Penguin 2.0: The Real Dirt Google Doesn’t Want You To Know

Twitter and the SEO forums have been abuzz the last few days with the impending apocalypse known as Penguin 2.0. Matt Cutts has been almost giddy with how brutal this one is going to be, I found myself wondering if he was wearing adult diapers to handle any embarrassing accidents caused by anticipation of the coming onslaught.

Never ones to take it lying down, we reached out to every one we knew with connections at Google past and present to see if we could dig some dirt on the situation and get a head start on the next series of SERP ass poundings Google has lined up for us. In times like these, a few days head start can be the difference between eating Ramen noodles (uncooked) or Craft Steakhouse (Kobe Short Skirt and the Porterhouse are personal faves) so we left no (grind)stone unturned in our efforts to unearth what’s coming for us. For days, we found nothing. Battered, with dashed hopes and a feeling of impending doom weighing us down, we considered quitting and just waiting for it to hit us broadsite, no matter how shitty that situation may turn out to be.

And then, like manna from heaven, our efforts to reach Mr. XYX (those are his chromosones, don’t ask, it’s a touchy subject), a former Google employee who left in a huff when they closed down his favorite cafeteria in Mountain View after the Google China debacle forced them to cut costs closer to home, paid off. And how.

The following conversation has been changed to protect the insolent:

Grind: Thanks, for reaching back out, this is very important to us and our readers.
Mr XYX: mumble mumble mumble neckbeard mumble mumble

Grind: Sorry mate, could you speak up a bit, didnt’ catch that.
Mr XYX: I said, do you have any short ribs…I really like short ribs. Did I mention they used to serve shortribs on the Mountain View Campus?

Grind: You did mention that, three times actually and unfortunately, you’re in Oakland and I’m in Idaho, so no, I don’t have any short ribs. And if I did, I couldn’t get them to you.
Mr XYX: What about some delivery? I’d feel a lot more comfortable telling you this with some shortribs.

Grind: Fine, what’s your address? And where do you want me order them from?
Mr XYX: I’m not comfortable telling you that information.

Grind: For fucks sake man, how am I supposed to get you these shortribs so we can get on with this?
Mr XYX: Bitcoins?

Grind: Oh fuck right off…what’s your paypal already?
Mr XYX: <redacted>

Grind: Sent. Order up dem ribs and let’s get back to business, people are waiting on this.
Mr XYX: OK, but you can’t tell anyone where you got this info from.

Grind: Deal.
Mr XYX: First off, it’s not actually Penguin 2.0.

Grind: Really? Is it going to be Zebra 1.0 then?
Mr XYX: Nope. It’s a complete shift away from black and white themed animals. The first in a whole new horizon of algo updates.

Grind: Fascinating, so what’s it really called?
Mr XYX: Hippo 1.0

Grind: Hippo. That’s interesting. And to be honest, a bit refreshing.
Mr XYX: You think that now, just wait.

Grind: Wait for what?
Mr XYX: Hippo really is the shit. Matt isn’t psyching everyone out on this one. Hippo is a game changer.

Grind: Does it take out hacked links? Russian and chinese blog networks? Devalues anchor text even more? Details my good man, details…
Mr XYX: I have a video.

Grind: You do not.
Mr XYX: I do. It shows exactly how Hippo will change the SERPS for good.

Grind: Can you share it? Myself and thousands of enterprising SEOs would love to see it before it hits us in the face.
Mr XYX: Yeah, you can say that again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, it’s going to be a shitty experience for all SEOs, not just you black hats.

Grind: Speechless. No wonder Matt is so excited. Total game changer. I’m going to apply at McDonalds now and beat the rush.
Mr XYX: Can you order me another batch of ribs and some kung pow chicken before you leave?

Why Guest Blogging Fucking Blows

Ya, that’s a serious post title. Because internet is serious business. How serious? This serious. That’s some next level Skynet shit right there. And to protect such a lucrative environment, the big G leaves no stone unturned when rooting out undesirables like carders, fraudsters, black hat SEOs and Romney supporters…joking on the last one but holy shit my twitter feed was polarized election night, I’m not sure how Obama’s economic “plan” fits in with increasing big technology bottom lines and stock holder happiness but Silicon Valley must know something  I don’t, I’ve never seen so many “big business” peeps fervently endorsing the most anti-big business President since Carter.

 

**Grind, WTF? Politics? We’re not here to read your tinfoil hat ramblings on politics…only SEO and (not so) funny jokes…stay on task please.**

 

Sorry weird scary voice in my head that talks to me in super bold WaFo style headlines, I’ll try not let it happen again.

Guest blogging. Panda hit. Penguin hit. Everyone freaked out even though they understood very little of what was going on (just like G wants it) and shouted the tiniest bit of correlation as CAUSATION from the rooftops their blogs at Spinal Tap This One Goes To Eleven volumes, which led everyone else to repeat it. Once it had been shouted blogged enough times, it was just fact. Simply was. Disregard the minor issue that trying to hit a moving target like the G algorithm is akin to skeet shooting blindfolded while riding the tilt-a-whirl at your local carnival after snorting bath salts with two carnies and the guy who cleans up the elephant poop….

 

**Grind, FOCUS!!!!.**
…gah, there I go again.

So idiots SEOs using one data point amongst thousands convinced other idiots SEOs that they knew what Penguanda was all about and they convinced their sheep readers of the same and eventually it was accepted as truth. And one of these wild half ass guesses fundamental truths of commonly accepted theories SEO best practices was that guest blogging was the future. Guest blogging was white hat. Guest blogging was safe. Guest blogging was what G wanted to see. And on the 8th day, they all guest blogged.

And the internet was automagically fixed for everyone, everyone’s user experience shot through the roof, Bing and Yahoo faded into non-existence and G stock prices reached record highs, Dom bottles were popped, people were flying like a G6…oh wait, that’s not quite what happened is it? No, it’s not. Let’s try that again. Guest blogging was safe, guest blogging was what G wanted to see, so “white hats” guest blogged and hoped to regain their Panda (even tho it was really Penguin) slapped rankings, grey hats automated guest blogging outreach, black hats built guest blogging platforms and then….

The same shitty fucking content that nobody wants to read on your blog is spread all over the blogoshere. Yay, user experience. Yay, eyeball retention. Yay, ad displays. Yay, revenue. Yay, stockholders.  Right now heads in Mtn View are nodding, “That fucking Grind, he sees behind the curtain sometimes. Think we should remove him like we did Osama?” I’m kidding bros…call off the pro’s…please?

Guest Posting Sucks Because Your Content Sucks.

If it didn’t, you wouldn’t have to post it all over to get it noticed. If it was actually original and engaging, if it was worth reading, people would come seek it out on their own, it would get linked to naturally and shared socially (click them social share links bros, I’m tired of eating Vegetable Ramen), in short,  it would become legendary.

Posting shit content on multiple sites just spreads the ecoli from the toilet all over the bathroom. And that subsequently forces G to hire more maids to clean this shitty mess up. Endless shite cycle ensues. Why? Writing really high quality content is hard, it takes time, and there’s no way most people can create enough engaging content worth sharing over a multitude of thinly disguised white hat spam targets “guest blogging” opportunities.

Sure, the big media boys with content departments and tons of interns can do whatever they want, but really, the high quality shit being published on the web right now is done by hard core total immersion specialists, the guys and gals who live and breathe their niches (anal bleaching anyone?) and would be writing about it even if it wasn’t better money than flipping burgers or street corner begging. Some CMO-Content Marketing suit and their team isn’t going to be able to produce the quality engaging material that someone who absolutely loves the topic is capable of sharing with their readers. And if you don’t believe me that guest blogging has jumped the shark, Matt was forced to address it in a GWH video (pretty much the death sentence of misdirection for any technique).

So, down with guest blogging, up with link begging….oh, and if anybody wants me to guest post on their site, email me!

Extending The Olive Branch…

So my buddy Mitch is a fucking badass and told me he was going to try to find Rand a dog snuggie as a gift during SEO rockstar greet and grope he was attending. Unfortunately, the dog snuggie google SERPs didn’t bring back any quality results and 40 minutes of calling around to local big box stores (on his bosses dime, probably) didn’t deliver the goods. So he improvised…

Nice beards, ladies!!!
Needless to say, Rand was a really good sport about it and even posed for a second photo with him, although I’m not sure if he was confused to exactly what type of photo he was posing for or if he is just super excitable.

Either way, kudos to Rand for playing along and big ups to Mitch for having cajones the size of cantelopes, most internet dwelling neckbearded (I’m kidding, it’s a fucking epic beard, don’t beat up anybody on a bus) denizens won’t control their assburgers long enough to even order pizza, let alone go shake the flesh and troll real life SEO super heros. To the both of you, if ever we shall meet IRL, the drinks are on me. Unless you order something that comes with an umbrella and a cherry…

Mitch, where is your other hand?

Now I just need to go train for a marathon (who the fuck am I kidding, maybe some sled sprints/burpee/pullup HIT but no long slogs here) with Mr. Cutts and all will be right in the universe.

Scrapebox Spammers: You’re Doing It Wrong

That’s right, you are. But first, a badass Warning graphic because quality content isn’t just about flowery prose and keyword stuffing anymore.

WARNING: THIS POST IS GOING TO PISS OFF A LOT OF “SEOs”!!!

And I’m alright with that. Because you idiots are pissing me off with your constant mis-use of one of greatest SEO tools ever made. And possibly more important than ending up on my shit list, you’ve become the lowest common denominator of link spammer…maybe.

photochop courtesy of blokblok

The credit card dump and camwhore forum posting xrumer guys deserve a special spot in internet hell too, but I’m sure more than one happy union has grown from those links being dropped, while your hitting every page on a wordpress install with the same poorly spun comment + link drop truly creates nothing of value.

Even worse, it appears (and truly is) completely amatuer. You’re the egg on the face of the automation SEO community. And it’s past time to stop. If I end up outing you or your lame ass SEO tactics with this post, too bad. You should be more careful who you comment spam.

Because I care, I’ll assume it’s not simply abject stupidity that led you down this road but said lack of cognitive intellect combined with a lack of proper instruction. What’s that? Speak engrish? Big words hurt head? Fine…I’ll dumb it down for you.

I.AM.GOING.TO.SHOW.YOU.HOW.TO.BE.LESS.OF.AN.IDIOT

And possibly improve your rankings while I’m at it. But I’ll probably berate you some more first..

Let me backtrack a bit first though, as I can already hear some of my readers:

Grind, wtf with the holier than thou bullshit stance? I know you dropped more scrapebox comment links than Dead Heads (and phish heads too) dropped acid, why you fronting?

Full disclosure mode: You’re right. I did. Mega volume link drops. Back in 2009. When it worked…when it worked well at least.

And I only brute forced comment drops (what you tards are doing when you try to drop the same shitty content on all indexed pages for a single site) a couple times (and even then, only hit multiple pages on a target site if I was linking to a property tier, blasting your money site out to every page on a site is just SOFA KING STUPID!) until I realized there had to be a better way. There is. And the fact that some of you haven’t figured it out 3 years later…well, frankly, I’m embarrassed for you, and you’re embarrassing anyone who calls themselves a SEO by continuing to pepetrate this behavior.

Here’s the thing: SEO changes constantly. Google changes the rules on us all the time so the algo can’t be gamed (consistently). So are using techniques that worked well in 2009 and into early 2010 really going to help you in todays SEO landscape? And is irritating every webmaster with a wordpress install on a constant basis going to help ingratiate SEO automation into acceptable practices? Not likely on both counts. One of my shared servers got hit so hard with comment spam that the automated emails wordpress sends out pushed my resource usage above the allocated limit, causing my host to threaten to take me offline. Easy enough fix, disable email notifications on pending comments.

But Grind, why were you getting emails sent anyway?

Because of the inherent stupidity coupled with laziness of many “SEOs”, those comments are gold, when used correctly. I’ll get to that shortly.

First, here’s how NOT to use comment spam:

So we’ve got a bunch of the typical standard fare “oh hai, i love your website the worstest, it’s great, cured my dogs herpes after reading this, http://PleaseDieInAFire.com” fake compliment + link drop type comments, some horribly spun bullshit, and to top off the spam de jour, a little domain kiting + viagra spam. Screenshot is only missing something about how my website doesn’t display properly or my feed link is brokebacked and we’d have hit the holy spam trinity.

Moving on, remember when I mentioned email notifications? I could accomplish the same thing by logging in and grabbing spam comments manually, but gmail nests them up so nicely, expand all and you’ve got a whole slew of target rich environments at your fingertips. For this example, I just used comments that have shown up on this blog post over the last couple weeks.

Via the red highlighted section above:

Oh wow, 7 results, how impressive!

Fine, let’s check out another comment, one of many from a site that has spammed this blog no less than 40 times since it’s recent inception.

Oh what, you’re a real black hat? You poop 4180 links before breakfast and you need something of substance to tide you over? Need a pallet full of canned spam?

How you like me now? Getting the picture? I found these footprints in the first page of my spam comments. In fact, in the first five I checked, I found more than enough potentially comment spam friendly locations. Sure, you’re going to be sharing those PR0 link drops with 1000 other comments (I’m not that hot at math but 0/1000 doesn’t push the needle much, I’ll take low OBL links all day every day plz) but at least you’re:

  • Not getting blacklisted as a spammer
  • Not getting blogged about by me
  • Getting some link juice, no matter how infinitely miniscule
  • Getting some IP diversity, and if you’re smarter than the idiots in today’s examples, some anchor diversity/dilution as well
  • Not pissing off the entire webmaster community with your poorly executed “black hat” SEO campaign

So what now? You’re feeling properly chastised because I showed the shame in your game and you want to move forward? Great, stay with me.

Option 1: Quit brute forcing link drops. Use the examples I showed above to find comment friendly drops. Filter them by PR and OBL, use the high PR and low OBL ones direct to your money sites, use the other ones to your tier 1 links. Still not what post Penguin SEO calls for, but gawdammit, you’re a scrapebox spammer and you’re not gonna give it up. I understand. Option 1 is better than what you’ve been doing. Kudos for realizing that and moving forward.

What’s that? You’re not sure how to harvest all 3.6 Million results from that last footprint? You already got scrapebox (obviously), you should have some fast ass private proxies, you have the footprint, now you just need something to get you over 1000 results from good old Googs. And that’s keywords. Which ones you say? All of them…find a dictionary list, break it up into chunks (if you care about not reconfiguring your banned proxies constantly), dial in your connections:proxy ratio (not telling, don’t ask, this isn’t some $7 ebook) and get busy. Randomly ran the keywords I already had entered, came up with a few targets.

Rinse and repeat until your thirst for salty meat in a can is quenched.

Option 2: Automate white hat link building.  Use scrapebox not for link spamming (it’s not called SpamBox for a reason, ladies) but for what it truly excels at, finding and sorting massive amounts of data in a short time. What kind of data? All of it…

Seriously though, if you want to rank well right now, you need relevant links from quality sites. Guest blogging is an easy way to do that. So are reciprocal link exchanges (wtf Grind, is it 2006 up in hurr again? Sadly, it appears like it just might be…) with relevant sites. There are a ton of ways you can use scrapebox to help you rank, but being a lazy ass toolbag isn’t one of them. Not anymore. Sorry bros, that ship sailed. Adapt or sink.

Back to guest posts, this isn’t how I’d power scrape these targets but for speed of finishing this fucking War and Peace style epic tome of crap sometime soon, and illustrating my point, it works.

You now have a list of sites that more likely than not will take a guest post (or be amiable to other SEO related outreach) that you can contact via their contact form or email. What? Short on time? Too lazy to visit the sites and fill out the contact form? You could either scrape for contact form pages on those sites (not 100% successful, some will be lightbox) or for quick and dirty data management, just grab the emails from the ones with publicly posted email addresses and send them a quick introduction email regarding your (lack) of qualifications to write a guest post for them.

There you go, 1400 wasted words on how not to be the bottom feeding ass clown of the SEO industry. For the minute few of you who actually listen, kudos. Your ranks will improve, you’ll be less of a nuisance and maybe just possibly, this little exercise in thinking outside the box will open your eyes to more creative methods of using automation in your SEO efforts. For the rest of you, I’ll see you in my SPAM folder.

Cheers,

Grind

P.S. Expecting some guru shit here? Looking for the $7 ebook link? Maybe next time. There’s always the seo consulting page until then.

P.S.S Final full disclosure mode: I still use blog comments for SEO purposes. I just don’t use scrapebox, hit wordpress sites (you think after 99.9% of ALN sites being on wordpress, there’s no platform filter? #smh), link drop on moderated sites with generic comments, or use any tools you can buy publicly. This doesn’t make me better than you, just smarter. Adapt or sink, boys. It’s not 2009 anymore.

 

Rand, I’m The Guy Who Ranked You For Snuggie Dog Bed…

Alternate Title: How You SEOMoz/Google + Guys Are Failboating Hard With Your SEO “Analysis” Of The Situation

But First, The Backstory…

In an attempt to cover my tracks from prying webmaster eyes after winning a public SEO contest on Wickedfire, I 301’d my domain to seoMOZ thinking it would be a funny blog post later. LOL at me.

Rand gets wind of it, tweets about it, people confuse it with a negative SEO attempt, misunderstandings everywhere.

This guy pretends to have sleuth’d out the 301 via “advanced queries” but digging deeper, most likely he read about it on Wickedfire and just tried to play it like he had l337sauce ninja skills (ie, ran it thru ahrefs).

Then again, he used to work for Google Web Spam, so who knows?

Which brings us to…

Rand
I’m The Guy Who Ranked You For Snuggie Dog Bed……and other terms. 

Was going for the big dog term in the niche, dog snuggie, but only had the juice to get it page two. Shame, you lost out on some serious revenue potential there. High value term, no? No, but I digress…

First, let me backtrack a bit…

  • I apologize for the sweet WP default theme and lack of fancy plugins (something tells me that caching plugin is going to come in handy tho), I was hoping to write this post in a couple months when you ranked #1 for dog snuggie but alas, some people can’t keep their mouth’s shut.  This is why we can’t have nice things…
  • There was no malicious intent behind the ranking, I had just won a SEO contest over on the gay webmaster forum you erroneously labeled a “black hat forum” and figured I was going to get my site and methods analyzed deeply and rather than let people poke under the hood too hard, 301’d snuggeez.com over to you, figuring it would be 1) fairly innocuous with regards to the safety of your site and 2) good test of unrelated link juice to an authority domain like seomoz. And it behaved exactly like I thought it would, albeit slightly slower.
  • Hmm, thought I had another step in the way back machine here, but apparently not…good thing I used this cool unnumbered list feature.

So let’s get down to it then, shall we?

Some link spammers at one of the black hat forums apparently ran an experiment targeting SEOmoz’s home page with the anchor text “snuggie dog bed.” The results are surprisingly effective: http://bit.ly/IQbL1V

Actually, I (a couple others followed suit,  I’ll leave them out of this unless they want the credit) only 301’d a single site at seomoz.org. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to follow this or not, considering the appallingly bad SEO “intel” you tweeted in the above quote, but there’s no anchor text involved, at least directly. Instead I passed the cumulative link juice and backlink profile of my site onto you, or ~95% of it.

Pretty blackhat, amarite? Wait, what if I’m a brick and mortar business, say a dry cleaner, profits are up, and I buy out every other dry cleaning business in my town and 301 it to my site? Am I still a blackhat? Or just a shrewd businessman leveraging his assets (knowledge and cash) to improve his business while minimizing his tax bill? Pretty sure I know which side of the fence you’ll stand on but I painted the picture, I’ll let you name it.

Apparently, anchor text link bombing, even from very questionable sources, still works. I’d be surprised if they leave the links up for long given that Google/Bing webspam can use this as a honeypot, but it’s an interesting glimpse into how linkspam and anchor text operate.

 

I’ve read the above quote multiple times now and quite frankly, I’m shocked that you’ve managed to brand yourself as an SEO “expert”, let alone get people to overpay for your suite of outdated tools (serpIQ and MicroSiteMasters, ladies and germs, get with the times).

Anchor text link bombing….NOPE

Very Questionable Sources...I outranked the product site for “dog snuggie”, do you have any idea how much that term is worth? Not very much actually, I was shocked that people built sites targeting such low volume crap…why not flip burgers, pays better. Still, I built a site with 100% unique and high quality content, linked out to related sites, and waited for the natural links to come in…for about three minutes, then I got to work.

How you say? Sure let me join the parade of fools not bright enough to keep their mouth shut when something works and works well, that should end well. On second thought, that’s a no…let’s just say nobodies site was hacked, no links injected, none of the true “black hat” methods were employed. Now I did build links on other sites with the intent of improving my rankings and traffic, however, you’re doing the same thing with your blogger outreach and guest posts. Kettle, meet pot.

But It’s An Interesting Glimpse Into How Linkspam And Anchor Text Operate….actually, It’s an interesting glimpse into how assumptions based on previous experience without the depth of knowledge to correctly assign the correct factors plague the SEO industry, and you, as a SEO professional, should be held to a hotter crucible in this situation. It’s bad enough when the Wickedfire tools knee jerk assumption every algo change that comes down the pipe, now we get you misleading your flock of blind sheep too? No wonder nobody understands basic SEO principles anymore. For shame…

I’d love to dive into some of the comments on your google + page, the pure lack of SEO insight perpetrated over there astounds me, but unlike your toadies who think posting in your circles = being a webmaster, I’ve got a new Google algo update to decipher…plus some of my old autoblogs popped back up, need to find out why. I’ll revisit the rest of that at a later date.

Rand, I’ll finish with two thoughts:

If you want the 301 taken off, just let me know, no harm no foul. Either hit me up on twitter or leave a comment here and I’ll sort it out.

And finally, I gotta give your social media game a plus rep, your twitter/google+/seomoz engagement is really top notch (as you can see from my 6 followers, mine not so much) and I commend you for your participation. While I think your SEO worldview is extremely short sighted and misleading to the newbies you rope into high monthly fees, your social media game has me slightly jelly. Maybe we can become BFFs and I’ll teach you upper level SEO concepts while you teach me about representing some big brands?

Much love,

Grind

P.S. Testing my lander sales copy, nothing to see here.

P.S.S. Anybody reading this that wants to rank for big terms and has a big budget for some seo consulting, well hell, dog snuggie…need I say more?