PotPieGirl Exposes Google

Interesting post over at the PotPieGirl today. In watching several keywords, she noticed that one of the highly ranked webpages for the very competitive term “make money online” is an EMPTY WEBPAGE! This has apparently been going on for some time, now as well.

As it turns out, it used to be the website of someone called Griz who was/is fairly well known in the make money online circles. At one time, the site got tons of links, and lots of traffic. However, the website was taken down for TOS violations in 2010. That means a webpage that is part of a domain that does not have any content whatsoever, let alone quality content, ranks at #9 in Google’s search results based solely on the incoming links that are still out there on the web.

Here is a screenshot of my search results for the same term (no quotes) on 4/19/2012 at approximately 2:33 PM MDT.

Google Just Counts Links

Google goes out of its way to say that the only thing needed to rank highly in its search results is to produce quality content. Then, of course, people will link that high quality content and you’ll rank highly. Everyone whose been interested in writing online and ranking well for their content for more than 10 minutes knows that’s a fantasy.

Still, Google, and by extension those who believe what Google tells them, continue to parrot the line that content is king. This is proof that is simply not the case.

There is no high-quality content here. There is no content AT ALL.

Still it ranks in Top 10.

Not only that, but since this particular website has been down for going on two years now, it also has virtually no new links, at least not legitimate ones.

So, what does this all mean for someone who wants to make money writing online?

It means that you can generate quality content, but if you want people to find it in on Google, you’re going to have to link it. The sooner you get used to the fact that the number of incoming links you have outweighs the quality of your content, the better.

I’m not saying to write garbage. After all, I started this website for people who can, and do, write well. I’m just saying don’t be naive. You’ll have to do more than just write good stuff to rank highly and make money from your organic traffic.

Grab the MMWO RSS feed to keep up with all the tips, tricks and pointers that will help you take your quality writing to the top of the search results.

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Fastest Google Indexing

I use Google Alerts as one of the ways to keep track of when and where my content, on my blogs or elsewhere, gets indexed, or otherwise shows up around the web. For example, I have alerts for both makemoneywritingonline.com and “make money writing online.” The idea is that whenever something I write here gets indexed, it should send me an alert. It doesn’t always.

I have my alerts set for “all” instead of best and for “when it happens”. If you have very busy websites that generate a lot of links and feedback and people talking about you, this is not the way to go. But, for a smaller website like this one, these specific alerts generally only trigger when:

  1. Something I posted gets indexed
  2. Something I posted gets linked with the name of the website
  3. Something I posted get scraped or stolen
  4. Something I linked gets indexed

This brings me to today’s point.

It turns out that as far as regular, no tricks, no effort, indexing goes, the fastest Google index spider that triggers my alerts is the one that indexes Digg.com.

For example, I posted an article on my freelance writing blog not too long ago. I post every-other-day-ish over there, so it is no surprise that Google doesn’t crawl my site every hour. Some days, it takes 36 hours or more to get a new post indexed. It’s not a “news” site, so that doesn’t really bother me.

When I post, I do the usual. I ping the proper servers, my feed goes out, and I bookmark, Like, and Digg my article. Less than an hour later, almost every time, the Digg of my article triggers a Google alert, which means that the webpage corresponding to that Digg, has been indexed and my information found. At that point, if I search, I can find the Digg in the index.

Interestingly, it seems, in my case at least, that while Google does index Digg in near real-time, the spider does not follow those links. In other words, even though the Digg for my latest article shows up right away, the spider doesn’t follow the link and index my page. Instead, my page gets indexed when the Googlebot rolls by of its own accord, or by following a different link.

So, if you want to get something indexed about your post right away, Digg it. It won’t help you get the actual post indexed, but if someone clicks on the Digg result, they’ll be just one click away from getting to your website.

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Get New IP for Fresh Results

These days it seems like everyone online is trying to track you. The big names like Facebook and Google grab all the attention, but the reality is that almost every company online is interested in where you have been and where you are going. This tracking can interfere with online research where results are “personalized” or where services block you if too much activity comes from your computer’s IP address.

Private Browser Settings graphicThe most common way to track users is with cookies. Cookies are small files stored within your browser that can store things like your account information so that you don’t have to keep logging in to your account. However, websites do much more than just what helps YOU with your cookies. Deleting your cookies helps to protect your privacy.

Unfortunately, there are some websites you would rather keep the cookies on your computer. For example, most banking sites require you to answer an additional security question whenever your logon from an unregistered computer. By answering the question and then registering the computer as one of the ones that you authorize for access, you can keep from having to answer the extra question each time you login. However, that registration is stored as a cookie on your computer, so if you delete all of your cookies, then you delete your registration as well. It’s also a pain to remember to constantly delete your cookies.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution for Google Chrome users. The Vanilla Cookie Manager extension for Chrome allows you to set up a whitelist of protected cookies. Everything else is deleted when you start (or shutdown, depending upon how you configure it) Chrome. That way, you can log into Facebook, for example, and stay logged in as long as Chrome is open. Once you close Chrome, your Facebook cookie is hammered and won’t come back until you log in again. That means, no more Facebook Open Graph following you around as you read your news, update your blogs, or whatever. With your bank registration cookies, you can mark them as whitelisted and they will not get deleted.

Read my latest Credit Check Total review at Finance Gourmet.

It’s the best of both worlds. Your tracking cookies get deleted regularly (rendering them useless) automatically, but the cookies you actually want to keep are kept safe and sound.

Deleting Tracking Cookies is Not Enough

As it turns out, some companies just don’t want to take no for an answer. Even if you delete your cookies, they will still track you and log information about you based on your IP address. Then, they will match up your cookies and IP address and still get a pretty good picture of what you are doing whether your delete your cookies or not.

To get around this, you can take advantage of a wrinkle in the way most internet service providers work. Back in the day, getting a fixed IP address was a big deal. You can’t host your own website without one, for example, and there were only so many addresses available. These days, most ISPs use IPv6, which has plenty of available addresses, but it still is a pain to manage fixed addresses. Besides, they have gotten used to charging extra for a fixed IP.

That means that most internet service that is either DSL or cable internet does not have a fixed IP address. Instead, IP addresses are assigned dynamically. You can use this to your advantage by disconnecting your connection and getting a new IP address. However, most dynamic addressing keeps the address assigned to you for a period of time after you disconnect. It keeps things smooth in case your connection just drops for a few seconds or minutes. That means you need a long enough disconnect so that your ISP releases your IP address, assigns it to someone else, and then has to assign you a new one. This can take a few hours depending upon your service.

With my Comcast cable internet, it takes at least two hours to be sure I get a new IP address. Unfortunately, I use the internet extensively for my freelance writing business and I don’t want to try and use the connection only to remember that I had disconnected it earlier, go and reconnect it, and then wait to get online. Instead, I stole my outlet timer from the Christmas tree. Now, each night between 3:00 am (sometimes I work late) and 6:00 am (sometimes I work early) the power gets cut to my cable modem. That three hours of disconnection usually results in a new IP address each morning.

First thing each morning I use the tools that get bogged down if there is too much activity from one IP address, like when Google starts showing you a captcha for everything you do. With a clean, new IP address, and no cookies still stored, all of those interactions take place with whatever counters are out there set to zero, and I don’t have to worry about getting tainted results that are “personalized” for me.

What tips do you use to keep your online activities private and untracked?

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