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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June 29th, 2008 by john andrews

Google Content Widgets, by Family Guy Guy

Google desperately wants you all to create unique, original content. It needs the ad real estate, but perhaps even more it needs the continuous expansion of creative content to feed the growth of the ad business. Everything we’ve seen out of Google for over a year reflects the Goog’s serious commitment to advertising over search. About a year or so ago, from my own perspective, the sensibilities shifted to a more overt recognition that it was ad space, not accuracy, that mattered most to Google search. Trust, freshness, historical significance.. all of these things mattered most to advertising. Even as search industry TalkingHeads debated how these “signals of quality” led to better SERPs, we repeatedly saw how they directly led to increased ad revenue to Google not as much through more ad impressions as through more commitment from advertisers to the Google platform.

Cloak it any way you like, but the message was less fraudulent clicks, more lock-in of users about which we know more than ever. So even if stalwart historical journalsitic sources generated reams of spam pages deep within their domains, it was “quality” and it ranked because it was good for “economic expansion”. An advertiser branded with the idea that The Denver Post was a quality advertising avenue back in the day, would not object to a large presence of ads on the online Denver Post, even if they were mostly spam pages.

The cloud is coming. Trust me, I don’t write Apache directives and rewrite rules because I enjoy it. I write them because it enables me to profit from my work without sharing 90% of the monetization with Google. I used to configure web servers pro-actively, as a means of publishing on the web. Now, thanks to Google, I write those arcane scripts as a defensive measure, protecting my revenues. One day we will look back at how silly it was to host our own content, and how unbelievably brutal and greedy it was for Google to step in an scrape it all into a private cloud long before the PublicCloud was available to us.

Now we see Google sponsoring development of unique, creative content, Hollywood style with the signing on of the Family Guy guy Seth MacFarlane. Expect to see search talking heads proclaim Google is able to be television if it wants, Google is going after Hollywood when it’s ready, Google is replacing newspapers with classified ads and now cartooning, blah blah blah. But the truth is, Google needs unique creative content and knows how to position it. This is a comic widget. Google knows that Widgets work. Facebook works. LinkedIn works. Dilbert works. Copyright is a problem, webmasters who want to fight over their nickels are too much work given the big picture of creative content driving the expansion of the web, and perhaps most seriously… anyone can build a search engine.

I wrote about this last week… you only own what you control. Google may have grown as a robber baron, but it intends to stick around as the industry matures, and apparently this is a good time to test the waters of sponsored creative content before inflation kicks in. Even the best companies suffer when their activities fuel inflationary fires, and this will fuel inflation. Watch how rich this Guy gets. If you think giving away free CDs hurts the recording industry, wait until Google decides to sponsor music videos. Let’s just hope Google has better taste than those conservative families that bought up all of the FM radio stations back in the eighties. I still can’t believe they play 4o year old “classic rock” all day long on so many FM radio stations around the country even today…with ads of course.

Yahoo has acknowledged the importance of TheCloud, and obviously Google knows TheCloud is coming. Trust me, I don’t write Apache directives and rewrite rules because I enjoy it. I write them because it enables me to profit from my work without sharing 90% of the monetization with Google. I used to configure web servers pro-actively, as a means of publishing on the web. Now, thanks to Google, I write those arcane scripts as a defensive measure, protecting my revenues. Web publishing (separate from content creation) has gone from the profit side of the enterprise to the expense side very, very quickly. More quickly than IT, even. One day we will look back at how silly it was to host our own content, and how unbelievably brutal it was for Google to step in an scrape it all into a private cloud long before the PublicCloud was available to us. Until then, what choice do we have?

I can’t stand to think of the future in the SEO world, where we will no doubt see a new generation of poets and copywriters proclaiming that SEO is simply “unique creative content” but at least they have one aspect of that correct. Content means a helluvalot to Google. In fact, I bet in many cases your content means more to Google than it does to you. Think about that… one man gathers what another man spills.

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June 21st, 2008 by john andrews

Competitive Web Publishing

I’m always thinking about web and Internet from a competitive perspective, because that’s really what we are doing when we optimize, seek search traffic, buy links, and forge alliances with like-minded website network operators: competitive webmastering. But that concept is not always palatable to people. There are plenty of pie-in-the-sky web publishers (and SEOs and marketers…) out there dreaming of an open, free world where “information wants to be free” and “the Internet belongs to everyone“.

Truth is, even if most of us try and make that true, a few will take advantage of the resulting “opportunity” to cash in while we don’t. That starts the cycle… and soon it’s all me-too bandwagoning. If that sounds too cynical, well, that’s because it is cynical. So what.

If you want to know who the future abusers will be, look at who the abusers are now, and who have played the role of abusers in the past. A big secret of human behavior is
“past performance is indicative of future behavior”. That part is not cynical — it’s factual.

I don’t give way specifics in an obvious fashion on my blog, because, well, I compete with almost everyone reading this blog. We are all competing for attention. No sense handing your competition the ammunition it needs to take away your opportunity. However, I am happy to allude and hint. And here’s one for those working the web the way I am working the web. The newspapers (past and current abusers) are priming their pumps even as everyone says they are a dying concern. No, not the obvious. Newspapers are never about the obvious.

Take a look at this quote form a newspaper site producer, who pulls photos from the news wires and republishes them as the primary content, attractive to readers:

Q: Were there any issues in getting permission to publish images that large from the wire photo services? The photos on the Big Picture must be twice the size of any other news site.

A: We looked at the contracts pretty well and couldn’t identify anything that prevented this sort of thing. The general rule appears to be (my understanding of it) that the images should not be easily reproduced in print. Big Picture images max out at 990 pixels wide at 72dpi. If you scale that up to print resolution of 300dpi, you get an image that’s only about 2 inches wide, so we’d appear to be within that limit.

Those who know me personally, or who have had time one on one to discuss things in depth, know my passion for certain visual arts, and my belief in a certain specific future related to some of those arts. It’s coming sooner than expected. Things will be a changing, and acts like these will force that change. The only safe harbor for the competitive publisher is competing, which means acting now. The abusers will continue to react to change by attempting new abuses, and continue to reveal their intentions due to their need to manage risk. Sadly, they will also continue to lobby politicos and misrepresent the truth, which means we still have to a lot more than simply good or hard work, but we have to start with the honest smart/hard work part. And remain vocal, where it has influence.

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June 21st, 2008 by john andrews

Google: All You Need to Succeed

First, you scrape someone else’s content, like this:

Matt Cutts made an appearance today at the Domain Roundtable conference. Matt started things off with a few introductory comments, then spent most of the time answering questions from the audience and from questions that people sent in ahead of time. Here are the highlights of what he discussed…

Then, you run it through a translator to some other language. You used to have to pay a company to use their translation tools, but they went out of business because Google now offers it for free. As output, you end up with “new”, unique content in that other language, such as this:

Matt Cutts tehnyt ulkoasun tänään Domain pyöreän pöydän konferenssissa. Matt alkoi asioita pois muutaman johdantokappale kommentteja, sitten viettänyt suurimman osan aikaa vastaamalla kysymyksiin yleisölle ja kysymyksiä, että ihmiset lähetetään ajoin. Here are the korostaa sitä, mitä hän keskusteli

Then, translate that back into English. Publish the result as “new” content on the web. It might not be technically new content, but it’s certainly unique:

Matt Cutts prefabricated an attendance today at the Domain Roundtable conference. Matt started things soured with a whatever preceding comments, then spent most of the instance responsive questions from the word and from questions that grouping dispatched in aweigh of time. Here are the highlights of what he discussed

And once it’s indexed and draws traffic from… Google.. put Google ads on it so Google can pay you. Just like at seo-mark***ting-tips.com/2008/06/20/matt-cutts-does-domain-roundtable-3/

Google won’t give you all of the advertising revenue, because after all they do have to pay for that free translating, but they’ll give you some nickels. You really didn’t do any work so something is better than nothing, right? If you need more nickels, you can just scrape more content.

Google… all you need to succeed on the web.

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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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