[ #SEO ] If you want to waste 2-3 minutes you wont get back, but have a laugh finding out what everyone's-favourite-SEO is trying to do:
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This post was first made on the Richard Hearne Google+ profile.
I've had that guy blocked for two years and I hate to say anything supportive of him but I think he has a valid story to tell.
Attempting to convince Google to fix their self-created negative SEO mess has been a waste of time so far. They won't do it because they do not care about the damage they are causing. They do not see it as their responsibility.
Agitators like this guy might eventually make enough Joe Publics aware of the problem to the extent that Google's reputation might be affected.
Maybe once their metrics begin to be impacted Google might do the right thing.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 13, 2015 @ 7:58 am
Every single one of those businesses on that clip have the same fundamental flaw.
They can't see past Google.
There are 10000 other ways to market a business, but they can't seem to grasp that.
Comment by Tim Capper — February 13, 2015 @ 8:42 am
Wait a minute – you actually wasted more time watching the video?
At least I have some standards…
Comment by Richard Hearne — February 13, 2015 @ 8:52 am
Some people will throw anyone under the bus in their quest to become Der Famousest SEO Eggspurt.
There's a mile-wide gap between having a valid story and being a self-serving sensationalist at any cost.
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 13, 2015 @ 8:58 am
tosser, LoL +Richard Hearne
Comment by Tim Capper — February 13, 2015 @ 9:46 am
It shouldn't matter that there are alternatives , Tim. Nobody should be able to carry out an action the affects an unrelated individual's site. This only happens on Google. It's theirs to fix.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 13, 2015 @ 9:57 am
Look, i totally get it and frustratingly in a moment of clarity, I also realise its theirs to do what they wish, its your choice to use it or not.
Basing a business model on something as unstable as Google is business suicide.
Comment by Tim Capper — February 13, 2015 @ 10:17 am
I just find it fascinating that this person profits – or seeks to profit – from exactly the thing he castigates and calls unethical, namely he peddles a cure for Penguin that works within a few days without sharing any details or adhering to any of the principles of the scientific method (reproducibility must be counted among such) while asserting that he had conducted a "scientific" experiment? If he had for example really considered Penguin unethical and indefensible, then the best way forward would have been to make his methods public and reproducible, thus rendering Penguin meaningless.
From the teaser it's unclear what he wants Google to do. What actions should Google take? Should Google have not changed anything? The narrative looks that of being victimized and dealt unjustly in broad and general terms by Google, without pointing to specific and actionable items such as the acceptable degree of collateral damage, thresholds, frequency of updates, etc. So if you buy into the narrative, what people should do? Stop using Google as a search engine?
Google search engine's primary role is not to support businesses: it returns results to satisfy the needs of the searcher. As long as it does that, Google doesn't care – and it may even be argued that it shouldn't care – what businesses fail because of its actions. And more importantly, searchers won't care.
Comment by Masatake Wasa — February 13, 2015 @ 10:53 am
+Tim Capper I knew there was a reason I like you.
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 13, 2015 @ 10:57 am
The problem is these people are using subdomains instead of directories.
Comment by Pedro Dias — February 13, 2015 @ 11:46 am
That's great professional advice +Pedro Dias.
If you don't mind I'm going to use that in my current site audits (without attributing you of course). If you do mind, that's tough titty.
Comment by Richard Hearne — February 13, 2015 @ 11:59 am
I wonder if you'd feel the same way, Tim, if negative seo had cost you $40K/mth?
Comment by Jim Munro — February 13, 2015 @ 12:12 pm
Jim, I get all that, but in the tape these people are all singularly relying on Google …. it just wont work
Comment by Tim Capper — February 13, 2015 @ 1:31 pm
One of the reasons why I tend to fit myself into the Promoter category rather than the Search Engine Optimizer slot is the simple fact that, and I quoth myself: "Any business strategy which relies solely on the good graces of a single, free traffic source can only end in disaster."
I don't give a crap who you are, you can't Party like it's 1999 anymore, so I don't try.
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 13, 2015 @ 4:46 pm
You guise, it's clear. - Google makes guidelines- Businesses ignore or choose not to follow- Businesses don't rank well in Google- Businesses cry- Dipshits try and profit off of "surprising, unjust and heart-wrenching" stories w/ bad theories and no good science
Comment by Ashley Berman Hale — February 13, 2015 @ 5:48 pm
It's not about that, it's about deliberately constructing a system that criminals can manipulate.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 13, 2015 @ 11:05 pm
I thought we'd established that it's not as simple as that…
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 13, 2015 @ 11:07 pm
It is as simple as that, Sasch, and to take it a step further, what level of service integrity can buyers on the internet expect if only those who are willing to criminally damage a competitor's site are always in the top 10?
Comment by Jim Munro — February 14, 2015 @ 7:07 am
No Jim… No it isn't…
The way you make it sound, anyone can just shoot down any competitor on a whim. That is simply not the way it works in the real world. Let me quote myself again: "NSEO is not nearly as simple as everyone makes it out to be."
"if only those who are willing to criminally damage a competitor's site are always in the top 10"
Jim… That question is not only false/misleading, it's also patently absurd. Frankly I'd expected more from you. If it was like really like that, operators like myself, and others who play by the rules and promote sites ethically, would be ranking nowhere. If NSEO was as simple and panoptic as you declare it to be, I would expect to see the Internet in a different state when I look at my own results and at those of my esteemed colleagues.
Once again, it comes down to there being a difference between having a valid point to make and engaging in sensationalist hyperbole.
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 14, 2015 @ 9:52 am
Don't make me laugh, Sasch. If you want to remain my friend, please reserve the Google bullshit for those who deserve it. You know I don't.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 14, 2015 @ 4:52 pm
Then I guess we have a problem… I know what I'm seeing from my own professional experience.
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 14, 2015 @ 4:53 pm
Your profession hinges on your relationship with Google. I understand that and don't have a problem with it but let's stop this conversation right now.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 14, 2015 @ 4:56 pm
Actually, my profession hinges on being able to get results. My interaction with Google is secondary.
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 14, 2015 @ 5:13 pm
OK, seriously now… I guess we do have a problem here.
I actually make substantially more money from my own sites than I do from consulting. What's more, I don't actually consult for the money; I consult because I love the Massive Game of Chess aspect.
Unlike so many others, I don't need to go around telling the world how big my SEO-Penis is, because my results speak for themselves.
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 14, 2015 @ 5:18 pm
I know all of your sites, Sasch – you showed most of them to me.
I've never thought you had a big dick, seo or otherwise, but I'm glad to be a friend of yours.
Please stop repeating Google propaganda. You know that I will refute it until the cows come home.
Damaging an competitor's Google rankings is a mathematical certainty. For every site, Google calculates a unique upper limit threshold above which additional links are debits rather than credits. Google is the only search engine which penalises sites like this.
Other search engines like Baidu, Yandex and Bing have more sophisticated algorithms to deal with spurious links and simply ignore them. Google's official stance is that they do this too, but it must be a lie otherwise it would not be so easy to damage a competitor's Google rankings.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 15, 2015 @ 11:28 pm
I'm saddened to know you believe I merely repeat Google's propaganda. It shows how little you think of my integrity…
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 15, 2015 @ 11:50 pm
No mate, you will do me for a friend, but I also know that TC's are obliged to follow an official stance.
I said a few comments above that I understand and accept that but that doesn't mean that you have to be at odds with a mate over it. There's no sign on the wall that says you have to lead the charge.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 12:04 am
OK, let's get one thing straight right here and right now. If the TC program ever calls for me to compromise my professional ethics in favor of any kind of party-line I will abdicate my position, in much the same way +Richard Hearne did some years back.
Until such time, let it be known that any opinion I set forth is my own, not Google's.
I stand on my reputation…
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 16, 2015 @ 12:08 am
If you search the internet you might find that I've defended your reputation now and then.
That's not in dispute.
What we are arguing about is this ethical mess that Google has blundered into. I say it is easy, you say not, but let's just wait until ever-increasing prevalence will make it more obvious.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 12:26 am
I know you've defended me in the past, and I do appreciate it. That being the case, my integrity should by rights be beyond question.
When I say "I will not take party-line over personal ethics" I mean it. And you of all people should know how seriously I take that.
Maybe we should have another DSEOQ Hangout to discuss the matter further, because I do believe that some thing have gone unresolved/answered following the last session.
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 16, 2015 @ 12:32 am
Sure, mate, you know you are welcome any time. We'd be honoured if you would join us.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 12:35 am
I know I'm welcome… Now how about my professional integrity?
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 16, 2015 @ 1:05 am
I've stayed out of this for various reasons. However I'm going to clarify one thing:
>> I also know that TC's are obliged to follow an official stance.
That was never the case when I was a TC. You were obliged to follow some rules when it came to posting in the official forums. But these were the same rules that were applied to everyone who posted TBH.
Comment by Richard Hearne — February 16, 2015 @ 1:55 am
If anybody deserves an apology for any part of this particular thread, Sasch, it's me and I'm not looking for one.
I posted in this thread first, I know what I am talking about and I take it personally.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 4:14 am
I'll probably regret this, but here we go anyway.
I'm highly confident that when Google introduced Penguin they did so in the full knowledge that it could be abused. I'm also very confident they built in various techniques for identifying and limiting such abuse. I do believe this abuse is absolutely possible, especially to determined and patient attackers. However, I do not believe that Google sets any absolute thresholds on the volume of good links a site can have. In my opinion Google still does not have the power to identify absolutely whether any specific link is natural, and that they use aggregation of link profiles to calculate all Penguin scores. The volume of links doesn't matter IMO.
I very much doubt that Google selected this particular direction without some sort of very valid justification. People are free to disagree with Google's choice, but outsiders never have a full picture of what is going on. It may be that Penguin was the least worse choice available to tackle a specific problem.
I'll nail my colours to the mast now and say that I think Google should have simply reset sites caught by Penguin, so that they would be free to start again instead of penalising them for such long periods. Doing the latter was a mistake IMO, and while resets may have allowed spammers to rebuild more quickly, we've seen that it's regular site owners that are most affected due to the difficulties of rebranding. Meanwhile, spammers can just churn and burn.
I've only seen a very small handful of cases where, what I'll term, "low authority" sites may have been impacted due to links placed by third parties. My guess is that as authority increases it becomes exponentially more difficult and time-consuming to impact a site through NSEO.
Now the bit I'm not looking forward to.
+Jim Munro obviously I have a lot of respect for you, and I feel that you've long laboured with the issues you encountered on your site, but I also remember joining a hangout where a few people tried to analyse what might be happening. We found a lot of on-site issues, and if I remember correctly the site was basically a large listing of affiliate products (correct me please if that's incorrect). IMO what happened your site was far more to do with the site itself falling out of favour with Google, and Google's absolute disdain for affiliates. Links may have contributed to this, but I honestly do not believe that the reason your site died in Google was NSEO. That's just my opinion, and I'll admit I have very imperfect knowledge of what went on or how things worked, so I apologise in advance if anything is inaccurate.
I'll leave it at that.
Comment by Richard Hearne — February 16, 2015 @ 4:48 am
No offence taken, Richard, but I don't think NSEO began with Penguin.
I think Google made it possible from 2007 onwards but I only identified it as a possible issue in 2010. There's a GWMT thread from that year that I can point you to where TC's came scurrying out of their private forum to denigrate me for suggesting the notion. (You and Sasch weren't part of it)
As the years have gone on I have seen popular opinion change from "can't possibly happen" to the "can happen but it's hard".
It's all good to have an opinion, but unless you have experienced the waves of attacks, and accompanying "damage to reputation" attempts, and watched the stats fall in unison, I don't think it's possible to speak authoritatively while ruling out NSEO.
I'm happy for both you and Sasch to have your opinions, but I think I know more about this narrow subject than most people because I had to live through it.
I remember the night you referred to well and I have used almost every suggestion in a plan to be used if I ever get around to applying resources to those sites again.
It's not about my sites any more. I will not cease campaigning until Google does the right thing and fixes their mistake.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 5:49 am
Yes I concur, that NSEO was possible prior to Penguin, but the key difference then was that it relied on some minimum human intervention on Google's side (now redundant with Penguin) and/or technical holes on Google's side (which have since been patched).
I still ardently believe that being an affiliate site was central to what happened to you. I'm not discounting the attacks entirely, but believe that had you been a real seller/producer/provider your site would be ranking to some extent today.
If you were to chart Google's moves against affiliates I suspect you might also find some correlation to the drops you observed Jim. But you are quite correct – I'm not privy to the finer details.
Comment by Richard Hearne — February 16, 2015 @ 7:36 am
Richard, you know I have the utmost respect for your judgement, you are way ahead of me but I want to ask you to consider this one point.
The company which I believe was behind the majority of the NSEO directed at us was an affiliate site and there were two other other sites (also affiliates) which also used to compete for the same keywords.
The usual scenario was to see the four of us in the top 4-6 slots for a given keyword in varying positions.
It's been so long since I checked that I can't even think of something to search for today but I do know that back then, long after my site was dead in the water, two of the others were still 1-2. I think we can rule out the business model as a factor.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 7:57 am
BTW – of those four sites, we were the only site providing a service to consumers, following up on request to make sure that buyers received their orders. I miss the pure joy of helping those people out.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 8:05 am
Just being an affiliate wasn't the key to my comments though, being seen to be an affiliate is. I'm fairly sure you had limited unique content, and straight affiliate links. I also recall suggesting that you might want to cloak your links on that earlier hangout.
While the follow-up support is indeed commendable, sadly it's not a factor Google could see (although perhaps in hindsight you could have leveraged this better online to make it work in your favour).
I'm sure there are plenty of affiliates still operating today off Google traffic, but they had to be very clever to avoid getting smashed by Google's algos.
Again, I'm most definitely not suggesting there was no attempt to attack your site. But IMO your site was far more susceptible due to the inherent flaws in what you were doing and how you did it.
Comment by Richard Hearne — February 16, 2015 @ 9:13 am
I agree, Richard. The sites were vulnerable because I played it straight down the line but that's an acknowledgement of the way Google ranks sites, not an excuse for unconscionable behaviour.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 10:13 am
Jim… I'm not looking for an apology. I'm looking for some acknowledgement of my professional integrity.
Further… and with all due respect… I'm willing to put money on the fact that I've seen a great deal more NSEO campaigns than yu have…
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 16, 2015 @ 10:23 am
The current Google official position is that Negative SEO is possible but difficult.
Your statements in this thread have been more or less the same the Google official position, Sasch.
I don't think it's reasonable to chastise me for pointing this out. You are a stand-up bloke, otherwise I wouldn't want to know you but if you want to fall out over this, there's nothing I can say that will stop you.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 10:44 am
>> The current Google official position is that Negative SEO is possible but difficult.
Based on what I've observed in the wild I reckon the above position is an accurate reflection of reality Jim. I always keep an open mind on things, but until I see widespread and ongoing attacks taking effect I'm in the same camp as Sasch on this Jim.
Comment by Richard Hearne — February 16, 2015 @ 10:55 am
There's a mile-wide chasm between pointing out that my opinions mirror Google's statements, and implying that I'm obligated to prostitute my own ethics by being forced to toe the Google party-line…
The fact that my statements coincide with Google's is due to one simple fact. What I'm seeing out in the wild confirms that NSEO is possible, but difficult. It requires prolonged, structured effort to stand any reasonable chance of success.
Comment by Sasch Mayer — February 16, 2015 @ 10:56 am
I'm happy with everything I have said in this thread, Sasch.
Comment by Jim Munro — February 16, 2015 @ 1:08 pm
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