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Riiiight. Because when one person from the spam team leaves then, you know, Google decides that spam isn't an issue and publishers can rejoice. I mean, when your boss goes on vacation you just sit there at the keyboard and play Candy Crush instead of writing. If Starbuck's CEO takes a holiday then all the milk in your lattes gets burnt to hell. Makes perfect sense.

Or perhaps that's not what you're insinuating and that's just the catchy page view title that allows for a weak segue to let a bunch of "publishers" whine about Google being mean. These "publishers" (and it's in quotes because it's hard to take any of this seriously with the tinfoil hat cloak and dagger stuff) simply need to take a hard look at things and get to work. 

If the amount of time spent whining and looking for conspiracy theories was spent, you know, actually making your sites (or your posts about search) better, then we'd all be better off. The truth is no one likes it when their baby is called ugly. But sometimes, they are.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Webspam, is going on indefinite leave. Publishers likely won’t miss him


@Quintain There are a number of ways you can claim Authorship. You can follow the methods laid out on the Google Authorship page ( or use the 'old school' methods I've laid out (

While my method does require a bit more code knowledge it's not overwhelmingly tough and it's the most stable of all methods.

2 years, 3 months ago on How Google Author Rank could change content marketing… and journalism


@Touch Point Digital There just aren't as many tangible benefits right now with rel=publisher and the requirements have changed since it was first introduced. So adoption has been much lower. But you're right, there's no reason why sites shouldn't implement it.

2 years, 3 months ago on How Google Author Rank could change content marketing… and journalism


@AndrewCross The original Agent Rank patent and subsequent updates all note that authority would be gained through multiple sources. 

The crux of the problem at present is confidence in identity. The patent talks about a portable digital signature which ... clearly hasn't come to fruition yet. 

Google+ allows them to verify identity easily (and it's also the reason they didn't really relent on the pseudonyms issue). However, Google has been mapping other social profiles and associating them, in particular Twitter and Flickr. I'm guessing Foursquare will be another target now that full names are being exposed. 

Reposting your blogs to Google+ probably won't help much since Author Rank will be calculated by looking at the engagement on your content across platforms. Mind you, it won't hurt you to do so but the Google+ Activity API makes it clear that they're interested in who shares your content and how far it goes. 

The tip of the iceberg can be seen by looking at Ripples:

2 years, 3 months ago on How Google Author Rank could change content marketing… and journalism


@Touch Point Digital You should use the rel=publisher tag to claim your brand page. The benefits of rel=publisher haven't yet been fully realized. The more robust search presentations upon rollout of Google+ have disappeared. 

The rel=publisher is another form of identity and verification. That's important now. In the future, the Author Rank of authors may roll up to publishers and the popularity/authority of the publisher may trickle down to authors. 

In short, if you're future-proofing your efforts, implement both.

2 years, 3 months ago on How Google Author Rank could change content marketing… and journalism


There's a little bit of nuance here between the difference between Authorship, Author Rank and Google+ Personalization.

At the outset of the Authorship program, Google stated the following:

We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results.

Claiming Authorship allows you to have the head shot photo in search results (i.e. - highlight authors) which has proven to increase the clickthrough rate on those results. But Author Rank, the ranking of search results based on the expertise and authority of that author in that topic has not yet been implemented, but is clearly one of their goals.

That shouldn't be confused with the Search+ (I don't use that silly long form name of the feature) personalized results that is based on your Google+ circle behavior. So, if you were to Circle Pando Daily (you know, if they had a brand page) on Google+ then your logged-in personalizes searches would bubble Pando Daily stories further up in results. That's insanely powerful yet most (still) overlook this opportunity.

Here's my original write-up on Author Rank for those interested in learning more.

2 years, 3 months ago on How Google Author Rank could change content marketing… and journalism


I think the revenue opportunity is pretty straight-forward if you understand that Google Now is a context aware personalized predictive search platform. 

The 'How Old is Ian McKellen?' type of queries are simply Knowledge Graph results and are not the dominant query pattern on Google Now. It's about maps and directions which come loaded with revenue opportunities. It's about leveraging your searches and surfacing relevant content (results and ads) based on those searches. The new Google Research card shows where this might lead.

And if you connect Google Now to Google Offers and Wallet you can easily drive foot traffic into any  number of local businesses in a self-contained ecosystem that Google controls. 

But as has been mentioned I think they're not too concerned about monetization at present. They need people to use Google Now and then ... then when it hits critical mass they can begin to play with and refine the advertising options.

2 years, 3 months ago on Google Now: “That’s great, but how is Google going to pay for it?”


The problem isn't Prop 30. The problem is Prop 13 is the third rail of politics. If we simply modified (and largely undid) Prop 13 then we wouldn't have quite the mess we have today.


Yet, when most discuss Prop 13 people reflexively go to the 'don't raise my taxes bro!' and talk about how you hate the elderly. So, you can't really have your cake and eat it too.


Prop 30 doesn't bother me much though there's a chance I'll pay more this year. Prop 13 does bother me for the plain fact that it doesn't make much sense and artificially grays most communities.


In short, Prop 30 makes some sense because it's a pretty logical graduated income tax. Prop 13 makes little sense because people are paying property taxes based on a purchase price from 20-30 years ago. 

2 years, 5 months ago on Proposition 30: Yet another way California screws entrepreneurs over


I absolutely love this piece. I simply can't stand the type of marketing-by-committee that is described above.


It's frustrating and at the heart of it is this notion that everyone is equally good at whatever is being discussed, whether that's marketing or design or product. This isn't some Harrison Bergeron society. Some people are better at these things than others and they should be allowed to ... be awesome.


I'm not saying that a dialog isn't valuable but too many times I've been told to find a way to incorporate the feedback from an executive even though it was an absolutely dismal idea. 


For good or for bad I just can't do that. I'll take good ideas from wherever I can get them but I'm equally happy to tell you that your idea sucks. 


Will I be right every time? No. But my wins will be bigger and I'll learn a lot more from my losses because they'll be MY losses.

2 years, 7 months ago on Committees: A Great Source of Terrible Marketing


I completely agree that the Pinterest UX may have a greater impact or outlast Pinterest itself. But I don't think Pinterest were the ones to come up with it, they were just the most successful in making it mainstream.


The New York Times Skimmer ( and interfaces like LazyFeed ( pre-date Pinterest. 


The question, though, whether this is a new paradigm based on the expanded abilities of our computers (browser speed, internet speed, mobile, tablets etc.) or if this is just the cyclical nature of things. As Heidi Klum might say, 'One day you're in, the next you're out.'


I like the interface in some ways but I haven't really seen someone make a lasting business out of it ... yet. And as you allude to, UX alone might not be a business model.



2 years, 7 months ago on The Great Pinterestification: How Pinterest’s Design Legacy Might Trump the Company Itself


 @HathawayP Sorry to have commented and run off. I'm actually on vacation and we were off to Legoland. I'm just now back which means I'm absolutely dusted. But I wanted to jump back in to add to the dialog.


So, it would be nice if Google were more specific about which links were the offending ones, particularly after you've made a concerted effort to remove a whole bunch of links already.


A lot of the chatter (even from Google) is that it takes a certain percentage of the bad links to get that penalty removed. It probably differs by site to some degree and I'm thinking it's probably a ratio of bad to good to a degree but again, it would be interested to have a visual gauge that you had 15% of the bad links left until you were sprung from Penguin jail.


But at the end of the day I think this type of penalty is meant to hurt. It's meant to push companies to be more inquisitive about who they're hiring. And it scares a lot of companies from even thinking about engaging with the rank-high-quick type of SEO shops. 


I don't have an answer on your question about how to determine a good SEO company from bad except that a company should be doing a lot of homework on it. 


I try to tell people that if they had a local Yogurt shop and someone came and said they could drive a ton of foot traffic and that every other Yogurt shop in the tri-state area (if you have kids you get that) won't stand a chance, well, you'd probably think they were full of it, right? So, the Internet isn't that different.


In some ways Penguin forces companies to really ask hard questions. I think that's good. Will some get burned still? Sure. And that does suck. But that's when you truly can and should include that in your reconsideration request. While many won't believe it, there are people (good ones too believe me) who read them and are willing to listen.


What's difficult for you @HathawayP is that you're really dealing with the sins of your predecessor and so your job is doubly hard in trying to undo the harm while building the good at the same time. Here's the silver-lining, you're getting a tremendous amount of awesome experience. 

2 years, 7 months ago on The Dark Knight Rises: How Being Bruce Wayne is Not Enough to Save Gotham


I should add that I have great admiration for @HathawayP in sharing this story.

2 years, 7 months ago on The Dark Knight Rises: How Being Bruce Wayne is Not Enough to Save Gotham


 @markba55 I think most of the stuff lumped into Penguin is clearly bad. It may have worked for a while but it was always sketchy. And it was tough to see competitors win doing the bad stuff while you lost doing the good stuff. I get that. But to claim it wasn't bad ... I'm not sold on that. 

2 years, 7 months ago on The Dark Knight Rises: How Being Bruce Wayne is Not Enough to Save Gotham


I empathize with your situation but, ultimately, I don't sympathize. I know that won't win me a lot of popularity contests but there it is. Because isn't this how it's supposed to be in the real world? You don't get to just undo the bad stuff you've done in the past so quickly or easily.


Why shouldn't business owners be held accountable for those they hire? This would be like saying you shouldn't ensure your contractor got the right permits before doing work on your house. 


And if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, right? Yet, many just wanted to whistle by that particular graveyard. Now that the chickens have come home to roost, now they suddenly care? I'm not saying that's you personally but just a general observation.


How many years did these companies benefit from these activities at the expense of others who did not? Years in many cases. Yet we're getting grumpy that things haven't turned around in a few months. We're upset that we have to work (hard) to earn back that reputation.


Now, I get that it's wickedly difficult to undo what I call these zombie links. I'm not sure how to handle that. But there's simply a bit of personal or ... corporate responsibility at play here. I originally liked the idea of a disavow tool but have changed my mind. Because all that would do is allow businesses to attempt corner cutting and when it goes awry call a mulligan and start over. 


I'll stop now so you can all tell me how heartless I am :)

2 years, 7 months ago on The Dark Knight Rises: How Being Bruce Wayne is Not Enough to Save Gotham


@deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis Yes, there is a lot of untapped opportunity in personalized search. (Allergic avoidance, I like that.)

Unfortunately, now they have to deal with folks like Eli Pariser telling them that personalization is evil. Though to be fair, I wouldn't mind more transparency on when and how my searches are personalized.

As for authorship, you're right about the need for wider usage and adoption. Google is very interested in this, having already streamlined the rel="author" markup and making it relatively clear than they equate authorship with trust.

I believe they're already thinking of creating their own home grown influence metric but are probably using Klout and PeerIndex as potential control numbers. I'd welcome a more ... nuanced application of influence.

It'll be interesting to see where it all leads.

3 years, 8 months ago on Google+ Is the Social Network That’s All About Search


While I agree that G+ is largely about ensuring the continuing sustainability of search and advertising, I think the goal goes beyond just personalization.

Clearly, G+ gives Google a primary source of social data. If it succeeds they'll no longer have to rely on Twitter and Facebook for this vital piece of the puzzle.

Personalized search will be the short-term benefactor, but Google seems hesitant to radically change the rankings on search results based on your social graph. No doubt it'll increase the amount of personalization but we're not getting completely different results on searches based on this signal.

I think the more interesting play for search is on identity and the potential for AuthorRank.

The Internet is bursting at the seems with an explosion of digital content. Much of it is ... not very good. Google has a GIGO problem.

Google needs a better way to sift through and determine quality in an age where content can be produced and distributed with such ease.

Instead of going from the document level and building up, what if you used an ‘author’ filter? Google’s Panda update created an A and B pile for site quality. Google could do the same for author quality.

To me, this is the long-term goal of G+, to understand the reputation and influence of content creators (which includes comments) and use that to better inform search results.

3 years, 8 months ago on Google+ Is the Social Network That’s All About Search