Joe Friedlein is the founder of Browser Media, a UK based search engine marketing agency.
Browser Media has been the victim of a Google penalty which has seen its pages almost disappear from the SERPs.
I've been asking Joe about the possible reasons for the penalty and his frustration at the Kafkaesque nature of Google's (non)communication with webmasters.
Can you ever have too much of a good thing? According to Google, the answer is 'yes' when it comes to SEO.
In the past couple of years, the search giant has made a concerted effort to improve the quality of its index.
The measures taken are wide-ranging, from updates targeting content farms to the more recently announced penalty for pages with too many ads.
Now Google is apparently set to take its efforts one step further by targeting pages and sites it deems have been over-optimised.
Google doesn't like paid links, sponsored posts and low-quality content.
So it was quite surprising, and embarrassing, to learn this week that Google was associated with all three in an apparent effort to promote its web browser, Chrome.
That left Google with little ability but to respond and explain itself. And yesterday it did just that.
Google might be paying big bucks to Mozilla to be Firefox's default search provider, but its own browser Chrome is now by some counts more popular globally than Firefox itself.
Chalk it up to a good product, and Google's improved ability to market its wares to mainstream consumers.
But is Google also using questionable tactics to promote Chrome? Surprisingly, the answer may be yes.
Yesterday was Mother's Day, but the flower companies that cash in on special occasions apparently weren't just delivering flowers to mom.
According to the New York Times, Teleflora, FTD, 1800Flowers and ProFlowers were busy delivering paid links to Google in an effort to boost their rankings.
After the New York Times unearthed J.C Penney’s unethical link building practices and Google responded by manually penalising the companies search engine rankings last week, black hat SEO has been thrown into the spotlight once again.
What kind of knock on effect could this really have for SEO in 2011? Could 2011 be the year white hat prevails over black hat link buying?
I don't provide SEO services these days, but every once in a while, a friend or associate asks for some advice. I usually respond with the same high-level (and somewhat useless) stuff: structure your pages and internal links well, produce great content, execute a strategy to acquire high-quality, relevant backlinks and don't worry so much about the things you can't control. But more and more, I've become inclined to ask "Do you really want to know?"
While I've never been under the illusion that blackhat SEO was 'defeated', I've become increasingly resigned to the idea that it's far worse than most of us can imagine and Google just doesn't care as much as it says it does.
It's late at night and you're driving along the highway in your brand new Rolls Royce Phantom that sports the license plate 'BEST SEO'. All of a sudden you see the flashing lights behind you. You were driving the limit. You know you were obeying the rules of the road. What gives?
You've just been pulled over by the Google Patrol and it's pretty obvious that you aren't guilty of anything other than being a high-profile SEO.