Google Blogoscoped


The US Search Engine Optimization Market  (View post)

Mambo [PersonRank 10]

Monday, November 12, 2007
16 years ago8,597 views

Hi Aaron. I bought your book about a year ago – well worth it for SEO beginners/intermediates.

Aaron Wall [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Thanks Mambo. Glad you liked it.

Kalena [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Great piece Aaron! Pulls no punches :-)

Andy Wong [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Thank Aaron for such wonderful and lengthy inside story of SEO. I also do love reading the posts from Matt Cutt. Yes "his job requires him to be blindingly hypocritical at times." In such position, he does like a king, and probably he feel like a king. I hope the industries can come up with more balanced solutions regarding to SEO.

I think Google Engineers carry out hand-editing on search results mainly for training purpose, rather than influencing general search results, because there are tens of millions web sites around the world, and it is not Google's tradition and intension to do any labor intensive job. When I mentioned training purpose, I meant training the search engine using hand-crafted results.

According to Matt Cutt blog, Google does want to encourage creating original contents, rather than machine generated contents of fooling search engine.

My own blogs and other web sites could easily got high page ranks with intended keywords, while my web sites got very few inbond links. What I did was just to create contents with appropriate titles.

I do read some SEO articles. When I wrote contents, I mostly just tried not to fall into the traps of penalty of page rank. My blog did get attention once from Google after reconstructing the structure, Google shielded it as spam site from search result and offered a chance to resolve. After I sent an Email to Google to explain, and my blog re-surfaced again from search results with high page rank.

I think Google had done well on what they intend to do: encourage people to create original quality contents with human intelligent. After all, please remember Google's business was created from harvesting human intelligent, and will continue the major business this way. Google needs more human intelligent presented on the Web.

Dick C. Flatline [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

"Unethical blackhat spammer"? As opposed to some OTHER kind of spammer??

Jeez, bud, what are you smokin'?

Aaron Wall [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

>I think Google Engineers carry out hand-editing on search results mainly for training purpose, rather than influencing general search results, because there are tens of millions web sites around the world, and it is not Google's tradition and intension to do any labor intensive job.

Humans are quite scalable solutions See this post,-Prelude.html

>"Unethical blackhat spammer"? As opposed to some OTHER kind of spammer??

Well, from that perspective, is Google responsible for spamming when they pay someone to steal your entire site? How about when they push preteen sex ads? How about when they sponsor the #1 cracks website?

Surely those examples are just holes in the "algorithms" running their business model. And the holes that make them money don't get fixed as fast as the holes that cost them money.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

> In such position, he does like a king,
> and probably he feel like a king.

I think there's a huge difference between Matt announcing something and Matt arriving at that announced decision on his own – I make a bet the webmaster team is discussing issues within, well, a team. It is not "Matt banning BMW" (to give a random example) but Matt communicating the ban of BMW, perhaps as head of the department but it's still a department of many (just my opinion of course, I don't have the inside view).

Joe Preston [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

I think that's splitting hairs, I've seen Mr Cutts both in person and in print show a level of personal involvement in hunting down spam that would suggest that even if he's just the head of a department, he's entirely bought into the concept.

To Andy Wong: I may be incorrect but I believe Google acknowledged a couple of years ago some manual editing to remove spam from certain highly competitive queries. Unfortunately, I can't source this at the moment, so somebody should be along in a minute to tell me I'm wrong. :)

Awaken [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Nice article, which raises a question that I've had for quite some time now. Aaron, I read about your site getting nuked a few months back right around the time that I read Andy Hagans post on "Warren buffet's advice to SEO's" and your post "Tactical vs. Strategic SEO"

I've been a webmaster for a few years now, and been an SEO for about 2 of those years. Lately I've received a ton of requests for client work, but I'm still hesitant to get into that field.

Couple this:

>How do you compete in competitive markets where the competition buys links that you can’t buy, gets first mover advantage when they clone your marketing ideas, and another set of competitors steals your content, all the while Google is hand editing out your organic links? You can’t, unless you obfuscate your identity.

With this:

>My mentor, who goes by the nickname NFFC, has maintained that SEO services do not scale.

I'm beginning to think that staying off the radar and building my own properties is a much better choice, but do you think Google can profile SEO's regardless of whether they are high profile or not?

Doug Heil [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Aaron, I find myself agreeing with "most" of your article. Yes, that is true. :-)

Just one thing about it;

You left out one:

You wrote this:

"Self proclaimed white hat SEOs that try to make it sound like everyone in the SEO field (except them) is an unethical black hat spammer."

You left out this one for some reason;

"Self proclaimed black hat SEOs that try to make sure the lines are constantly blurred between black and whitehat SEO."

If you notice; those who are whitehat really try to make clear the differences between white and black, but those who are blackhat really try to blur those lines. That's just a fact, but a fact that cannot be left out of your list.

Also; Google has done manual edits of serps for a very long time now. This isn't news at all.

Also; I feel that Google has went too far in trying to cater to webmasters and the SEO industry. It does them no good to do so as the industry consistently asks for more and more. It's not in the best interests of any major engine to get more transparent by the day. I think Google is realizing that now.

Andy Wong [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I was aware that Google used human labors to refine search results. Of course such operation will have immediate effect, and I just guess the refined results were used to train the search engine which is more scalable than labor intensive operations.

rcjordan [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

>do you think (XYZ) can profile SEO's regardless of whether they are high profile or not?

Absolutely, but that capability isn't just restricted to Google. Forensic data mining can turn up plenty of fingerprints should any search engine decide to start shoveling through it. But I also think it's unlikely that's going to happen. What is likely to get your sites flagged is clumsy use of an SEO tool or a tool that is poorly conceived or not kept up to date (like the old blueline).

Can you run across a search engine employee with a vendetta who might track down all your little indiscretions ? Sure, happens in any business. That's what makes the game fun for them. Are the engines building a dossier about every site a particular SEO has built? No, not worth their effort given the scale of search now.

dmaniatis [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Thanx for this post! Thanx for being so open about your views.

Vincent [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Shit man. Spamming IS spamming. You did it earlier in your life? You _are_ a scumbag!!! No matter how you defend yourself with "I had to"s, you still have no ethical value to me and most of the people. Google is right – SEOs are generally SCUM.

Michael [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Its hard to escape the quandry in SEO that what we're doing could be considered spamming. But tbh we didnt write the rules. All we're trying out best to do is understand how a computer program operates and then deliver what we need to to improve our 'scores' at the end of the computers equation process.
Every link you develop, every piece of content you write and every time you change your website structure to benefit your business someone will call you a spammer.
Having your keywords in your links helps conversion – so am I spamming consumers by having keyword rich internal links? Am I spamming when I feel that the market for 'version a' of a word is better for reaching my audience that 'version b' – such as is sofa or couch the word I should use on my site. Joining into a growing web community about my online niche that leads to other people wanting to link to me becuase they feel what I've said is useful.
I suppose I'm a spammer if the above are true. If thats the case I'm off to join the union of spammers. [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

[Moved from "Blogoscoped Post Stirs Controversy on Cutts Blog"]
It appears that a Blogoscoped post may have been the final straw – but responding to it means link bait.
So the lesson is....,
if you keep hammering away – you are bound to get a bite.
Imagine if everyone on this list had started to argue on their blogs.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I added an update to the middle of the post (I thought about adding something since around Monday, I contacted Matt earlier this week to ask for some impression because I felt one paragraph of the post was too personal).

jim wilson [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

shut up philipp...too personal.. puss bag, suck up job. Cutts puts himself out there as a mouthpiece and propagandists. You might think about growing a pair instead of Edit and censorship. Great job Aaron!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Jim: We actually remove any personal attack in the forum, independent of who it's directed at. So I think the same should go for posts too. Attack ideas, if you need to, but not persons.

And welcome to the forum! :)

Uday Patel [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #


Marah Marie [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Hi Aaron,

Excellent post. I feel for your plight with the website you saw expunged. A common theme on the Web these days is that Google punishes success. Anyone's success, from the largest site to the smallest, to save the best of the traffic and the bulk of the profit to be had from the Web for themselves. It's mind-numbing, the sheer amount of sites being "punished" for finding ways to thrive and improve without looking to Google first for that (or who looked to Google first, but are now looking beyond them). Google sees it and wham! they're gone. This can only backfire on Google in lost traffic, lost income, and antitrust lawsuits, among other "punishments" that will surely be visited upon them sooner or later because everything that goes around comes around as well; I have never seen it fail.

How long do they think they can dictatorially control what people write, how they code their CSS, how and whom the link to, whose ads they serve, whether or not they use Pay Per Post, how they redirect to their own websites, in addition to providing zero personalized support for those of us with serious grievances, and continue to thrive? The backlash is coming if they don't do a complete 360.

You wrote: "Someone who recently launched a human rolled search product used “SEOs are scum” as their public relations angle to promote their business model."

I know exactly who you're talking about. He is blind and deaf when it comes to SEO. He really does think all SEOs are scum. But Google actually encourages SEO in their Webmaster Guidelines, and no one would have to use SEO anyway if it was not the best (and sometimes, the only) way to get content indexed and ranked well by search engines, period. Google tells you "don't write for machines" but you do. You usually have to. You are part poet, part weaver, part marketer, part magician to get anything to thrive in a search engine independently of high PR backlinks: you have to make the content look as effortless and natural as though you just wrote it in an email to your friend but at the same time use every white-hat SEO method that might apply to ensure it's success once you "launch it". It's not easy, it's not fun, I happen to dislike it myself because it requires extra time and thought and slows the whole process down, and the reward is fleeting as Google increasingly has a way of punishing your site if it becomes successful (or might become successful) independently of them. A bit of a catch-22 is at play there, obviously – and that's why people are increasingly calling them hypocrites.

mike tyler [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Blame it on uTube.

Till then Google was playing in the cyber-world.

Over the past 12 months I have seen my, and other people's online business models ruined.
Not for doing anything wrong, but for depending on Google for an income stream AND being successful at it.

Google has shifted the goal posts; sacrificed its net credentials.

Yahoo did it 5 years ago.

Look where they are today.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Update: Matt Cutts replies to one of the claims in the post.

Craig Schultz [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

I don't agree that what Google says about SEO services equates to Google saying SEO = Spam.

SEO seems little different from Web design where people are making outrageous and unrealistic claims all the time and the people who suffer for it are the ones who have paid and found out too late that they have been taken for a ride.

Change those suggestions to discussing lawyers, doctors, even plumbers, and they would still fit.

Just as there are good web design firms and individuals, there are good SEOs but when any Joe Schmoe can, and does, put up a web site promoting their l337 iFramed and keyword stuffed site "designs" and the average potential customer likely knows even less than the one making the claims, a bit of warning is not a bad thing.

Add to that the fairly famous companies that have set up shop to swindle unsuspecting customers, all in the name of SEO.

Getting back to the small scale though, try to find a site promoting someone's web design services that doesn't also have vague and unsubstantiated claims of their SEO abilities and then go to any websites they say they've built and try to find a single one of them in the SERPs.

Looking at it from a different perspective, Is a there one single suggestion listed that you wouldn't also suggest?

aaron wall [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

>>Is a there one single suggestion listed that you wouldn't also suggest?

As a person who has ranked many sites, I am quite leery of clients who would demand a full and unconditional money back guarantee for me ranking their website. Especially since ranking some sites can require spending hundreds of hours of labor doing market research and coming up with a marketing strategy, custom programming services to create linkbait, and link building budgets running into the $10,000+ range.

Just look at how much .com domain names sell for. As an SEO you are providing that type of value to the person buying your services and ranking at the top of the search results.

End Of Days [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Google needs a Bitch Slap! & many swift Kicks where it Hurts!
Grey Wolf's post was the original content
search for
"duplicate copy, then take a look here [fireproof safe with power]"
Results 1 – 1 of 1 for "duplicate copy, then take a look here [fireproof safe with power]"
www . not grey wolfs site .com/articles/tags/duplicate

WTF!! 1 result ......the new "poisonous" duplicate copy filter in action
If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included. .....I SURE DO /(
Results 1 – 10 of about 53 for "duplicate copy.......
"no mallace intended" google duplicate algo demotes the Grey Wolf originating page to #41
So what's this result imply "penalize" for all those "original content page webmasters"

Lets try Just 3 words of duplicate content
google search for "here fireproof safe"

Results 1 – 3 of 3 for "here fireproof safe"
If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included. .....I SURE DO :(
Results 1 – 54 of 54
Venomous google duplicate algo kicks in & ranks the's originating page at #41
Just 3 words of "duplicate content" will have the your;
pages / sites demoted,
censored results displayed
SE traffic reduced to zero
trust rank reduced
by the "all mighty, all knowing " google NOT!!
These results imply "original content page webmasters" in 2008 are done for
"google will penalize you" for 3 words of duplicate content
Time for the google "Resistance" to take up arms & strike down the oppressor!!

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