Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spam: Dirty. Sexy. Funny.

Can the Spam
The reminders of this are everywhere this week. Everywhere I look, its coming. I used to defend SEO vigorously on twitter and in blogs when people had reached levels of despair with the rising tide of spam. It's everywhere: Blog comments, blogs, twitter, cookie cutter sites, LinkedIn, paid links and e-mail. Actually e-mail isn't that bad - not as bad as it used to be. Well done to Microsoft and their crack anti-spam investigation team that recently stopped as much as 60% of spam e-mail.

Someone recently shared how they "dominate LinkedIn" recently. I'm not linking to it but essentially his job profile was literally the length of the screen - "Marketing advisor, Marketing assistant, Marketing..". You get the picture - it wasn't pretty.

The Dirty
Spam and blackhat SEO to me, was largely the preserve of American hard-hitting Blackhat marketeers and the enourmous sweatshop industry they've [help] create in India, China, Malaysia, the Philipines. People who probably never used the internet except to make money. Your internet experience is not their concern - you're just another over paid, over consumerised and lazy Westerner to sell rolex watches, holidays and insurance to. Its obvious, its bad, its annoying. And that's just the US side. But it's getting into Ireland. Bar the top tier SEO agencies (of which there is really only a handful) - probably 60% of people providing SEO as a paid-for service - outsource it. And it's always spammy. SEO as a product plan can only be spammy.

A young, vibrant and dynamic company recently approached us. Their existing SEO was handcrafted, slightly outsourced and very heavy. And it needed more. So we started looking at the guys at number one. The spam wasn't just obvious. It was an avalanche. I had to lie down. It was enourmous.

And it was Irish led. Entire fake, cookie cutter sites which 'spun' content were created - a single bad, copy+paste blog post was refiled again and again and again, giving them NASA terminology numbers in backlinks. I was distraught.

One person called me a spammer. Once. It was 3 years ago. I'm still shocked. I hate spam in all its various incarnations. As do you probably.

The Sexy
There's nothing sexy about spam kids, but its used a lot on twitter - 0 followers, lots of tweets and a really sexy avatar. You know the drill. Well, it's not enough. I think we need to be more on guard. Those dodgy looking websites and blogs aren't just a mere inconvenience - they're harming real businesses. They push real businesses, ideas, brands and genuine content out of the way. So if you're on twitter and someone spams you - Report it - close it down - let twitter work out their IP Addressess and lets help can the spam.

The Funny
Some spam is just ridiculously funny. Self certifying SEO experts are spammers - how do you certify yourself? I think its funny anyway. Especially when its obvious to all and sundry that you clearly couldn't rank in Google if you tried. Just because you've read a few books or blogs about meta data, bookmarking, blog commenting, links (see where the spam comes from) - doesn't make you an SEO expert. Nothing does. You're not a guru. You haven't created anything. You aren't an oracle. Selling yourself as one = snake oil.

Want to show that you rank - then do. Rank for your area or region. People will respect that. Get referred to people for doing a good job. Classing yourself as an expert is your opinion on your own set of credentials. It's empty, meaningless and if you don't know that then how do you know what it is you don't know?

Except when you see the costs that they add to businesses who to have spend more to get them out of the way. So, if you're in Google and see a spammy website, log in and report it. Website copying content? Using too many keywords (stuffing) ? Deceptive pages (e.g. "rolex in Dublin" but then showing something else?) Report it to Google. Help us all make it a better place.

You can report spam found in Google in the Google Spam Report

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Google results and Social Media

Google Gets Social
Working in a series of posts about Google and it's integration with Social Media (see the Google +1 Button and the LinkedIn Recommend Button) , I'm seeing more and more twitter shares in Google results featuring twitter, blogger, flickr and others. I also noticed tonight that Google sometimes links people via (a Yahoo! service and Social Media profile aggregator) that was shut down on the 24th May this year - bit of a disappointment as I quite liked it!

Showing up

Here's a search for "Gaggia" that shows what I mean. It shows who in my network shared this link via twitter - I find it quite useful actually. Note that you need to be signed into Google (aka Personalised Search) - otherwise it doesn't work. More importantly, you don't need to be signed into twitter - Google tracks this from your public profile and also from other networking sites.

Staying in control
If you didn't know this, you can control what accounts Google associates you with through a special "My Accounts" control panel. You can link your LinkedIn, twitter, Quora, Plaxo, Yelp, Microsoft, Yahoo and other accounts. If you want to.

Sharing yourself
Most sites I've looked, the "Shared by" tends to be an employee/owner or representative - possibly the first person to share.

Notes: You need to be signed in to use personalised search fully and also to use or see the Google +1 recommend button. You may also still be signed in after you've signed out of Google. Depending on your level on cynicism, Google is trying to either continue helping you or track you - you decide!

Here's the Google Video on it

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blogger launches new Mobile Template

Blogger are catching up fast and their new Mobile Template is pretty slick. It uses your Blogger Blog's existing Template and modifies it for mobile screens. This is literally one-click formatting-and-publishing. It looks really well on my iPhone and it will be interesting to see the mobile usage on it change over the next few months - if any! Here's what the blog looks like using the Blogger Mobile Template Preview:

It's getting hardrer to move to WordPress (although I'm dual-blogging - here and on our SEO Glossary) Actually, we always use WordPress, I'm just stuck on Blogger - especially as the features are growing so quickly and its so easy to maintain and edit.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

SEO Clare

Blog post to see how far this will go up for SEO Clare and how long it will take.

Lots of love to my boyz Keith, Raul and Paul