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, 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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June 28th, 2012 by john andrews

Painful Example of Google’s Capricious Do Not Care Attitude

This is amazing to me, not because it is true but because it is co clearly demonstrated with recorded phone calls. Although I fully expect Google to issue excuses, blame an incompetent vendor, and allude to “beta”, “experiment”, or “brief period of impact..effecting 0.0001% of businesses” maybe this will be the living example the world needs to recognize Google’s intent. After all, through its seo management campaigns, Google taught us all that intent, not actual practice, should often be the cause of scorn and punishment.

Mike Blumenthal brought us the story of a US business that was de-listed by Google local, ostensibly because it did not pass the trust tests for being a truly local business. The reality is quite shocking (but quite clear in the audio recordings of the phone calls) - Google will trust cheap, incompetent, unverified offshore call center representatives over local small businesses.

In this case, it seems a poorly-trained, culturally insensitive and communications-challenged call center in India was given the power to de-list local businesses if they determined — without any apparent oversight — that the business did not have a local physical presence at the address on record.

I repeat - Google trusts it’s obviously low cost outsourced vendor more than it trusts established, US-based local businesses.
I fully expect the usual “it wasn’t our fault”, “it’s a new program only in beta”, and “blame the vendor” excuses from uber-arrogant Google. But the fact remains, we can clearly see Google’s intent with this activity. Google will trust an entity that has a commercial relationship with Google (even if a low-bid one, from overseas) before it trusts those whom it already arrogantly believes is “out to get them”.

Google’s paranoia and arrogance are hurting the US economy. How can this be ignored?

My advice to Google: reach out to that other money-hungry arrogant big entity known as the Chamber of Commerce, and make a deal while you can. They have an edge with small businesses, have demonstrated that they, too will bend all sorts of ways if it means cash for their pockets. You will need that public impression of an alliance with small businesses sooner than you suspect.

My advice to small businesses: start calling your Chamber of Commerce and COMPLAIN LOUDLY about Google. Today. Demand action. You have few other options, and the opportunity for you to have any impact in this conversation is going away in 5…4…3….2….

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June 27th, 2012 by john andrews

Seeing the Trees, but Missing the Forest

Happens all the time… tourists come into my temperate rain forest and admire the trees, while missing the forest. Yes, trees are cool. But not nearly as cool as the ecosystem that supports them.

Same thing with Google. SEOs see the trees, but many are missing the whole forest idea.

Riddle me this — if you have to pee while hiking on a forest trail, where should you deposit your unwanted bodily fluids? The answer might surprise you: right on the trail. Not off in the bushes (you’ll trample a lot of ecosystem doing that) and not behind a tree (the forest-floor-rises-up-to-base-of-tree region is a very important part of the system). Pee right on the trail. Why?

Note that the trail is already trampled.. it’s called a trail for a reason. Also note that forest animals (like deer) have an often desperate need for salt. They WILL find yours, and they WILL lick it up, from where ever you left it.  If that requires scratching up the forest floor because your latent Puritanism forced you to blaze a new trail into the brush just to avoid being seen executing the same basic human functions that everyone must execute every 3 hours or so, your how-to-pee-while-hiking tactics are doing more harm than good.

A naturalist will tell you that peeing on the trail “gives” the salt, water, and other ingredients to those who need it, without any additional trampling costs to the forest. Same naturalist will note that forest trails should be serene and quiet and low-traffic, so there really shouldn’t be any discretion problem. Same naturalist will also quickly note that a trail can’t support a hundred cidiots (city+idiot) per day peeing on it, and that people who don’t get nature should limit their nature walks to well established trails designed for high levels of foot traffic (typically accompanied by porta-potties or restrooms). Said naturalist may also comment on the sterile nature of healthy pee, and the unhealthy state of most Big Mac loving city slickers visiting the Great Outdoors with their air-conditioned SUVs. Said naturalist also probably hikes in the nude, but that’s another story.

In the forest, the bigger eco system will over ride your silly rules, because your rules don’t matter for survival of the system. Your rules matter TO YOU. And that’s where the damage comes from… you only see the trees, and end up destroying the forest that supported the trees.

I’m going to say most SEOs only see trees… links, articles, attention, audience - but miss the forest, which is the ecosystem of the web of connected surfers. Most SEOs are more like Google than nature. They do what they perceive is best for themselves, or the cabal they collaborate with, and harm the ecosystem in the process.

Lately, they are dooming themselves, too, because Google’s got a plan and it doesn’t include them. As they diligently pay attention to the Google Trees (do this, don’t do that) they are ignoring the bigger forest… Google’s execution of a plan to benefit Google at the expense of the natural web.

How many times have you heard “you might have to start over” in the past 6 months? Imagine that… a suggestion that, in order to be trusted and receive search traffic from Google, you might have to abandon your domain and start over on a new one.

Seriously? A traffic broker who already successfully copies and re-purposes your content while capriciously representing you in unilaterally-edited fashion, now has the cajones to tell you to abandon your one owned asset (the domain) or lose the traffic?

Think of the forest.. the bigger picture. Does Google like that you own a domain that has brand power? Does Google like that people can “find” you without searching for you in Google’s index? Does Google like that you can choose how and what to publish on your site? Does Google like that your seemingly-wanton formatting of what you publish makes it difficult if not impossible for Google to”organize” into an efficient, searchable index?

A domain name is a handle used by the market to hold on to you. Your potential (which they acknowledge, by remembering you as a brand) is invested into your domain name. Google wants that now.

The same way the middle-school bully swings by to take your lunch money, because he can and you don’t resist, Google’s taking away your forest, one tree at a time. And many, many of you so-called SEO people out there are helping Google destroy the same ecosystem that supports you.

Google doesn’t own the web. Despite Google’s stifling of innovation for the past 5 years or so, you can still innovate if you just resist the imposing, selfish rule sets that claim to be good for everyone but are actually destroying the ecosystem. You don’t have to conform, in order to succeed on the web.

As you build websites and draw audiences, you are participating in a dynamic living ecosystem. If you find yourself on the heavily-trafficked urban trail, by all means use the facilities that have been provided for you. It’s the civil thing to do, for everyone’s sake. But if you’re innovating, and like the naturalist working to understand the interconnected web and helping it thrive, sometimes the best thing to do is pee on the trail.

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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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