SEO – So Much Rubbish Out There

I have been providing search engine optimization services since 1997. When I first got into the web development business (and that’s a story in itself – how a guy who had barely touched a computer in his life, working in law enforcement, and got started learning HTML), I figured I’d also better try to figure out how search engines work.

I figured if I was going to be creating websites, I had better know how they could be found when relevant keywords and phrases were typed in. Back then, there were a bunch of search engines competing with each other before Google came along, and some of the ways they used to rank websites are laughable today.

So I studied. And studied. I read. I tested the theories of others. I did my own experiments. And I have just continued since then, making adjustments as the now predominate search engine, Google, makes adjustments. And the websites that I am asked to provide SEO services for are doing well.

It does take a bit of patience though. No one can guarantee you a #1 ranking on page 1 of Google within days. If they do, run from them.

Today, there is so much rubbish being spouted by even published authors who are so-called SEO experts. Indeed, it’s almost as if they come up with a bright idea, turn into a theory, and then say “this is the way it is.” No wonder there are so many businesses out there that are utterly confused and who are trying to do their own SEO work.

One of the biggest myths I come across is to “only try to find backlinks that are ‘do follow'” This myth comes from the fact that this link “relationship” attribute came about as a way to tell the search engine that you wanted to pass on “link juice” to the site that you were linking to. It is especially important to use this attribute for links that are paid for, to differentiate them between being ads or another site trying to buy “link juice” from you. Google frowns on that.

So, the rumours began that you should only try to find links to your site that were not ‘do follow’. However, this is simply not true, and I’ve experimented with some of my own web properties to see if this were true: It’s not. Links are links (yes, some are definitely more valuable than others), but all of them have some value. And if all you do is spend your time on do follow links, then it becomes obvious to Google that you are attempting to game the search engine.

It just is not “natural” to not have a good number of ‘no follow’ links.

I’ll discuss more about what you can do, what you should do, in other posts.

What is Not Rubbish:

There IS such a thing as a “Google Dance.” This is where you modify some things on your website, or begin some SEO, and suddenly you find that your search engine rankings have actually dropped! Is this panic time? Absolutely not. I’ve seen this occur frequently and what I’ve noticed, and know to be true, is that usually, your search engine rankings will come back, stronger than ever. Sometimes it takes a day or two, sometimes it might take a week – but it is usually not long. Patience is what is required.Theories abound as to what causes the “Google Dance,” and I’m not going to get into them right now, but suffice to say, this is not rubbish.

But don’t believe everything you read out there; there are so many so called “SEO experts” who have just begun doing search engine optimization and really don’t know what they are talking about. Trust me – ask my clients if you don’t believe me.


Do They Know What Time It Is In Kenya?

Last evening, as I was dozing off at about 2:30AM, my telephone rang. I looked at the call display and did not recognize the area code or phone number and thought it might have been some sort of emergency. Perhaps a client of mine or something. Or maybe a family emergency and it was one of the new cell phone number area codes that are coming into existence.

So I woke myself from the dozing and answered it. I could hardly believe my ears when I heard this African accented male, asking me if I would be interested in looking at some of his fishing flies and perhaps import them to sell retail.

They guy was apparently calling from Kenya (although I later checked the area code and it is a Waco, Texas number). When I told him what time it was, he profusely apologized and told me it was 10AM where he was. At least that is what I think he said; I was too sleepy to remember.He then told me he had a customer in Ottawa – and his pronunciation of it was so funny, I had to laugh.

But after he apologized, he continued on, asking me I would be interested in his flies. I tried to explain to him that I don’t sell flies. I get a lot of these sorts of inquiries (by email – this was the first phone call) simply because I own a fly fishing web site.

He was so sure I was going to like the quality of his flies that I would want to sell them from my website. You know, he was a pretty salesperson except for his timing. The fact he had taken the effort to call me all the way from Kenya and offer to send me free samples was interesting to me. And he was quite an affable guy – even though he had called in the middle of the night.

But surely he must have known he was calling Canada, or at least some part of North America? I am still astonished he would not have checked the time zone difference? I am still shaking my head at that, but I am not angry with him.

If anyone wants to sell Kenyan fly fishing flies, I might have some contact information for you. If I can get his number, you can call him in the middle of the night!

A Disturbing Trend – The Death Penalty In Canada

I have to admit that years ago, I was supportive of the death penalty. It seemed to make sense, “an eye for an eye, a life for a life.” But after many years of thought, and the fact that mistakes get made even with our judicious judicial system, I cannot support the death penalty. It goes beyond the worry about mistakes though.

Today in the Toronto Star, there is a poll of Canadians that suggests that a majority of Canadians might now be supportive of the reinstatement of the death penalty in Canada. I don’t want to provide analysis of the poll, reported here, or maybe even any long windsuffering reasons for my rejection of the death penalty – perhaps I will do that later.

I certainly don’t believe in lenience towards those who commit heinous crimes. But I don’t think it does anyone any good to have a blood lust to the extreme, either. Hey.. I’m willing to defend myself, the ones I love and my property, and if that means I have to use deadly force at the time, then so be it. But to inflict the death penalty after the crime has been done (and even with our checks and balances, our juries and judges have been known to be wrong), I am not with that.

Posted by Ian Scott

Leafs Lost – But It Was Entertaining

Another one of the things I have a passion for is the Toronto Maple Leafs. I have spent over 40 years, being a fan of the team and have hoped to someday see a Stanley Cup. No idea if I will ever see that; for the past several seasons just hoping to see them make the play offs would have been a dream come true!

This season, there is a bit more reason to hope they will make the playoffs. Tonight, they did lose to the Winnipeg Jets (2-1), but it was an entertaining, fast game. And the Leafs had won their previous 3 games. Can’t expect them to win them all although it would be nice.

On another note, my son David was here today. He has now been assigned to the “SWAT” team – not sure exactly what that stands for in his Karate club, but it’s where one’s leadership abilities and skills are apparent and you’re asked to help out in classes that are below your belt levels – to give guidance, assistance and be a “helper” to the other students.

Not bad for a 9 year old that has only been in Karate for a year!

And while he was here today, he had earphones stuck into his head. He was repeating over and over what to me sounded like mumble jumble.  But it was not – he has decided to learn Japanese!

I am really proud of him!

Posted by: Ian Scott

Where is Cheryl Rowe?

When a tragedy strikes anywhere, most of us feel a sadness and some empathy. When it strikes close to home and to someone you know, it is even worse.

Where is Cheryl Rowe? I grew up with the Rowe family; they lived just down the road from me. I can recall playing with Randy, Mitch, Joey and Cheryl 0 sometimes, we even had childhood disputes, but we always got over them, and although we were not “best friends,” we were “good friends.”

Today, the Rowe family is hurting very much. Cheryl Rowe was last seen on December 21st, 2011 and her disappearance has been a mystery. York Regional police have now called in the Homicide Squad to investigate her disappearance.  Why they waited so long, no one really knows except them.

I spoke with Mitch last night for about two hours. First time I had talked to him in well over 25 years, but it was like we had just talked yesterday. As can be understood, there is angst, concern, dread for fearing the worse, as well as a love that brothers and sisters have for each other, no matter the circumstances.

And they are my friends, even if I have not seen them in years and years. So I am helping the Rowes by doing what I can to put the word out that something happened in Richmond Hill on December 21st and a family is looking for answers.

Someone knows where Cheryl is. Someone knows what happened to her.  There are people out there who likely have some kind of idea about Cheryl’s whereabouts.  Please come forward and at least think of her family.  And her friends.

Posted by Ian Scott