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
February 13th, 2007 by john andrews

The Secret Side of SEO

Of all of my readers, I most enjoy Natasha Robinson. Honestly, I think it’s the name…. Natasha… that exotic beauty from Rocky And BullWinkle. Natasha Fatale is one of those overly-managed “properties” in cartoon world, so no graphic here, but she is described by her “manager” Classic Media as follows:

Natasha Fatale, the female counterpart to Boris Badenow, is a former Miss Transylvania and gives a whole new meaning to the word “vamp”. Although much of her younger life remains a secret, there is substantial evidence that Natasha is the only child of Axis Sally and Count Dracula. Besides her work with the infamous baddie Boris Badenow, Natasha has also had previous stints as a model for Charles Adams and popping out of cakes at embalmer’s stag parties.

So when Natasha comments, I read it for all the wrong reasons. Anyway, Natasha commented yesterday :

In trying to explain to an engineer why knowing what to do with the pages that you already have indexed in Google is more important than having all of the pages to the site indexed in Google I started to explain to him that there is basic SEO which everyone can learn from any forum, Google’s webmaster guidelines, etc and there there is Strategic SEO.

and of course she is correct. Strategic SEO is not the same as technical SEO. In fact, as I suspect she is learning, “strategic SEO” is not SEO at all but competitive webmastering, which uses SEO tactics. The same is true for “optimized SEM” and the newer “social media optimization”. They are tactics, which must be executed within a plan that has goals and objectives. Competitive Webmastering, too, will someday cease to exist when business finally wakes up to the fact that the Internet is everything, and we will just refer to all this clever competitive stuff as “business” once again.

But what “that girl from marketing” said above was interesting to me not because of the mention of competitive webmastering, but because of what she was preaching to that poor engineer. It’s not about more pages indexed any more.

Sorry to throw yet another monkey wrench into your SEO business model, but if you are still working to get your client’s sites fully indexed in Google (or worse, still paying an SEO “firm” to get all of your pages indexed), I’m sorry to hear of your continued inability to get SEO and the web. It doesn’t matter so much how many of your pages are indexed, but it matters which of your pages are indexed and whether or not they are indexed such that they appear in the right SERPs for your business objectives. Google started trimming it’s inclusion long ago. It’s not interested in more millions any more. Google wants quality.

Here are a few more things that your SEO “firm” may not have told you :

5 6 Things Your SEO Firm May Not Have Told You

  1. Google figured out how to spider and index your dynamic pages long ago, including the duplicates, most of the the broken ones, and the ones buried deep in your CMS. You don’t need to change your URLs to get Google to spider and index your site. You may want to change your URLs for other reasons (that being based, of course, on a business strategy), but unless you’ve had strategic business planning meetings with your SEO, having your SEO convert your CMS to use “search engine friendly” URLs is probably not cost effective.
  2. Nobody knows your money terms. Nobody. Not you, and not your SEO. The list of search terms that produce best for your web site is dependent upon overall Internet traffic patterns, your specific industry trends and events, and culture. At any given moment, the value of search terms can be estimated, the currently-working search terms can be identified, and new candidates for productive search terms can be identified. But which terms produce can only be known from actual experience or testing. Every keyword list is dynamic, and keyword list management is major part of the ongoing SEO efforts.
  3. There is a new Supplemental Hell, and it’s called Zero Traffic Hell. Google is no longer labeling all of your low-value pages as “Supplemental”, but instead has decided to simply not refer visitors to those low value pages. So if you’re SEO firm is still showing you “see, it was in Supplemental before, but we pulled it out” then you probably need a new SEO firm. Check your logs. They are dying to tell you what your low value pages are.
  4. Less is More, Sometimes. If your SEO firm is still saying “more pages = more traffic” then you probably should hire a competitive webmaster consultant to check on your SEO consultant. I think of it like a freight train. There’s an “engineer” driving the train, and then there’s an “engineer” setting the track signals that enable the trains to go where they need to go, at the right times. Which engineer is driving the train?  If your SEO is out there working to get your site to bring in traffic, who is setting the guidelines on exactly what traffic you actually want to garner? Your business needs traffic that does what you want it to do (e.g. buy something) and all other traffic is a cost for you, consuming bandwidth, occupying your SEO at an hourly rate, etc. Sometimes less is more. Google knows that.
  5. Sometimes it is smart to simply STOP. This is a tough one for both the SEO “firm” and the client to accept, so I don’t expect it to change soon. Sometimes, the best thing to do is stop and wait. Stop and monitor the signs of change. Stop and measure. That’s not free time, off-the-books, but part of good SEO. Think of it like creative time: when an artists dreams, it is productive work. But nobody likes to pay an artist for the time she is dreaming, and so artists are basically poor for the most part and suffer under a sponsorship model. SEO firms tend to average the effort over time to come up with a reasonable hourly rate for work, that covers the crunch time and the dream time. The parallels continue to be remarkable…. art critics/seo experts,  art auctions/seo proposals, galleries/web design firms, etc etc etc. Anyway SEO is a creative endeavor more than a technical endeavor, even if your SEO firm doesn’t acknowledge that.
  6. SEO changes daily. Another tough one, because it basically means yesterday’s proposal needs another change order. Seriously, folks, if you hold your SEO to a fixed contract you will get just that – a fixed performance. There is simply no way to specify an SEO engagement, and so we have what we have today: a whole bunch of dysfunctional SEO firms. I’m not saying it’s kismet, but you are far better off challenging your SEO team to achieve a monthly business objective than challenging them to meet a specification for work. Hard to put that into a contract? Yes. Hard to know what matters and what doesn’t? Yes. That’s why I believe in strategic consulting, and that’s why I advise everyone who hires and SEO form to also hire an expensive, independent, capable competitive webmaster to keep an eye on the project and advise the business team on how to move on beyond the SEO work – in parallel. Not to work with the SEOs, but to work with the business team on the next steps, while keeping an eye on SEO progress from the business perspective. It’s the right way to do it, but almost nobody does it that way.



★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
February 9th, 2007 by john andrews

Is it really Search Engine Optimization if ….

There is so much debate about SEO today, I kind of wonder why so many SEO thinkers are not busier with their SEO. It might be because they are comfortably at the top of the SERPs, unchallenged and therefore idle. It may also be because they are SEO Salespeople, and their SEO staffs are full-up with work so they have nothing better to do than blog about SEO. Or, it could be something else.

Anyway reading some of this stuff I got to thinking there is an aweful lot of mis-understanding about what is and is not SEO these days. As I wondered, I wrote down some of my wonderings….

Is it SEO if …. everybody is doing it? I mean, titles are important, and SEOs optimize titles, but doesn’t everyone know that and isn’t every good webmaster writing good page titles?

Is it SEO if …. every web design firm offers it in their service bundles? You’d be hard pressed to find a web design firm today that doesn’t list SEO as one of their offerings. Doesn’t that make SEO an aspect of web design?

Is it SEO if …. just a wee bit gets you to the top of an otherwise non-competitive SERP? Like, if someone named Antwon Jinderspoolster makes a few links and pops to the top of Google for his own name, is that SEO? (gotta love that phentermine spam)

Is it SEO if …. you paid for traffic? I don’t mean paid for SEO services, I mean paid for links, or paid for PPC traffic. Tough call here, because beer can be used as currency in some local markets. I’m just sayin’s all…

Is it SEO if …. it yields top rankings for keywords that nobody cares about? Consider the case of an SEO “firm” signing a client to a contract that guaranteed a first place showing in Google. After the contract was signed, they set out to determine what phrase would be the guarantee phrase, and it was something along the lines of “rust under the left side bumper bolt“. And that was a one year contract for SEO services. Yes, they met the contracted requirements. No the year is not up yet.

Is it SEO if …. someone says it is? Or isn’t?

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
February 8th, 2007 by john andrews

This is my TV

Lest there remain any doubt about it, I turned off my TV 3 years ago, I pay Comcast for my Internet access (but don’t get cable television), and this is my TV.

★★ 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