Googlebot Kickin

This landed in my inbox, thought it was interesting – Googlebot Just Got The Boot:

Having been defamed by Google, along with many other bloggers, gave me an opportunity to reevaluate my relationship with big G. I have decided to see how will this blog survive on its own- without Google. So I have instructed Googlebot to stay way from this blog. But I also have requested to remove my entire website from Google’s index via Google Webmaster Tools (formerly know as Google Sitemaps).

Not only has he removed his site and blocked it from Google, but I don’t see any Adsense code on the pages either. Goog’s not getting fatter off this blogger (Vlad). Is he feeding data to the data hungry Goog with Analytics? Dunno, but so far I’m impressed. It’s one thing to complain about Google, but it’s a whole ‘nuther thing to actually “respond in a meaningful way” to a business that you feel has crossed the line. Otherwise it’s just hollow talk (IMO).

One thing that confuses me is the remark “having been defamed by Google”. I don’t follow that logic and don’t get how Goog’s defaming anybody thru the visual pagerank displayed on their toolbar. Anyone who judges a website or blog on what number Google chooses to display in the toolbar has a serious case of brainwashing to undo. But whatevs, it’s just a small quibble.

My prediction: It’s hard to know whether this is a serious attempt to break free from goog’s hungry clutches, or if it’s linkbait. It may be a bit of both–nothing wrong with that. Whatever happens, I think this will be interesting to watch. Maybe this will be the start of a new game in town: Googlebot Kickin. Now THAT would be hilarious, lol.

A Google Spanking Earthquake

Can you imagine for a moment the earthquake that would result around the web and Wall Street if, in an organized and concerted effort:

a) Webmasters removed adsense ads from their websites for one week
b) Webmasters stopped paying for adwords for one week
c) Everyone stopped clicking adsense for one week

Reading things like:

  • Google’s Evil
  • Google’s FUD
  • Google’s World Domination

…sounds a bit hollow coming from people who continue to feed, pet and be fed little bits by the beast. After all the tears and gnashing of teeth, at the end of the day:

How Much Money Did You Make Google Today?

Google’s Doing Something – And I Love It!

I’m seeing something moving and fluxing in Google’s SERPs right now (past two days), and it’s so rocking my world. I don’t know if this is permanent, but past experience tells me that things will kick butt for a few days then settle back down. I can’t help but wish it would stay like this for awhile though.

Google Muscle Flexing & Paid Links: I do feel for those caught in the cross hairs. Many should have known better, but many more learned something startling and important (I think). Google may have stifled or pulled the reins back on the paid link market, but webmasters and SEOs are a very foxy and crafty crowd. The gaming’s not done yet.

The bad news: I think we’ll see more domains slapping no-follows on each and every outbound just because they’re scared of maybe making Google or Matt Cutts mad and don’t want to risk it (somehow some links are bad and it doesn’t seem linking out has any benefit nor does it ever seem to make Google happy, linking is confusing and weird and negative–so just don’t link out and problem solved); The knob will tighten some more and many bloggers/webmasters will refrain from linking out as much; Link bait content creation will explode, raising the bar higher yet for achieving an action-invoking impression; Mom & Pop with small budgets will be squeezed out yet again and won’t be able to compete with the more sophisticated (and subversive-ad-buying-and-contact-heavy-budget-ready) big boys.

Observation & Speculation: The past few months I’ve been seeing a big jump in direct contacts for advertising requests–approached on all but a couple of my domains as well as domain purchase requests. Filtered & trashed. I expect the ad buy and domain purchase requests to jump even more now. I have much larger fish to fry with a good domain, and I’ve never been interested in the measly $20 or $50 or $100 bucks to risk it. And Hell No, I aint sellin!

The Good News: Domains that are trusted will skyrocket in value; For those wanting to cash in on paid links, their prices will jump too but will be much more selective and subversive. Don’t even think about selling a good, developed domain (even minimally) for at least another two years while things shake out a bit.

Contextual Links Via V7N

Another thing I’ve caught up with (haven’t done much reading lately), John Scott has launched a new service for bloggers to make money (see Contextual Links) and he has (once again) stirred up chatter.

One thing John Scott does very, very well is stir up & create chatter ;). Kudos to him!

Although it isn’t my cup of tea here on SuperAff or on any of the blogs I run, I don’t have a problem with paid links in blog posts–as long as they’re identified as paid. John’s new service forbids it with a non-disclosure agreement:

Contextual Links @ V7N are undetectable to search engines. Whether it be by human or algorithmic filtering, our links are impossible to detect. Additionally, an enforced non-disclosure agreement prevents both publishers and advertisers from revealing participating publishers and advertisers.

I know full well why John has that in place. It comes down to: our links are impossible to detect. I think he’s onto something. As both an advertiser and blogger, it’s an ideal situation. But for the blogger’s reputation with readers? Not so sure. Aside from that, here’s what I’m not liking:

Do you own a blog? Blog publishers in the Contextual Links @ V7N Network make cash and get paid by PayPal for simply adding text links to their blog posts. Currently publishers make $10 per link.

IMO John cheaped out. Ten dollars for a permanent link within content, without surrounding ‘paid link or sponsored by‘ text or search bot detectable embedded tracking code, is taking advantage of bloggers. I’m sure many will line up in droves to participate, but I think John could have taken this right to the moon with an elite core group of good quality blogs and advertisers by adding another 0 to the end of that measly $10.

Anyone who knows what a good link or two can do for a site won’t even blink at dropping $100 or $200 for a permanently placed, within content link on a super juiced–and quality–site.

That could have been a *very enviable* setup, but not as it is IMO. Basically I see a stampede of run o’ the mill, lower on the totem pole blogs happy to participate and nothing above average.

The other part I have a problem with:

The publisher is contractually obligated to make a good faith effort to keep the link active on the website for as long as the web site exists.

What happens with bait & switch domains? If a blogger accepts $10 for permanent placement and the site they link to flips to a porn, gambling, satanic, racist, mortgage, pimp site–and the blogger only ok’d placement for Barbie Doll Shopping Mall, what then? Or if the site stays the same content, but loads up the sidebar with casino and blackjack links–and that paid blogger’s beliefs are against gambling–what then? Domain backfills with hundreds of low quality, thin affiliate pages–now what?

For $10? Not-worth-it.

What I do like, there seems to be some quality control in place:

Only high quality web sites are accepted into the V7 Contextual Links program. Our staff review publisher web sites for number of outbound links, types of outbound links, PageRank and search engine saturation. If a site is selling links to bad neighborhoods, we do not accept that web site into the program.

The bar may be a little lower for advertiser acceptance though (bolding mine):

We accept most non-adult sites. We will not accept any adult content sites, nor any sites that would impugn the integrity of our publishers.

What I’m liking overall: Search engines *surely* have to be getting the message to throttle down the importance of an inbound.

A Blog Post Matt Cutts Style

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been noticing more and more bloggers lately aren’t linking to the actual source of information they’re discussing.

I was reading a post over at Matt Cutts’ blog regarding the new paid link service John Scott is offering (more on that later), and it struck me as odd that Matt didn’t link to what the hell he was talking about. He talks about John’s new paid link service. Quotes part of the details. But he doesn’t link to it for his readers to follow. At best he provides a two step (links to another blog that links to John’s page).

Since Matt represents and is big with Google, I figure he must be onto something. We all know that Matt is the epitome of good Google behavior, so I’m going to style this blog post after his blogging style.

I mentioned this over on Threadwatch recently. What’s with the ‘missing links’ when talking about something? I think in that particular Threadwatch case it was more an ‘oops’ than intentional–but there does seem to be lots of links being skipped around the blogosphere, and plenty of two-stepping.

And to me it’s odd. Because that leaves your readers with two-clicks-away from the actual information being discussed. If you read Reddit’s FAQ, you’ll find this little blurb:

Likewise, linkjacking an article from its original source in order to drive traffic to your personal blog will likely just drive down your karma.

Reddit calls it linkjacking, and I think that’s a good description. Linkjacking isn’t cool, doesn’t best serve the readers, yet it’s growing at an alarming rate IMO. Would Reddit users spank Matt Cutts for linkjacking (point a link to search engine journal rather than John’s page that he discusses)? I shudder at the audacity–but probably they would. Or so says the FAQ.

Another thing you’ll find over on Matt’s blog is his love affair with nofollow.

Graywolf has a good post today about the history of the ‘nofollow’ (a Google proposition), and it does cause one to pause. The nofollow was fed to the masses as a way to discourage blog spam and ensure that your blog wouldn’t be feeding good juice to a junk or spam site by a user generated link (comment spammers). So why is it now being insisted on for things like paid links? A link that the webmaster/blogger herself decided to provide?

I’m in a dilemma over this. I have a page full of article marketing resources–but I nofollow the links. Why? Because article sites aren’t picky about what the articles link to. Not-picky-at-all. But they’re still actually good resources for article marketers, so I made the page. Yet I don’t want to juice them up.

Is that wrong for me to do? I think yes actually. Because that page is for you to use. I didn’t make it for Google. Personal Dilemma. I also have blogged a time or two about what I’m thinking may be ‘iffy’ websites without a clickable link (at least posted the domain though so you could find it). Wrong? Yeah probably. Because again–now I’m posting to better serve the search engines rather than just being concerned with you, the reader.

I have some thinking to do. Am I blogging for Google, or am I blogging for SuperAff readers?

I’ve been following the talk about Wikipedia doing the nofollow thing as well. Pretty much everyone knows the external links on Wikipedia weren’t juiced anyhow. Maybe they factor in after a certain amount of time passes, or if other quality factors are met–I don’t know. But the nofollow on Wikipedia links isn’t going to slow down or stop Wikipedia spam. The traffic the links provide are worthwhile in itself–as well as the hat tip of authority a Wikipedia link can offer too (for human readers).

Basically–Wikipedia caved for no good reason IMO since nothing will change.

Maybe though, since Google values Wikipedia so highly, we should all follow Wikipedia’s example and nofollow every outbound link? If a prize like Wikipedia does it, shouldn’t we all?

domain names removed to protect the guilty

If you’re confused about wth I’m talking about here–don’t blame me. I’m thinking blame Matt Cutts. Or Google. Or both.

Nofollow and nolinks.

How.Ridiculous.

In 2007 Domain Authority Is Almost Everything

I stole the title from Peter Da Vanzo’s post The Google Minus 30 Penalty

But if I had to summarise all the SEO data I’ve seen, and the discussions I’ve had with people over the past year, it is this:

In 2007, domain authority is almost everything. Great content on untrusted domains goes nowhere.

Peter’s post touches on a few v-e-r-y interesting points and you should read it, but I want to show you what a link from an authority site does for a new domain (click picture for larger view):

Keywords Chart

The chart shows new keyword data from the 20th of December to today (script was newly installed on the 20th).

The domain this chart applies to was around 2 months old when I started tracking the data with this script (which is phpTrafficA btw).

From AWSTATS

November: 157 unique visitors; 4 pages search engines
December: 3245 unique visitors; 1553 pages search engines
January: 2467 unique visitors; 2269 pages search engines *Note that the month isn’t over yet

*Remember the AWSTATS search engine pages aren’t unique visitors–it’s page views

Here’s the chart from phpTrafficA (click for larger view):

Search Engine Plot

This chart counts the actual keyword counts from the search engines–notice who’s off the rails and who isn’t.

What kicked this shiny new domain into gear? A very good authority link from a somewhat high profile blogger.

This domain is one of the new test blogs I’ve been talking about. Can a new blog get some traffic, some inbound links from other bloggers (no friends or connections), some search engine traffic?

Answer: Yes

Hey it’s mucho awesome when out of the blue some big blog notices your little scrappy blog and freely links to it. And it is fantastic fun to watch how the search engines respond.

But it’s pretty alarming to see how easy it is for “Great content on untrusted domains to go nowhere” and how much power authority domains hold.

How to get a natural link from a big blogger with an authority domain? The good news is that there are still a handful of good guys out there, with big traffic and good Google juice that aren’t bucket blogging.

I’ll talk about bucket bloggers another time, what to look for, who to pursue, and who to drop like the useless, self-obsessed dead weight they are. At least as far as your blog is concerned ;).

In the meantime–get your blogs up to snuff if you want good, strong inbounds. Cause no one’s going to link to crap, especially power bloggers.

That’s a post for another day too ;).