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?  Competitive Web & SEO
September 13th, 2006 by john andrews

Counter to Google

A few years ago I attended the MIT Research Director’s Conference. The Research Director’s Conference is part of the MIT Industrial Liason Program, which provides member companies with access to MIT’s research labs and staff. I have worked with two companies that participated in the ILP, and each spent considerable money to belong so that people like me could visit the Media Lab and attend such conferences along with technical managers and leaders from many of the world’s top companies. At that particular conference I found myself listening to Nicholas Negraponte (founder of MIT Media lab) telling stories of his consulting for Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx. Mr. Smith was looking for new ways to expand his business, in a world where email was rapidly reducing the volume of paper douments overnighted via courier services. Mr. Negraponte told a brief story of how he travels so much he has little tolerance for luggage, and instead has his clean shirts FedEx’d to his hotel in advance of his arrival. He sends his dirty shirts back in the same envelope. Noting how FedEx passes every single package through it’s central processing facility in Memphis, Tenessee, Negraponte told Mr. Smith to install a dry cleaner in Memphis, so the next time his dirty shirts go through they can get cleaned and folded along the way. He also noted he was willing to pay a pemium for that service.

Of course the point was innovation. The key to surviving and thriving was creativity and innovation. Everybody knew it, but could everyone demonstrate it with clever suggestions like that one? No. And at that conference I found myself surrounded by technical and management leaders from great companies around the world, and we all appreciated more than anything else, the eye-opening aspects of the conference.

During one session a Thought Leader noted that Pirelli the Tire Company had sent several representatives, as they did every year. Pirelli was the largest rubber tire manufacturer in the world. Or was it? No, we were told. Despite the tremendous presence of Pirelli as the dominant manufacturer of tires in the world, well ahead of all other brands and seemingly in control of much of the worlds tire-making raw materials, there was another company that was quietly producing more tires than Pirelli year after year, and whose tire manufacturing capacity had been increasing steadily while almost no one in the tire industry paid attention. In fact, the speaker presented some numbers which proved this unnamed company was on a path to increase tire production even further that year. Did anyone else know about this?

Well that company was Lego, and it was in fact true that Lego manufactured more tires than Pirelli or any other large tire manufacturer, and was on an enviable growth path by any measure.

Innovation. Creativity. Thinking outside the box.

The Google way is the way Google makes money, not the way Google improves the world. That point seems to be lost on a generation of Googlelovers who spit vitriol at those they view as “rule breakers”, and proclaim Google as a great and almost benevolent company (see the comments here). I’m tired of it. But I am more tired of the ignorance that fuels that mis-guided perspective. If Google is extracting billions of dollars in profits from world markets, somebody is paying that bill. It appears to be web publishers, although the jury is still out on that. The Followers seem to believe that value can be created from scratch, or perhaps that there is an infinite pool of money stored somewhere from which these benevolent corporations draw their profits.

To run counter to Google is to innovate. To follow the rules is to participate. There is no evil, and there is no “do no evil” and there is no “benevolent corporation”. There is a market for goods and services, there are vehicles for serving those markets, and there are individuals taking the profits off the table to build 280 million dollar yachts. You are free to choose to participate or innovate, just as you are free to take a job or work for yourself. As always, as a participant you settle for the wages offered… the GoogleCrumbs from AdSense (the rest pays for the yacht). As for running Counter to Google, well, there is no limit except the limit of your ability to innovate.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
September 11th, 2006 by john andrews

About dot com — not a bad idea

Sometimes the most obvious competitive tactic goes unexecuted, and sometimes it’s because while we know it would be good for us, we don’t appreciate just how good for us it could be. Enter the “about dot com” page.

If you have a .com site, you need to have an About site. It’s a separate website, unconnected to your .com site, but which is all “about” your .com site. Ever look at those web pages that rank everywhere for everything? They are aggregators, sure, and lately they have gotten very spammy, but the concept has been good for many years and continues to be good: a page about another site, which links to it as well as to related resources, which also happen to link to your sites.

Now before you go SEO theoretical on me, let me say that yes, this is a doorway approach and yes this is a classic Bruce Clay third-party doorway approach and yes I know he trademarked a name for an intricate version of the process and yes builds authority pages and yes, overloading on internal anchor text is passe’ and yes it is great that we both agree about how spammy has gotten lately. That said, here me out about the need for every one of your competitive websites to have an About Dot Com website.

Create a disconnected site and post content on it that describes your main website. Find a way to discuss the topics that are currently on your dot com, as if you were reporting on it in a trade magazine. Link to it as appropriate, using your SEO savvy, but also link to the supporting materials for those topics, located on (non-competing) authority sites and popular topical sites. Make the site all “about” your main site. Make sure that every worthy link out there to your main site has a mention on your about site, and a link.

Yes, you can have a “the making of…” site to do this, like one of those DVDs on the making of Star Wars. It’s rich content, all about Star Wars, yet is it a “doorway” to Star Wars? No. It is solidly semantic content all it’s own, worthy of an audience that also just happens to have a very sincere interest in Star Wars (hint hint).

Yes, a “corporate blog” was supposed to be one of these. It’s a blog not simply because “every company has to have a blog these days” but because blog software makes it easy for corporate marketers to publish “about” content, link to relevant resources (especially their own .com site hint hint hint) and make use of syndication tools that would otherwise take 2 years and 750 pages of specifications to build. A corporate blog is an “about dot com” site and should be managed as such. Why anyone would put a corporate blog in a sub folder of the primary domain is beyond my comprehension. It belongs on a separate domain, or… here comes the brainstorm boys and girls, a subdomain known as “about”.

You don’t have to take my suggestion literally, but you can. If you sell an SEO book you probably wish you were lucky smart enough to get a domain like, say, That would be a website full of information and sales pitches for your seo ebook. Stuff like subscribe to the SEO book, read testimonials about the great SEO book, etc. How about adding a website at, and putting a blog there which chronicles the development of, selling of, revisions of, feedback on, and experiences of producing the seo book? A blog, if you will, about

Google will view as a separate domain from The content will be semantically similar in almost every way to, yet unique and more comprehensive. The out linking on is crafted, I assume, around selling the seo book. Because of that constraint, it is not easy to do many things which semantically make great SEO sense – like linking to a competitor’s ebook about SEO. Why tempt your potentials with a link to the next best thing? Yet even my new SEO recruit can list 10 ways to write content about the competitors product without endorsing it (he proved it during his interview). Such content may be too risky to publish on the main commercial website (which is being optimized and tracked for conversion rates and such) but certainly it’s content worthy of the about domain, where it will gain some Google love for the comprehensiveness it brings into the site. And… since there are all those clever mentions of the website in there, the traffic will surely flow.

How will the user view Well, look at it:

I suggest that the domain name itself will not only attract attention to the main website naturally by visual brand reference, but will also attract existing lovers because, well, it’s more good stuff. It will attract existing haters, too, who are looking for validation of their hate of (or for more to hate about It will attract diligent consumers who have been reading through all of the seo book websites out there, and have on their short list of candidates. Conversly, it will attract diligent consumers who have been reading through all of the seo book websites out there, and have stricken off of their short list of candidates. Do you see where I’m going here? Another shot at the prospect, and almost everybody captured by the organic SEO effort fits the profile of prospect.

I think the word “about” is beautiful. In common understanding, it includes “in”, even though “in” and “about” are mutually exclusive by definition (you can’t be “about” and still be “inside” yet we are all “up and about the house” every day, aren’t we?). About means all over, when it comes to information. If something is All About Christine Dolce that means it has dedicated itself to one topic: Christine Dolce. If it is Everything About Christine Dolce, it means it doesn’t have to be only about Christine Dolce, but it does try and include everything that is out there on the topic of Chistine Dolce. About is magic.

Consider What if you saw in the SERPs? Okay, I admit that didn’t work because you and I are sooooo jaded by our experiences with spammy pages. We right away think it must be some odd manipulation by the people. But try and separate yourself from that belief system for a minute. It says it’s extra, additional, related, ancillary and or supplemental information on the same great content you have come to expect from Mission accomplished. Oh, and I might point out that the bigger the brand, the better this works. Just IMHO.

Now I will offer an SEO prize to whomever posts the best Internet search for about subdomains like and in the comments here. I haven’t looked, but I doubt there are many today. What does that say about there being one in your niche? And if there were many… let’s say there were tons of them, what would that mean for the success of yours when it appears in the SERPs? Exactly.

About dot com. Another great idea? Let’s consider it a mental warm up… not just a use of subdomains, not just a doorway, and not just a corporate blog. It’s a perspective, and folks, in SEO world, just like the real world, perspective is everything.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
September 10th, 2006 by john andrews

Google bans site after unsavory cartoon portrayal of Matt Cutts

A Google engineer created an algorithm which banned an SEO website after the site published a cartoon lampooning Matt Cutts, one of Google’s highest-profile “engineers”. The site, known as SEO Idiot and run by “paul”, previously an AdSense publisher, and previously in good standing, featured a cartoon depiction of Google personality Matt Cutts as well as the site logo: a jeuvenile bad-boy apparently relieving his bladder while baring his “plumber’s crack” and smirking at the camera. The Matt Cutts depiction was labeled Matt, and was clearly identifiable as the same ultra-high-profile Google Quality representative Mr. Cutts. Within days of the publishing of that cartoon (the first SEO cartoon ever produced by SEO Idiot), Paul’s AdSense account was banned.

Matt Cutts

This is not the first time that the Google algorithm has been “adjusted”. It is also not the first time a site that depicts Google unfavorably has experienced the darker side of what some SEO’s are calling “manic-depressive Google”.

“You’re in one day, rewarded like the King’s favorite tax collector, and the next day you’re banished from the kingdom”, said one SEO who asked not to be identified for what he called “obvious reasons”.

On the right is what appears to be a favorable portrayal of Mr. Cutts as a mild-mannered alter-ego of a Spam Fighting Super Hero, which appears on the web site along with the other cartoon portrayals. Click on the image to read the rest of the comic strip lampooning Mr. Cutts and his crusade against those that Google considers to be “in violation of the Google Terms of Service”.

Perhaps most telling is the timing of the ban: before almost anyone in the SEO community knew the SEO Idiot web site existed, the devastating financial blow was delivered. Swift justice? Restribution? We don’t even know the real cause. Was it the depiction of Matt’s chronic 5 o’clock shadow? Perhaps the attribution of “link juice” to Matt’s comic strip character? Is this another case of Google as the cruel Mistress, turning her back on a former lover? Whatever it was, we can be sure of the message. Don’t mess with the Google.
★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine

Competitive Webmaster

Wonder how to be more competitive at some aspect of the web? Submit your thoughts.

SEO Secret

Not Post Secret

Click HERE


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




comments policy



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 


☆ about

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

☆ navigation

  • John Andrews and Competitive Webmastering
  • E-mail Contact Form
  • What does Creativity have to do with SEO?
  • How to Kill Someone Else’s AdSense Account: 10 Steps
  • Invitation to Twitter Followers
  • …unrelated: another good movie “Clean” with Maggie Cheung
  • …unrelated: My Hundred Dollar Mouse
  • Competitive Thinking
  • Free SEO for NYPHP PHP Talk Members
  • Smart People
  • Disclosure Statement
  • Google Sponsored SPAM
  • Blog Post ideas
  • X-Cart SEO: How to SEO the X Cart Shopping Cart
  • the nastiest bloke in seo
  • Seattle Domainers Conference
  • Import large file into MySQL : use SOURCE command
  • Vanetine’s Day Gift Ideas: Chocolate Fragrance!
  • SEM Rush Keyword Research
  • ☆ blogroll

  • Bellingham SEO
  • Domain Name Consultant
  • Hans Cave Diving in Mexico
  • Healthcare Search Marketing
  • John Andrews
  • John Andrews SEO
  • SEMPDX Interview
  • SEO Quiz
  • SEO Trophy Phrases
  • SMX Search Marketing Expo
  • T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2007
  • TOR
  • ☆ categories

    Competition (39)
    Competitive Intelligence (15)
    Competitive Webmastering (547)
    Webmasters to Watch (4)
    domainers (63)
    Oprah (1)
    photography (3)
    Privacy (16)
    Public Relations (187)
    SEO (398)
    Client vs. SEO (2)
    Link Building (3)
    Search Engines vs. SEO (1)
    SEO SECRETS (11)
    SEO vs. SEO (1)
    ThreadWatch Watching (5)
    Silliness (24)
    Social Media (7)
    society (31)
    Uncategorized (23)

    ☆ archives

  • November 2014
  • September 2014
  • December 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • November 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • July 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006