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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July 20th, 2012 by john andrews

Google Execs Take a Break from Marissa Mayer, Lend Her to Yahoo!

There. Someone had to say it. I waited nearly a week. Doesn’t anyone have the balls to speak the obvious, or has Google’s troll-like man-handling of the search marketplace got you all tongue tied?

Google needs Yahoo! to exist and look viable, or else Google is “a monopoly”. Everyone knows Microsoft would drop out of search if there was a good reason. Without Yahoo!, Microsoft is actually keeping Google safe! How long could that be left alone?

And Marissa…. ahh, well, we can just as safely assume Larry & Co. desire a break from her, as we can assume she’ll be back at Google later if she doesn’t achieve incredible amazing success as a woman CEO at Yahoo!, or have that stint lead to the CEO position at HP or eBay or IBM or something else equally as Epic. She’s the Goo Girl… it’s who she is.

“If you love something, set it free; if it comes backs it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.”

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July 4th, 2012 by john andrews

Google SEO Guidelines

Received via unsolicited email today:

“I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more…”

Google has created an environment where scams like this can thrive, because web site owners don’t understand what does or doesn’t matter for SEO. Experts work hard to test, reverse-engineer and develop strategies for successful SEO, but real experts don’t write about specifics in public. Tool and service vendors write specifics in order to impress potential service clients. Scam artists write detailed guidelines like the above, which are half based in truth, but primarily designed to sell 1 year contracts while the client is still naive about SEO.
I wrote about this years ago in my Market for Lemons post.

It seems this is all about to change. What might Google do to bring this under control?

  • Require registration of SEO service providers- Google could create a “Trusted SEO” program, with service provider partners. Those looking to improve their success with Google would be encouraged to hire the Trusted SEOs, while all other SEO service providers would be monitored for compliance, with threat of penalties for clients and SEOs sans any two-way communications. We saw hints of this with the “pay to play in organic” inadvertently exposed briefly earlier in the year. Surely that was the smoke… and the fire must be burning somewhere.
  • Publish a specific list of allowed publishing tactics, with specifics of penalties, filters, and demotions. If complex enough, this would eliminate the market for legal “tricks”, and probably last a few years before truly stifling the 80%
  • Publish specific lists of “risk factors” associated with specific web sites, via Webmaster Console. Such an “SEO Score” could allow site owners to better understand and manage their risk, even when working with an SEO firm.
  • Make public a list of known SEO practitioners and their web sites / clients. This transparency would strengthen Google’s traditional one-sided control of the search marketplace, while removing much of the advantage SEO firms have over naive clients. It would also hurt serious SEO consultants working “all-in”  for certain industries. Such an exposure would restrict competition at the higher levels of SEO.
  • Publish a “Chilling Effects” style website about penalties, filters, and bans, using real-world examples, naming SEOs and SEO agencies, as well as domains.
  • Eliminate the viability of organic, non-paid listings altogether. Google could label approved organic listings as trusted, and hide true organic listings behind an option setting. Conduct a search, see only the organic listings Google prefers, which would include clients of the Trusted SEOs program. Desire more diversity? Click a link to see the rest. Using such an approach, Google could boost all known Quality metrics through the roof, reward partner agencies and clients, while still claiming to puplish algorithmic organic results sets. Not a pretty future, but possible.

Clearly Google is making big changes and we’ll have to wait to see the final specifics. These are some ideas of how it might go… to help stir discussions. What do you see in the near future from Google? How “bad” willit get for real SEOs, versus canned SEO service sellers, scam artists, and opportunity exploiters?

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June 29th, 2012 by john andrews

Reasons your Post-Penguin Link Building Sucks

Since Google got aggressive (finally) with spammy link builders and spammy article syndicators, I’m getting a lot more “offers” to write for my sites. So far nothing I would ever accept. Why not? Allow me to list just some of the primary reasons your post-Penguin link building requests suck:

1. You don’t present any unique value TO ME; it’s ALL ABOUT YOU

Your request is all about how you will write, and you will get a discreet link back to your site. Aside from the canned “I love your site” crap, there is nothing that makes me feel even remotely interested in YOUR offer.

Pretty crappy marketing. No pitch. No promises to me. No interesting value. Zero persuasion. And most of all, zero potential. I have to say, it’s like getting an offer from a street hooker while driving to work. Why would I ever engage in that sort of anonymous drive-by……? Whatever. Link whore much?

2. Your Web Site is Worse Than Mine

And I mean that in a content and seo sense, not a design sense. You’re not offering to design my site, you’re offering to write for it. So how’s your writing? How could I possibly think that what you’ll write for my site will be any better than what you’ve published on your own site? I hate to actually suggest this, but if you can’t write, hire someone. And then scam me with these offers. It’ll work better.

3. You Compete DIRECTLY with Me and My Site

This initially seems hard to believe since we are all so unique and SEO is so diverse, it happens a lot. And it is actually understandable given that YOU ARE SO LAZY. You obviously used keyword tools to find my site, and were hunting for BEST POSSIBLE MATCHES which means, naturally, you’re top prospects (according to your lazy research) are DIRECT competitors to you. Same topics, same service offerings, and even same local service area.

Why would I… or better, BECAUSE you’re obviously lazy, I know you won’t do a nice job if I allowed it.

4. You Didn’t Look At Me or My Site

Most times it is VERY CLEAR that you have no idea who I am and little awareness of my site’s perspective. Not that I’m special, but to me and my friends I am somebody. And you are not, by the way. Fix that and we might have something to discuss.

5. When you answer my reply, you show me you have no idea what I responded to

I actually replied to a few with “Maybe.. what’s the deal?” only to learn that you have no idea what you sent me originally. I will have to assume you spam so many for so many sites that you can’t keep track of unlabeled responses. Hah. Owned.

6. Your Plan Sucks

This is the biggest fail of all. What you propose (and the way you appear to execute) sucks. Your “offer” to extract value FROM my site FOR your benefit will just SPREAD your suckage to my site (and to me by association). Why would I ever…. oh never mind. You won’t get any of this.

So there you have it. Six reasons why your link building approach sucks, from my perspective.And yes, I do recognize this is very close to a Top Ten Lists for SEO post. Sorry.

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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: ★ 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 ★ Seeing the Trees, but Missing the Forest 

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