Start Up Strategy 101: Whine About Google

81 comments

I like to think I am fairly critical of Google. Sometimes I go a bit far with it, but it always means more when it does not sound like a whine. Recently got a comment spam on my other blog referencing a post that was such garbage that it merits a link.

Here is Peter Ireland's reason why Google is no good.

Do I sound pissed at G? You bet. One of my sites, antiventurecapital.com, used to appear on G's 4th SERP for searches on "venture capital". Then overnight a year ago it vanished from G and then returned a month later around the 90th SERP. Since then it's yoyo-ed between 80th and 95th SERP.

Why would ANYONE take startup advice for a person who blames Google for their lack of understanding about how to launch a website? Or a person who thinks Google owes them a free ride?

Reminds me of a quote from NFFC about a similar individual:

He didn't have the right attitude to succeed on the web.

Perhaps The Great Start Up Game blog could revise the Top 10 Signs Your Startup is Doomed to include taking the content on The Great Start Up Game blog seriously.

Comments

Come on Aaron

I'm a big fan, even bought your book for the Wife and Sis-in-Law to read to get up to speed with SEO so I didn't have to 'splain it to them, but this is SEO 101 which you shoud've caught.

Giving this monkey spank any press is silly as he lost his ranking most likely because both Yahoo. Google and MSN report a paltry 150 backlinks or less to antiventurecapital.com

Not only did he have a bad attitude, but he has no links!

This isn't news, it's just how a crap web site ranks.

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Quote:
Why would ANYONE take startup advice for a person who blames Google for their lack of understanding about how to launch a website? Or a person who thinks Google owes them a free ride?

Yep, you've got that right, Aaron. It's really sickening when you see people have this feeling of entitlement to have high rankings. Like they are somehow owed them because they once had them. Instead of counting their lucky stars that they had them as long as they did. Blech.

Sites Do Vanish From Google

Jill, I think you missed an important point:

"One of my sites, antiventurecapital.com, used to appear on G's 4th SERP for searches on "venture capital". Then overnight a year ago it vanished from G and then returned a month later around the 90th SERP. Since then it's yoyo-ed between 80th and 95th SERP."

He was doing well initially (fourth page) then something strange happened at Google's end. I have heard this complaint from others as well. Sites seem to vanish from Google's index on a regular basis.

really

I guess it is only us "in the know guys" who Google should look after..... no wait they don't help us either..... damn where can I whine!

Oh, he's got good links (and some points too)

(long post warning, that was one interesting post, Aaron :-)
--------------------

He's got 1,334 [url=http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/search?p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.antiventurecapital.com&bwm=i&bwmo=&bwmf=s"]good links[/url] (well, some of them are pretty dang good, haven't looked at all), and a decent site - at least for a quick look. Still, #1 for [Venture Capital] (Matt's syntax) has got around 9 times as many (number 10 has got a few hundred more than him).

Still, that alone should not explain a place at #797 for that search (just checked). It's not as if his site is rubbish (I just looked quickly at a few pages, looks like fine content to me).

He's got a problem with his www-301's - they're simply not in place. He's got 34 backlinks to the non-www domain (seems like one sitewide link), including one from the non-www domain, probably because he uses relative references in links.

Of course his domain name contains the word "anti" before the search phrase. Perhaps that could be interpreted as a sign of less relevance, but that's speculation. It might as well be a sign of more relevance. His on-site links say "home" and not the keyword, and his page title contains seven words - ie. 2.5 times as many non-keywords as keywords. But nevermind...

We might be able to find other stuff if we dig deeper (most likely, as one can always find something to improve), but let's not split his site to atoms in public. Oh, by the way, DaveN has a nice one-pager on on-page-301's and Ian McAnerin has a more verbose article.

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Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that it *is* getting pretty hard for the average webmaster to figure out what's going on with Google. You're all 100% right that you can probably say something about that guys attitude as well as his ability (or lack thereof) with respect to SEO, but AFAIK he's not even pretending to be a SEO, and he's got a few good points.

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(1)
One of them is building sites for users (he says "traffic"), not for SE's. That's a pretty sound strategy. It means, among other things, more focus on conversion per individual user. But then, it's a loooong story and there's always another way as you all know.

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(2)
Another is that, well, it just isn't getting any easier. Google's got pretty clever people on staff, and the past few years they've actually been working. So much so that I've personally beeen complaining less and less and even started smiling a little now and then.

So, it's getting difficult. That's great for me, great for Google, great for some advanced SEO's too. But not for the average Joe, if said Joe thinks he can "just get" SE traffic, like that. Oh, and it might help selling a few SEO books too *lol*

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(3)
Third is: Don't base your business on Google alone.

Assuming his target group isn't hardcore SEO's (they wouldn't care what he said anyway) but in stead startups, or people wanting to start a business, those words are as wise as they can be. In any business, internet or not, it's just not wise to depend too much on too few factors, and the more unstable those factors are the more unwise it is.

I personally recall the omnipresent "GoogleGuy" agreeing with a WMW poster on that exact statement around one-two years ago. I honestly can't remember if I was said poster, but I think so.

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Where he's wrong, OTOH, is in the concluding paragraph that he will "ignore Google" for his next site.

That's not the same as not relying on Google for your business.

I mean, of course he shouldn't build his site for Google (Googlebot is unlikely to buy anything from him anyway, it's just extra bandwith costs). Still, some of the basic SEO that you do more or less routinely if you've got a little experience actually makes a better site overall. And if his next site gets popular, or really turns out to be good, Google will find it and index it eventually. So, the basics might as well be built in from the start.

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Start Up Strategy 101: Whine About Google

I maintain a list of (well, I really haven't counted them, but several hundreds I'd guess, of) blogs and such that deal with search engines, the search industry, SEO/SEM, all that... A whole lot of them are really good. Some even better.

I'd say it's a pretty crowded place. A few years ago, perhaps even a year ago you could start up a blog focused on search engines, and if you had anything worthwhile to say you would probably even get readership.

Now, even blogs and forums about this industry is a specific sub-industry. You need an edge of some kind, as even whining is an art form practised by several webmasters already (just look at update threads)

I'd choose something even more niche than "Whine about Google". I mean, Google has even got an official Google Sitemaps Blog, so you really need some effort if you want to carve out a niche these days.

:-)

Don't base your business on Google alone.

The other's don't generate enough traffic so unless you can afford to run a business off of PPC, which many garage operations can't, then Google is where it's at for orgranic traffic.

Just wanted to see if I was losing it last night and Google isn't showing me ANY IBL's today, typical Google, but does report the site being a PR5.

Excellent post Claus (as

Excellent post Claus (as usual). The biggest lesson to be learned by startups is that there is way more out there than just Google organic search. If he can cause them to be aware of that fact alone his rant served a good purpose.

Quote:
He was doing well initially (fourth page)

is he using SERP as in SERPage (4th Page) or SERPosition (#4)?

Simple reason

Plop some of the pages through copyscape.

Copyscape

Looks like a lot of people are ripping off his copy.

You know out of hundreds of

You know out of hundreds of thousands or millions of sites to rank in the top 100 for a competitive term is great. It amazes me that people still get pissed about not being in the top 10.

No, I didn't miss the point.

Quote:
Jill, I think you missed an important point:

He was doing well initially (fourth page) then something strange happened at Google's end. I have heard this complaint from others as well. Sites seem to vanish from Google's index on a regular basis.

Nope, I didn't miss it at all. It's Google's search results, they can do whatever they want with them. Yes, sites do vanish...oh well. If this job were easy, anyone could do it. (I know anyone thinks they can do it, but obviously, they can't!)

Looks like a lot of people

Looks like a lot of people are ripping off his copy.

His is the new site on the block. I only checked a couple of the pages that turned up on copyscape, but, according to archive.org, the content found on those goes back a few years.

Whether he's using borrowed, licensed, submitted, open source or whatever kind of content, it boils down to one thing: this "new" site's pages are duplicates of many others out there.

Where there's a whine, there's a reason.

No, I didn't miss the point.

Jill said: "It's Google's search results, they can do whatever they want with them. Yes, sites do vanish...oh well."

Then what is the point on spending money on services like yours? Why should I spend a few thousand dollars on your services if Google can make a site vanish at any moment?

Why pay for marketing at all

Why pay for marketing at all then Lance ?

Can you prove that it works ? Can anyone force customers come to your store or buy your services ?

You pay for expert help because an expert stays abreast of current issues and helps mitigate and react to them, not because the expert controls whatever it is they are expert in.

Jim, Some MBA student has

Jim,

Some MBA student has ripped off his copy along with one of those one-pager sites. I think it's pretty clear who wrote that copy.

SEO = Snake Oil

That's the consensus. I'm not talking about performing your own SEO. But I am referring to the high priced "experts" who charge you an arm and a leg and then when the results are abysmal, explain it all away with, "Google must have changed something."

I see your point Lance. I

I see your point Lance. I wish I had an answer for that myself.

I see your point Lance.

We'd pay for pro SEO help if we knew anyone who had benefitted from it. Unfortunately, we don't.

Good Observation

That it's all SnakE Oil

Not even inhouse though ???

I would never pay someone else to do it but I do do my own stuff. I know some of what I do works. I have no SEO secrets though just the basic marketing and usability stuff. My real "edge" is being able to build tools no one else has and analyze in-house.

So wouldn't hiring an inhouse person make the most sense ? You can track them and get explanations out of them.

Also ala carte services are a good and honest way to market. Things like site reviews and recommendations.. that can be used to educate someone that they need a crawlable site or similiar things.

NM

Never mind..

Sorry, Lance

You might be correct about the one instance you cite, but from what I've found much of the copy has been around for a few years.

I think it's pretty clear who wrote that copy.

Yeah, he at least included some of the the original authors' names at the bottom of the duplicate articles.

Now, I don't really care where the heck the copy came from, that's besides the point for this discussion.

The whine was: Google is done, SERPs are bad, Google won't rank a site because it wants to drive publishers to Adwords.

The question was: Why, for no reason, did a site disappear from Google?

The answer is: Because many of the pages are duplicates.

This has nothing to do with Google results, Adwords or SEO, it's a matter of content. Duplicate content.

Sorry, Lance

Jim, you're full of it but do carry on.

I have yet to meet an SEO guru who wasn't bitter. Basically, your attitude is that everyone is an idiot because they are unwilling to pay for your services.

Lance, no he's not

Sites don't disappear for no reason. You pay an expert, like Jim, to tell you why they did or how to prevent them from disappearing in the first place. Wanna guess what one of the top 5-10 tips a real SEO would've given on a consult to Antiblahblah.com? Ditch the dupe content!

It's amazing to hear someone bitch about SEO's telling clients "sorry, google changed" instead of identifying the real problems and implementing fixes and then hear them tell someone they're "bitter" when they point out real problems instead of saying "sorry, guess google changed".

Pro SEO Help

We'd pay for pro SEO help if we knew anyone who had benefitted from it. Unfortunately, we don't.

While you may not be aware of it, there are many businesses that have benefitted from external SEO help. I think we're missing a point - What kind of site is the SEO working on? This simple question seperates the wheat from the chaff quickly.

Site type A - This site is several years old and is often the web presense of a brick and mortar company. It may or may not be ecommerce, but it hasn't had any serious SEO work done on it before. Many of these site have many good backlinks due to their age and the fact that they have offline business contacts.

Site type B - ...For the sake of this post... Pretty much all sites that are not type A.

An expert SEO (even white hat) can do miracles for Type A sites. So can anyone with 6 months experience reading various forums. Often, all that is needed is to change the internal linking structure and some basic on-site optimization and WHAMMO! Top rankings on all search engines. In house SEO people are perfect for these sites.

Now, the tricky part comes with Type B sites. This is where the expert/advanced consultants seperate themselves from the duffers or clever self-promoters. Take a newer site and rank it for many terms in a competitive arena. The kinds of people that can do this tend not to be employable. Certainly not with a company with rigid pay structures.

But I am referring to the high priced "experts" who charge you an arm and a leg and then when the results are abysmal, explain it all away with, "Google must have changed something.

I think this is caused by hiring a Type A SEO when you need a Type B. Both are expensive, but only one will get the job done. An SEO consultant may have success on Type A sites and think they can apply those same techniques to Type B sites with similar results. They are doing honest work, but they are underqualified. So, they learn on the job, fail a few times and hopefully they eventually catch on so later clients can see some positive results that the earlier ones could not.

Then what is the point on

Quote:
Then what is the point on spending money on services like yours? Why should I spend a few thousand dollars on your services if Google can make a site vanish at any moment?

That's always a possibility. However, I don't know of any SEO experts who ever have sites completely disappear from Google. Generally it's the do-it-yourselfers, and the spammers. The do-it-yourselfers *think* they know what they're doing, but don't. And the spammers, well they eventually get caught.

Facts first

Lance, the only client who pays for my SEO services is me.

A small sampling of more facts:

This article:

antiventurecapital.com/modeling.html

appears at least as early as May 2004 here:

web.archive.org/web/20040528065225/http://www.startupjunkies.org/modeling.html

This article:

antiventurecapital.com/valuations.html

appears on the same site in June 2004:

web.archive.org/web/20040603082230/http://www.startupjunkies.org/valuations.html

For this one:

antiventurecapital.com/math.html

Mr. Ireland was gracious enough to leave the author's name at the bottom of the article, making it very easy to trace. It was originally published by Brad Feld in July 2004:

feld.com/blog/archives/2004/07/venture_capital.html

Again, it doesn't matter the source of the content. What matters is that the content is duplicate. That is why the site dropped out of Google, not because of any conspiracy theories.

Hello Everyone

A couple of hours ago, I received an email tip about the discussion here over my website.

First off, sorry to dissappoint JimBeetle who seems hellbent on making me look like I'm using other people's copy. I'm using my own. Startupjunkies asked for permission to use some of my articles and I gave it to them. Why he assumed it was the other way around is beyond me.

As for the other two sites that have my copy, I have called them and told them to delete it or hear from my lawyer. I also have a network of affiliates which use my copy. These pages also show up as duplicates.

Now, as for my original blog post, my point was simply that if your business relies heavily on Google for sales, it is in a very precarious position. Everyday there is another tearful story on webmasterworld about someone's site vanishing. A year ago that happened to me as well after my site had been showing up on G's first 3 to 5 SERPs.

I'm not an SEO but an entrepreneur. I don't pretend to be the former.

Anyway, thanks to those who offered valid feedback and critiscism. I'll look into those problems.

I Lost Google

Google seems to have lost interest in my site.... guess the recent slams in the blog finally motivated someone to drop my site. I am not whining.... I sent requests through proper channels to see why and will have another bolg entry either way.

Good catch Jim :)

So, it's dupe content, eh? Good catch. I knew something was odd, as with all those links and good content he could certainly rank higher than #797 :)

(don't know who's been copying who, but sometimes these things can harm the original site, so it doesn't really matter anyway)

----------------------------------------------------
Added: Just saw Peter Irelands post:

Affiliates and article licensing... Well, it's certainly not the first time this happens. I would make sure that what the affiliates license won't be on my own site. Avoid duplicate content on your own site if you can. Then trust your affiliates to generate referrals and income for you in stead of competing with them. If they're really good you don't even need your own site to rank.

Perhaps set up a subdomain with the licensed content if you need to have it, to physically remove the risk from the main site. Or put a robots.txt on that content so it's not getting indexed (that way you will have fewer people copying it as well). You don't want to be competing with your affiliates, that's not good for any of you, and the results in the SEs can be unpredictable, as you see :)

Or, perhaps you should just ditch the affiliate program. I wouldn't know what would be the right thing to do, that's a business decision. In any event, make your site unique if you want to rank - and remember 301s while you're at it :)

MSN Loves Me

Funny I am even number one at MSN for Smart Keywords above Mozilla.... go figure!!!

Good catch Jim :)

"So, it's dupe content, eh? Good catch. I knew something was odd, as with all those links and good content he could certainly rank higher than #797 :)"

It's not dupe content on my site. It's other sites duping mine.

truthfully

How does Webmasterworld users whining convert into anything meaningful ?

What we originally were discussing is how could you, as an entrepreneur & giver of sage advice, expect google to support your business ?

and.. why does your site not ranking in the top ten mean that the end of google is near ?

truthfully

why does your site not ranking in the top ten mean that the end of google is near ?

Because look at the number of responses for this thread.... we could unite and overthrow Google....

ruthfully

Well, WMW is supposed to be the cream of the crop with regards to webmasters and SEOs.

Like I said, I'm not an SEO person or a webmaster.

So what the hell do I know?

haha

Well, WMW is supposed to be the cream of the crop with regards to webmasters and SEOs.

Uh, no.

Well if we are going to

Well if we are going to invade google I want to be the guy that plants C4 to blow up the antispam cubicles. Also... Sorry Mr. Cutts but you got to go, you know to much.

Well Jill, there was that

Well Jill, there was that one incident...

However, I don't know of any SEO experts who ever have sites completely disappear from Google

and Peter, looks like it's time to rewrite your copy

One Final Point

I'll leave you good folks with this final thought on why Google stinks from the perspective of both small business and users conducting searches. It places too much weight on the number of incoming links. This means old dinosaur sites launched back during the Korean War enjoy first place rankings in the SERPs by virtue of the number of incoming links and nothing else. Quality of content is of secondary important. The number one site on my most important search word is such an old dinosaur. While I provide a ton of free information, this competitor tries to nickle and dime visitors to death. It doesn't give away anything for free. But then it doesn't have to. It has accumulated about 2000 incoming since 1996.

In a word, it's a crap site.

Am I a whiner? I don't think so. Why not? Well, all of my sites place well on the other search engines. It's just Google that's out in left field. And I'm not the only one with this complaint about it.

Dupe content

Peter, when I use that term, it's not on any particular site. It's duplicate content in the search engine index. Two or more pages are identified as being very close (not necessarily identical), and then there's only room for one in the SERPs - the rest has got to go (to the bottom).

It's all automatic - the search engine really don't know who originally wrote the content or where it appeared first. One page will win over the rest, you can't really be sure that it's "the right one".

Dupe Content

Claus,

Thanks for that explanation. People on WMW warned me about that as well, but since the site under discussion here is a hobby site of mine, it hasn't been a priority rewriting it. I'll just ask startupjunkies to take down my copy and write their own.

wmw

That's pretty rich about WMW being booted from Google as well. I always remember Brett quickly deleting any and all critiscisms of Google. I used to get private warnings from him about not being critical of G. Scary politics one has to deal with.

Peter, glad you're here.

I really wasn't hellbent on anything except to determine why the site wasn't ranking as it should. (Well, yeah, when I was told I was full of it, I did have to post a couple of my findings to prove my point.)

When such an anomaly surfaces on a place like Threadwatch, well, people do tend to kick the tires and look in the trunk. It's a mystery to be solved. Why is this fine vehicle priced like a clunker? It's our job to be curious about these situations as they might affect us.

As I stated a couple of times up top, I don't care where the content came from, who affiliates with who, which site syndicates what. That's all besides the point.

And here's the point: The site dropped out of Google's SERPs, because of a duplicate content issue, not because of any behind the scenes machinations by Google.

Run every one of your pages through copyscape.com to suss out where the dupe content is around the net. You might also want to run a few of those hits against archive.org. Print out everything you find and trot on down to your IP attorney. A few DMCAs later and everything should be taken care of.

Dupe

Well, you'd think G would not penalize the site that had the content first. Damn.

how

How would google know which is which ?

how

Well, if G has a site archived then shouldn't there be a date attached?

I think my site preceded startupjunkies by a good year, IIRC.

Uhm... for what it's worth

Uhm... for what it's worth Google must assume that that either the other site is allowed to use the same content, or you would be interested in finding it (if they were not). Google has to act as a "purely mechanical" thing, not as a judge or "editor" as if it's not purely mechanical and "neutral", then it's editorial and then there are a lot of liability issues that would make running the firm a lot more difficult.

So, regardless, Google simply lets that page win that have other signs that it's the most relevant one for those specific keywords. It could simply be that the other site is more strongly optimised for those exact keywords. (see my notes on using "home" as link text + having unnecessary words in title, above)

claus said:

"He's got a problem with his www-301's - they're simply not in place. He's got 34 backlinks to the non-www domain (seems like one sitewide link), including one from the non-www domain, probably because he uses relative references in links."

Can you elaborate on this, please? Right now, it's set up so that you can get to the site whether you use www or antiventurecapital.com. So I'm missing something in your feedback.

some elaboration

If you have links to both http://www.antiventurecapital.com and http://antiventurecapital.com, it dilutes your link popularity and confuses the spiders.

Use a 301 redirect to consolidate the links.

In other words google see's

In other words google see's the domains as seperate sites since they are different domains.

Thanks

What I have been telling myself for years now is that I need to hook up with someone who knows all this stuff. That way I can concentrate on what I'm good at...which is content. I'm pretty good at spotting opportunities but lack the hardcore SEO skills.

The problem is how to find someone who can be trusted with passwords to the server? (Well, maybe they don't need the pw?)

The problem is how to find

The problem is how to find someone who can be trusted with passwords to the server? (Well, maybe they don't need the pw?)

that is a problem many business owners face. most are either too cheap or too lazy to do invest the time and money needed to find a good SEO partner.

thats not fair Aaron

many small business owners invest a lot of time and (to them) a lot of money in finding what as far as they can tell is a good SEO partner.

The problem is that many that appear good aren't - and certainly not always maliciously - some are just naturally incompetent.

I still don't know any local SEO companies within their price range which I wholeheartedly recommend to my design clients, and I've been looking for more than two years now. How on earth is someone who knows nothing about SEO and is going to be fooled by the salesmanship meant to make a decision?

They're not (all) lazy and they're not cheap, they just have a budget which won't compete with the CheapFlights and Last Minutes of this world.

The problem is how to find

True dat.

Let me tell you of an experience I had with an SEO guru after this site dropped from view a year ago. It came back a month later, and I was able to locate it using googlerankings. It was around page 90 for the most important search term. So I contact this very well known SEO guru and ask him if he can help. He responds with "What are you talking about? Your site appears on page 4 of Google for that search term."

So I recheck with googlerankings and manually. I go manually through the first 30 pages of search results on Goog. My site is no where to be found according to both methods.

That was the end of our conversation.

I can't explain that one. Is there a second google in a parallel universe he was using?

Small Businesses are cheap... or are they ?

Noel Sanger at the local search conference in Vegas qouted an interesting statistic..

Small to Medium Enterprises on average have a marketing budget of 6000 dollars a year.

Think about that.. thats not much money to go around hiring "the experts".

Peter..

There could be an explanation for that if there was an update going on. He should have talked to you about it to figure out why you two were seeing different results.

I said most, not all. And

I said most, not all. And after talking to hundreds of people who wanted to hire me or my friends I still stick by my statement. Especially when I add in those who whined to me that all SEOs were scum because they hired the first huckster who cold called them up.

At one point in time even I hired a garbage SEO firm to work on a site that was not worth working on. Perhaps getting at least one raw deal is part of the learning cycle?

The same stuff happens in other fields as well.

Well I understand your

Well I understand your frustration with them and thats why I don't chase them much anymore either. I am strictly cash up front.

That being said most just don't have money to spend & dare I say are too stupid to figure out how to spend what they have. Thus why most go out of business.

Well I understand your

I'm one of those small bizzes with a tight budget. I get calls every month from SEO firms wanting me to agree to a 3 month commitment at $3K/month. Then they add not to expect any results for 6 months. IOW, they are hoping that three months after they're gone I will have long forgotten about them and my $9K despite the lack of any tangible results.

How about about someone offering a piecemeal service to prove themselves first? For example, "for X dollars we will do Y for your site. That should move it up from the 100th SERP to the 50th over three months. After that we will do Z for another X dollars and that should move your site up to 25th SERP in another 6 months, and so on.

Don't blame the customer for not buying. Look at your sales pitch instead.

"If people don't want to come to the ballpark, you can't stop em." Yogi Berra or Casey Stengel

thread moves fast (www- / non-www)

This thread moves fast, jsavvy and webprofessor have answered the question, it's dupe content again (one page on two URLs is seen as two identical pages).

Have you got a .htaccess file on that site? If so, dump this magic formula in it, and leave it there for as long as you run the site:

Only replace "example" with your domain name


# -----------------------------------------------
# Changing non-www requests to requests with www
# -----------------------------------------------
rewriteEngine On
rewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
rewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.example\.com$ [NC]
rewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]
# -----------------------------------------------

What it does is to make sure that only one domain (the www one) is "the right one" - a real user will still be able to use the address with and without www. If you already have the line "rewrite engine on" then leave that part out, you only need it once.

I've written quite a few posts on this on webmasterworld, but as they have a login now, here's a Google search in stead of a link to any specific post. You will probably see some code that's slightly different, as you can do it in more ways than one, but this one is probably the safest. There's also the McAnerin link in my post above - but perhaps that's too rigorous.

When you implement this it will take a while until the URL is changed throughout the whole Google system. Expect no less than one full month.

See? No fee, no password exchange. Isn't life great?

:)

(Aaron stop us if we're getting too close to a Q&A session.)

*LOL* Gurtie

Quote of the year:

- some are just naturally incompetent.

Somebody get me that one on a t-shirt :-)

Verification

Thanks claus.

There really is a problem for the customer not knowing which SEO to believe. Everyone has that one site they can point to on the first Goog SERP. But how did flamingaardvarks.com really get to the first SERP? Is it because it's the only site on flaming aardvarks? Or maybe the guy who launched it got there by his lonesome before hiring an SEO to tweak it a bit more?

I'm one of those small

I'm one of those small bizzes with a tight budget. I get calls every month from SEO firms wanting me to agree to a 3 month commitment at $3K/month. Then they add not to expect any results for 6 months. IOW, they are hoping that three months after they're gone I will have long forgotten about them and my $9K despite the lack of any tangible results.

Step 1 is to look for your business partners instead of accepting whoever cold calls you. If they are good at search engine marketing and are going to have a great SEO give your site personal time love and care then why are they so desperate that they need to go out cold calling for leads? Why can't they generate enough from ranking in the search results, writing articles, speaking at conferences, etc.?

Don't blame the customer for not buying. Look at your sales pitch instead.

You missed that whole am not trying to sell very hard bit I mentioned above.

I have spoke with many SEO firms, and on average, with the ones I feel comfortable recommending people to, most of them reject over 90% of inbound leads because they would be bad customers.

Google jumps the shark

I posted an article (a little bit of a devils advocate thing) a while back about this and got mixed response. Google is very well likes and will probably remain that way until they become greedy or buggy. Article: Google jumps the shark.

Peter, it doesn't work like that

I'm doing a contract now where the second half of the payment is dependent upon visible results, but I absolutely draw the line at telling clients "and then in 6 months you should be in the top 20" - I can't guarantee that, no one can guarantee that, and people who do are the type of people you shouldn't sign up with :)

Claus - when the SEO accidentally deletes the entire website 'naturally incompetent' is the polite way to say it.

sometimes...

when the SEO accidentally deletes the entire website

Maybe the SEO thought the site needed reworked from the ground up, and they were just trying to be polite :)

..

Peter Ireland said;

So I contact this very well known SEO guru and ask him if he can help. He responds with "What are you talking about? Your site appears on page 4 of Google for that search term."
So I recheck with googlerankings and manually. I go manually through the first 30 pages of search results on Goog. My site is no where to be found according to both methods.
That was the end of our conversation.
I can't explain that one. Is there a second google in a parallel universe he was using?

Sounds very familiar, as a matter of fact, I believe it was me Peter contacted, of course I could be wrong, I get so many people wanting 'FREE' SEO advice.

I wonder why some people think that they should receive premium service when they contact a "well known SEO" out of the blue and then ask for "FREE" advice and help.

Then, if you do give them "free" advice, then they always want to argue with you about your findings and how whatever you found can not be the problem (see above posts in this thread).

Do I sound bitter? Well I'm not, just burned out.

Personal Side Note:
SEO has been very very good to me and I hate to leave it, but I am leaving SEO.

Yup, thats right, lots0 is quitting the public SEO game. No more posts in TW (that is going to be very hard to do - I love this place) no more arguing about SEO, no more public SEO discussions for lots0. You will not see me making a public post about SEO ever again.

To all the real SEO's out there (you know who you are), good luck, long life and good coding to you! I am going to miss arguing and discussing SEO and Search Marketing with you guys.

..

"Sounds very familiar, as a matter of fact, I believe it was me Peter contacted, of course I could be wrong, I get so many people wanting 'FREE' SEO advice."

Can you point to where I said that I had asked for "free" service?

Is your personal name also your domain name?

Greed Eats Itself

There's an interesting little article here on how google is screwing up adsense. http://www.fuckedgoogle.com/fuckedgoogle/2005/12/_migh.html

seo bullshit

Over the years I've paid several so called SEO's to work on my sites and to a man they got me dumped. Some of them post on the forums and regularly pontificate about techniques that I know from personal experience just dont work. Seems to me like a license to print money...post regularly about some crap, get the gullible newcomers to take notice and when they contact you, no promises or guarantees cause us SEO's dont work like that, charge them the earth, screw them for what you can get and then watch the rankings plummet. Just when are these so called experts going to admit that apart from the most basic techniques which are pretty well known, and the black hat mumbo jumbo that will get you banned, the rest is plain bunkem.

for X dollars we will do Y

for X dollars we will do Y for your site. That should move it up from the 100th SERP to the 50th over three months. After that we will do Z for another X dollars and that should move your site up to 25th SERP in another 6 months, and so on.

If only it was possible, but it's not really as predictable as that, not even for the best. Not even for the Google engineers, I bet.

You can compare it a bit to the work of a meterologist (not sure about the spelling - a weather person). Generally they can say that they expect warmer or colder temperatures, rain or shine, but they're not able to say 100% sure what will happen and sometimes they're just wrong. The longer ahead in time the more uncertainty in their forecasts. The reason is that it's a complex system with many interacting factors. It's not like "spend X and get Y". It's more like, well... (gotta think of something...)

Uhm, perhaps... A good SEO might not be able to tell you the exact weather day-by-day even a week ahead, but he/she can make sure you move in a direction where the likelihood of sunshine is the largest (or rain, if you prefer rain, or whatever.. OTOH, I'm not sure anyone would like to promise you a hurricane as those are tricky :) In addition to that he/she will make sure that your site has eaten enough vitamins to stay healthy in the long run, come rain come shine. Also that you will survive when you catch the occasional flu, as you will from time to time.

Of course nobody can promise you that if you "do X" then you will "rank Y". We can say that this would be "good for you" "very good for you" or "bad for you" - but the extent depends on what all the other millions of pages on www do at the same time, as well as what's "normal" for your particular corner of the web. If you walk forward that's great, and if you run it's better, but if your friends all have bicycles you'll get left behind anyway. And then sometimes there's heavy construction work being done, and the roads themselves move - some get longer, some get shorter, others change direction. That's the search engine updates.

Another thing is that there's an inertia in the system that means that changes you do will not always show up instantly - also, what you see in SERPS now is often a function of what you did some time ago, not what you did yesterday.

All in all, sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And there's an extreme amount of people with a little knowledge around. Enough to enjoy the sunshine (and we can easily prove that, just grab a beer and sit down) but if it starts to rain they wouldn't even know that they forgot to put a roof on the house. Of course, neither would you unless you knew their work better than them, in which case you wouldn't need their services anyway...

Whatever. Of course some firms will say that you should pay them and expect nothing. It's just not a credible statement. It's ridiculous. Even though I know that things aren't simple, I wouldn't accept such terms personally.

for X dollars we will do Y

I suppose that my skepticism stems from my belief that all the counts with Google is the number of incoming links. All you need is 1000+ links and you are assured a slot on the first two SERPs.

That's certainly the way it looks.

Links

All you need is 1000+ links and you are assured a slot on the first two SERPs.

Yeah, and you've got enough links to be on page two with that site, and you aren't. Some time ago links was everything. Now links are just very important, as the roads have been switched around a bit.

Imagine that you could point, say ten thousand, or a hundred thousand - perhaps even a million or more - links to any one page on the internet. Some people can do that. That's the kind of thing the SE engineers are up against. So, links are no more equal than the animals on the Orwellian farm.

That said, 1,000 links should be enough to be considered a really important page in most areas, if we judge by links alone. Let me put it like this: Links are really important if the links are any good, but even then other things may overrule the value.

---
And now I should really add:

AFAIK,FWIW,IMHO,YMMV,IIRC,MY2C, and I may be entirely and utterly wrong. This conversation, although in writing, should not be mistaken for a paid consultation. If in doubt always seek professional advice, and in severe cases do remember to get the opinion of an independent third party.

(Forgot all that on the posts above, so I exaggerate a little here just to make sure you don't mistake my words for the eternal truth. Even if I happen to be right it's only a coincidence in the big random interaction of nature and life in general. Such things happen all the time.)

---
I don't think I've got more to add to this thread now. But then, the rest is just details. Unfortunately that's also where the devil is ;-)

Frustration

I sense a lot of frustration here. I experience the same feelings at times. Back in 1995, I decided to productize some of my knowledge and sell it to startups that can't afford the expertise they need to launch. Since then, in almost every week, I get calls from people who having seen my site then want me to explain to them in detail and for free how to get their startup off the ground. Of course, I listen politely for a few minutes and bite my lip because if I dared to suggest that they buy my manual they'd be outraged that I was trying to "make a buck" off their plans to "make a buck".

In many ways, the Internet is a horrible place to do business because everyone expects everything to be given away for free. However, I still manage to get enough sales to make it worth the effort. You guys probably do as well.

Well, it's been a stimulating conversation.

The Myth of Dupe Content Penalties Shattered!

SEO Duplicate Web Content Penalty Myth Exploded
Posted December 1, 2005

The "duplicate content penalty" myth is one of the biggest obstacles I face in getting web professionals to embrace reprint content. The myth is that search engines will penalise a site if much of its content is also on other websites.

http://www.bytestart.co.uk/content/promotion/7_6/seo-duplicate-web-content.shtml

The Myth of Dupe Content Penalties Shattered!

This is just one more reason why some of us are skeptics about SEO. I have heard both sides to the dupe content issue for years now. Who's right? Dunno. But I'll be doing some testing on these shortly.

The Myth of Dupe Content Penalties Shattered!

Alright, here's an experiment re penalties for dupe content. This site consists entirely of reprints: energybulletin.net
Click on any article and at the bottom you'll find a link to its original location. Then do a google on the author's name. In most cases, (I don't say in "all" because I haven't checked every article), google will show both the original url and the energybulletin url.

Hey, sad to see you go,

Hey, sad to see you go, Lots0 - hopefully you won't shy from general webmaster topics if you want to avoid the SEO ones.

The Myth of Dupe Content Penalties Shattered!

Buhler?

Buhler?

Anyone?

>>Anyone? Everything in SEO

>>Anyone?

Everything in SEO is a theory and it is constantly changing as the SE's adjust their algos. For every article you quote I'm sure there is another taking a different view. This isn't like science or medicine with peer reviewed journals and "scientific fact". SEO is all conjecture, guestimates with a dose of "Kentucky windage" thrown in.

lots0, you're quitting SEO?

lots0, you're quitting SEO? Why are you stopping? I never got to hear your side of the SK affair--if I write you, is it too late to hear your story?

Peter, I checked the results for [venture capital] and they looked pretty okay to me. Why would you show up at #4 instead of Mobius Venture Capital, the current #4? mobiusvc.com has only been online about six months longer than antiventurecapital.com, but they've got 700+ pages of info; it looked like antiventurecapital had ~100 pages. According to their site, Mobius has funded Feedburner, Sling Media, AuctionDrop, Quova, and Technorati. If antiventurecapital.com were at #4, wouldn't sites like Mobius have a valid complaint if they didn't show up?

Taking a step back, I'd ask yourself why would someone read the article at http://www.antiventurecapital.com/lawyerselection.html if the same article is at http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/nov2003/sb20031110_7465_sb020.htm and people have heard of BusinessWeek and trust that source?

Just to be clear, I don't think there's anything wrong with your site, and I sympathize with you wanting to rank well in Google. There's definitely no spam penalties, so our algorithms just don't consider antiventurecapital.com as good a match as other results right now. Normally, the advice I've give would be to target a smaller niche and build your way out. I'd also recommend moving your smartstartup blog onto your main domain.

Best wishes,
Matt Cutts

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