Bill Hartzer https://www.billhartzer.com Bill Hartzer is a search engine optimization consultant based in the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area that provides SEO Audits and Link Audits of websites. Mon, 29 Jun 2015 03:41:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Many in Marketing Don’t Know About the New gTLDs and Domain Extensions https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/many-in-marketing-dont-know-about-the-new-gtld-domain-extensions/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/many-in-marketing-dont-know-about-the-new-gtld-domain-extensions/#respond Mon, 29 Jun 2015 03:39:30 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=6046 new gtlds .brand

I had the incredible opportunity to be invited to speak at the Domain Name Association breakfast meeting held at the ICANN 53 Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina this past week. While I didn’t attend the whole ICANN 53 meeting, I was able to attend the event on Monday and Tuesday for two full informative days. On Tuesday night I flew from Buenos Aires to Toronto, Canada, where I spoke at the ClickZ Live conference. Speaking at these two events during the same week gave me a unique perspective. I met with some amazing minds behind the New gTLD domain names and domains in general. And then met with a lot of marketers who are not directly involved in the domain name industry. What did I learn?

I learned that many in marketing don’t know anything about the new gTLD domain names. They generally are responsible for the day-to-day marketing (digital marketing) for major brands, yet have never heard of the new domain extensions. And when I mentioned .brand, one corporate marketer, responsible for a Fortune 100 brand (a product that I have in my home and use every day) had never heard of .brand, and the opportunity to own their own extension.

This shocked me. A C-level executive at a Fortune 100 company had not heard of the .brand opportunity to own their own domain extension.

When I mentioned this to her, she was very excited–and instantly began thinking of the possibilities. She told me that she had not heard of .brand, and would immediately investigate it and most likely apply when she got back to the office.

While I personally have been very aware of the new gTLD domain extensions and the .brand opportunities, it wasn’t until I was in Toronto this past week speaking directly to Chief Marketing Officers of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies that I realized that the domain name industry still has a long way to go. It will take some additional time until corporations realize what a great opportunity the new extensions are, and that they can own their extension.

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Sales Spam on Google Plus https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/sales-spam-on-google-plus/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/sales-spam-on-google-plus/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 21:58:13 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=6042 By now, I’m pretty used to getting spam on LinkedIn, as I get it at least several times each week. But now, it seems as though the sales spammers are now targeting Google Plus, and somehow sending unsolicited sales spam that show up as notifications on Google Plus. Here’s the latest one, that I received just today. I have scratched out the name of the person and their company and URL, but you get the idea.

straightsource spam

Click on the photo above to see a larger version of it. As you can see, it is personalized and sent directly to me. It’s just really trying to sell me on their “franchise” opportunity, by saying that I’m a great sales person.

Really!?!?

Have you ever tried to see me sell something? Probably not.

This is exactly why I’m an SEO expert, a writer, and a content creation guy. I don’t do sales. I’m a tech expert, not some sleazy sales guy.

What I’m wondering, though, is how they manage to automate the sending of this Google Plus spam, as it truly would only be beneficial if you did it on a large scale, and not just contact someone manually, one by one?

Have you ever received spam or sales type spam on Google Plus?

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Posting on Social Media Won’t Get You More Fans https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/posting-on-social-media-wont-get-you-more-fans/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/posting-on-social-media-wont-get-you-more-fans/#respond Tue, 09 Jun 2015 15:29:53 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=6037 getting more social media fans

In an interesting, eye-opening study that Clickable recently did, they found that if you post more often on social media you won’t necessarily get more fans on social media. Clickable studied the social media accounts of major consumer brands and found that those brands who posted more often never had more social media fans in their industry category.

In one industry, for example, the consumer bank industry in the USA, Clickable found this:

social media posts and fans for banks

While Bank of America truly had a lot more social media posts and a lot more posts more often, that did not equal to more social media fans. In fact, more posts on social media got Bank of America the number 3 spot when it comes to the number of fans. Capital One had more engagement and didn’t post as often as Bank of America did. And Capital One got more social media fans.

When it comes to the number of posts for Chase, they didn’t even show up in the top 5 banks when it comes to looking at the number of posts that they have. But when it comes to social media fans, Chase is number two when it comes to winning the social media fan war amongst the US banks.

Clickable also studied major consumer brands’ posts and fan engagement, such as looking at Colgate and Unilever. According to Clickable, “A great picture that creatively ties in with the brand and a memorable hashtag are key to posts generating a lot of comments and engagement.”

So, it’s not just about posting often: it’s about making every post count, and especially having quality posts that your users engage with and share–that will get you more fans.

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Google Doesn’t Understand What None Means https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/google-doesnt-understand-what-none-means/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/google-doesnt-understand-what-none-means/#respond Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:46:07 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=6031 I was searching and looking through the SERPs of some of the people I hung out with last week at SMX Advanced in Seattle. I noticed a rather odd thing showing up in the search results for David Iwanow, where the word “none” is showing up several times in the SERPs (search results pages). Take a look:

David Iwanow

This is the knowledge graph entry that shows up next to the search results. For David Iwanow’s entry, he has this showing up:

Children: None
Siblings: None

It all makes sense to us, right? David has no children, and he has no siblings. But if you look further, you’ll notice this:

David Iwanow people search

Well, apparently people also search for “None”. Yes, “none”. Google apparently doesn’t really understand what none means.

People who search for David also search for me, and that would make sense because we’re in the same industry. But where does Google get the information that people also search for “none”? Well, apparently they don’t actually get that information from the search history. Because, frankly, I don’t think that people would actually search for the word “none”. It’s just not feasible.

So, looking into this further, it appears that Google is (still) taking this information from Freebase.com, as that’s where the original information (None) appears:

David Iwanow freebase

Here’s David Iwanow’s freebase page: http://www.freebase.com/m/01025462

What makes sense is that since the word “None” is actually a Freebase page, and has been designated as a Freebase entity, a part of the knowledge graph that actually has an entry, Google is interpreting “None” as an entity. And not “none” as in “nothing”. So, when Google shows us that people also searched for “none”, then there’s a good chance that Google could be using data from Freebases searches; and/or they could be relating clicks on the “None” entry on David Iwanow’s Freebase page (or on the search results page) to actual searches for “None”.

Whatever the case, and whatever the reason behind Google showing “None” as something that people also search for, doesn’t really matter. What matters to me is that Google truly doesn’t really understand the meaning of “None”. With all the technology behind semantic search and the knowledge graph coming into play here, you’d think that Google understands what “None” means.

But apparently not.

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When Ad Targeting Goes Wrong https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/when-ad-targeting-goes-wrong/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/when-ad-targeting-goes-wrong/#respond Fri, 05 Jun 2015 22:16:56 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=6025 There are times when ad targeting just goes wrong, no matter how targeted you think you get. For example, a recent ad that I saw for a Brookstone, selling drones as Father’s Day gifts, showed up on a local Dallas news website. Brookstone was obviously targeting the keyword “drone” and since “drone” was in the headline of the news article, it was displayed.

Brookstone ad targeting

But this actual ad targeting does not want me to go buy a drone from Brookstone for Father’s Day. Granted, I still might want a drone for Father’s Day (hint, hint), but seeing this ad, and this ad placement, doesn’t make me want to buy one.

The headline, “FAA: Drone Comes Close To Southwest Flight” is a CBS article, linked from the Drudge Report, talking about how a drone was illegally flown into airspace at Dallas Love Field. This particular ad makes me feel as if the guy in the ad is “having fun” flying that drone into restricted air space, near an airport.

Ad targeting can be great, but honestly when it goes wrong, it’s just a nightmare for the advertiser. In this case, Brookstone.

Well done, Brookstone. Well done!

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I Always Write My Own Content https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/i-always-write-my-own-content/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/i-always-write-my-own-content/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 23:55:55 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=6020 If you ever seen any content written or any other type of content on the web with my name on it, then I was the one who wrote it. In fact, even though there is over 1,000 blog posts here on my blog and over 100 pages of online marketing, SEO, social media, and domain name content here on this website, I wrote it all. There was a time a few years when I accepted a few guest blog posts, but they always had the other writer’s name on them. And, by the way, those have all been removed from the site. So what you see now is what you get: content written by me.

It seems as though the internet marketing, social media, SEO, and content marketing industries (can we call it one industry now, called website marketing?) have a real bad habit of outsourcing content to others, and even seems as if there are a lot of “experts” out there who are outsourcing content more than ever now. And they’re putting their own name on it.

If a piece of content has YOUR name on it, then you must take full responsibility for it.

And there have a been quite a few posts that I regret posting, some I’ve taken down and you never really saw them because people involved with what I was wrote about made a fuss. So I took the content down, no problem. I always take full responsibility for all the content that has my name on it (Bill Hartzer), and, like it or not, I never have outsourced content and I never will.

Sure, it would be easy to pay someone $50 or $100 (or more) to create some great content, put my name on it, and then get all sorts of great recognition from having written it. But that’s not my style, and it never will be. When my upcoming book(s) are out, they’re not going to have been written by a ghost writer. I will personally write the content.

If your content has issues, or if it even ends up being a case of plagiarism, then take full responsibility for it. There’s been an unfortunate case of someone who has been highly respected for many years (even by me) who was just called out, publicly, for plagiarizing content.

Neil Patel

This case is very unfortunate for both parties involved, and the one doing the plagiarizing is going to have his reputation dragged through the dirt. Already I can see several people in my industry now having a different perspective, and will probably not be highly respected as he once was in the past.

I know that everyone isn’t a prolific writer or blogger like I am (yes, people have called me that in the past). I have been writing content for 35 years, and was a technical writer, writing technical software manuals on IBM mainframe computers in the early 1990s for several years–so I can typically generate more written content, faster, than a lot of people. I understand that some people are not writers, and never will be. That’s fine. So outsource to a great writer and concentrate on what you do best (whatever you do). But if you’re going to do that, read every single word that is written, then edit that content before it’s posted publicly in your name.

After all, your reputation is on the line.

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Will Bing Webmaster Tools Change Their Name? https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/bing-webmaster-tools-wont-change-their-name-anytime-soon/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/bing-webmaster-tools-wont-change-their-name-anytime-soon/#respond Tue, 26 May 2015 20:58:03 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=6005 twitter-no-name-change-bing

Of course this is just speculation on my part, but it does not look like Bing Webmaster Tools has any plans to change the name of their product anytime soon. I was having a conversation on Twitter today where a friend from Microsoft mentioned that a name change wasn’t on the radar.

But, of course we know how that goes. Plans can certainly change at any time.

As you might recall, Google recently changed the name of Google Webmaster Tools to the Google Search Console, a move that has surprised many veteran Google Webmaster Tools users, such as myself.

Google Search Console

Although Google Webmaster Tools is going through what looks like a re-branding to another product name, Bing won’t be changing their name. Frankly, this is good news, as I think the name, Webmaster Tools, really should reflect what, and who, those tools are for:

These are Webmaster Tools. I don’t think that anyone without the knowledge or access as a webmaster of a website should have access to these tools. So, they’re Webmaster Tools, and they should remain that way.

Naming the Google Webmaster Tools something like “search console” is inappropriate, since that gives another connotation: that someone other than webmasters belong using them. What do you think?

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Interview With a Small Business Owner Crushed by Google https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/interview-with-a-small-business-owner-crushed-by-google/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/interview-with-a-small-business-owner-crushed-by-google/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 15:25:00 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=5986
Google crushes small business

May is small business month, so as a follow-up to a blog post I wrote recently, I tracked this small business owner, Ira Zoot from TicketStub.com, and interviewed him. Mr. Zoot originally claimed that he, as a small business owner, has been crushed by Google. He’s been only for over 10 years, and, in the past several years Google has taken steps through various algorithm changes and other policies, to crush his business online.

Bill Hartzer: What’s your name what kind of small business do you own?

TicketStub.com

My Name is Ira Zoot and I’ve owned Ticketstub.com for the last 12 years + which is an online ticket reseller of premium and sold out event tickets.

Bill Hartzer: How long have you been using Google for your business needs?

I’ve been using Google for Ticketstub.com for the last 12 + years and had been using Google on other projects for years before that.

Bill Hartzer: Do you use any other media/social outlets to market your business?

Of course, I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus as well as more traditional offline marketing methods. I am working toward doing a much more intensive social media marketing campaign to go along with the marketing done with Google, Bing, Yahoo and other online resources.

“You shouldn’t have relied solely on Google for your traffic and revenue”

Something I keep hearing from people is … “You shouldn’t have relied solely on Google for your traffic and revenue”. Well, I didn’t but the fact of the matter is as an online Ticket reseller I need to be highly visible. Those people who are most interested in buying tickets primarily use Google. Google holds the market share for search and it is where serious customers who more often convert are looking.

Any business that is solely online needs to find the best demographics to make it’s products or services visible them. Which in my case it means Ticketstub.com needs to be well ranked on Google. Also, on the other search engines, social media and other channels as they are important as well but they can’t replace the eyes I get from Google.

Bill Hartzer: Has your business suffered from the various changes to the search algorithms Google has made? If so, how has it suffered?

semrush small business owner

Ticketstub.com has seen an almost 70% traffic and revenue hit, starting at the beginning of 2013 and hitting that low by May 2013. Never recovering from that point on to today. Whatever it was that Google thought was so terrible effectively removed or demoted my rankings from all the most important keywords and strings for performers, events, venues for my business.

I think it’s needed to say that I’m not a search engine optimization expert by any stretch nor am I just some whiny “sore loser”. I’m just a small business person who’s worked very hard for 12 years to build a trusted, successful web business (as a ticket reseller affiliate ) who was affected by these updates in a massively destructive manner. Up until these last couple years being an SEO guru/expert wasn’t something that was required to rank well as long as you did the best you could to honestly get your site out there.

The above isn’t an excuse. I do take ownership of my “failings” … I wasn’t as diligent on checking these things due to my lack of SEO knowledge and the ongoing success of the site/business in spite of that. There was never any other overly apparent indications there were any serious site issues existed — as business was as good as ever.

We never had any warnings or penalties on the site by Google. If I had it would have gotten me to move quickly to address them. So, the needed website improvements slipped by me until I starting seeing significant traffic declines and revenue losses and by then it was too late to do anything about them.

The average traffic for Ticketstub.com® prior to Google’s “quality” updates was approximately 1500-2000 visitors a day, and during the last holiday season 2000-3000 visitors a day. Ticketstub.com had a yearly gross revenue in the low to middish $7 figures consistently for most of it’s existence.

ticketstub.com traffic cost PPC

Gross revenues that any small business would be extremely proud — or for that matter any brick and mortar business would be extremely proud of. The majority of my sales coming from organic search engine traffic with a small percentage coming in from the Google AdWords campaigns I had been running. Which btw … I haven’t been able to afford to do any paid advertising for the past year and a half as a result of the devastation to my business.

Another thing Google was/is allowing massive competitors to infringe on my registered US Trademark 96% of the time for over 9 years now. Requiring me to burn through my ad budget too the tune of just under a million $ over 9 years just to stay close on my own exact match trademark. I guess I was a quality enough business for Google to take my money for ads.

For those who don’t understand why companies have trademarks on their brands or what it is. A simple definition would be: It’s a symbol, word, or words that are legally registered with the USPTO (USA) or established by use as representing a company or product. Protecting that brand legally from misuse or profit by other than the TM holders.

Google claims allowing other companies to bid on competitor’s TM’s “creates competition”. However, it eludes me how small businesses like mine can be “competitive” with corporations that spend more in one day on Adwords than we have per month … but I’ll leave this for another time.

After Google turned Ticketstub.com into “collateral damage”, I’m lucky if I see 200 visitors a day on the site. Fortunately, my mobile apps have been getting traffic and have been one of the factors keeping Ticketstub.com alive. But due to the massive lost revenue, the monies having to be expended trying to figure out why this happened yet alone how to fix the site has left my business and personal finances hanging on for dear life.

I’ve basically hit a wall financially … I’m having to sell other business assets in order to raise money to pay for all the development work, the SEO, the marketing that I can’t do myself. It’s at the point I can’t even get other sites started to bring in new revenue as doing that all costs sizable amounts of cash which I no longer have.

Now, Google is essentially requiring people to be SEO experts as well as coding experts. Things that regardless of how much I want to be those things there isn’t enough time in the day for me to effectively learn them. There is no way anyone who isn’t an expert can keep up with these intensive new requirements and even then it’s extremely difficult to do. Up until the recent Mobile updates Google rarely if ever bothered publicly making information available in a time frame that would have allowed so many site owners like myself get anything changed and save our livelihoods.

It’s understandable … to a point … as Google doesn’t want to give those people who are “gaming the system” a heads up on how to hack the new algorithm. The problem with that is that it leaves the “regular folks” and even the SEO experts in the dark on how to effectively comply with those changes and not end up being negatively affected.

Those companies that haven’t been hit as hard or at all are those with SEO teams on staff or that have the budgets to hire SEO agencies to monitor and update their site. How is it that a small business owner that as a result of this experience is either completely broke or left with barely enough to cover their bills can hire this now required staff?

Simple answer … we can’t and Google doesn’t have the decency to offer even the slightest real assistance to those of us they called “collateral damage” who are willing to do whatever is required to comply. We obviously don’t even count for anything to Google.

live spam screenshots google

Bill Hartzer: Do you understand why Google goes after web spam so intensely?

For those who don’t know what “WebSpam” is: Webspam (also referred to search spam) is a phrase used to describe webpages that are designed to “spam Google search results” using SEO tactics that are against Google publishers guidelines. Pages that use webspam to improve search engine results page (SERP) rankings typically use black hat SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing or cloaking, the latter of which involves employing misleading redirects and/or doorway pages of websites.

Of course I understand what it is. I’ve been working on the internet in one form or another since I got my first domain in 1995. Its no secret that there are people who are “blackhatting” gaming the system for ranking/traffic and the revenue that comes with it. I understand that there have been and still are “affiliates” out there doing lots of unacceptable things to get traffic and sell whatever they sell.

I have never subscribed to doing those things with Ticketstub.com.

I dedicated myself to building an honest, trusted, popular brand/business when I first set up a ticket site. Over the decade + before getting crushed I achieved and smashed through my goals. This is/was easily supported with 10 years of Google Analytics, statistic and revenue data … which Google didn’t care to make an effort to look at even after I literally begged them too.

“Google is unfairly setting “rules” flatly across the board for all sites.”

Google is unfairly setting “rules” flatly across the board for all sites. Google seemingly took nothing into account about how different types of websites/verticals have different “quality requirements” and needs than their sweeping flatline determination of what’s quality or not. They assured that many small businesses like mine were going to be crushed by their updates.

For instance, my customers have very uncomplicated needs from Ticketstub.com.
`
1) They come to the site knowing what event they want to attend.
2) They look at our inventory for tickets that work for them.
3) They select those tickets and go to our checkout … pay for those tickets and they leave.

Our customers have no interest in hanging out on Ticketstub.com to read the news, performer information, sports scores or to watch videos. There are specific sites that offer those things much more effectively since those are their main focus. My customers come/came because they liked my brand/site, the way I did business in an honest manner the way I would want to be treated. Those things being required on Ticketstub.com now by Google just serve to distract customers from buying tickets … which for a retail site … it’s a bad model to be made to follow.

Obviously to me, in part Google was/is prejudging my/any affiliate ticket website with a similar inventory feed as being duplicated spammy, garbage of no value to searchers. In my case, completely without taking any details/realities of Ticketstub.com®’s long standing business into account when ranking or penalizing which makes their judgment erroneous.

This “prejudice” against affiliates is nothing new either. DMOZ lived by this erroneous opinion, Wikipedia as well, by thinking that “all affiliate ticket sellers are garbage”and therefore aren’t allowed pages talking about their history. Again, never taking any of the details or realities of each ticket seller website into account.

Granted as mentioned above, there is a multitude of affiliate websites that are crap and do game the system. But the reality is that all of them aren’t subscribing to these deceptive and unacceptable practices being attributed to them. Ticketstub.com® has never been nor ever will be one of those kinds of affiliate ticket websites, as my 12 year history clearly shows.

In reality, all of the major Ticket resale/broker sites are “affiliates”. In that they integrate the same various broker feeds and sell inventory they don’t own but get a % of the sales just like us. They sell the same products in the same markets to the same people.

How is that different than what my affiliate ticket business does? It’s not. Of course, my site Ticketstub.com is on a much smaller scale. What does set me apart from them … is I don’t have the budget to pay for full time SEO or hire a firm to do my SEO and police my site 24/7 or spend the fortune on Adwords chasing companies that have massively bigger ad budgets than I do.

A “real world” example would be Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart, Target all being treated as affiliates. Why? Because all of these “big brands” sell the same products at essentially the same prices in the same markets. But still people choose the particular business they’ve come to trust and who they’ve found something they like about them better than the others to go buy those products at. Which means even tho these business have the same products they still offer something which their customers value causing them to choose that business over the others.

It’s absolutely no different than my surviving and thriving in a brutal niche like ticket sales. I offered and delivered what my customers wanted and expected, so they come back and they tell others of the good experiences they had with my business. My offering similar inventory doesn’t diminish the quality of my business anymore than having similar inventory diminishes the quality of the above big brand stores.

Just because Ticketstub.com has an inventory feed from an aggregator that others utilize as well doesn’t mean should be shot down or excluded as spammy garbage. Just popping a feed on a site and calling it a business does not a business make. All the above is a pretty solid indication Ticketstub.com® isn’t a spammy, duplicate template ticket website.

Ticketstub.com is a business that deserves fair treatment, fair notice and a reasonable timeframe to comply with massive changes. What Google has done to my site and some many other honest small business owners is immoral and unethical in not giving us a reasonable chance to comply. Google has destroyed many thousands of small businesses and their future with unreasonable search algorithms which don’t look at most of the important facts about the verticals they serve, the site history that actually determine the facts and whether trashing it is justified.

Worse is Google has made no efforts whatsoever to offer assistance to those of us who were “collateral damage”. Basically telling us tough luck go figure out how to comply or go hire people who can do that for you. Easy for Google to say … they didn’t just have their income ripped out from under them and no longer have the financial or knowledge resources.

So … sure. I understand why Google goes after spammers as hard as it does. They deserve it and Google has every right to do that. But to call legitimate businesses/sites like mine spam and without value based on no detailed, factual information is pure nonsense. Google destroyed many thousands of legitimate websites owned by honest, hard working small business owners like myself who never spammed anything or anyone … who’s livelihoods depended on these sites isn’t just wrong … it’s evil.

Bill Hartzer: Do you think Google have gone too far in their punishments in sweeping manner that not only effects spammers but a multitude of sites that weren’t engaging in those practices or just weren’t SEO experts?

That’s an easy one. Absolutely and positively … yes.

Bill Hartzer: Do you think Google does enough to help businesses they called “collateral damage” get back rankings they were erased from so they can continue to do business and grow?

This is another easy one. Absolutely not … Google in my experience couldn’t care less about helping people like myself that were undeservedly devastated. I tried many channels including getting my story to Matt Cutts … (who I have no idea if he even read it … but I was able to see that he or someone working his mail opened mine. ). The best I ever got was from a Google press agent telling me there is nothing they can do to help and referred me to a faq link. Which was worthless in what it offered.

Google could have prevented all of the devastation by simply offering a simple site where one could enter their url and it could be checked against the new algorithms. There are a number of sites that became available way after the fact put out by non Google companies to both assist people and too sell recovery services.

I can’t believe that a company like Google that hires some of the smartest people in the world … could have “mistakenly” caused all this havoc for small business owners like me. I think it was just a matter of it being easier to just disregard us as the “collateral damage” they called us and shrug off all of our pleas for help as insignificant to the “bigger picture”. Legally they are untouchable, so they have been able to do whatever they wanted without any accountability, consequences or for that matter morals or ethics. The larger companies are loving this … Google wiped out or set back pages in rankings the smaller competitors with some clicks on the keyboard.

Bill Hartzer: Have you found yourself able to get your site to recover without using Google as a main source of traffic that converts? Have you been able to get your site to recover in general regaining traffic and revenue that was lost?

At this point … I have been able to mostly stop the “bleeding” and if not for my mobileapps and site I would have been bankrupt at this point. Over the last 2 years I’ve tried a multitude of things to get things back on track and none of those helped.

Through lots of hand holding and diagnosis I’ve been made aware that there are a number of issues that need to be addressed and I am doing my best to do that.

I’m still in the dark as to what Google could call a negative since they won’t tell me what the initial causes were. I’m going to have to have the site extensively audited, then have to the developer go in and fix everything that’s found in the audit. Then, once that’s done I need to hire an excellent SEO to get things back on track & then monitor the site. Then comes my having to bang away on social media and will likely need to hire a firm to get the saturation that is needed there.

Which is all going to cost me a small fortune requiring me to sell assets and with no guarantee it will make a difference at all. I’ve considered just starting with a fresh site from the ground up but I’m concerned I will just make matters worse as paths will change yet again. I’m just a small business owner with limited resources that has been driven to the brink of madness by this experience.

I am bound and determined to regain & further my business traffic, revenue and visibility pretty much regardless of what it takes. I built and delivered a high quality thriving service before and I’ll do it again. Though … it would be better than great if Google would work with me to reconsider the automated slashing that I’ve been dealt what I truly believe to have been unjust or if preferred … that my business was “collateral damage” of these updates.

Bill Hartzer: Do you feel that Google “owes” you good ranking/position?

Of course, I’m aware, Google can do whatever it wishes. Google is totally in the drivers seat and I am at their mercy. Not thrilled about that, but over the last couple of years I’ve come to accept as it’s part of the business. I appreciate what being included in Google’s search results offer in value and exposure to my business and myself. That being said … I spent over a decade playing by the rules doing the best I can, never getting a warning or penalty and creating a trusted business and brand. So, I’d like to think that given the documented track record of my site I’ve at least earned the ranking I had previously.

Bill Hartzer: If you could offer Google some advise concerning these issues what would it be?

I realize as many other online business owners do … that Google is really the “only game in town” and being excluded will make it almost impossible to survive yet alone thrive.

Being that Google does control the search market to the level it does … I think they should consider the moral, ethical side here … not just the profits or board members. In my opinion unethical, immoral and “corporately evil” to destroy small businesses and lives of these small business owners like me. People who’ve dedicated themselves to working ridiculously long hours, sacrificed many things to build their business, don’t have the resources of the large corporations and have shown the desire to do whatever is within their means to comply with Google.

Especially in an economy that is as way down and extremely difficult for small business as is the current economy. Google should care more about those like myself that have been so loyal, dedicated and have contributed to the growth of Google.

Google should stop thinking only about the large corporations with the very deep pockets and remember that the “little guys” are no less important. That or change their motto from “Don’t be evil” to “gimme the money”.

Bill Hartzer: Thanks Ira, for telling me your story about TicketStub.com, and for allowing me to get more awareness about small businesses. I know it’s been tough for small businesses to continually adapt to Google’s changes in their algorithms and policies.

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Even Huge Institutions Can’t Move Their Sites Properly to a New gTLD https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/even-huge-institutions-cant-move-their-sites-properly-to-a-new-gtld/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/even-huge-institutions-cant-move-their-sites-properly-to-a-new-gtld/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 14:05:56 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=5993 moving to a new gTLD domain name

As you may already know, I am an advocate of the New gTLD domain names. Whenever possible, I recommend moving away from a .COM domain name to a New gTLD domain name if that new domain you’re moving to is “better”. Meaning that if you can get a keyword-rich domain (with the keyword in the ending), that ultimately will be the better choice for your site. The New gTLD domains, however, have been slowly been adopted, and what it’s going to take is for more and more mainstream businesses to start moving to a New gTLD. That way the public will be much more accepting of the New gTLDs.

One of the first major sites that I saw was Mr. Jim’s pizza, who not only have MrJims.Pizza up and running, but they are advertising that URL on local television here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Well, unfortunately they haven’t actually moved, though. They just put up a “copy” of their main site on the same URL. If you go to http://www.mrjims.pizza you’ll see the same exact site as you do on http://www.mrjims.com:

mrjimspizza

Having the same exact site on your New gTLD as your .COM is a cop-out. It’s not right, and is, in fact, duplicate content. When it comes to Google, you’ll search for “Mr. Jim’s Pizza” and you’ll always get the .COM site first, as the New gTLD won’t show up. That’s Google’s duplicate content filter at work: they index and rank the first version they see, and then the others are considered to be duplicates. They may or may not be indexed, depending on how many links those copies have pointing to them.

Having the same exact site on your New gTLD as your .COM is a cop-out. It’s not right, and is, in fact, duplicate content.

I am utterly disappointed when Barclays PLC, the huge banking institution in the UK, announced that they were moving away from .COM domains and, in fact, moving to .Barclays domains–but also have duplicate sites up and running.

Barclays PLC has a duplicate copy of their site at http://www.barclays.com and at http://www.home.barclays/ and actually can be very confusing to customers. Is their site www.home.barclays or is it www.barclays.com?

barclays-home-page

Barclays PLC, which publicly announced that they are going to move from .COM to .Barclays, yet they have to separate sites up and running now, two different copies. One plan could be to have both sites up and running for a period of time and then set up the redirects. But, in fact, I wouldn’t do it this way, I don’t recommend it. I would, in fact, simply have a small version of the Barclay’s home page on the new www.home.barclays site, announcing the upcoming change.

Ultimately, Barclays moving to New gTLDs is a a huge win for the New gTLDs, and a welcome site. I’m just not a fan of how these huge institutions are going about moving and “not” redirecting their sites to the new domains properly.

When it comes to other companies that are moving to a New gTLD, I am not sure that these businesses like Mr. Jim’s Pizza actually have plan in place for moving. It could be that they’re just buying these New gTLD domain names, putting up a copy of their site or configuring the DNS so that the same site appears, and waiting. They could, in fact, be waiting to see if the New gTLDs are not a fad. At some point they may move, but I suspect that for now they will keep the duplicate copies of their site in place.

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Microsoft’s Bing Does Not Support HTTPs SNI https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/microsofts-bing-does-not-support-https-sni/ https://www.billhartzer.com/pages/microsofts-bing-does-not-support-https-sni/#respond Thu, 14 May 2015 16:20:20 +0000 https://www.billhartzer.com/?p=5983 In an interesting post on GitHub, the user tkrotoff has apparently contacted Bing Webmaster Support with questions about why Bing Webmaster Tools will not accept his website’s sitemap file. He is trying to tell Bing’s Webmaster Tools about his sitemap file and it give him an error when he submits the file. His website, https://osteo15.com/, uses HTTPs SNI (Server Name Indication).

Bing_Webmaster_Tools_does_not_support_HTTPS_SNI_·_Issue_#16_·_tkrotoff_osteo15.com_·_GitHub_-_2015-05-14_11.14.20

One response he gets from Bing Technical Support is that it’s “apparently a server issue which could be addressed by your web host provider”.

Then he got another response, saying that they would forward it to their research department.

It’s been several weeks now and nothing has been received.

He has tested Bing’s lack of support for SNI by moving one of his websites and turning off SNI…and was able to verify the sitemap in Bing Webmaster Tools.

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