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Are you the Neville Chamberlain of SEO?

March 28th, 2012 : · 49 Comments ·

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything here, I’ve spent the last 5 months skiing and have enjoyed every second of it. But now….

I’ve been debating for a while whether to post this, but I’ve been getting so much private email from so many different individuals and businesses that I decided to just say what I have to say.

It seems a whole lot of webmasters and some business owners are in full fledged panic mode over the recent deindexing of ’some’ sites, in ’some’ link building networks, as well as them being concerned about the plethora of messages Google is sending out to webmasters telling them of possible bad linking.

Here’s the deal folks. And I know many of you are going to disagree with me but I’ll address that in a few minutes.

You have no one to blame but yourself for what has just happened, and what will continue to happen.

You caused it.  Huh? What’s that Dave?

Well, contrary to what a lot of you may think, it has virtually NOTHING to do with the link networks you used, or the link building tactics you used. Not at all.

It is almost 100% to do to the fact that you are giving Google the keys to your damn business.

Do you use Analytics? Yes? Bingo. Do you use Webmaster tools? Yes? Bingo?

Let me ask you a question? Why are you using these tools? Because they are free? Because they are good? Both reasons?

Yea, they are good, and yea, they are free, They are also like the free hit of heroin the drug pusher gives you.

First one free, but then once you’re hooked, there is a huge price to pay, and many of you are paying it big time now. Both businesses and individuals.

You see, the odds of this deindexing being a true algo change is really pretty slim, how do I know? Well, because the sites being affected tend to have one thing in common. They are in some way connected to the tools Google wants you so badly to use.

But Dave you say, my site doesn’t use Analytics, my site doesn’t use Webmaster tools. Well here’s the deal. It doesn’t always matter, if other sites that place links on your network or sites do.. they are giving you away.

Google has become so dominant with these tools that it is almost impossible to be free of them if you do any outside business that relates to link building, because so many unsuspecting people use these tools.

Oh sure, there is a huge white hat crowd that think if you play by the rules and do exactly what Google wants that everything will be hunky dory, and you’ll live happily ever after.

One word response needed: Bullshit.

Google will eat you up and toss you out like yesterday’s garbage. Guaranteed. It might not happen right away, but it will happen.

Sure, you’ll find some big names in the SEO game who will say that I’m full of shit, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and frankly I don’t even care, because while they say one thing, they know something else is in fact the reality.

Also, many of these big names, and I’m talking names that are well known in the SEO world who are big white hat advocates, there are a whole lot of these people who have a personal relationship with some of the people at Google. So take half of what they say with a grain of salt, and toss the other half out as self serving garbage.

Let’s talk algo changes at Google.

What’s the easiest way for Google to actually accomplish a change in the serps? Is it by tweaking their algo? nope, not even close.

All it takes is Matt Cutts to open his mouth and make a declaration and boom, 60-70% compliance. The sheep fall in line and just blindly obey.

So much of what Google states to be fact just doesn’t pass real world testing. They have a massive PR machine. It is very powerful, and they usually get the result they want just by firing up it’s engines.

I really hate making nazi analogies, because they only apply here in the broader sense, so bitch at me all you want if you find it offensive, but Google has become a bit like the gestapo here.. they’ve got everyone turning themselves in, or turning everyone else in. Everyone is scared to death to make a move because they are afraid they might get caught doing something the overseers of the Internet might not like.

You can hate my analogy, but the point remains accurate.

You can continue to argue that white hat SEO is the way to succeed. And you know what, I encourage you to continue believing that myth because you just make it easier for those who do things a different way to beat the living hell out of you in the SERPS.

Could Google plug all the holes that allow people to take advantage of certain things? Sure they could, but they are lazy. Why spend a lot of time and money dev’ing complicated methods to weed out things they really don’t want in their SERPS when they can get a really high compliance by 1) Talking, and 2) Getting everyone to give them all the info for free through a couple free tools.

One way is a WHOLE lot easier than the other, and in fact it is probably FAR more effective, because webmasters have now unknowingly in many cases, given Google a path to trace everything back to all these sites that they find offensive, all under the guise of giving you something for free.

Now don’t give me the BS line that it’s Google’s business and they can run it the way they want. Sure they can. Neither I, nor anyone else ever said they can’t, but here’s where your logic gets just a little fuzzy. My businesses are mine, and I can run them exactly how I WANT. It’s a two way street.

But I’m not going to build my business based on what Google tells me I SHOULD be doing. I am NOT going to report other sites that might be breaking ‘The Rules’ as set forth by King Midas. Will you? Or will you try and take a bigger picture view of things and say… wow, so this is what works? Some will, most won’t. Most will toe the line because that’s what people do when they’re afraid of offending the powers that be.

Remember, NOTHING in this world is free. Everything comes with a price.

But here’s another reality. Those who are not giving out their info to Google, those who may have their own PRIVATE networks that have no connection to Google, funny isn’t it that virtually none of those sites or networks have been hit.

None of these people are getting the infamous email from webmaster tools stating that their links may be unnatural. Why because Google will have to work a lot harder to figure it out.

But you’re saying to yourself, Google probably has this info anyway. Maybe, but the SERP results certainly don’t validate this belief.

I’m not saying black hat and gray hat SEO is fool proof. Of course it’s not. SEO has been, and always will be a game of cat and mouse with search engines. It’s an adversarial relationship. And that simple fact can never change.

But you know what? If you are doing ANY link building, and I mean ANY, in Google’s eyes you are at best a gray hatter. That’s right. The only natural link in Google’s eyes is one another site gives you of their own free will. Anything you have ever done to acquire a single link is in Google’s eyes, an unnatural link.  And you thought you were a white hatter? Not even close in Google’s eyes. Yep. You write great content, create a site that people love, it gets buzz, others start linking to you. That is a natural link in Google’s eyes. Everything else is an unnatural link. PERIOD.

Sometimes it’s funny reading SEO forums. Years ago I’d say about 80% of people on these forums were Google ‘ass kissers’. They were the ones who basically thought anything and everything Google did was right. How could it not be when the company motto was ‘Do No Evil”. But slowly over time that number has dropped to probably 10-15% at best.

And I bet some of you, maybe many of you are thinking, well, that’s just because Google caught on to all the tricks those nasty gray hatters and black hatters have been pulling all those years, so of course they don’t like Google. WRONG!!! It’s not those people that have changed their opinion. They always understood the game being played. The ones that have changed are the so called white hatters. The ones who always thought they were doing everything by the book. Only to get kicked in the teeth again and again.

And now, Google has once again convinced the masses that if they build a link doom will soon follow. Guess what? If you do the opposite of what Google tells you, you should be doing, you’ll get it right far more often than you get it wrong.  DESPITE what people want you to believe. And remember, I’m not telling you to go out and become a true black hatter. It’s  quite likely that EVERYONE reading this is already a gray hatter. Most of you just don’t realize it.

A lot of people think Google is their friend. Hell, the world has turned them into a verb.. ‘Google it”. Friend? Yea, right.

The kool aid has been consumed. I honestly don’t know if there is a way to turn back at this point. The damage has been done. Webmasters have given Google virtually every tool they need to take you down, take down your ability to SEO in the manner you choose, not the manner King Midas decides.

I do know that those who are winning now are playing by their own rules, and not Google’s.

Now don’t feed me a self righteous response that these people are spammers, far from it. They are doing exactly what they need to do to succeed, and another point you really need to remember. GOOGLE DOESN’T RUN THE INTERNET.

They have no qualms about using everything you have created, taking that info and profiting from it, in a myriad of ways so vast you can’t even begin to imagine.

Google developed an algo. They never had, nor have any real product. Their product was taken from you. Sure, it was a fair tradeoff for many. Google sends me traffic, I let them index my site.  But don’t you think the balance has shifted just a tad to one side?

Let me ask you a hypothetical question: What would happen to Google within 2 months if EVERY webmaster placed a NOINDEX meta tag on their site? What would they sell? Advertising? For what?

See, every penny they makes comes from info they have taken from others, from you, and then they want more info, and you give it to them, and then they want even more, they create another great free tool, you use it, and give them more info, then they create Google + and want even more info, and you still go along with their game, and give it to them.

And then you see webmasters in SEO forums telling people who don’t play by ‘The Rules’ that Google has set, how they are destroying the Internet, or are spammers.. etc, they then often do exactly what Google wants, they turn another site in.

So if you must, keep using analytics, keep using webmaster tools, keep changing your approach based on everything Matt Cutt’s says. I really don’t care, it’s your business, but please, after reading this, please don’t keep emailing me asking why you got a letter from Google about your link building. The answer is simple. You gave them the keys!

You may dislike what black hatters or gray hatters do. But if you’re a TRUE white hatter, you are nothing more than a Neville Chamberlain of SEO.

Oh yea, and if you don’t know who Neville Chamberlain is, or get the historical reference, look it up!

- Dave -

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49 Comments so far ↓

  • Pete

    Hey Dave. Can you comment on Linkvana and how it has been affected?

  • BigB

    That’s some powerful stuff, pardner…

    And, in my view, you’re just telling it like it is.

  • Dave Korpi's Provisional Patent VIdeo Course

    Dave:

    Well said! I will be taking out Google Analytics on all my LinkUBator sites and others!

    Makes TOTAL sense!

    Thanks for the write up and welcome home!

    Dave

  • JJ

    If you play the game the way that Google wants you to play it, you don’t need to worry about getting slapped/deindexed etc, because you won’t be ranking for anything in the first place.

  • Donna

    Totally agree. A few days ago, I decided to de-Google. I have closed a lot of Google accounts and have gone to alternatives. It’s going to take a little while, but it feels so good.

    Google plays too many games and then sits back laughing when people can’t keep up with their rules constantly changing.

    Thanks so much for the “breath of fresh air.”

    Take care,
    Donna :)

  • admin

    @Pete, LV only had minimal impact, they do not use GA or WT

  • Daniel Major

    You’ve hit the nail on the head my friend!

    Unfortunately, I have just experienced one of those ‘ the penny has just dropped moments’ when I suddenly shout out ‘I’ve been such a fool!’

    Drastic changes are afoot with how I run my sites and personal network from now on I can tell you.

    Cheers for the eye opener Dave.

    ps. Comparing Google to the gestapo is too kind…The difference being one smiles and tells you everything is alright whilst putting a noose around your neck before then swiftly kicking the chair from under your feet, whilst the others were Hitlers secret police!!

  • John

    Great post Dave, and as usual I agree 100%.

    What are your thoughts on using Adsense? Can Google “see” all the same stuff when you’re running Adsense on your site?

    I wonder if there’s any point in avoiding Analytics if the site is running Adsense anyway.

  • Anne Ahira

    Very well said, Dave! :-) Thanks for the update!

  • Palusko

    So if Google is gestapo and white hatters are Chamberlain’s, what does that make black hatters?
    But here’s the thing – take any top 10 websites for any search term and check their source code. I bet you will find Analytics code on most of them. So how come their are still on the top?
    But I do agree, that if you are going to break Google’s TOS (and clearly, being part of a network that is spamming the internet with crap in order to get backlinks is against their TOS), then you should probably not announce it – which WBT and analytics clearly do.

  • FlyNavy

    Couldn’t agree more…

    The big G can kiss my ass. They’re absolute thieves – with not one bit of regard for privacy or ethics.

    I’ve structured my business over and around them – completely.

    As to your Nazi comments – photoshop Eric Schmidt into a Gestapo uniform – I think the analogy is spot on!

    dubito ergo cogito
    cogito ergo sum

  • admin

    @Palusko, you asked… “So if Google is gestapo and white hatters are Chamberlain’s, what does that make black hatters?”

    My answer is, generally .. wealthy..

    Your point about most using GA, well, depends on the niche, the really big niches? no.. if you want to take it a step further and really analyze the link patterns of those sites.. you might be shocked at what you find. VERY little true white hat happening there.

  • JP

    I’m glad someone stepped up and said this – I’ve always witheld as much as possible from Google for this very reason. People are sheep.

  • Norma

    Preach it, Mr. Kelly. You are right on the money with your analysis of the evils of Google Analytics.

  • DC

    I am mostly in agreement with you. However can you please tell me what link building stats is Google privy too with Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools that they wouldn’t have known otherwise from crawling the internet. Obviously on page stats they will have with these tools such as how much time people spend on the site etc… but what will they know about our link portfolio that they wouldn’t have otherwise known?

  • Terry

    You say that LV didn’t get hit much as they don’t have analytics etc.

    But you were saying in the post that if the sites receiving links from the networks have analytics this is possibly a problem? I would think that a lot of links going out on LV would be to sites with analytics/webmaster tools.

  • Ian Orford

    Dave, sorry to cuss, but you hit the nail right on the F*** Head! That’s the best post I have seen re the 800 lb Gorilla ever. I cant vent my anger enough. No … calm down.

    I lost a $6 million turnover business last year when a site went up in smoke after Panda.

    Anything we can do to shoot those guys from the top of the heap works for me. Lets form a resistance movement!

    PS. If you want Analytics, use Piwik, its free, self hosted and works

  • Rik

    “… if other sites that place links on your network or sites do.. they are giving you away.”

    Does that mean sites that link in, or sites that you link out to? Or both?

    Great post by the way.

  • max

    Momma always said, if you’re going to criticize, make constructive suggestions or ideas.

    You leave us “hanging” with no solution – if we use google tools or the sites we link to do we’re damned… doesn’t matter if we use the tools or not anyway, google’s all powerful bots can connect the dots anyway…

  • Cinjon

    When selling sites on Flippa, what’s the alternative to GA that buyers want to see? In fact, Flippa is set up specifically to add GA in their listings.

  • Orange County Short Sale Realtor

    Dave – amazing post. My website is a basic real estate site that I developed, well slapped together is more like it, so that i can generate leads from postcards I mail out for my real estate business. I insterted GA and some adsense to try and cover hosting costs etc. The little I make from adsense and the data from GA is now worthless compared to what the possible outcome could be, now I see the bigger picture. It totally makes sense to run your site on your own terms not the big g’s, . Thanks so much for your insight and view points. Good stuff.

  • Palusko

    @admin

    But if they use black hat, and still use google tools, how come they are still ranking, especially in big niches?

    And as for black hatters being generally wealthy… Well, that is more of your opinion than any hard data, right? After all, how many of the black hatters – or white hatters for that matter – ever make it rich from the Internet?

    My take on all this is very simple – people build backlinks. They got deindexed. So naturally, the backlink profiles changed dramatically overnight, resulting in drop in SERPS. The same would happen to any white hat webmaster, if he lost majority of backlinks. Nothing surprising about that.

    And the message about unnatural backlinks? If those people did not use any google tools, they would not get the message. But their sites would drop just the same.

  • Ken

    Great Post Dave.

    It brought back memories of a genial boob I used to work with who thought all he had to do was watch Matt Cutts’ videos.

    Unfortunately, the resulting fear of “over-optimization” that was instilled led to -
    a great excuse for him (and the company we worked for) to do absolutely nothing for their SEO clients. ;-)

    I even made some (very weird) videos about it – just too blow off some steam….

    http://localsearchsecrets.net/

  • Derek

    Great to hear someone speak out for a change. We can do with a lot more of this, Dave.

  • Richard

    Dave, I totally agree. I am not that kind of marketer with a long time history, neither I am one of the big earners. but my logic allways told me to stay away from google analytic tools and other. I have a couple of webshops I call my own and to be honest I did not feel any impact on what I am doing, may it be only by luck or anything else. Who knows.

    thanks

    great Post Dave

  • Hamish

    I stopped using analaytics and webmaster tools about 18 months ago. I wouldn’t even have Adsense on my sites these days.

    Anyway, sit back and wait for the rant on virtually any method of link building – but especially blog networks – from here on in.

    But isn’t that exactly what Google had in mind when they went after BMR?

    And would they have done that in the first place if link building didn’t work?

    I may be a little paranoid (but you would be too if everyone was against you).

    Love the Neville Chamberlain reference. I didn’t think Americans knew about our most famous political non-entity.

  • Kris

    Is this just a rant, or is there any really useful info in there? I’m just a small affiliate marketer, so maybe my opinion on Google isn’t as strong as some of you, but if it takes this long to explain & blame, then maybe – just maybe – you guys are trying to hard to “play the game”.

  • Night Owl

    @Palusko

    You are hopeless. Give up now.

  • DC

    @ian if you had made 6 million dollars from a website then I am sure you could have easily taken 1 million dollars of that and replicated a new site and SEO’d it to the top. With 1 million dollars you can have 10 or 12 SEO companies working for you!

  • Ron

    If most webmasters would be be willing to form an
    alliance against G. and use other alternatives, G would see who rules online.

  • Chris Rempel

    @Palusko

    I think you’re forgetting that EVERY LINK you build that isn’t the result of “natural editorial” activity (ie other people finding your great content and linking to it) is a “violation” of their webmaster guidelines.

    What does that mean?

    It means you have to be a big brand with enough $$ to advertise and cause “natural” backlinking. If you truly want to maintain WhiteHat status.

    Everything else (press releases with links back, articles, blog comments, posting on forums, guest blogging, getting sites to review your site/product, etc.) is a “linking scheme” in Google’s eyes.

    Obviously, every site ever made (for profit) has done some form of promotion. It gives them (google) recourse to manually intervene and sculpt the SERPs as they see fit.

    For example, by upholding big brands and ousting the little sites, even if they have great content.

    It is hypocrisy.

    Did you know that Google was caught buying its own links to promote Chrome?

    Did you know that Google was caught openly admitting that it was going to create a false smear campaign to effect an intended result by COMPLETELY LYING?

    Read this:

    http://bit.ly/bDX5vV (article on SEOBook)

    There is no such thing as “White Hat”.

    Either you’re a big brand or you’re violating Google’s Guidelines.

    That is the reality.

    And one that you will be acquainted with sooner than later in your righteous pursuit of WhiteHat philosophy when, one day, you discover first hand that Google doesn’t give a flying shit about legitimate webmasters…

    …and that it would have been smarter and easier to build up a network of replaceable GrayHat sites instead of investing all your time/money into a “perfect” site.

    -Chris

  • Ron

    My sentiments exactly. Brilliantly stated. (Applause)

  • Sandra

    Thanks for the post. I’ve heard “gurus” saying this and also the opposite, but your view made more sense to me so I’ve stayed away mostly except for Adsense b/c I want to know which site makes what.
    @admin for John & me
    You didn’t reply to John’s question re Adsense. Seems to me like it would be similar, but not the same as GA or WMT b/c they can only see what sites you have, not any further analytics, etc. Is that correct?
    @Cinjon
    If I were you and I planned on selling sites soon and you want to use GA, go ahead. They aren’t going to be your sites in the future anyway. Just use Piwik for your own personally sites, you don’t plan to sell.

    Thanks again for the post.
    Sandra

  • admin

    @Sandra, I think AS is far less intrusive than GA and WT.

  • admin

    @Chris, great link, love the vid about Edward Bernays

  • Jim

    Re: “Momma always said, if you’re going to criticize, make constructive suggestions or ideas.”

    If I tell your house is on fire, but I have no idea where to get the water to put it out nor do I have a hose that reaches you house, are you going to ignore my warning?

    The truth is always “constructive.” Ignorance of the truth is harmful. A separate issue is whether it is palatable to the hearer or not.

  • Uk Ecommerce company

    We have now deleted our website from webmasters tools. I dont use Google Analytics.

    So will the website now simply recover positions on it’s own?

    I cant believe they were stupic enough to do this and not think that it will cause a mass exodus from their services….

  • Zandra

    This post a an eye-opener for me. I’ve been doing everything “right” with my sites, such as adding long (over 800 words) original content on a regular basis and I’m still be tossed and bounced around by the “master.” I had one site getting 50k visitors a month and another over 10k per month, but around the summer of last year, my traffic dropped 90% and my small income became virtually non-existent.

    After reading this post, I’m going to remove GA and GW from my sites. Thanks for telling it like it is.

  • Rudy

    Yes I head this comment recently about WMT and GA buy another IM. Hearing here again i’m beginning to understand what’s going on a little better. Thanks Dave for taking time writing this post. I will definitely get rid of the GA on the sites that im not planning to sell.

  • June

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Don’t use the big G’s tools nor will I ever, for the same reason I don’t do FB. I value my privacy too much. BTW, I have always called them sheeple. Great insight and post.

  • Ron

    Dave
    Right on!

    June
    I agree with you fully on my privacy.
    Sheeple indeed.
    Sheeple follow the other sheeple–right to the slaughter.

  • Jim

    Dave, don’t “sugar coat” your opinions, tell it like it is! ^_^ When I saw your reference to Neville Chamberlain, I had a pretty good idea of where you were headed. He caved in to Hitler and Britain payed a terrible price for his gutless attitude. “Google doesn’t run the internet” and Hitler didn’t run the world, he just, basically, took what everybody gave him! Thanks for the article.

  • Mike

    I’m relatively new to the seo industry. I don’t see how google could benefit from de-indexing sites, base off of their advice.

    However, I been doing the google dance and cant get past page 2. Maybe blackhat is the best way to go.

  • Gman

    Seriously? People are buying this bullshit?

    This is coming from someone who has had a huge portion of there network blogs deindexed. We are suppose to “trust” your opinion when it is obvious you know nothing of what you speak.

    So let me explain the REAL deal. If you only use one G account per website everything you just said is non applicable. The reason being they know about your website BEFORE you tie it into those accounts then after. Yeah it might give them some more information like bounce rate but all your linking partners sorry to tell you this but they already know all that.

    Sites are losing there ranking because there linking partners are getting deindexed. This is the truth no reason to blame Google accounts for this mess.

    If anything the blame goes to people like you for not randomizing enough and protecting the peoples investment.

    I lost 1k domains myself. Why? Because I was not randomizing how I should have been. You have to randomize everything. These are my personal sites used to rank. When I found out what I was doing wrong and corrected it I SAVED 4k sites from being deindexed. had nothing to do with google accounts at all.

    You sir are full of shit.

  • Cinjon

    @Sandra – Thanks! If piwik does what GA does it may be best to use that from the start. After all, if GA is detrimental and affects how a site ranks, that will kill the selling points. In addition, a savvy buyer should (now) understand the risks of using GA, get out of that mindset, and accept an equal alternative.

  • admin

    @Gman, it’s amazing that you think you know so much but really know so little. First the link network you are referring to, I have not owned for several years. My own networks, No loss at all. The network you are referring to, don’t believe what you read from others.. their loss was negligible. Since you lost 1K domains.. I don’t think I’d be telling others they are full of shit. Keep using all the G tools. It just makes it easier from everyone else.

  • BB

    Dave,

    Love the new edginess… must have been a great vacation!

  • John

    Thanks for the tremendous post Dave, Chris it was great to see you chime in and lay a bunch more on the table. I still think many readers may be wondering about completely engineering a way around Brother G. (Sounds like an e-book that needs to be written.) What in your view is the 1st, 2nd and 3rd steps to be taken to liberation beyond
    the obvious of removing GA etc. Many adsense and related monetization questions have been raised. Can you throw a few more pearls?

  • HandyBizMan

    What is wrong with using Quantcast? I haven’t nobody mention them. Are they associated with Big G?

    Take care man!

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