tony spencer » Google It's Just Links Sat, 19 Oct 2013 14:31:31 +0000 hourly 1 A feature that Yahoo has that I wish Google had: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 13:13:30 +0000 tony can't spell

Google sometimes I know better than you and want to see results without you thinking for me.

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Google Crawling HTML Forms IS Harmful to Your Rankings Tue, 03 Jun 2008 18:39:14 +0000 tony A couple of months ago Google officially announced it would be “exploring some HTML forms to try to discover new web pages“. I imagine more than a few SEO’s were baffled by this decision as was I but were probably not too concerned about the decision as Google promised us all “this change doesn’t reduce PageRank for your other pages” and would only increase your exposure in the engines.

During the month of April I began to notice a lot of our internal search pages were not only indexed but outranking the relevant pages for a user’s query. For instance, if you Googled “SubConscious Subs” the first page to appear in the SERP’s would be something like:

rather than the page for the establishment:

This wasn’t just a random occurrence. It was happening a lot and in addition to the landing pages being far less relevant for the user, they weren’t optimized for the best placement in the search engines so they were appearing in position #20 instead of say position #6. These local search pages even had pagerank usually between 2 and 3.

Hmm, Just How Bad is This Problem

Eventually I began to realize how often I was running into this in Google, noticed my recent, slow, decline in traffic and it occurred to me this may be a real problem. I’ve never linked to any local search pages on and I couldn’t see that anyone else had either. I queried to find out how many search pages Google had indexed:

Google submits forms

Whoa. 5,000+ pages of junk in the index with pagerank. I slept on it for a night, got up the next morning and plugged in

Disallow: /ads/search?q=*

in robots.txt (and threw in a meta robots noindex on those pages for safe measure). Within a week we saw a big improvement in rankings due to properly optimized pages trumping crap and traffic is up 25% since the change and back to trending upwards weekly instead of stagnant, slow decline.

Get outta here!

Bit of Advice

The robots.txt disallow works but it is slow to remove the URL’s from Google’s index. I added the meta noindex tag to the search pages a week later and saw much faster results.

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Duplicate Content *Can* Penalize Mon, 04 Feb 2008 21:00:50 +0000 tony duplicate contentFor some time now I’ve been telling clients and friends that publishing duplicate content will not cause you to receive a penalty but that Google will only choose one version of a unique piece of content that it believes to be the authority and refuse to allow other copies to be indexed. So if you publish a copy of one of my blog posts, Google will likely allow my original copy to rank but yours won’t be found.

I think I’ve discovered that enough duplicate content can actually do harm to a domain.

I had an old site we’ll call I was publishing fresh, unique, well written content there several times a day. would always enjoy nice rankings for the content published there and new content was indexed quickly. I had always intended to eventually 301 redirect all of’s pages to which would be hosting identical content. Past experience tells me that the 301 will cause all of’s backlinks and authority to transfer over to and within days I’d see the new site perform nearly as well as the old site’s.

Now here is the mistake I made: some time ago I setup to mirror (for some offline promotional reasons). I had zero backlinks to but it was crawled and indexed anyway. Obviously it was 100% duplicate content and nothing but duplicate content. But I didn’t worry too much about it. The day came to 301 redirect and within days the traffic plummeted. Its been several weeks and no recovery has happened.

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Google Adwords Testing Icons Next to Ads? Wed, 12 Dec 2007 21:15:06 +0000 tony Weirdness. I’ve never seen clipart next to Adwords in the SERPs but look at these funky Christmas tree icons next to the ads when searching for NC LLC Department:

adwords icons

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Google Street View is Coming to Raleigh Sun, 19 Aug 2007 16:27:51 +0000 tony On my way home Friday I found myself behind one of the Immersive Media cars that I assume was scanning streets in Raleigh for Google Street View. These are crap photos but my camera on my phone is crap. The Beetle had across the back window and Oregon plates.

Horrible screen capture from video
google streetview car

Then he elluded me with a quick U-turn but managed to get one more shot
google streetview car

This is what the car looks like (not my photo)
google streetview car

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Now Google’s Breaking 301’s! Thu, 23 Mar 2006 17:04:34 +0000 Tony Aaron just IM’d me about some weirdness he was seeing in the SERP’s. He had a site that was 301ing the to The problem was that Google was indexing the 301 page! I had never seen this before but a quick query found many more. Is BidDaddy broke?

Google query to find some of the indexed 301’s

And check out #1 position for this query:

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Google Ceiling Fan! Wed, 08 Mar 2006 20:50:20 +0000 Tony I was in K-Mart today getting some keys copied and saw the new Google ceiling fans that just hit the market!

Google Ceiling Fan

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BigDaddy is Live Wed, 25 Jan 2006 16:08:22 +0000 Tony We are seeing BigDaddy live on now. It appears to be a true rollout as its showing up on far more datacenters than ever before. According to Mike its live on these IP’s:

Lets hope it sticks!

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Google in Raleigh speculation seems unlikely now Mon, 09 Jan 2006 15:34:47 +0000 Tony The speculation that Google had visited the Raleigh/Triangle area in a possible move to open a location in the area was recently followed up by Andy discovering that Google had held a recruiting session with computer science students at NCSU.

An inquiry over at The Wolf Web suggests that Google was only here to recruit new grads for existing locations outside of NC.

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Is Google Coming to Raleigh, NC? Tue, 29 Nov 2005 14:23:59 +0000 Tony Last week Andy Beal reported on a rumor/story that Google was looking to establish an office in RTP. Andy speculates that Google could be looking to acquire Scot Wingo’s successful ChannelAdvisor. Arrgghh! Maybe I should have taken Scot’s offer to come in for a interview last year. :)

Google in RaleighThe story continued when a local Raleigh blogger reported that Google had a jet parked at RDU for several days last week. Suffering from post Thanksgiving lack of motivation yesterday I called the largest private hangar at RDU, posed as a reporter and asked about the jet. She had no idea what I was talking about. So in continuing with my theme of avoiding the code I needed to be writing I spoke with that local blogger yesterday and he confirmed that the jet was indeed from Google and was parked at Raleigh International but he didn’t know if it was still here. (I seriously considered driving over to find out for myself and to wrap up the day with only 15 minutes of meaningful work).

Maybe Google will attempt to set up shop in Raleigh and keep it a big secret like they have done in Georgia. Or maybe they are just looking for a Raleigh parking lot to setup one of their new mobile data centers. Hey Larry and Sergey, I have a big parking lot here on Six Forks road and I’ll even run you some ethernet down from my office. :)

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