Dear Google,

  • Market Share of Search

  • Market Share of Mobile OS

IDC: Smartphone OS Market Share 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 Chart

  • Market Share of Browsers (us) – 43%

We don’t really have a choice, do we?

As long as links are manipulated, many businesses will fail.

When a website has bad links and gets punished for it, people can get mad.

When a website has natural links and their competitors win with bad links, people can get mad.

Website Punishment is Not The Answer

It makes no sense to punish a website for links, there has to be a better way. Punish the webmaster, not the website.

You preach for webmasters not to worry about links, however, if one can be punished by them and one can inherit a site that has them (knowing or not?), falling in rankings can seriously make people worry. Links are a webmasters responsibility, not businesses, the business should have no tie to a link profile, the webmaster should.

The way things are today when an uneducated webmaster doesn’t check a backlink profile, he’s in jeopardy of wasting a lot of time and money.

Suggestion for Google Search

License Webmasters, make webmasters take credibility for their own links. How? Make every business that wants to rank in Google, get their license to Google (Current webmaster can have a timeframe).

A license to Google should require some solid form of identity: social security number, a copy of a passport, license number, EIN, IDK something. Once webmasters are accountable for their own links, they would refrain from building manipulative links and they will think carefully before linking to someone. Unlicensed users links shouldn’t count. Google can help the search community without punishment. Isn’t the goal to create a better user experience?

Top 5 ranking sites should receive a congratulations letter with a Google Webmaster License request,


 

“Congratulation your website has made it into Google’s top 5 for several awesome terms in your market.

[You rank for your brand, more terms!]

Keep up the great work!

Notice: In order to maintain your credibility, Google asks that you add your Google License number into your webmaster tools account. Don’t have a Google license? Get one here”


 

Encourage us to do better and reward us for good work, don’t punish.

In the real world, people incorporate their businesses, it helps consumers from being cheated and protects people. In this case, it will encourage better user experience for all.

Transparency – we are with our personal information. Can you imagine working on a project for an entire year only to find out the previous webmaster created a crappy link profile, it’s a bummer.

Punish the culprit, not everyone else!

Perhaps my suggestions are not the right solutions, but I can tell you that punishing people isn’t right either.

 

Yours Truly.

Thumbtack.com – Is Google Making Money on Organic Search?

Recently, the company Thumbtack appeared on two of my clients organic result pages.

I added my client to Thumbtack thinking, nice local citation. About a week after setting up the citation, I get this:

 

Unnatural link building scheme


 

Hi [client],

 

You can get 30 more points if you add a link to your Thumbtack service profile on your personal website. Instructions are below.

 

Your profile will feature a profile badge.

 

Let us know if you have any questions,

– The Thumbtack Support Team

 

Instructions:

 

1. Copy and paste your profile link to your website with a description of your profile

<a href=”https://www.thumbtack.com/mo/kansas-city/personal-injury-lawyers/“>legal</a>

 

If you would prefer to add a button or a badge instead of a link, you get one here.

 

2. Once you are done, respond to this email with the URL of the link, badge, or button.

I’ll verify the link and will credit the points and badge to your profile. 


 

This Strategy Violates Google’s Link Building Guidelines

The points they offer to clients who provide the links helps them rank in their system. They then ask for credit money in order for clients to bid on quotes with five others. Each credit is valued at $1-$5 based on the vertical.

My clients who are PI lawyers would have to pay ~$10 to bid on a lead with 5 other firms.

Google Investment

Further research shows that Google’s invested $100 million in Thumbtack:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-08-20/google-capital-leads-100-million-investment-in-thumbtack

Link removal is bull shit

Looks like this profile was built and still dominates after all the Penguin updates.

http://www.semrush.com/info/thumbtack.com?db=us

Questions: Will Google punish a site if they have their hands in its pocket?

It remains to be seen whether Google acts on the information I have provided when I reported Thumbtack’s link acquisition tactics.

Have any of you come across a similar situation?

It seems to me that despite Google’s continuous protestations that organic search results are independently determined and not manipulated, this appears to be a way for Google to make money on organic traffic.

By providing companies in which they have a direct financial investment with superior positioning, Google can avoid the appearance of organic search results manipulation.

Thumbtack’s advantage in this case comes not from Google actively assisting them, but because Google permits them to violate the standards that punish our sites.

Thumbtack, in essence, has an exemption from applying white hat SEO tactics. They can be confident in pursuing tactics that allow them to rank without any fear of potential consequences.

Google Antitrust Issues

While antitrust efforts in America against Google’s abuse of its dominance in the search market have gone nowhere, there seems to be a more robust regulatory framework in Europe.

Hopefully, the antitrust challenges to Google’s modus operandi in Europe will wake up the Federal Trade Commission.

Lastly: http://thumbtack.pissedconsumer.com/ (Angry Consumers Abound)

 

Disclaimer:

The only links on this page that are actually Not Followed is Google’s link…

I mean Thumbtacks link…

 

Yelp Will Help For Gelt

Yelp is a scamIt is not the first time I hear about Yelp’s greedy extortion type tactics come to light. This company has been at it for years, in fact The Huffington Post dedicated an entire tag to it on their site “Yelp Extortion“. What exactly does Yelp do to reviews? Well, if you want your reviews to stay you might have to pay them. Everyone knows that getting reviews is a B**** especially when you are doing the right thing by your clients. When you make a client happy they want to leave you reviews, if your client asks to leave you a review on Yelp you might want to reconsider where you send them to leave you that review.

Why Am I Venting?

Yelp tries to act like they are a moderated review site and that they make sure only “REAL” reviews don’t get flagged, here’s the thing. The only way Yelp will let a review stay is if the user that left the review is an active reviewer on Yelp AND if the review was left on a paying account. If you don’t pay Yelp most of your reviews will get flagged.  Just a few days ago I got off the phone with one of my clients that has tons of reviews from all over the web. The second I mentioned Yelp reviews he got upset and I cannot blame him.

My client had 21 reviews on Yelp, until that one day when Yelp contacted him to upsell him a featured listing, they told him “since you have all these reviews you will really benefit from getting your listing featured…” My client did not want to invest at the time, guess what happened next? 20 of his 21 reviews got flagged, he was furious and they said there is nothing they can do. It’s a shame that they do such bad business, can you imagine two years of real reviews only flagged after you say no to an upsell.

Do Not Trust Yelp

Conclusion On Yelp

Do not do business with Yelp. If you do and you get a ton of good reviews, what if one day you decide to stop, who’s to say you will keep your reviews? Clearly they are only looking out for their own interests. If you want to get reviews on Yelp make sure you pay them otherwise kiss those reviews goodbye! I for one have decided to boycott them as a review site, they’re nothing more than a directory.

If you want to get your local business visibility and more reviews be good to your clients (unlike Yelp) and ask them to leave you a review on Google, after all Google owns 90% of search for products and services. In my opinion Google should deindex Yelp instead of scraping their biased pages for reviews.