Several people have asked me about researching backlinks and if there has been any change since my last review of backlink checkers. Since I am an idiot, I decided to spend my time and money yet again to give some free information back to SEO community. [Read more…]
I know I am in the minority here but Google is creepier to me than a nosy neighbor.
How could I have such a crazy opinion about Google? Let me explain.
Google is tracking and recording just about every bit of personal usage data they can get. It does not matter if you have a Google user account or not. Even if you have never logged into Google, they have been smart enough to create a unique account to store your personal usage data.
The personal user accounts that Google maintains for every person can keep track of what computer you use, your geographic location, what you have searched for, what websites you like to visit and much more. They can store this data even on people who have never created a Google account and think they are using Google anonymously.
- Do you remember when you researched your child’s lice problem? Google does
- Do you remember last Valentine’s day when you searched for some private adult items? Google does
- Do you remember which months you search for diets aids and which ones you search for chocolate? Google does
- Do you remember searching for a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting? Google does
Please Note – I did not want to expose Target’s flaws but I feel it is very unfair how they are being rewarded by Google at the expense of the mom & pop retailer stores.
If you have ever worked on improving a website’s ranking Google you know that there are rules you must follow. If you break any of Google’s rules (either intentionally or accidentally) you run the risk of your website being penalized or possibly even banned from Google. Since Google has a quasi monopoly over online search most people would never dream of doing anything that might attract the wrath of Google. Target, one of the biggest retailers in the U.S. does not share that point of view.
Target.com is currently flooding the Google search results with millions of near identical error pages.
I had a great time meeting alot of new people this week at SMX East and at Jane and Robots Summit. Several things became very apparent from my brief time stepping out of my cave and mingling with others. I noticed that newbies are still making newbie mistakes (some things will never change). More experienced people were always making newbie mistakes.
My forehead really hurts from the repeated times I smacked my forehead after listening to a semi-experienced webmaster running a profitable websites and totally misunderstanding a basic concept. One common feeling that I found was that press releases suck and are worthless for internet marketing. As you could probably tell from my blog title, I disagree with this.
I (and many of my colleagues) regularly use press releases for internet marketing and PROFIT from it.
My friend Tim Key runs a modular homes website and every now and then asks me for advice. I always enjoy helping him because it is very interesting to see what goes on in the smaller less spammed industries. What I have more commonly found is “innocent search engine spam”.
By this I mean it is only natural that people will want their sites in Google and will try their best to achieve it. Unless you regularly spend alot of time dealing with Google it is not simple or easy to know what to do and more importantly what to avoid. Here are some examples of “innocent search engine spam” that I have found working on a new modular home blog.
Sins of the father don’t clean themselves up
I came across a modular architect’s website. This modular architect is award-winning and commonly referenced by the press and good quality inbound links. You would expect to see his site do well. It doesn’t because the company that built his site in 2003 used hidden keyword stuffing (white font on white background). How do I know this because when I noticed the hidden text I checked out the html code and there was an actual comment in the code explaining everything. Clearly by the html comments they thought they were doing what Google wanted. The site is managed by a different web firm but the offending invisible text has not been removed.
Pretty Modular Homes Stink
Experienced internet marketers know where this is going – search engines are robots that can only read and can not read pretty images or video. No matter how pretty the site is, if you only have images, video or flash animation the search engines will not show you alot of search love. I have lost count how many sites have pages of quality text hidden from the search engines because it is in flash or images.
Even “Expert” Marketers Make Mistakes
Some of the modular housing sites are doing a great job. You can tell they have put alot of work into building good content with nice usability. But even these “expertly” optimized modular home websites have issues. The most common I notice is the improper use of 301 and 302 redirects. The worst use I have ever come across was a 301 into 302 into 302 into 302 into 302 into a 301 redirect. I would be shocked if the search engines had no issue with that setup. If you think you are an expert make sure to audit your work. It is easy to build up excessive layers over the years for your website. If you audit your website yearly you should be able to identify innocent mistakes that are easy for you to fix.
I know many successful internet marketers who make more money than a Fortune 500 executives. I have also come across many wannabees rookies who never make enough to get their first Adsense check. A big difference between the two groups of people is “time suck”.
Productive people are great at avoiding time sucks. Those activities and situations that drain time and energy without returning any significant benefit. Here are some common time sucks to avoid. [Read more…]