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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January 4th, 2013 by john andrews

2013 is The Year of the Proxy

If we learned anything from 2012, it’s that Google is in control, and apparently the FTC agrees. Google can do what it wants, and has the cash to fund the lobbyists to get formal “approvals” that hedge liability. But Google isn’t the biggest threat.

Google is a fairly low risk threat compared to many of the far more aggressive, more desperate players that will “pile on” as Google advances these new cultural standards of privacy and ethical corporate behavior cloaked as “protecting the user experience”. For every inch Google secures for itself, scammy-er players will take a mile. There are too many of these aggressors to count, but you know many of them already: Verizon, cable companies, Bell South, etc etc. Everyone who has access to your info or control over your access to information and technology, will cash in as possible.

The legal stuff is in place already, and the consumer protections gutted. Your activity data and personal information is the currency of the decade, and everyone is trading it, usually without your consent (and often without your knowledge). Sometimes I get the sense that Facebook is a distraction. “Oh my, look at how Facebook is violating your privacy”.. meanwhile your credit card activity is being sold, your driver license is being resold, your Netflix viewing preferences are being sold, your medical data is being “shared” with the MIB, and your DNA can be collected and analyzed from the public airspace without your consent nor involvement.

Entrepreneurs have attached high def cameras to cars that drive around all data solely to collect license plate activity data, because they know someone will pay for that some day. Drive around all day? For no reason, except to film the public streets and digitally record the presence of specific cars, via license plates designed for easy image recognition? Yes. Compared to information about you, gas, drivers, cars, and insurance are cheap!

And as companies continue to lock the IP as “identifier” for your residence, MAC addresses and OS hashes as identifiers of your devices, secretly raid your contacts list whenever you do anything that grants permission to apps, and require “real names” and “recognizable photos” for social media accounts, the proxy will rise in value.

I predict that 2013 will be the Year of the Proxy.

The value of a proxy.. the “substitute” that will stand in and represent you (instead of you being there, yourself) will rise tremendously in 2013. Identity proxies, communication (routing) proxies. Environment (OS, browser, device) proxies. And as that value rises, the technology to proxy will become more sophisticated. As proxy technology becomes more accessible, those players trading on our data will invest to defeat them. Coalitions will be formed, and more organized trading institutionalized. Many of you will get jobs working FOR those seeking to own us and defeat the proxies.

Expect the traditional resistance to our increasing resistance to being tracked and herded. “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they attack you…” has already started. In the SEO world, the “ridicule” stage in the form of “conspiracy theory” claims started 15 years ago or more. When Google went public, it declared SEO as a major threat to the Google business model. Obviously I recall much of that “history of SEO”, but I suspect everyone with SEO “common sense” by today’s standards recognizes Google is not what Google said it was years ago. The same is true for the other players… and each of us must decide how we will participate in their world going forward. For many of us, the proxy will continue to serve, and we will need stronger and more sophisticated proxy technology in order to survive.

Keep in mind “proxy” includes social media avatars, trade names, aliases, secondary accounts, actual proxy servers for communications routing, abstracted interfaces, IP rotators, cookie managers, lawyers, corporations, and numerous other “everyday tools of business” that cost money and are not generally available to “normal” everyday citizens (the same ones that are told “if you have nothing to hide, what are you afraid of???”).

Beware those who tell you you have no privacy, and should “get over it”, and those who suggest that “maybe you shouldn’t be doing” whatever you are hiding behind a proxy.

By the way, the threat of making the proxy “illegal” is very real, and some efforts are already known (in some cases, it is already legally defined as arguably “fraud”). Personally, I expect the public to be just barely smart enough to prevent that from really happening in the near future, although I don’t expect us to avoid a period of the “I can’t believe they actually passed that law” reality here in the US.

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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: ★ 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 ★ Seeing the Trees, but Missing the Forest ★ Search is a Task; Discovery is Fun ★ Why “dot everything” is a Good Idea (and ahead of its time) 

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