Bill Hartzer Bill Hartzer is a search engine optimization expert based in the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area that provides SEO Audits and Link Audits of websites. Tue, 01 Sep 2015 22:31:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dear Google: Please Fix the Grammar in Your Search Results Mon, 31 Aug 2015 20:04:32 +0000 While I was looking at the search results for the title tag of a post that I recently posted today, I noticed that Google’s grammar is less than to be desired. You’d think with all those PhDs at Google the grammar would be better. Dear Google, please fix the bad grammar in your search results to you are not suggesting something that has bad grammar. Take a look at the following screen capture, where Google is suggesting something other than what I searched for:


I searched for “What Happened When I Removed the Blogroll from My Site“, the last post where I wrote about what happened when I removed my blogroll.

Google suggested the following in a “did you mean”:

Did you mean: What Happened When I Remove the Blogroll from My Site

No, Google, I did *NOT* mean “what happened when I remove the blogroll. I meant “what happened when I removed the blogroll from my site.”

Shouldn’t Google say this instead?

Did you mean: What Will Happen When I Remove the Blogroll from My Site

I know this is probably all automated and what typically is searched for, but the grammar there just stinks. You can’t show what happened in the past when you remove something. This leads me to start investigating when and why they suggest something different, suggest something that includes “did you mean”.

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What Happened When I Removed the Blogroll from My Site Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:52:38 +0000 14 days ago, I decided to perform an interesting experiment here on my site, where I completely removed the blogroll. On August 17, 2015, I removed the sidebar blogroll links. These were sitewide links to highly trusted sites, all on-topic links. Here’s what happened 14 days after I removed the blogroll links from my blog.

First, a little background. If you view my site’s home page, you’ll notice that I use a static page for the home page, that doesn’t change. It’s about me and what I do. I decided to do it that way as a presentation of me, rather than make the home page of my site a “blog”, where I show a snippet of my latest blog posts. Currently, my latest blog posts are available on the blog’s sidebar, so they are linked from the site’s home page.

Over the years you’ve probably heard people say that who you link out to is important, and potentially something that would have an effect on search engine rankings (and ultimately traffic to your site). I typically link out to appropriate sites and even Twitter profiles and other posts when I’m writing. That’s logical, if I mention a site or someone I will link to their site or their Twitter profile. However, I think the blogroll is different. On my site, the blogroll was linked from every page, appearing in the right sidebar, but not towards the top of the sidebar. It was just a list of about 15 links. Here’s what it looked like before I removed it:

bill hartzer blogroll

In theory, I would be passing “link juice” or authority on to those sites, and then some of those would pass that authority (or whatever you want to call it) back to my site. Some of those sites link back to my site, and some do not.

So, what happened when I removed the blogroll? Let’s take a look at 14 days after I removed it from my site completely. After 14 days, I am assuming that Google has fully crawled my site and realized that those links are no longer there. But since there’s over 1,000 blog posts on my blog, it may still have some link data, so I will keep watching to see if there have been any major changes.

Let’s take a look at the Google Analytics and compare the Google organic traffic for the past 14 days versus the previous 14 days:


Google organ traffic is down 2 percent. Not much of a change at this point. But, what’s interesting is that one of my goals is up 28 percent.

In contrast, let’s look at the Bing traffic:

bing organic traffic blogroll

Now this is very interesting. Bing’s organic traffic is up 73.68 percent since I removed the blogroll from my site. It went way up, and my conversions went way up, as well. Is this an indication that Bing simply doesn’t like blogrolls, and you should generally remove them from your site’s blog? Well, there are certainly other factors at play here, and it’s just too early to tell. But I certainly will be watching the Bing organic traffic to see if it continues to increase.

So, based on this knowledge, should I put the blogroll back on the site and see what happens? Or should I just leave it off, as there aren’t any changes in Google traffic to speak of once removing the blogroll from the site (and Bing traffic is way up)?

One thing that I would mention, is that based on actual rankings, is reporting that exactly 7 days after I removed the blogroll, rankings went down:


I will continue to monitor search engine rankings, and I may just put that blogroll back up to see if the rankings go back up again 7 days after I put the blogroll back up on the site. I’ll keep you posted. I’m not that worried about actual search engine rankings at this point, as the traffic I’m seeing is actually not taking a significant hit from Google organic (and I’m seeing more conversions).

]]> 4 Removed From the Google Index: But is Back Shortly After Wed, 19 Aug 2015 19:06:52 +0000 The problematic website Ripoff Report has been completely removed from the Google Index. Based on a Google search for, I can now confirm that has been removed. See the screen capture below:

ripoff report removed from google

If you look at the search result, you’ll notice that there are notices referencing Chilling Effects:

In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at
In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at
In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at

It’s these legal actions that have been responsible for the removal of Ripoff Report from the Google index. You can still get to their website directly, but just not through Google search.

H/T goes to Jerrod Wright.

This is a developing story, I will update as necessary…

Note that there are 3 notes at the end of this search result, referencing that they “have removed 1 result(s) from this page”. As Mr. Wright pointed out in the comments below, this may only be for a short time–the site may be back in the results at some point. It has happened before.

I wrote a while back about being removed from Google. I also wrote about them being hacked. But this is different, as there are Chilling Effects links in the search results. The info from Chilling Effects is not available online yet, as soon as it is I’ll update this post.

That looks like it lasted only about an hour or less. looks like it’s back in Google now. I’m not sure if I am hitting another data center, but I’m no longer getting the “no pages found” message, along with the Chilling Effects statements:


Oh well. That was fun while it lasted. They’re Baaaack!

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I Just bought Bill.Ninja Domain Name Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:59:17 +0000 Bill Ninja

As you may be aware, I am a big fan of the new gTLD domain name extensions, there are hundreds of them already in General Availability. So, I was hunting around today, using the technique below, to find available domain names and names that I wish to pre-register.

I found that the first owner of Bill.Ninja failed to renew the domain name, so I was able to pick it up at a minimal cost. I consider that a huge win for me, as it’s a great, short, domain name. I even set up a short email address on it, as well.

Here is the technique that I used to find some available names, especially ones that I can purchase with my name or preferred “beginning”:

How to Find Available New gTLD Domain Names
1. Look at the list of new gTLD domain names that are now in GA (General Availability). Decide which ones you’d like to check, or make a list of all the extensions.

2. Copy that list into Notepad or a text editor.

3. Copy the list again, from Notepad, and paste it into a column in MS Excel.

4. Insert your preferred beginning (such as “bill”) in the column before the list you just pasted.

5. Drag the first cell down so that you have two columns: one with “bill” and the other with the extension.

6. Copy both columns, then paste those back into Notepad.

7. Use the search and replace option to search for the “tab” and replace it with nothing. You’ll now have a list of a bunch of domains,, bill,ninja,, etc.

8. Pasted that list back into Microsoft Excel, and you’ll have a new list.

9. Use this list to do a “bulk check” of available names over at, like this:

bulk domain search

You can search up to 100 names at a time for availability, and then register them at 101 Domain or your favorite registrar. Some registrars don’t have agreements with certain extensions, so you might need to check around. But for bulk lookups like this, I prefer to use

This is how I found that Bill.Ninja was available. There are others I’ve registered, but for now I am really happy with this one.

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Twitter’s Innovative Use of Responsive Web Design Tue, 18 Aug 2015 21:05:51 +0000 I am not sure if you have noticed, by Twitter has implemented what I would call a very innovative use of responsive web design. Responsive web design is where a website uses the same web design, but literally “changes” in a way that it looks good in any sized web browser–even on a tablet or smart phone.

In the case of Twitter, you can see what I call an innovative use of responsive web design when you resize your web browser. If your browser is more of a “normal” size, meaning that it takes up most of your desktop monitor’s screen, then it will look like this in the top left:

Twitter responsive web design

But, if you resize your web browser to make it smaller, you’ll see this:

Twitter responsive web design

Notice the difference between the two?

In the larger version, you’ll see the full words “Home, Notifications, Messages” and their icons. But, if your screen is smaller, then it will switch, automatically, to an icon-only view.

Twitter has a mobile version, which is different than the mobile version which is quite smaller than the desktop version. For example, the mobile version on my iPhone on Safari (not the app) looks like this:

twitter mobile version

Responsive web design is important, as visitors are using smaller and smaller screens than we used before, such as smart phones and tablets. And the search engines, as well, are realizing that. Take a look at your site using various devices to access your site (mobile, tablet, and desktop) and make sure that your site’s able to adapt to the user’s screen size.

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The New gTLD Domain Name Extensions Explained, Using Pizza Mon, 17 Aug 2015 14:05:34 +0000 Recently, there have been a few interesting posts and videos that I’ve liked that make their points using pizza. So, here are the new gTLD domain name extensions, explained using pizza. Really, it’s pretty simple:

1. The old, traditional .COM is the cheese pizza.

cheese pizza

2. Then we had .NET, .ORG, the Pepperoni and Sausage pizzas.

pepperoni pizza

3. Then came along the New gTLD domain extension, giving us so many more awesome choices:

vegetable pizza

Hawaiian, vegetarian, mac ‘n cheese, pizza rolls, breakfast pizza, stuffed crust, and the hot dog in the crust pizza. And there’s the toppings to make your pizza different, like mushrooms, onions, bacon, extra cheese, black olives, green peppers, and spinach. Then anchovies, and…

You see, domain name extensions are like pizza. .COM is the plain old cheese pizza, the new gTLDs are all the extra choices we now have.

And if you’d like to see another one of my favorites, check out this video about web hosting, explained using pizza!

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One Year after Moving to HTTPs Fri, 14 Aug 2015 22:59:33 +0000 About one year ago, last August 2014, I moved this site from HTTP to HTTPs, and several weeks afterwards I updated the status of traffic, page views, and time on site. Several weeks after moving I some pretty good results, which I believe was a result of my moving from HTTP to HTTPs. A year later, let’s look at what I’ve accomplished over the past year, and if we can tell if it was worth it to move.

move http to https

The screen capture above compares the traffic on this site from August 7, 2014 to the current day with the same previous period (August 7, 2013 to August 14, 2014). As you can see, traffic is not as good as it was the previous year.

It looks like the sessions are down 34 percent and pageviews are down 23 percent. I attribute that to my blogging less in the past year due to family issues and my travel schedule the past 6 months. But, if you take a look at the pages per session and new sessions, those are UP. And, you can clearly see that the overall traffic to my blog decreased around January 2015, when I blogged less due to family issues and traveling so much. But, nonetheless, the results are interesting.

The pages per session is what I’ve been claiming all along: a move to HTTPs has, for some reason, caused visitors to view more pages per session.

What confuses me is the Average Session Duration and the Bounce Rate. Perhaps that could be due to moving to CloudFlare in the past year, I will need to look into that to see what’s causing the Average Session Duration to change so much, as well as the bounce rate.

But overall, I am very happy with moving to HTTPs, and I am glad I did it. As a result of going through it myself and experiencing all of the issues that arose before, during, and after the move, I’m able to advise clients about moving.

If you’re interested in moving or will be involved in moving to HTTPs, I’ve compiled a checklist here that you can use.

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How To Use to Review Your Disavow File Fri, 14 Aug 2015 19:46:12 +0000 As a US Brand Ambassador for, you probably already know that I’m a big fan of their product, and use it on a daily basis. And as I use it, I am always coming up with new, innovative ways to use the Majestic data. It’s not just about seeing what links are pointing to your website. You can, for example, use Majestic to analyze your disavow file before you submit it. Here is why you would want to do that, and how to review your disavow file.

During the disavow process, you most likely will download all of the links to your website, and use the Trust Flow vs. Citation Flow metric to figure out if links from a particular website are low quality. If, for example, a site’s Trust Flow is 10 or more points lower than the site’s Citation Flow, then you should consider that site a candidate for potential inclusion on your disavow list.


Take a look at the screen capture above. This is how I find low quality links pointing to my site. Go to the Ref Domains tab, click on the following drop-downs:


Order by Trust Flow Ascending and Citation Flow Descending. This will show you sites linking to you that have low trust overall and high Citation Flow (lots of links to your site). These links are the ones you should consider getting removed and disavowed.

Reviewing the Disavow File Using Majestic

But how do you use Majestic to review your site’s disavow file before you submit the links to Bing Webmaster Tools and to Google? Why would you want to do it? Well, simply put, you’d want to use Majestic to review your disavow file so you don’t accidentally disavow “good” links from trusted domains. You use Majestic to upload list of the domains you’re about to disavow, and review those domains’ Trust Flow and Citation Flow.

1. First, you’ll need to edit your disavow file so that it only contains a list of domain names or URLs. In the disavow file, it typically looks like this:

So, open up the disavow file in a text editor (I prefer notepad) and use the “search and replace” function to remove the domain: and replace it with http://.

2. Once you’ve edited your text file so it includes just domains’ home pages or URLs, then save the file with a different filename (something like disavow-file-review-majestic.txt, for example).

3. Go to and upload your newly saved text file. Go to the Bulk Backlink Checker tool in Majestic to upload your file:

Note that this will take credits from your account, and I typically will use only about 1 or 2 percent of my allowed monthly credits. If your disavow file is large (like 250,000 domains), then I’ve seen it take up to 25 percent of your monthly credits to process.

4. Once the file is done processing, open it up in a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel.

5. Sort the columns so by Trust Flow.

6. Sorting the columns by Trust Flow (highest Trust at the top of the list), you’ll see the most trusted domains that you’re about to disavow.

I normally scroll through the list at this point, looking at each domain to see if there are any that I immediately see. In the past, I’ve seen people disavow subdomains of sites that are really trusted. But generally speaking, you’ll need to look at the most trusted domains first. If you notice something that might not need to be disavowed (like a really popular social media site or other popular site), then look at the list of links that you have. Review the link to see if you really should be disavowing it.

By using in this manner to review your disavow file, you’re looking at the list of most trusted sites on your disavow list, and looking for mistakes. A disavowed domain that’s really trusted can cause a drop in search engine rankings.

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Google Now a Part of Alphabet, Uses New gTLD Domain Extension Mon, 10 Aug 2015 21:15:43 +0000 G is for Gooogle

Google has been officially moved to a new organization called Alphabet. Larry Page, in a letter on their new site, explained that they traditionally don’t do normal things. Sometimes they do things differently because Google isn’t a conventional company.

Google is now a part of a Alphabet, and Alphabet is a collection of companies.

The story here is not that Google has moved to Alphabet. The story is that Alphabet is using a new gTLD domain extension as their domain name.

Alphabet is using a new domain extension, .XYZ. Why is that important? Well, I personally think that this is a huge turning of the tide here, as they purposely decided to use a new gTLD domain extension rather than a .com domain extension. Alphabet, the new company, could have easily bought a new .COM domain name. Well, they could have, in fact, used something else. They could have purchased just about any .com domain name they wanted.

But they chose to go with ABC.XYZ.

This, folks, in my opinion, just put the new gTLDs on the map. This post by Larry Page from Google is going to be seen a lot of people. The public will now be going to, as the domain name for Alphabet. When Google chose to use that domain name (er, when Alphabet chose to use that domain name), they essentially said that “it’s okay for a large brand or large company to use a new gTLD domain name extension” as their web address.

Also, note that Alphabet’s domain name is registered to a German company, as @YoungBloodJoe points out:

Elliot over at Domain Investing also wrote about the fact that this Alphabet site is using a new gTLD domain name. Again, the story here is not Google being moved under Alphabet. It’s the fact that they’re now using a new domain name extension.

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Verified Domains Provides Comprehensive Background Checks for Domains Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:44:38 +0000 Verified Domains Due Diligence for Domain Names

This week, I’ve launched our new service called Verified Domains. Verified Domains is the first-ever service on the internet that provides comprehensive background checks for domain names. I have personally been working on this patent-pending process since the beginning of this year. Before you buy a domain name and start using it for your website, I urge you to get your domain verified. Not only will we uncover any potential problems with the domain name before you use it, we guarantee it, up to $50,000.

I’ve written a pretty comprehensive post on the Verified Domains site titled “Why Verified Domains” that includes some of the background and what it’s all about. Essentially, it all started with a conversation at NamesCon with Brandon from We both were in agreement that if such a service like Verified Domains was started, that it would be helpful. A while back when I bought a used car, I ordered several CarFax reports, getting the history of those cars. It simply gave me a bit more information about the vehicle’s history, and minimized some of the risk of buying a used car.

And let me tell you, I’ve been marketing websites, creating websites, writing and blogging, and I’ve seen my share of spam. I’ve seen plenty of awesome domain names churned and burned by spammers. I’ve seen companies buy domains and then find that those domains had search engine penalties. Even ZDNet blamed Google for their own lack of performing due diligence on a domain that they bought at a GoDaddy auction.

So, before you buy that next domain name, do yourself a favor and order a Verified Domains report.

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