I always have a good laugh at the “whitehat” SEO’s making headlines on Sphinn about best practices in Google to do X. Most are Matt Cutts kiss asses that have never built a successful website let alone business. They talk about patents and theories but very few have any real world experience.
Here is a real life example of how stuff really works in Google and you wont read about it from any “SEO” expert.
Many years ago John Chow started getting steam as a blogger and told Google to goto hell. John sold paid links, paid reviews, and did massive amounts of reciprocal link exchanges to gain tons of backlinks. All of which fall under the penalty of death under Magistrate Matt Cutts.
John was given the death penalty and completely removed from the Google Index. Many people wrote about this and how Google was owning John and he was done for.
See Jim Kukrals writeup about how John Chow’s free fall begins
Or Neil Patel – John Chow vs. Google – Guess Who’s Winning
Some places like this blogstorm blog even tried to gain trust with users placing Adwords Ads like this:
Mean while I was making videos about how not to make Google Look stupid (which was mocked at the time but has recently been cited as a great resource on how Google works). In the video I talked about how its not really about what you do but rather if it makes Google look stupid or not in regards to them taking action against you.
If you appear to be able to control the rankings in Google through whatever method and can rank any site then Google has lost its luster and that would be the start of the end for them.
So when public pressure mounts, Google takes action…. stay off their radar and your fine (in most cases).
But when John Chow got nuked a strange phenomenon happened. His popularity and brand grew. Now it was the success story of how you really don’t really need Google to succeed on the internet. RU-ROH!!! Can you imagine if people started adapting this model =P
Now Google was in a dilemma. Search traffic for john chow was growing but nobody could find him on Google. What people were finding was infringing sites like johncow or notjohnchow who were only getting traffic because they were ranking for John’s name.
This obviously made Google Search look very incompetent. While there was a significant amount of search volume for John Chow it wasn’t anything like when BMW or other big brands were de-listed from the Google Search engine when Google actively sought them out to help them get back in. Searching Google for BMW and not finding BMW is not a user experience Google wanted. Google worked hard with BMW to get them compliant and back in the search index.
WordPress.org creators also experienced a similar thing when they embedded links to their websites in everyone’s blogs by default. After much scrutiny Google delisted them and dropped page rank for these developers websites. To which they stopped doing that and then all of their page rank and rankings came back. This is a huge example of how the ends justify the means.
But lets get back to Mr. Chow-
Always being creative and realizing that Google penalizes the domain, but not the link, John registered Johnchow.ca and redirected GoogleBot to that domain. Within days Johnchow.ca started ranking for all the phrases that johnchow.com used to. But as we talked about before…. when people publicly point out that you can beat Google they don’t like it and within a couple days Johnchow.ca was penalized as bad as JohnChow.com.
Today I noticed that Johnchow.com is not only back in the Google Search index:
I talked with John today and asked him what happened and how he got back into Google. He said he worked with Matt Cutts, was told he had to be in full compliance with the webmaster guidelines and then submitted the site back to him and it was all fixed in a couple of days.
Now not many people are going to write about this and how its a great success story (especially in the SEO world).
I want to be clear on the lesson learned though. Its not about being a black hat and going against Google but building a good brand with a great site should be your number 1 priority. If that means you part ways with Google a long the way then so be it. If your site is good then it will continue to grow.
Besides its always easier to beg for forgiveness then ask for permission 😉 Just ask Mr Chow!