Eric Ward And Sergey Brin Are Best Friends And Why Google Needs Help

by TheMadHat on December 19, 2007

First things first. Yes that headline was a joke. No I don’t really think that. No this isn’t an Eric Ward post. So let’s move on from my link factors post as it has nothing to do with this one…other than the total linkbait title.

I noticed on Monday of this week (4 days after my last post) that after over a year of blogging, naturally building quality links, providing Google with plenty of content, not using any black hat techniques (only talking about them), decent subscriber numbers (for me at least) and my blog just got tanked. The DP tools would call it the sandbox, some would call it tripping a spam filter, the tin foil wearing people would call it a Google conspiracy, and I would call it…well I’m not really sure. I don’t think it was any of those things but then again I can’t explain it. Maybe Eric called up Google to punish me ;)

Let’s look at some examples.

* themadhat – find the white rabbit – clearly I should rank first for this. Clearly my blog is the most relevant for that search. Even in quotes I’m not first. Let’s see what’s in front of me:

    My BlogCatalog page
    MyBlogLog Page
    My StumbleUpon page
    My Bumpzee page
    My ozmozr page
    My Blogflux page
    A Technorati page
    My Jaiku page
    Some scraper shitbag SEO company
    My mobitype feed page
    Another ozmozr page – the feed this time
    My Technorati profile
    THEN MY BLOG – #14 BABY – WTF?

So I’m in the middle of writing this post, and I see that Sugarrae has been bitch slapped for a long time. She ran a little test from my Monkey Balls post to see if she could jump ahead of me. Clearly her blog should rank above mine as she has much more authority (at least to me and everyone but Google apparently) and she’s got lots more high quality links, but as you can see, last week I was sitting at #1 for that.

Google Likes Monkey Balls

Today? #43. I’m sure there are 41 more relevant pages discussing Monkey Balls SEO out there. (PS: Thanks Rae for the pics, I didn’t have visual evidence before that).

Let’s take a look at how my blog is optimized internally. I don’t spend all that much time on it because frankly it doesn’t make me any money, but I did do the important things. All the proper SEO plugins are in use. I avoid duplicate content by properly by using nofollow on my archive links, I properly redirect non-www to www, I only use snippets on the category pages. I didn’t miss anything big that would cause penalties.

Things that might cause algorithmic penalties. Don’t sell links and I never have. Don’t do paid reviews or paid posts and never have (there’s a button on my about page because I’m lazy and haven’t taken it off, but it goes through a noindexed javascript redirect Google wouldn’t be able to follow anyway). Don’t conduct any link spamming on this blog. Don’t buy links for this blog. Don’t do any weird redirects. I do redirect other domains here ( and a few others, but they are all legitimate).

I have plenty more examples but essentially I tanked on everything. Rae listed three things that could have happened to her, and I added a couple.

  • 1. Google doesn’t know its head from its ass
  • 2. Someone at Google dislikes me on a personal level
  • 3. I’m penalized or devalued – collateral damage from some spam filter
  • 4. Eric Ward made a phone call / pushed his destroy button / link bowled me (I don’t really think so, but the timing was ironic)
  • 5. Matt Cutts is an evil alien (no, that didn’t make sense, it was my obligatory matt link)

Matt CuttsSo all that being said…WTF Google? It isn’t that big of a deal as I don’t particularly get all that much traffic from search anyway and this blog isn’t monetized, but come on Google. The only explanation out of the above list is Google doesn’t know its head from its ass. I don’t see how or what kind of penalty I could have tripped, and I’m not doing anything bad that could get me a manual penalty. #5 it is then. Greetings earthlings.

PS: Sorry to Rae, I was really half-way through this post…and not meaning to copy when I saw yours. Let’s just call it a Sugarrae rules the earth backup post :)

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SEO Bozo Box December 19, 2007 at 3:06 pm

Not to be a jackass, hehe get it? BUT you are being given even better rankings from Google.


“find the white rabbit”

Who is #1 for that phrase? You are!

Looks like Google not only found you, they found the white rabbit and pulled it out of the friggin’ hat!

*goes back to beating drum with stick believing he can make rain*


TheMadHat December 19, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Take out the quotes.

find the white rabbit

My BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog pages are ranked before me, and that just shouldn’t be. Some of the exact match queries are still returning what they were before.

SEO Bozo Box December 19, 2007 at 4:14 pm

Yes true but just watch, over a period of weeks/months as you build more content/get more incoming links those feeder links will drop out of the index and who will then be number #1? The MadHat!

It just works this way in Google, Google may not appear to know who is originating content but they do and did. Not a worry, really, throw the drum in the fire and get on with business!

TheMadHat December 19, 2007 at 4:33 pm

So I’ve been blogging here for over a year, gained 4000+ quality inbound links, have been ranking on top for these terms all year, and suddenly I get blown into oblivion.

It just doesn’t make sense unless it was an terrible algo shift or a hand job. I shouldn’t be tripping any filters. As soon as I have some spare time I’m going to dig into some blogs that should have around the same trust/authority as mine and compare.

But you’re right about not worrying about it…It isn’t doing anything to my revenue sites…yet.

David Eaves December 19, 2007 at 4:35 pm

Iv’e got you at no.1 without the quotes, might be my DC though.

TheMadHat December 19, 2007 at 4:50 pm

@David – You’re right that it could be a temporary shuffle b/c it happened so recently, but normally when I see that happen it only happens on a few terms/pages and not the whole Mad Hat universe.

Or maybe your DC hasn’t caught up yet. I did check it from several US locations and fired up TOR and got all the same.

SEO Bozo Box December 19, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Well, as you see with other SEOs, claiming “penalty” is often proven to not be the case, spend some time in Google Webmaster Help to see examples every day.

I also do not like smart people like yourself falling prey to voodoo, there is answers to everything and I would be interested in seeing if you have been filtered. If you can prove this, please by all means do!

TheMadHat December 19, 2007 at 5:00 pm

Yea, the noise in webmaster help is insane. I’m going to ride it out a bit and then do a deep analysis if the issue doesn’t right itself. Just takes a lot of work to do that so maybe Matt will just push his “Easy” button and fix it ;)

And thanks for calling me smart!! :D

SlightlyShadySEO December 19, 2007 at 5:23 pm

A bit of entertaining news for you.
You now rank #1 for “themadhat – find the white rabbit”
It appears that this entry put you over the edge!

TheMadHat December 19, 2007 at 5:26 pm

I like to think I scared them into submission ;) Still seeing lots of screwed up stuff…I need to throw in some more examples.

SEO Bozo Box December 19, 2007 at 5:27 pm

No, dark forces put this post over the edge, muahaha!!!

TheMadHat December 19, 2007 at 5:34 pm

I will not underestimate the power of the dark side, Master Yoda.

Man, I’m a total geek…

Jon Henshaw December 19, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Maybe it’s because your blog sucks ;)

TheMadHat December 19, 2007 at 8:50 pm

Ouch :D

Eric Ward December 20, 2007 at 11:18 am
TheMadHat December 20, 2007 at 11:31 am

I knew it :D

fantomaster December 20, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Getting bitch slapped by Google is as close as you can ever hope to come to an SEO knighthood these days, so: my cordial congratulations! :)

TheMadHat December 20, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Excellent point…time to rev up the spam bot ;p

Jaan Kanellis December 21, 2007 at 1:26 am

Join the crowd buddy. I got the same issue with my blog No reason I should not be showing up when searching on sentences only written by me.

TheMadHat December 21, 2007 at 1:39 am

Seems like this is becoming a large crowd. Maybe we should create a Facebook group…

Adam Tal - Internet Life January 12, 2008 at 5:35 am

It’s now the 12th of January, almost a month after u made this post.
Searching for themadhat on yields your index page at #1 and this post at the sub result :) (oh and the ppc you bought on the sponsored section). In any case could it be that ranting helps you get some needed Google attention and will get you ranked (manual edit?) :) . I’m just kidding. Dunno what the situation was before (I can only guess by that screenshot you provided), but right now it seems that everything is A. OK.

Cheers mate.
Adam Tal
Internet Life

TheUFOVideos November 27, 2008 at 1:36 am

If we’re talking about fairytale movies where the plot is centered around the protection of a baby Labyrinth owns Willow any day of the week. david bowie ftwIt just doesn’t make sense unless it was an terrible algo shift or a hand job. I shouldn’t be tripping any filters. As soon as I have some spare time I’m going to dig into some blogs that should have around the same trust/authority as mine and compare.

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