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what's up with all this SEO bullshit on HN in the last few days? and bullshit it is. let's start, i will try to not let this sound too much like a rant, but i can guarantee nothing.

let's do a wittgenstein. do not use the word penalty. a penalty is when you look into google webmaster tools (of all your protocol & subdomains & domains variation and you have a message, that you have a penalty.

go on, look into

  https://iwantmyname.com
  http://iwantmyname.com
  https://www.iwantmyname.
  http://www.iwantmyname.com
  http://blog.iwantmyname.com 
  .. other subdomains ..
nothing there? then don't use the world penalty, it has no meaning.

this and your mention in your post of the worst bloodsucking (a.k.a. toolselling) "seo" publication ever leads me to the first issue: you are reading SEO blogs! stop it. do not reed SEO blogs, ever. you will reduce your understanding of google as soon as you start reading SEO blogs. there are 400+ specs and recommendations directly by google of what you have to do to perform well in google, read them first.

the issue at hand is: you got traffic for your blogpost content before the move, then you moved it to another protocol + subdomain combination, you got less traffic, with no positive trend. this was not the desired traffic behaviour.

this was the issue.

your hypothesis is that the traffic drop has to do with the move as the is a strong timely correlation. sound sensemaking.

first of all, be honest in what you did: you

* from a quick view i would say your blog pages are majority of your pages

* you changed the URL of the majority of your pages

* you changed the subdomain of the majority of your pages

* you changed the protocol of the majority of your pages

additionally the minority of the pages has only a very poor interlinking to the majority of the pages (only the blog start page is ever linked)

additionally the blog content seems to be high quality content, while on the subdomain-less site you seem to have lots of very poor content landing pages (duplicate with a hint of text templates) targeting the different domains suffixes https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aiwantmyname.com+Easy+...

google now has two statements

* I) a priori: another protocol/subdomain == another domain independet webproperty

* II) google can deal with webproperties split over differnt domains / protocolls if it can determine that they belong together.

the big question is now - did google see the new subdomains as part of the iwantmyname.com webproperty.

well, let's look at site:iwantmyname.com https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aiwantmyname.com&pws=0... y

google is rewriting their snippet headlines to your pages to have " - iWantMyName" in there. if i do a site:blog.iwantmyname.com" https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Ablog.iwantmyname.com&... i get a lot " - Domain Blog" in the search snippets.

why is this, well basically your blog start page link points to the blog start page and has the underlying text "Domain blog" your titles are not as recommended by google (see: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35624?hl=en#3 section "brand your titles")

the title issue should have been a major warning. we could probably find much more if we would have google webmaster tools access to all the subdomains (protocols) and subdirectories.

but the biggest warning was the "we did not regain traffic" issue. but - based on your blog post - the thing you did was, you waited? and well, here we are with the bullshit and SEO blogs topic again where they quite often state, that it "can take a while" whereby they mean an undefined timeframe of 3 to 4 months plus. this is evil. if you do a change and you want to see a positive impact it does not take longer than 2 weeks to see a positive or negative trend. anybody who says something else is just lazy. (note: additionally i could not find any sitemap.xml which well indeed slows down the whole domain migration process, this should have been fixed first and is recommended by google again and again for URL changes and domain moves)

so what is the point of this rant:

  * do not read SEO blogs
  * do not read SEO blogs
  * read google specs (in your case: titles, sitemaps, site moves, ..) 
  * don't use the word penalty
and maybe, just maybe: if you see a traffic drop and you do not regain your traffic, ask a professional SEO before moving your URLs around again and again. even the worst SEO - after selling you a bloodsucking tool - would have fixed the title, interlinking and probably sitemap issue.

or post a thread on the google webmaster forum, actually they are quite helpful there.




This is complete bullshit. Not reading SEO blogs is a TERRIBLE bit of advice. Read everything, and read it with a pinch of salt (Google's info more than most).


well, if you prioritize googles information on top of the other stuff, then there won't be an issue, as people would never find enough time to reach the other stuff, as googles information on the topic is very, very extensive.

sadly a lot of people are not very good at prioritising information intake, that is why i stick with my "do not read SEO blogs" recommendation.

the logic behind this is actually quite simple

let's say: x% of everything written in Z is bullshit (incl. deprecated or no longer valid).

let's agree that if Z is "seo blogs" then x is higher compared to the case where Z is "google recommendation", then it is always a better investment to read an item of x if Z is "google recommendation".

i would place the values of x something like this

  if Z is "seo blogs" then x is 80
  if Z is "google recommendation" then x is 20
>and read it with a pinch of salt

if we substitute "with a pinch of salt" with "flamethrower" then yes.


Can't agree with that purely for the fact that Google is in the game of providing sly information. You think that HTTPS ranking factor blog didn't have ulterior motives? You think that the disavow tool info isn't just crowdsourcing spam info?

Simple rule for SEO or any online marketing is 'always test for yourself.' be it Google's info you're working off or Search Engine Journals. Blogs can provide a good starting point for non-professional SEOs who don't have the time or resources to do external domain tests. I've been in the game over 7 years now, Moz has always been a good resource.


Any other comments on Moz? I thought their reputation was pretty good?


google has 400+ recommendations (specs, recommendations, posts) about what you have to do to perform well in google. without even counting schema.org or other initiatives.

(google) analytics is an unbelievable powerful tool that has at some companies whole teams dedicated to it

google webmaster tools is a unbelievable powerful tool that tells you 80% of everything that is wrong with your site. you can easily make it your half time job to use this tool to the fullest.

google is part of the triangle: your webproperty, the users, google search

your ressources are better invested into these three areas (analytics, webmaster tools, google recommendations) than in a third party with its own interest i.e.: selling tools


>a third party with its own interest

You say that as if Google don't have their own interests: encouraging more people to spend on Adwords, sending more clicks to sites using Adsense, sending more clicks to their own properties, encouraging more people to use Google Analytics.

Google don't want to send traffic to your site, they want to sell ads.


It has. Their software is not bad to be honest, a lot of SEOs think Moz is the be all end all but they aren't. There is a ton of hate for them as well which is unjust considering how much they've contributed to the industry.


i hear this quite often

>considering how much they've contributed to the industry.

SEO is single most hated online discipline and Moz is the market leader.


Can't argue with this really. We're viewed as the used car salesman of the Internet. In fact the majority of us who work for larger brands and don't engage in black hat stuff are really just multi-disciplined online marketers. SEO is dead, long live SEO.


wow who moved your chease I have seen obvious penalty's on major properties (global 500 publisher) that had no message in GWT.


as i said, i'm doing a wittgenstein here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein

in the public discourse every poor performance is a "penalty" so this word has lost all it's meaning.

if your site is preforming poor (your desired state of traffic != the traffic you have) you do not - per se - have a penalty. if everything is a penalty, nothing is a penalty.

on SEO blogs everything is a penalty, sometimes with %stupid cute animal name here% prefix. this nomenclature really should not spread over to this otherwise great forum.




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