fuel the fires of confusion… while they steal the profits and run off to the bank.

I don’t use terms like “fallible” and “judgmental” and “righteous” and “misguided” loosely. I have specific experience, repeatedly over the past 15+ years, to back up those labels assigned to Google and Google employees. It’s fact. But that doesn’t change things. They’ve been this way since the beginning, whether or not you chose to believe it back then (or now).

So what’s the answer to the dedicated IP address and Class “C” block issue, when dealing with SEO web hosting? The same as it has been FOREVER in SEO land. Nothing has changed. The stakes are higher than ever. The stick flies faster than it ever did, and I suggest the righteousness and misguided parts are also at all-time highs

But what’s “the answer”?? Do you need a dedicated IP address for SEO, or doesn’t it matter? The answer, is that it doesn’t matter.

Those of you who are still here, should think about that a second. I used an indefinite pronoun in that last sentence. A propagandist’s tactic. In this case, “what doesn’t matter” is the answer to the question. The answer doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters when considering unique IPs and SEO website hosting is what you do on your IP address and what Google does to your traffic. And that’s the secret to SEO. That is also why it doesn’t make sense to publish “how to” information on the topic of SEO, like articles about unique IP addresses and SEO hosting.

Let Google sell you on how there’s no technical difference between IP and name-based hosting. Let hosting companies sell you on how to rank better with unique, randomized “class c” IP addresses. Let the networking geeks proclaim the silliness of the nomenclature, or cite the practical realities. Let the SEO “experts” demonstrate how their worlds are fueled by correlations and assumptions, or reason and logic. But NONE of it matters.

The only thing that matters is how much traffic you are getting from search engines today, and how prepared you are for when some (insert adjective here) Googler shuts off that flow of traffic. And while you work on that… how much money you are making from search engine referrals to your IP address today, and what you will do when that stops (tomorrow?), make a decision about unique IP addresses for SEO web hosting

Additional Cheats to the Topic:

  • when a Googler takes action against you, starting with a “look” at “what you are up to”, what will they see?
  • when a Googler launches an automated profiler or script to “gather accurate information”, what will it produce?
  • when the anonymous and all-benevolent yet not-responsible “algorithm” analyzes and classifies your site in the web, what will it think?
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March 22nd, 2013 by john andrews

New Domain Extensions (gTLDs) Could Change Everything

A slew of now top level domains are coming, thanks to a bold move by ICANN originally intended to spur innovation on the web. “What would you do if you could register any top level domain“, they asked the world’s entrepreneurs. Free of constraints of name availability on the standard dot com and other top level domains, how could you advance the Internet?

Despite such noble intentions, the new gTLD program turned into basically just another commercial push for more domain registrations, driven by businesses hoping to sell virtual products (registrations) to speculators and trademark defenders.

Usually speed of innovation is a key factor for progress on technical platforms like the Internet. Act fast and innovate, to build market share before competitors can muster the courage to follow along on what is likely a risky ride. Conversely, a sluggish pace  of implementation, combined with what seems to be controlling efforts stopped this dog from racing in my opinion.

Nobody can “innovate” if they have to invest cash up front in advance, broadcast their intentions, and wait YEARS while others develop copycat, competing, or parasitic business plans.

Rather than an exercise promising rewards for innovation, the new gTLD program is just more “big business” promising rewards for old-school registrars and those who follow on those established practices. Unless.

Unless Google decides to play along.

Should you pay to reserve YourTown.pizza when it becomes available? Not unless you think it will be useful. And with basically everyone using Google to find local pizza, won’t that success depend on how your web site does in Google? We’ve already seen Google manhandle Yelp in the search results… so no doubt Google’s the real player in pizza (when it wants to be).

The web marketing game remains one of “remarkable website functioning as part of a remarkable business” while “exploiting loopholes” and “avoiding penalties and filters”, whether those are artificially imposed or market natural. If you do something Google doesn’t approve of, you lose. If you piss off your customers, you lose. But most of all, far out of proportion to all other factors involved, if Google decides to give your business a boost (for any reason), you win.

That’s right.. if Google decides (unilaterally, without any obligation to notify anyone, nor any obligation to maintain anything for any reason) to boost .pizza to the top of the local rankings for “pizza in your town” searches, your .pizza website will make you a fortune. And there will be only one YourTown.pizza available for registration. Will Google do that?

Or will Google ban townname.pizza domains, again unilaterally without consequence, for any reason? It would not be unusual, since townname.pizza competes with Google as a directory of local pizza, and doesn’t otherwise reflect any unique character of the pizza business publishing on it. What will Google do?

I attended a conference the other day where the SEOs on the SEO panel noted how select SEOs were “really good friends” with Matt Cutts of Google’s “search quality team”. Wow. Which SEO would you hire… the one over there or this other one that’s “great friends” with Google? No one call them them out on it… and the web marketing game continues.

A big marketing firm recently published on it’s website that it had inside connections at Google. It claimed to be such an important customer of Google, that Google reps “often called” them with advice on how to deal with algorithm changes. Wow. What a great firm to hire, right? Of course they scrambled to take that down when it was highlighted (partly because it’s not true; mostly because of risk of fallout from being outed as manipulating the market by Google name dropping).

The truth is that Google can make or break any web strategy. Will it boost any of these new gTLDs into success? What about .pizza or .movie?

Hard to imagine it won’t take efforts to secretly “manage” some gTLDs. Google has been caught “managing” other TLDs in the past (.info for sure, probably .biz). Google has also damaged many business by ignoring some extensions while favoring others. Despite having promised to reward proper use of local gTLDs by local businesses, Google’s refusal to acknowledge .US hurt any that published on .US hoping to compete in their markets while following the “rules”. I have never seen any evidence of .US domains achieving any of the status Google granted to .com. .org, and .net, for example.

So which of the new gTLDs will be winners, and why? We’re back to speculating on domain names, just-like-before. And the big winners are the domain name registrars and re-sellers. The big losers are you.. the consumer of web domains, now forced to speculate or defend your trademarks by spending more money on domain registrations that will likely never be utilized on the web.

And then of course there’s the complication that Google also submitted applications for a set of the new gTLDs. I won’t go there.

One thing is certain: the new gTLDs could change everything, but only if Google wants things to change. What can we do?

My recommendation is to cozy up to Matt Cutts because clearly, being friends with Matt makes you a rare breed of SEO consultant. There is no doubt that the SEO on that conference panel — the one that was good friends with Matt Cutts — had a huge advantage over every other seo in the room (at least when it came to closing new business).

Similarly if you can find out what other Google employees are compromised,  get into that game as well (like that Marketing Agency claims it has done with its Google reps). That’s where the winning opportunity lies — insider knowledge of how the algorithms work is gold for SEO.

Inside knowledge of which gTLDs Google will boost is the key to winning with new gTLDs for sure.

Want to Comment? Don’t comment here.. post your comment to social media (twitter, Facebook, your own blog) to be heard. Link back to this if you want.. I’ll leave it up for a while. This is an important issue so please do speak your opinion somewhere.

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March 12th, 2013 by john andrews

Kapost Review

My Kapost Review: Why I won’t be Using KaPost

I’ve been using various content workflow systems over the years and recently discovered KaPost.com via a brief, sentiment-free mention on CopyPress. I watched the demo. I logged into the sample instance, and “played around”. I spend about 2 hours with it overall, and another 1.5 or so reading online about KaPost and Eloqua, etc. I believe I figured out a way that I could get considerable value out of using it with my content teams.

And then I looked at the deal: minimum $1200 per month for up to 8 users, limited to 5 content types. Plus they with hold the persona matrix. And that, plus a few other hints collected during my evaluation, means I won’t be using Kapost for content marketing.

Now it is important to note that I am not choosing based on price. At $1200 for 8 users, that’s $150/user and I would gladly pay that for a true productivity tool. The centralized workflow management and monitoring is additional value beyond the productivity gains. It’s not a bad price if it does what it promises to do. But does it?

Kapost seems strangely distant. I am not citing facts here, just my observations. I’m pretty good with Google and I am pretty good with observations. In my perusal of what-I-could-find-on-Kapost I did not come across friendly, outgoing, helpful people associated with the brand nor the product. At all. Trust? I could find much to build on in the trust department. Why is that?

You content marketers might recognize what is happening here… I’m floundering at the top of the conversion funnel. I discovered the brand and product, visited the website, and “entered the conversion funnel”. I then got lost… picking up signals of non-trust, while not finding signals of trust. I didn’t continue down the funnel… I bounced around the edges. Why is that?

Not to mention the irony that this is a product designed to be used by people charged with the task of drawing prospects DOWN the funnel, once they have entered. For the SEOs out there, perhaps no surprise that a “content marketing” industry company didn’t do the basic SEO needed to help me find the necessary signals. Hard to believe they didn’t generate the off-site content needed to accomplish same. Trust me when I report that I returned to Google a half dozen times at least. I really wanted Kapost to work for me.

Then there were those “huh?” observances. Like a tweet from someone who works there, that basically said it was a good day when he woke up to see a new, paying customer in the queue. Really? Are things THAT bad? Content Marketing is big right now. Either there aren’t many customers, or there aren’t many PAYING customers? And I’m being asked to pay $1200 per month. Scary.

There were a few other “scary” signs, but like I said, this is not fact, just my observations and how they made me feel. But I still liked what Kapost does, and so was still willing to take a risk and put it to use. That may have been stupid, but sometimes I win when I follow my hunches. In this case, I needed a few positives to overcome my negative sentiment. I hit Google gain, and (strangely??) didn’t find any. So I returned to read the details.

At $1200/month, I get limited support (with 48 hour response time). Oh, and the persona matrix (which had been highlighted as a great feature which kapost puts in front of users all-the-time since it’s so essential) was with held for $1200/month customers. They have to pay extra to get it.

Withholding the persona matrix is another clue to company attitude (in my opinion). Withholding is an approach to business. I find that companies that make awesome products and help customers get access to them, succeed. Companies that strip down products to create lesser products, in an attempt to service “different markets”, don’t succeed. Like the American car companies of the 80’s. They built cars according to how they felt they could sell them into specific economic demographics, to make profits. It wasn’t about building a great car.. it was about providing just enough car to get customer X to buy it, while still making good profits. They withheld electric door locks, cup holders, and even intermittent windshield wipers unless extra fees were paid, while Toyota and Honda delivered all the goods to everyone. Guess who succeeded? Guess who know sells the best selling cars in the world? Both Honda and Toyota went on to also create luxury brands that are now among the best selling cars in the world.

With kapost, the basic decision for me, after my review, was not whether or not kapost was a good choice for content production flow management and scheduling. The question is whether Kapost (the company) would be a trustworthy partner in my business. If it worked as intended, I wouldn’t need support except when I needed help figuring out how to make it do what I was trying to do. In that case, 48 hours is fine. I would figure it out by then. But what if it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do? I wait 48 hours to learn that yes, it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do? And then?

Gnawing questions remain, giving me concern. Why not much out there about actually using and dealing with kapost? Why so little personality around the company and the customers’ interface to the company?

No dice. I can’t buy kapost.

I’ve been in this business a long time, and used dozens of innovative IT products. Every one has flaws… and we have to deal with those. My sense is that I will not have a good experience with Kapost. It will have flaws, and the company won’t give me access to understand whatever unusual behavior is encountered except with a 48 hour turn around. Given the history of pricing for kapost (from reasonable per-user-per month fees to the current $1200/month plus extras), maybe they can’t afford to develop the product. Maybe they are so strapped they won’t even fix them. Maybe it’s been built by people who have full time jobs somewhere else, hence the lack of a social profile for all but the president or whatever. Maybe they need my $1200 to make sure it works when I use it. Maybe they’re chasing the Fortune 500 Big Brand market now, in an attempt to close service business (helping to run it?) or those famous pay-the-recurring-billing-and-never-use-the-product Big Brand accounts. Either way, Kapost is not for me.

PS: This is not a slam.. I’ve never even used the full product. This is an essay on why, after all the review and testing I’ve done, I will not be choosing kapost.

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John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

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Recent Posts: ★ SEO Industry Growth, Widespread Failure, and SEO Industry Challenge ★ Do you want to WIN, or just “Be the Winner”? ★ 503: GONE ★ Cloud Storage ★ Identity Poetry for Marketers ★ PR is where the Money Is ★ Google is an Addict ★ When there are no Jobs ★ Google Stifles Innovation, starts Strangling Itself ★ Flying the SEO Helicopter ★ Penguin 2.0 Forewarning Propaganda? ★ Dedicated Class “C” IP addresses for SEO ★ New Domain Extensions (gTLDs) Could Change Everything ★ Kapost Review ★ Aaron Von Frankenstein ★ 2013 is The Year of the Proxy ★ Preparing for the Google Apocalypse ★ Rank #1 in Google for Your Name (for a fee) ★ Pseudo-Random Thoughts on Search ★ Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or a Blog ★ The BlueGlass Conference Opportunity ★ Google Execs Take a Break from Marissa Mayer, Lend Her to Yahoo! ★ Google SEO Guidelines ★ Reasons your Post-Penguin Link Building Sucks ★ Painful Example of Google’s Capricious Do Not Care Attitude 

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