Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at 15 March 2018

Category: Search Engine Optimisation, Teh Interwebs

I’m blogging about SEO for the first time in a long time, and yes, seeing as you ask, I do happen to be wearing my old arse-kicking boots today, thank you for noticing.

There were so many screen captures involved in this article that I had no choice but to run it as a video, available below. A full transcript of the audio follows, but you’ll want to watch the video for the full experience. Any follow-ups or updates will be posted here.

BAD SEO: eSales Hub and the art of faking local relevance

TRANSCRIPT

SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ which is all about the appearance of relevance in search engines. ‘White Hat’ SEO deals with actual relevance, ‘Black Hat’ SEO focuses mainly on appearances, and by that I mean faking relevance.

And when I say ‘BAD SEO’, I mean not only is this example ‘Black Hat’ SEO, but it has also been done very, very badly.

We’re about to take a close look at the Gasway site, but please keep in mind that while they are likely to have gone into this venture with open eyes, the actual development work you will see is that of an agency called ‘eSalesHub’, and we’ll get to them soon enough.

But first, the site where I first found out all of this because eSalesHub were so unbelievably lazy about their cheating methods that they also exposed clients and partners to a pronounced risk of discovery.

Gasway are a plumbed heating installation, service and repair company who have a single office based in Norwich. Understandably, they would like to be relevant for queries related to boiler replacement not only in Norwich, but in other towns nearby.

It’s a common problem and I’ve advised on it many times. There are many ways of approaching the issue of making a local presence apparent, but I can guarantee you that this is the wrong way:

On their site, Gasway appear to indicate a physical address in nearby Cambridge, with some guy called Oliver in charge. Ditto Peterborough. But there’s no Gasway office or outlet or depot or anything in either location, and the Peterborough location is a residential address.

Gasway also appear to have a phantom office or location or outlet or whatever in Fakenham with an ‘Andrew’ in charge. Fakenham is a real place, but there’s no Gasway office there. There’s also an ‘Andrew’ in charge of local Gasway outlets that do not exist in 25 other locations.

All of these locations, by the way, carry the indication of a five-star review for Gasway on TrustPilot, yet when you check with the TrustPilot site, gasway.co.uk lies unclaimed with only four reviews, all of which are single-star. A neat trick.

Back to these localised gateway pages, starting with Norwich where Gasway DO have an office, here’s a ‘Mrs Jenny Edwards’ with a gushing testimonial and Gasway telling us how their local status means they treat customers like family. One of their own.

60 miles away, and here’s the same Jenny Edwards claiming to be a Legal Secretary based in Cambridge, where Gasway are based (apparently) and therefore treat local customers like family. One of their own.

And here’s the same Jenny Edwards claiming to be a Legal Secretary based in Peterborough, a further 40 miles away from Cambridge, where Gasway are based (apparently) and therefore treat local customers like family. One of their own.

And so on and so forth again and again and again; town after town, village after village across the Gasway site.

If you are thinking that it would be difficult for one woman to live or work in all of those locations, you would be right, and it is especially hard for this woman to give a credible testimonial for a gas boiler installation or repair anywhere in the UK, because she’s an American named Jessica Fertitta, who died in fire 7 years ago.

I mentioned laziness being a further issue here beyond the dishonesty, and this is but one example: a quick Reverse Image Search betrays appearances of this same picture on the websites of Go Restore & Repair as an Accountant, on Go Plumber as a ‘Stay at Home Mum from Hull’ and on Go Carpet Cleaner as a police officer from Kent.

And she’s some poor woman who died tragically young in a fire. Now Jessica Fertitta’s face is currency in an unseemly scheme to fake popular support for local business outlets that don’t even exist. This is both unpleasant, and far too reminiscent of what is going wrong with politics these days.

Looking at the eSalesHub website, we see a lot of talk about their focus on local search, where they explain how they ‘sell on’ leads from a series of self-made ‘Go’-branded sites, and how they ‘solve the local search problem’ for clients like ‘Mr Electric’ using their “patent-pending local search technology”.

A quick visit to the Mr Electric site shows exactly the same thing going on as at the Gasway site, and ooh look, here’s that same photo of Jessica Fertitta, this time as a ‘Michelle Lewis’ describing an event including great service and a free product from Mr Electric that almost definitely happened for realsies. Believe me.

This is bad SEO in that it is dishonest, but it is also so poorly executed as to be laughable. You shouldn’t do this, or anything like it, and you should show someone the door the moment they suggest this or anything like it as a viable option.

If you want to succeed in search engines in the long term you need to radiate relevance from the inside of your organisation out, not have it attached to your website after the fact, and certainly not as a full-blown facade to the extent that your first contact with customers is an outright lie at the expense of genuine local businesses in their community.

eSalesHub were invited to comment on the matter of phantom premises and bogus testimonials and the legitimacy of ‘chasing leads’ this way at the expense of genuine local businesses. I didn’t hear back from them, so here we are looking at the material they published and seeing what you think about it all.

Me, I think every marketing relationship begins with an act of trust, and you betray that at your peril.

Thanks for watching. Please subscribe and all that.

If you feel bad about what happened to Jessica Fertitta, there’s an endowment fund in her name at the University of Texas, and you can donate by visiting this URL [http://endowments.giving.utexas.edu/page/fertitta-jessica-exc-fnd-stud-advoc-civ/5996/], or the bitly link which will take you to the same location: [bit.ly/fertitta]

Cheers all.

ENDS

A sample of eSales Hub testimonials

Updates to follow.

15 March – Rolling updates in this twitter thread this morning. A summary so far: eSalesHub have not replied to my email, but have chosen to block me on Twitter. Jessica Fertitta’s image is still being used without permission on the Gasway site, but eSalesHub have been very busy removing ALL testimonial photos from the servers of the Mr Electric and ‘Go’ sites. Not the testimonials, you understand… just the photos that demonstrate that the testimonials are likely faked.

16 March – This from Mr Electric’s HQ in the US of A:

17 March – The original thread is still going, and this latest update is worth embedding:








Posted by Tim Ireland at 12 January 2012

Category: Consume!, Search Engine Optimisation

Hi folks. I’m facing some delays on the Dorries matter (mainly waiting for evidence; the Met are 5 weeks late), but I’m sure we’ll be back on track shortly.

In the meantime, here’s an open letter to loan company Wonga.com, who today reacted to a massive backlash (more) by claiming they did not actively target students.

To: john.moorwood@wonga.com
From: Tim Ireland
Date: Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 9:44 AM
Subject: “we do not actively target students as potential customers ”

Dear John,

If you do not target students, how do you explain the following Page Title and META Tags that are still live on the same page where you claim “we do not actively target students as potential customers”?

(*Please note that chevrons have been replaced with brackets to avoid any data display issues. Otherwise, code is verbatim.)

[title]Student Loan – Alternative to Education Loans | Wonga.com® Official Site[/title]
[meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″ /]
[meta name=”description” content=”Are you a student? Need a fast loan? For loans in the UK, Wonga is the fastest! Wonga gets you cash within 15 minutes of approval.” /]
[meta name=”keywords” content=”student loan,student loans,short term loan,cash,credit card,personal loan,loan,money” /]
[meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow” /]
[meta name=”DC.title” content=”Student Loan – Alternative to Education Loans” /]

source: http://www.wonga.com/money/wonga-student-loan/ (mirror – ‘view source’ to see the code)

You also claimed the following in that same statement on that same page:

“The previous article on this page was several years old and one of many brief pieces we have written about the broad subject of credit since we launched our online loans service. No-one was directed to this page, nor was it prominently promoted on the website.”

But there is a prominent indexable link to this page from your front page and every other page. It is one of only 13 links of this type, so it is clearly a high priority and promoted very heavily in SEO terms:

Payday Loans | Short term Loans | Cash Loans | Cash Advance | Fast Cash | Quick Loans
Quick Quid | Loans Online | Loans for bad credit | Borrow Money | Student Loan | Student Overdraft | Credit Card Debt

A similar page which also carries today’s statement targets queries about student overdrafts (a link to it is included in the list referenced above). This page ranks 8th in Google for queries for ‘student overdrafts’, and this is clearly by design and not by accident. According to SearchMetrics, you also currently rank 34th in Google for ‘student loan’ and 19th for ‘loans for students’.

Do you still wish to pretend that these pages were an accidental afterthought of no current significance to you?

Be warned that I am an SEO professional with over a decade of experience, and I am unlikely to react favourably to further distortions. Also, this is an open letter that I have published on my blog, so do yourself a favour and don’t waste my time by hiding behind the sofa and pretending that you’re not home.

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

As usual, you can expect updates to follow. Cheers all.

UPDATE – I think it’s best if I let the resulting correspondence speak for itself at this stage:

From: John Moorwood
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Hi. We will be removing the pages / links completely soon, we just wanted to have a message there temporarily to make a few points.

[John Moorwood ]
Sent from my iPhone

From: Tim Ireland
To: John Moorwood
Date: Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Yes, but the ‘points’ you make are demonstrable lies and distortions, and I have published an article saying/displaying this quite clearly. Do you seriously have no response to that?

Tim Ireland

UPDATE – Greg Power has noticed that Wonga.com are still actively bidding for queries relating to students and student loans in AdWords. This is completely distinct from their SEO efforts/excuses, and it is not something that happens by accident. Wonga.com are actively pursuing students and trying to flog them loans at a typical APR of up to 4214% while claiming that they never intended to do any such thing:

Wonga

UPDATE – Take a look at this page from the Wonga site (spotted by Tom Hatton). It features an expensive-looking video that tries very hard to look like a news programme. The nice lady behind the desk encourages students to use Wonga.com in order to avoid “a nasty debt hangover after graduation”. (Hey, why risk “hefty overdraft fees” when you can simply take out a Wonga loan with an APR of over 4000%?)

Wonga.com removed the page very quickly after it was spotted/highlighted on Twitter, but if they ever remove the video itself, the text on this mirror of that page contains the entire script. I have also saved a copy of the video should Wonga.com ever care to deny that at the very end – during the fade-out – there is a blink-and-you-miss-it alert in news-ticker style text (spotter: Jon W). This text announces that “unauthorised” debt with Wonga carries a 46,000,000% interest rate. No, totally not kidding:

Bloody hell, Wonga

Wonga.com’s repeated claim that they did not intend to target students is a demonstrable lie, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

[MINI-UPDATE – I previously typed ‘47,000,000%’ when the accurate figure (as per the screen capture) is 46,000,000%. Now corrected.]

UPDATE (16 Jan) – Errol Damelin, founder and CEO of Wonga.com, has been made aware that his staff lied about targeting student loans. He took no detectable action in response, and offered no reply; he simply forwarded my email to the same people who have been lying to the public. (Just for the record, should he later wish to pretend that he knew nothing about this at the time.)

UPDATE (16 Feb) – It is now over a month since this article was first published. Yesterday, I emailed the CEO of Wonga.com for a second time, and for a second time, I watched as the recipient merely passed the email on to underlings who continue to (a) ignore this evidence and (b) stand by a demonstrable lie:

To: Errol.Damelin@wonga.com
From: Tim Ireland
Date: Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Dear Errol,

Wonga.com currently invest heavily in TV ads claiming that they offer “straight talk” about money. Meanwhile, they stand by what you know to be a demonstrable lie about targeting the student loan market.

It is over a month since I last wrote to you about this matter. I should warn you that I tracked my last email, so I know it was read by the recipient and then forwarded to the same team at Wonga who continue to stand by a demonstrable lie.

What does this mean? It means that you cannot claim to be unaware of the details*; you do not enjoy the luxury of plausible deniability.

This dishonesty and inaction in the face of due criticism is entirely unacceptable. I seek a response to my article (see link) and my original email (below), plus a fitting explanation/apology for my being stonewalled by your staff, even after I contacted you directly and pointed out that they were ignoring me and the evidence I had published:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2012/01/wonga/

A man in your position cannot afford to turn his back on evidence that his staff are misleading the public about their practices. I urge you to take this matter seriously and respond today.

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

(*Unless you’d care to take a page from James Murdoch’s book, and claim that you saw the email but didn’t read it.)

To: Errol.Damelin@wonga.com
From: Tim Ireland
Date: Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Dear Errol,

Since the initial (dishonest) response, your staff have seen fit to ignore me rather than admit to any of the evidence I have uncovered that reveals they lied about targeting students.

Wonga.com definitely did target students, and there is evidence that they assigned budget to do this in SEO, in PPC, and even through video production:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2012/01/wonga/

So I dare to email you in your mighty tower of ivory and ask just what in the hell is going on at Wonga.com, and if you approve personally of (a) the targeting of students in this way, and (b) the dishonest response to the resulting backlash.

I would even go so far as to mention that you may want to cast an eye over your customer base and determine if there are any customers you have gained through your targeting of students who are currently accruing any significant debt with you; it’s a ticking time bomb.

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

PS – How do you justify a penalty rate of 47,000,000%?








Posted by Tim Ireland at 20 April 2011

Category: Consume!, Humanity, Search Engine Optimisation

In the coming weeks and months, I am going to be writing quite a lot about a goal-oriented philosophy I have dubbed scaling. Several projects will be based on this same philosophy.

For reasons that should become clear to you almost immediately, I wish to begin with the modest goal of explaining this philosophy and the dual meaning of the word ‘scaling’ when it’s used to describe it.

‘Scaling’ is a term I first applied to a specific method in search engine optimisation where you gain immediate if modest returns via search engines, and then gradually build on this over time in a way that brings ever-present and increasing rewards with each incremental improvement:

Scaling Relevance

OK, so now you know enough about Page Titles and their importance/role to understand this key example; what follows is a Page Title that is descriptive, contains a call to action, and also contains a combination of keywords that might be of importance to a site selling chocolate. A brand new site with no reputation to speak of has no chance of being the top search result for ‘chocolate’ immediately, but the site owner might hope to immediately/quickly be a high search result for a more unique (but still potentially lucrative) query such as ‘buy chocolate online uk’. If they work on the link popularity of their site over time, the likelihood of them performing for more lucrative queries increases, (important bit #1) they are enjoying increasingly lucrative rewards on their journey to this goal, and (important bit #2) they do not have to pay some joker money to come in and fiddle about with their keywords on a monthly basis because all of the relevant keywords are contained within a single, unchanging Page Title.

NomNom (UK) – Buy chocolate online

Contains:
– chocolate
– buy chocolate
– buy chocolate online
– chocolate uk
– buy chocolate uk
– buy chocolate online uk

Coordinating Relevance

Of course, the example above only takes into account a single page and Page Title, as it is designed mainly to help you appreciate the point (i.e. it is not a strategy in itself). What you need to do is scale your relevance on a site-wide basis, and it is here I hope you will understand how it is possible to generate a commanding search result for your entire product/service range without attempting to list every product/service on your front page, and how it is possible to have every Page Title on your site working towards your main keyword strategy without having the same damn Page Title on every single page. (I still see this on some sites. It makes me want to cry.) At the top are three Page Titles, one for the front page and one for each of the main categories, and under that is the keyword query pattern that should help you appreciate how scaling works on any scale:

NomNom (UK) – Buy chocolate online
NomNom (UK) – Buy dark chocolate online
NomNom (UK) – Buy milk chocolate online

chocolate
chocolate uk
buy chocolate
buy chocolate online
buy chocolate online uk
dark chocolate || milk chocolate
dark chocolate uk || milk chocolate uk
buy dark chocolate || buy milk chocolate
buy dark chocolate uk || buy milk chocolate uk
buy dark chocolate online || buy milk chocolate online
buy dark chocolate online uk || buy milk chocolate online uk

(read more)

This method is unpopular among SEO providers who seek monthly cheques from their clients, as it rules out any earnings from constant keyword shuffling and focuses investment on long term goals instead of short term gain through various shortcuts/sidesteps such as AdWords. However, for you to learn about the philosophy of scaling, you need to appreciate this choice of paths from the client’s point of view; if the client wishes to generate an immediate high search result for ‘chocolate’ or bypass the need for an organic result and instead place ads adjacent to the highest results, then a hefty investment will be required to either generate a sufficient number of inbound links to the site and/or pay for advertising bills.

This kind of journey involves a threshold that most of us could not hope to meet immediately, as it requires an enormous monetary investment of one form or another before any results/rewards come in:

Now compare this to the philosophy of building your site with a scaled generic keyword strategy (as outlined above) and making modest, ongoing investments designed to improve your site’s reputation:

When used to describe this philosophy, ‘scaling’ does not just apply to the increasing size of the goals and rewards at each step of the way (i.e. the measurement of amounts and dimensions); it also describes the journey you take on the path to your ultimate goal (i.e. your means of ascent via these same steps).

One thing that has put people off political blogging in recent years is the entirely false sense of scale pushed by ‘leading’ bloggers who have not only been cheating by lying about their traffic statistics for years, but responding to criticism by sniffily rejecting the author(s) as insignificant according to this scale, and asserting their authority over them using these same (fabricated) traffic numbers. It is in this way that they set themselves up as gatekeepers of information in a field where they themselves insist that information should be allowed to flow freely. (One of them even had a widely-understood policy of withholding link-love from anyone who dared to be critical of him. I’m sure I do not need to name names for people to understand the way this might be used to force an agenda on a false premise/mandate.)

Party politics involves a similar deceit that convinces not just candidates but voters that the only viable path lies through assimilation with established parties.

To give other examples outside of politics, until recently, the threshold one had to cross before you could hope to make a living from the music or video production industry was enormous; you were going nowhere fast unless you had a deal with one of the monster-sized organisations, who had a vested interest in maintaining that same threshold and associated illusions, seeking to justify it with the same flawed ‘quality’ argument I describe in relation to political blogging. A similar false threshold persists in the world of print.

I hope to awaken you to the possibility that in the 21st century, with the advent of the web especially, you do not need to scale impossibly steep inclines or beg for favours from the wazzocks manning the cliff-tops.

The rewards of this awakening are potentially immense; think about all the people who sold out their values and/or surrendered a great deal of personal power just so they might hope to secure a seat, gain a record deal, have a script produced, write for a newspaper, have a book produced, or get a product made and/or on the market. See Dragon’s Den especially on this last point, and the impossibly large amounts of expenditure retailers/supermarkets require before they will even stock your goods; this path leads only to stagnation, and dross, and the joy of eating out of a trough.

Scaling is about your right to realise your own potential, and making it happen through realistic and manageable means.

The philosophy not only allows for success in line with your potential, it allows you to halt, change direction*, or even fail part-way while still enjoying rewards… and without crashing disastrously to the ground.

Most importantly, it destroys the illusion that stops some people from moving toward their goals at all until it is far too late.

(*Sometimes a journey is required to help us learn more about our potential, and/or to offer us the insight that drives our goals. It is much easier to change direction gracefully when you are not falling off the side of a cliff.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at 17 August 2010

Category: Search Engine Optimisation, Updates

I’m doing my first ‘Pecha Kucha’ style presentation at an event in Guildford this evening but was in two minds about showing off the current status of one of my long-term search results. Being second to Tim Berners-Lee is one thing, but I wasn’t sure if I liked being slightly less popular than Mel Gibson:

Tim Ireland and some other Tims

Happily, by breakfast this morning, it had all sorted itself out:

Tim Ireland and some lesser Tims

BORING FINE PRINT – This is a brand new result (I can’t recall overtaking Berners-Lee before) and Google runs multiple servers offering slightly different results at times, so your mileage may vary, especially if you are signed in to Google and have set some search preferences. These searches are from a UK perspective, and will appear only for UK-based users of Google. Currently I’m 37th in Google’s .com database. Search positioning should not be used as the sole indicator of the quality of your Tim(s).








Posted by Tim Ireland at 30 July 2010

Category: Search Engine Optimisation, Updates

Hi folks.

Bit of an extraordinary post, this one. Apologies for bending your ear.

After a rotten 18+ months facing some quite extraordinary harassment from a range of Conservative-aligned dastards and assorted supporting fruit-loops, I face one of my greatest challenges in the coming months.

It is not a legal challenge or a sudden increase in bullying by anonymous cowards or anything like that; it is a deeply personal challenge, it is as serious as it gets, and it is going to eat a BIG chunk of my time as I work to care for those I love.

I wish I could tell you more, but I’m not at liberty to share the full details, and in the current circumstances I fear there are those who would take advantage of even scant details. (They’ve certainly stooped lower previous to this.)

So…

I will be offline for two weeks from tomorrow.

After that, I hope to continue blogging and working, but you may note that both my blog and my services have now been updated and streamlined.

I hope this will allow me to continue the mix of blogging and work that’s sustained me for the past decade (details of which are now finally available through a single, searchable database, BTW).

If you would like to help, there are two or three things you can do:

1. Check out my new series of articles on the subject of SEO (and the related seminar product) and bring on any link love as you see fit:

SEO Seminar: Understanding Google, Relevance and Optimisation

Relevance #1 – SEO: Search Engine Optimisation
Relevance #2 – Weblogs, Twitter & Social Media Marketing
Relevance #3 – Viral Marketing & Link Generation

2. Refer potentially interested parties to my new seminar/services through other means. Such as email, conversation or carrier pigeon.

3. Cut out the middle man and just send money (a ‘donate’ button has been added, top right, along with the rest of the gubbins).

I apologise for the poor timing, but there’s no getting around the way things are, and the way they will be.

Comments will remain open for today, and will then be suspended for two weeks.

Cheers all.

UPDATE – Comments may be on and off today, too. IntenseDebate is taking much longer than expected to process previous comments. Apologies if your comment is held over. You are in a very long queue behind a series of historical comments.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 28 January 2010

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

The folks from Wordia asked me to choose a word and contribute to their project. I chose the word ‘relevance’, and this is the result:

If it’s seems I’m pressing one factor over the other, it’s because validity of the source is overlooked far too often (or all-too-selectively) in my opinion.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 25 November 2009

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

BBC – Michelle Obama racist image sparks Google apology: Google has apologised over a racially offensive picture of Michelle Obama which appears when users search for images of the US first lady. The image comes top of the Google Images results for “Michelle Obama”. Google placed a notice over the picture titled “Offensive Search Results”, saying: “Sometimes our search results can be offensive. We agree.” But it refused to remove the image from its search. The White House has declined to comment.

Pardon me for jumping in on this debate (involving hahaha an African American hahaha portrayed hahahaha as a monkey hahaha), but I do believe I have something to add beyond a simple thought experiment:

1. The picture is no longer live at the page Google returns as the top result, therefore it fails the relevance test. All Google have to do is update their image database a little faster than glaciers move, and the problem goes away. Of course, the image may pop up again elsewhere, and the sites/pages that host it will have to be judged on their relevance, but at the moment they are defending a result without relevance, suggesting they haven’t really put much thought into the matter.

2. Google are at present refusing to remove some 50+ false claims that I’m a convicted paedophile from their servers, using free speech as an argument (when they can be bothered to reply), but I doubt they’ve put much thought into this, either.

In January 2009, I published on this website compelling evidence that a ‘terrorism expert’ had been falsifying evidence of extremism while selling related stories to tabloid newspapers. In March 2009, that same ‘terrorism expert’, posing as a Daily Mail reporter, falsely claimed that I was a convicted paedophile when posting comments to somewhere between 50-100 Blogger.com-hosted websites.

Despite police involvement, plus repeated emails and phone calls over the space of many months, I have never received anything other than a stock email from Google in response to my many requests that they remove this material, posted in contravention of their Content Policy and Terms of Service.

The writer was clearly engaging in a campaign of harassment, and clearly guilty of outright impersonation, but the stock reply I received did not address either of these points:

Thank you for your note. Please note that Blogger is a provider of content
creation tools, not a mediator of that content. We allow our users to
create blogs, but we don’t make any claims about the content of these
pages. We strongly believe in freedom of expression, even if a blog
contains unappealing or distasteful content or presents unpopular
viewpoints. We realize this may be frustrating and we regret any
inconvenience this may cause you. In cases where contact information for
the author is listed on the page, we recommend you working directly with
this person to have the content in question removed or changed.

(Unpopular viewpoints? Inconvenience? Fuck you, Google.)

Basically, what they are saying is that they don’t own the content on Blogger.com weblogs, but even if I were to accept this answer (that refuses to acknowledge the dual violation of their Content Policy and Terms of Service following the use of their servers for harassment and impersonation) many of these comments are on abandoned websites and were posted anonymously; there is no way to reach the (absent) site owner and the comments cannot be deleted by the man who wrote them, no matter how much he might want to undo what he’s done.

In short, the only visible owner (and potential beneficiary) of this content is Google Inc. who insist on maintaining vast swathes of wasteland for some reason.

Google is the only reason much of this information is still live…. and they refuse to even discuss the matter.

Is the content in keeping with the terms under which they host it? No.

Has anyone (other than Google) expressed a wish to maintain or defend the content? No.

Is it even relevant content? No.

So what the hell are Google playing at by continuing to host it, and how does this fit in with their ‘do no evil’ mantra?

UPDATE – Some good news… for Michelle Obama:

Guardian – Michelle Obama ‘racist’ picture that is topping Google Images removed: A blog hosting an offensive image of Michelle Obama with monkey features has removed it and posted an apology. The image, which has been appearing at the top of search results when the words “Michelle Obama” are put into Google Images, was posted on a blog called Hot Girls, which is hosted by the Google-owned blog service, Blogger. Hot Girls’ owner has today removed the image, which appears to have originally been put up with a blog post on 21 October, and displayed an apology in Chinese with a very loose English translation. Google had refused to remove the offensive image from its picture search listings, despite complaints that it is racist, instead opting to run an ad next to it explaining its policy on how search engine results work. A spokesman for Google said that the Hot Girls blog and image may still temporarily appear when some users make Google Images searches but that it was coming out of the search engine’s indexing system.

UPDATE – I’m reminded that Google’s commitment to free speech has its limits.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 2 June 2009

Category: Search Engine Optimisation, Tolerance

Below is what a search for ‘billy brit’ returned last night (and this morning’s results are even better).

screen capture

That’s near-total ownership; strong control of the brand in Google within a week, using just a few short minutes of video, and it can only get better after the BNP muppets have surrendered.

Go us. Roll on, finale.

(For those who don’t know, this is pretty much what I do for a living, only I don’t play anywhere near this rough on the High Street.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at 28 May 2009

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

Take a look at the real estate that’s now under the control of those offering an alternative view to that put forward by the BNP though ‘Billy Brit’. This took roughly 24 hours:

Matt Wardman also dabbles in the dark arts. As you can see, he’s doing well; he’s even placed above me in the early juggle and may do so again soon. Not that it matters when he’s carrying the same message.

You can join in, too; all you have to do is blog about my version of Billy Brit on YouTube.

It will also help at this stage if you actually rate the video and/or leave a comment rather than just thinking about it.

(Yes, it really is that simple. No keyword fuss or tricks will be required*. Just blog about the video – or include a link to it in a longer post about the BNP and their recent antics – and make sure you leave feedback of some kind at YouTube.)

Billy Br*t (the racist sh*t)

We should hear more from Billy after the weekend (possibly earlier, if I can ply him with cider this evening). Cheers all.

[*Well, if you really wanted to, you could try including a single link like this – BNP – but it looks a bit cheap (i.e. in the tradition of ‘A.A. Aardvark’) and the effects will be temporary at best.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at 7 May 2009

Category: Search Engine Optimisation, The Political Weblog Movement, UK Libel Law

I recently made an information request (details later) and one of the things I asked for was details of searches made using my name and/or the name of my website.

I asked for this data and (depending on what they find) I have a right to this data because of a nifty new smear effect/tactic that you may not be aware of called ‘keyword broadcasting’.

With keyword broadcasting you don’t really need to publish/host anything on a website to effect a smear; instead, you merely have to hammer away at Google by [method specifics censored*], associate one or two ugly words with the name of your target, and Bob’s your uncle with something to hide.

Let me show you what I mean:

Recently, Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) cleverly pointed out the related searches that appear when you search for ‘gordon brown’. Well, actually, he had to stretch to the more contrived option ‘gordon brown is’, but check out his post and you’ll get the idea:

If you extend the search to ‘gordon brown’ and type an ‘r’, you’ll see that just below the upper threshold is the ugly ‘rocking horse’ smear that Paul Staines regularly airs on his website:

Do a search for ‘paul staines’ and what you’ll see is the following (naturally occurring) pattern:

Do a search for my name today and you’ll find a recent addition to the related searches:

See that ‘bloggerhead’ (i.e. not ‘bloggerheads‘) there? That is brand spanking new, and a side effect of multiple searches used by Glen Jenvey and/or his associates in order to find past/current locations of this smear.

This is a slightly more harmless side effect of the general administration of these smears, but it shows how easily the full effect could be achieved if one were to know what they were doing.

The demand threshold is lower for less famous/established names/figures, so MPs, councillors and candidates will want to be especially wary of this tactic.

(*I’d go into detail on this and other certain specifics required to make this work, but we all know that this would be a bad idea.)








  • External Channels

  • Page 3 Politics

    Page 3: a short history

  • Main

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Twitter

  • The Cautionary Campfire Songbook

    The Cautionary Campfire Songbook

  • Badges + Buttons

    religion