Google Plus Declared Dead, What Happens After is AMAZING!

UPDATE 18-may-2014: I don't think i have this kind of influence, but according to Jade Wang, there are new features for google maps for Business, including

  • Bulk Edit of locations
  • Data Conflict interface
  • Adding and removing managers

See the whole thread on the product forum of Google.!

(and now… the original post)

It happened so fast: Vic Gundotra announced that he was leaving Google+ and suddenly, all  hell broke loose! The ground cracked open, flames erupted and the sky become dark… And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

Riding the Google+ (Wave?)

Most press has decided to ride the wave in order to get more exposure. I’m talking about you, Techcrunch, especially if your editors have not been on Google+ for… well… ages. Continue reading “Google Plus Declared Dead, What Happens After is AMAZING!”

The Bitter Irony of Hiring SEOs via Google…

INTRO: This post had been in SEOno‘s Drafts for over six months, and I never thought that I’d ever publish it. However, following Doc’s open letter post, and particularly this comment – “I’m not whining about my lost organic traffic. I’m fortunate, in that the vast majority of my business comes from client referrals. I don’t need Google, in that regard.” – I thought that I’d post it on here instead.

Bitter Lemons photoIn recent months, I’ve had my SEO skills questioned by other SEOs on two occasions.

The first time was a few months ago, regarding a blog post I’d written for Box UK (my previous employer). Some arsehole lovely individual left an anonymous comment saying that I “should be sacked” from my SEO role at the company because the post’s title and meta description weren’t optimised. Granted, I didn’t write the post to rank for anything (more on that later), but I’m wondering if this person’s opinion on optimisation was the old school “keyword1, keyword2, keyword3, adnauseum” approach, because, y’know, that’s how you SEO things!* But well, yeah, y’know that’s just like your opinion, man.

* Eagle-eyed readers will spot that that sentence was (mostly) sarcasm…

The second time was a few days ago, regarding my new website’s copy. Someone I know told me that while there were instances of some of the keywords in the titles, meta descriptions, body copy, etc., they felt that it may not be enough to rank.

So it’s inspired me to say something that I’ve wanted to say for ages, that I’m sure will rock the boat (or should that be ‘shift the rankings’) of a few people in our industry. Continue reading “The Bitter Irony of Hiring SEOs via Google…”

Another Open Letter: to Google

On 3-20, in the wake of Google’s recent Blogger Blitzkrieg, one of my sites received notification of a sitewide manual penalty for outbound links. Apparently, having links to a site that Google has decided violates guidelines that are, at best, vaguely related to the target site’s practices, is sufficient to justify accusations of link selling and link schemes.

I immediately added nofollow to all outbound links (even to Google properties… you have warned us to nofollow links to sites we don’t trust, after all) and submitted my reconsideration request. No response yet, but by the morning of the 24th, my site appeared for its own name again. Hard to imagine that it wouldn’t, really.

What is the goal?

I’ve already made my feelings known on Google’s heavy-handed, scattergun-style penalty distribution methods in a previous post, so I won’t bore you with repetition. In the off chance that you might have missed my original open letter, by all means, please read it.

This letter has a different purpose, however… I hope to appeal to your collective sense of reason. I could lay out dozens of examples of communication that could be advantageous for Google, its users and webmasters, but I’ll keep it simple.

Google wants to clean up the internet. That’s a given – I get it. Believe it or not, I even support it. I hate spam and spammers. I hate seeing crappy sites sitting at the top of the SERPs because of their crappy tactics, while sites that comply 100% with Google’s Guidelines sit a page or three deep. And I hate seeing those compliant sites hammered into oblivion for one mistake while their competitors continue to ride high with scores of violations. And many of my colleagues feel the same. Continue reading “Another Open Letter: to Google”

An Open Letter to Matt Cutts, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, et al.

Why would I write an open letter to people I don’t know, have never met and will probably never share a beer with? How about this: because they need to hear this… not because it comes from me, but because it is coming from from a large portion of Google’s user base.

Call it hate-mail or call it whining, if you like, but it’s neither. Maybe it’s tough love, maybe its venting… or maybe it’s a wake-up call. However each of you decide to categorize it, recognize the fact that it is coming from a hell of a lot of people, each of whom holds a small portion of your company’s future in their hands.


At 5:20 pm PST, 3-20-14, I received a sitewide manual penalty for outbound links in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines on one of my sites, Google’s Spam Team decided that this site is guilty of “unnatural, artificial, deceptive, or manipulative outbound links” that “may be the result of selling links that pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

Webmaster Tools - Manual Actions - http___docsheldon.com__2014-03-21_00-31-58

Continue reading “An Open Letter to Matt Cutts, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, et al.”

Collateral Damage

cross hairds
They say there is no smoke without fire, but, the latest “attack” and round of penalties from Google has left a lot of “innocent” people in the crosshairs of the web spam team and wondering what the hell is going on.

Let me explain.

We have all seen this tweet.



We all knew who it meant. Continue reading “Collateral Damage”

Report Scraper Sites! The Big G Gets Reported as an Example

Publish quality content. That has always been Google’s mantra. Don’t build links… build quality content that people will link to.


Any “good” site that publishes “quality” content gets victimized by scrapers and that’s just a simple fact.

Unsavoury characters who want content on which they can sell advertising, basically rip your content, lift it and publish it as their own.

Now, depending on how good they are and how, er, not so good you are, those scraper sites can rank higher than you for your own content.

This is not the post to go into the ins and outs. I will do that next week, but our favourite Googler, Matt Cutts, tweeted that there was a new way for you to report if scraped content was outranking the original content.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! Enter Mr Dan Barker Continue reading “Report Scraper Sites! The Big G Gets Reported as an Example”

Common Sense Isn’t Common Enough Today

I promised myself that I would stay away from this topic… that there were already enough regurgitated posts about guest blogging. But it proves to provide a perfect segue to a mini-rant. And those that know me are well aware of my weakness for such opportunities.


Hornets nestMatt Cutts seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest the other day, when he blogged about The decay and fall of guest blogging. As someone that has stirred his share of hornet’s nests over the years, I can imagine him muttering as he did a classic facepalm and shook his head in dismay. Been there, done that, Matt!

One couldn’t help but get the impression that Matt may have been a little fed up when he penned that post. I’ve been following pretty much every word out his avatar’s mouth for several years, and he’s rarely been quite so explicit in his statements. The ‘tude was showing, man.

But then, if I was tasked with running Google’s spam team, I’m betting I’d totally redefine the term jaded.  And I’ve got a ‘tude on, even when I’m in good mood!

His blog,, hasn’t been starved for either views or comments for quite a while, but the velocity at which comments piled up in the wake of his statement was still notable. Some applauded his announcement that guest blogging would be getting some “special” attention (I’m in that camp). Some just jumped in to spew hate and others were wont to defend guest blogging. Continue reading “Common Sense Isn’t Common Enough Today”

Google Plus Comments are Dangerous!

A couple of friends and I started a new online venture right after the first of the year, and one of the features we implemented was to use Google Plus Comments. At the time, it seemed like a decent way to increase our reach. And to be fair, it might accomplish that.

But at what price?

Between the three of us, we had already tried both Disqus and Livefyre commenting and didn’t like the fact that they hijack much of the benefit of on-site engagement. G+, we thought, would be different.

A WTF Moment

So, a couple of hectic weeks later, we finally got a breather and noticed something interesting… and disturbing.

A colleague mentioned that she had left a comment on a post on our site. I happened to be in our backend at the time, and I noticed that her comment didn’t appear in our Comments section. At first, I thought that perhaps she had left her comment on G+, but she assured me that no, it was definitely on our site that she had commented.

So I went to the post itself and things got even more interesting. There were 11 comments displayed on the post, yet in the backend, not a single comment appeared for that post. WTF? I mentioned it to my mates and we decided that some testing was in order, but that if Google Plus Comments was acting just like Disqus and Livefyre, we’d go with the core commenting within WordPress. Continue reading “Google Plus Comments are Dangerous!”