The culture of sharing (or shooting yourself in the foot)

September 21st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m setting up a blog for work and have to balance what I need and want with what the IT department will let me install on their servers. Ths means that not only am I looking at different blogging software, but where to place the blog as well – on a subdomain or in a subfolder.

There’s advantages and disadvantages to both, it’s a case of weighing up the pros and cons and deciding what’s most important to you and your requirements.

What makes me despair is the amount of comments on SEO blogs that are from, supposedly, SEO-ers, that go “I have an n website, should I do x or y?” I’m presuming the majority of these comments are from real people as they either link to real websites, or don’t have a backlink at all (and what’s the point of comment spam without a link it?)

So are there really that many people, that are so dense as to think an SEO professional is going to give out free advice about a situation they know nothing about? But then if they’re reduced to cold-asking advice in comments then maybe that’s the level they deserve to be at – shouting into the ether “WHAT’S HAPPENING? WHY WON’T ANYONE HELP ME?!”

Which also brings me to the SEO blogs themselves. I’ve been gently reading SEO blogs for a while now and there is a lot of bullshit out there, why are these guys, that are all competing against each other, sharing all their secrets?

If You Review the SEO Tools That Give You A Competitive Advantage…
You have no competitive advantage if you tell everyone that you’re using JUMBO SEO JELLY BEANS that bring in 5 links a day, 15 organic search visitors, and improve conversions by 5%.

All those people telling you “great post!” will go sign up for those tools and use them. They will either learn that you’re an idiot who can’t tell a cheap smarmy SEO spam tool from a hair brush or they will gradually erode your market advantage by creeping into your SERPs and telling all THEIR friends and readers about how great the tool is. Either way, you lose, your clients lose, and you end up looking really damn stupid because you gave away a competitive advantage for the sake of attracting a handful of links, LIKES, TWEETS, PINS, and other ridiculously over-valued social media shares.

It’s not like a closed-shop conference where one professional is is comparing techniques with another. These are supposedly industry techniques that earn the SEO-er money. I might have a chat with a car mechanic in a pub about fixing brakes but I wouldn’t expect a car mechanic to teach me how to fix my brakes, on someone elses car, for nothing. That’s exactly what these guys are doing. For anyone that asks. Except, the more brakes I fix doesn’t diminish the mechanics ability to fix brakes. If everyone could fix their own brakes, the manufacturers aren’t going to suddenly decide that brakes need redesigning with the consequence that everyone needs to relearn how to fix brakes. But that’s what happens in SEO.

For any technique that raises a website among the SERPS, the more widely it is used there are two effects:

  1. The effect is diluted.
  2. The more unnatural the SERPS become.

The more widely used a technique is used, the less it has an effect because if everyone uses it, everyone has the same advantage. If everyone has the same advantage, there is no advantage.

The SERPS start becoming unnatural because it becomes less about the content and relevancy and more about how you can manipulate things to show your page for a keyword, regardless of the context of that keyword. That’s when the search providers have to step in and try to make the SERPS relevant again.

You might say that last bit is bullshit, you don’t want to rank for *everything* to do with a keyword, but you do. Just in case…

Let’s take chocolate. You sell chocolate bunnies. A someone searches for chocolate bears. They’re specifically searching chocolate bears, not chocolate animals, or just chocolate. Just from the search terms you know they want one thing – Chocolate. Bears.

You still want to rank high up in the SERPS. Front page at least. Above the fold is ideal, though. You shouldn’t be anywhere in the SERPS though. You’re chocolate bunnies. Completely wrong species. Or in other words, irrelevant.

But you still want to rank because what if the user hadn’t thought of chocolate bunnies…? That’s fine, you’ve made a sale. You’ve made yourself relevant. You’re an anomaly. Big deal. But if everyone does it, the SERPS are going to be a mess and no one is going to be able to find a thing. You’ve lost your magic touch even before the search providers reset they’re algorithm.

Why would you do that? Make someone re-write the rule book that you’ve only just started to understand?

Maybe the commenters aren’t so dumb after all…

I need a wordpress theme

August 31st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I wonder if I could trouble you for some suggestions for a WordPress theme, please?

I’m not very good at getting into the code of themes so I need a theme that is very easily modified. It is for a work project I am doing in my own time and just need to be able to knock up a working mock up that has the same style as our existing website. I doesn’t need to be exact, just good enough to illustrate how the final version would look.

what I need is:

  • to be able to put a full width image in the header
  • links across the top, just underneath the header image. These links need to be anchored with images.
  • The links down the left hand sidebar are to be images.
  • A full width image in the footer.
  • It needs to be free. I have no budget, and probably won’t get one with the final version either.

As I say, I’m not up to digging into the code of the style sheet or templates to start changing widths and placements etc of elements so the easier to modify the better. I know a little about coding, but in reality that translates to next to nothing.

Any suggestions would be welcome and can offer nothing in return except some gratitude and a little bit of link-love (for what that’s worth from this little ol’ site here).

Thank you.

Who do you trust?

August 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Can I just congratulate Paul Staines on a recent-ish appointment.

The alter ego (and what a fucking ego) of Guido Fawkes is running Messagespace

Staines is founder of the Guido Fawkes blog Order-Order and also runs the MessageSpace network which sells ads across around 30 political blogs.

It wasn’t too long ago that Messagespace were denying any connection between them and Paul…

The official line is that; “Paul Staines is neither a shareholder, director or employee of MessageSpace and never has been.”

But for some reason they both had access to each others sites. It was alleged that Paul was hosting stolen images on the Messagespace site and Jag Singh of Messagespace offered to remove alleged lies and smears from …

Read that bit again; Jag Singh offered to log into the website and delete these comments himself!

Why would Jag do that on order-order and how would Paul be able to host stuff on messagespace if they have nothing to do with each other?

I know peoples’ circumstances change, and Paul may have joined the top team at Messagespace in the last two years, but after that, would you trust them?

So, Huffington Post or Messagespace? Would you rather be fucked in the arse or the eye?

ht Tim

On linking out

August 5th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Robert Sharp is correct

Linking out, regardless of whether you agree with the person you”re linking to, should be the standard for blogging, just as it is for academia. It is the link to sources which gives the work credibility.

In contrast, anonymous gossip disguised as lobby reporting is one of the reasons why there is so little trust in journalists at the moment (a topic discussed at the recent POLIS journalism conference, where I asked a panel of spin doctors and hacks whether the press should abolish anonymous sources)… and the fact that a tabloid does not have to cite its sources is one of the reasons why #Hackgate could happen.

This goes back to the dilema of not giving your opponents publicity or letting your readers see the source of your anger/opposing arguement so they can judge for themselves how justified your view is.

In the case of the Daily Mail and other tabloid sites there is (sorry if I’m beginning to sound like a cheerleader) which caches the page and reduces to the hit count of visitors to the page, doesn’t show the adverts that are on the original and doesn’t show up in search results.

For others the only choice you have, that I know of, is to use the “nofollow” tag in the hyperlink. The target page still gets the visitor hits as your reader visits the page but search engines do not count the link and so using the “nofollow” tag will not help the target page rise up through the SERP rankings.

A link using the “nofollow” tag looks like this when you’re writing your post…

<a href="" rel=”nofollow”>anchor text</a>

(The “nofollow” tag is in bold, if you couldn’t see it)

I’m sorry if this is teaching you to suck eggs, but there really is no excuse for not linking to source material, unless it really is dispicable content you’re writing about.

C’mon, we’re better than that, aren’t we?

Paul Dacre must di…

June 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

A couple of links.

Angry Mob – Abuse and Defamation

Angry Mob receives a Nasty-O-Gram from the lawyers of Associated Newspapers.

Ministry of Truth – Daily Mail threatens media blogger with libel action over two year old article

Unity casts an over over the blog post in question and the letter sent to the hosting company.

Needless to say, neither the Daily Mail or Paul Dacre, come out smelling of roses.

comment *still* not published

February 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

To: The Cornerstone Group
From: Sim-O
Subject: blogpost comment
Date: 18/02/2011


On Tuesday 15th of this month I left a comment on this post

Where is it?

What’s the point in having moderated comments if no one is going to check for comments and approve them?

I’m presuming that is what has happened, as opposed to someone seeing it and deciding not to publish it.


thinks on links

January 26th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

This is how I should blog…

You all know how to use the internet. I will always attribute original content, but I will not spend my precious time googling every potential reader query. I’m the writer, you’re the reader. If you here on Rational Geekery, I assume a level of understanding of the subjects I write about (or at least, you have the competence to use a search engine).

Maybe then I would blog more rather than fucking about trying to foolproof my posts (I get usually get so far then get bored/distracted/confused/lose the will to live and give up).


January 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

You know when you want to post but nothing comes to mind? Well. This is one of those posts. I seem to be in a bit of a rut. Apathy, is a close friend at the moment. That and lack of time.

Nothing seems to get my goat, except for other drivers, who by their very nature are only allowed on the road to piss me off, and a very good job of it they’re doing too.

So, anyway. How have you been? Have you seen Anton’s being made redundant. Shitty business that is, usually. Full of fear and self-questioning. Not everyone can see being pushed out of a job as an opportunity. It can hurt. It’s different if you’ve made the decision yourself to move on. You’ve prepared yourself. You might still be going into the unknown, but it’s been your decision not somebody else making that decision for you. From his post, Anton seems to have taken it well. Which is good. As one of his commenter said…

If this blog is any guide, you’re a good bloke with a good brain and you’ll find your way.

Matt Frei has been presenting Newsnight this week, hasn’t he. It doesn’t suit him. He’s ok as a correspondent, but not as the anchor. Something about his delivery when talking to the camera, I think.

Here’s a weird ‘un for you. The Express has an article up about how white pupils are dumbers compared to kids from other ethnic groups. What’s weird about it is that it’s fairly balanced. The first part just lists the percentage of kids from different ethnic groups in that get five or more good GCSEs by town and city. No snarking or insinuations, just the figures. The second part refers to ‘experts’ and names one of them who actually, according to my lazy Googling, seems to actually be an expert. I’m fucked if I know why the Express has taken a quote from this chap, he’s only blaming poverty and not race or multiculturalism or political correctness. The prof says it’s to do with lack of aspiration, un-educated parents and unemployment. He has offered this opinion with out an anonymous counter arguement appearing in the article either. Yeah. Weird, huh?

I went for a bike ride on Saturday morning. Me and a couple of friends did an organised mountain bike event. It was bloody hard. We did the medium route, 26 miles, in just under 4 hours. I’m bloody pleased with that. It’s the first time I’ve done something like that. The hills were steep and it was really muddy, as you’d expect for January. Some of those other guys are amazing. Flying up these steep muddy hills on bikes that looked like they’d dragged out the bottom of a river. Awesome. If you’re interested here’s the results (.xls) and the medium route is in yellow (click to enlarge)

Well, I think that’s about it for this braindump.


Tim Ireland: Still getting shafted by Conservatives

September 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Since Tim Ireland uncovered that the source for a front page Sun story about a muslim hit-list was the very same chap who posted the idea on a muslim forum, whilst pretending to be a muslim, Tim has had his name dragged through the mud with despicable smears, had personal information published all over the place on the net, been threatened with physical violence and had any plea for help from the very people able to put a stop to it fall on deaf ears. All by Conservatives, or associates of Conservatives.

Well, it’s just got worse

Recently, someone involved in this ongoing campaign of harassment began publishing material targeting my wife, my children, and other members of my extended family.

This has included false accusations aimed at my kids, making specific allegations of criminal behaviour that are not only entirely untrue, but extremely damaging (and, it must be said, upsetting).

His bloody kids.

One of those involved is Iain Dale, who just tweeted

Hurrah. Am connected to the internet on my iPad. Praise be to Allah. Wonder what to do now….

How much of a fucking clue do you need, Iain?

Tory approved

March 27th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

The Tories, eh? Nice and shiny and caring and nice and not nasty at all.

If they are as nice as they want to make us believe, then why are there so many shits on their approved blogger list?

Here’s another one from that list…

Apart from the outrageously high number of eastern Europeans who have flooded the city in the past few years, Peterborough is now an almost unrecognisable shadow of it’s former self. I happened to go into the city centre yesterday – the first time in around 4 months. As I walked down the street there were literally no English accents to be heard – and I mean not one. Groups of foreign ‘youths’ filed past the Cathedral, once resting place to Mary Queen of Scots, spitting on the newly laid block paving and chucking cigarette butts on the ground. For the first time I actually felt nervous and frankly rather scared to walk around a city I once called home.

‘Youths’? Wtf with the scare-quotes? Either they were young enough to be called youths or they weren’t. Unless they were old foreigners pretending to be youths. More likely, ‘youths’ is only the official word for them. We all know what they really are, don’t we? *winks knowingly*

And their dirty bastards, too, these ‘youths’. Fancy spitting, on new paving blocks as well! You’d never catch one of those nice Peterborough lads spitting, would you? They’re all brought up nice and proper like. Peterborough lads, when they’re smoking in the street put their fags out in the palm of their hands and put the dog end in a bin, or their pocket if a bin in not in the immediate vicinity.

TT titles her post ‘Labours migrant swan slayers’ but there is nothing about swan killing in the post, so by implication, every East European is tarred as a rabid swan muncher. Even though, the eating of swans is, well, bollox. (I will admit, though, I bet they are fucking tasty.)

No wonder Tory Totty felt nervous and scared. Probably worried about opening her mouth and revealing what shit she is.

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