How Search Engines Track You

Google, Bing, Yahoo and a slew of other search engines track and store your every move. Your every search term, where you are, what sites you click on, where you shop on line and much more. And that is ok for most people. The ads you see are for the most part a direct result of what they know about you. That is their pitch.

The more they know about you the better they can “serve” you. These search engines use your search habits to serve you results they think you want.

Google, Bing, Yahoo and a slew of other search engines track and store your every move. Your every search term, where you are, what sites you click on, where you shop on line and much more. And that is ok for most people. The ads you see are for the most part a direct result of what they know about you. That is their pitch.

The more they know about you the better they can “serve” you. These search engines use your search habits to serve you results they think you want.

And agreed, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but we think you should have an option to search in private. Not to have “Big Brother” watch you and take advantage of your habits and search patterns.

Getting Blogs Ranked in 2018 and Beyond

I haven’t posted here for years. If anyone reads this, here’s what’s happening with my blog web business.

I have sold the bulk of my very profitable web sites. So now I have this and a couple left, and am sort of retired. But I do want to share with business owners who use blogs on their websites what I have learned over the past 20+ years.

First off – getting ranked is a total pain these days. As opposed to only a few years back when all the tricks we discovered worked. These days, not so much.

It is much easier to get ranked in Bing that Google. And Bing does have what – 20-25% of searches? In the portfolio I had that was the most successful I think I attributed 25% of revenues to Bing searches.

These days there are a few basic strategies that cannot be ignored. Content and inbound links. Still works, but boy do you have to do this right.

Content needs to be pretty well hand written and very specific to the theme of the blog. Especially Google is very theme focused.

Inbound links must be from related, ranked websites. Buying links from non-related sites will be detrimental.

Hopefully I will contribute here a few tricks of the trade I have learned over the years.

Stay tuned…


Title Keywords v.s. URL Keywords

The title is what search engines usually see and consider first. So it is important to have a descriptive, keyword focused title. Say your site is about landscaping in Grimsby, Ontario. Your title could be something like this:

Landscape Contractor in Grimsby, Ontario | Back Yards in Grimsby, ON

Now, here’s a great SEO tip especially using WordPress:

Google considers the title and keywords in the URL separately. Usually, WordPress creates the filename using the article title you selected. But you can change it. So if your article is

How To Plant Trees in your Back Yard

The file name would be:


Change the filename to be:


Added keywords!



Scam Alert: Domain Registry of Canada

Domain Registry of Canada –

If you get an official letter from Domain Registry of Canada ( read it carefully.It has the Canadian flag, looks very official and the header reads

Domain Name Expiration Notice

What they do is scour the WHOIS for domains that are expiring. Then they send out a very professional letter soliciting the renewal of the domain. At an outrageous price. $40 for a yearly .ca – I pay less than $11 at

Then they also offer other available domains such as .ORG and .INFO at $40/year as well. I get these as well for less than $10.

The Domain Registry of Canada extracts details of your domain name registration record from the publicly available whois database, known as ‘whois data mining’  and is a violation of the terms of the whois service.

They are nothing but scammers.



Exact Match Keyword Domains

Exact Match Keyword Domains

There is much debate on this topic. Lately “experts” have stated that Google penalize sites with exact matching domains. For example, OHIOMEDICAIDAPPLICATION.COM is such a domain. This is one of my sites and is targeted to exactly the domain keywords. And it works. For a couple of reasons – it is a “readable” domain. I find that people will click on search engine listings with a readable, matching domain to their search. And in spite of what “they” say – Google indexes these domains and sites well. Even better, Bing likes matching domains – probably more so than Google.

However, if you are simply creating a domain for this purpose and the domain is not readable like will probably be penalized and also not clicked on even if it does show up.

Bottom line – spammy domains and sites won’t do you any good. Clean, credible and keyword matching domains will do you a LOT of good. Of course, the site’s content also needs to be top notch and unique.



Ranking in Bing/Yahoo and NOT Google?

Would you like to be on the first page of 30% of the searches
v.s nowhere on 70% of the searches?

We all try to rank in Google. The big G is king of the search engines. They now dictate how websites should look, behave, linked to – what type of content, what NOT to do, how fast it should load, size of images and so forth. In fact, they are using hard-core scare tactics to force people to make their sites the Google way – through their Webmaster tools (WMT) amongst other Google services. This is, on the surface a great tool to have Google monitor your site for deficiencies. But the cost is that they track every aspect of your site. And if they find anything that is not up to G’s standards, they let you know and you “must” fix it or else lose your rankings.

I respect and understand their goals. They want the Internet to be perfect. All sites should be just perfect. Then they will index them. If a site is not up to G’s standards, they will penalize. I also understand this is the way it is. And although reluctantly – I go along with most of it. We have to, as long as Google gets the majority of searches.

I have been in this business pretty well since the first web site came on line in 1991 and in my opinion, G is becoming a totalitarian force – and it is getting out of hand. They want to have total control all web sites. So much for the “open and free” internet.

It’s G’s way or the highway.  It has also created a slew of scammy services out there that pray on these scare tactics and offer to “fix” the problem. Search engine optimizers will “analyze” your sites (for free) and find all sorts of things wrong with it. I can play that game too, it’s easy. Based on some loose standard.

For example, if WMT flags a inbound link as “bad” there are a slew of companies out there who will, for hefty fees attempt to have other webmasters remove these links or change the code to disavow links. Or they could run speed checks and if the speed score from some random speed check site shows below a certain range they will offer to optimize sites to increase speed.

Google’s Page Speed Test


BTW – shows a 1.03 second load time and a PS of 69. Some of the top sites in the world (as per have a PS anywhere from 60-95 and load times from 0.1 up to 1.5 seconds. The top listing for NY lawyers ( has a PS of 66 and a load speed of 0.32. It’s all over the place, and yet they are indexed on Google.  All our sites have a load time of less than 0.4 seconds.

Google has created a whole industry. Based on scare tactics. It’s really great! And I am tempted to start analyzing sites and promote fixes.

FYI – to speed up sites – the number 1 culprit for slow sites are images. You need to have images on the site that is less than say 5KB. In addition, pages with a lot of little images like bullets, link-images and so forth – they all add up.

Anyway, I am ranting.

What about Bing/Yahoo? Google is slowly losing overall search volume. There are signs out there that I am not the only one that sees this trend and are acting on it. For example, Apple Makes Bing The “Default Search Engine” For Siri.

And Google’s search volume “flat”, Bing continues gains. This has been the trend for a while.

So with Bing/Yahoo having 30% of the search market and growing, why not optimize sites for Bing? I can tell you it’s a LOT easier to get rankings on Bing than Google. The methods are somewhat different, Bing puts weight on different things than Google. For example, Bing relies heavily on anchor texts to validate a link to a site. In addition, Bing seems to like links from forums and directories, which Google these days seems to hate. And finally, Bing likes domain names matching the keywords of the site. Google used to, not so much any more.

Let’s look at a real life example:

I have a site I use as a test bed and link source for various projects. The search term headline news is searched for 301,000 times a month according to Google. Searching in Google, it shows 547,000,000 results, and my site is in the middle of page 2.

Bing shows 63,100,000 results and my site is #2 right below CNN and getting clicks.

Looking through the stats for the hundreds of sites I manage I see Bing growing as the search engine providing visitors to the sites. And that’s what we want, no?

I say we SEO as best we can in general, have fresh content, good keywords and leaning towards Bing’s standards and let Google do whatever they want. I’ll take what I can get from  the 30% of the searches I have a little more control over.

But that’s just my opinion.





What Google is working on for 2013

Matt Cutts just released a video where he talks about what’s coming SEO-wise in the next few months. He started off by saying their mantra:

“You work on building a site that people love, want to bookmark and share and we will work hard to let people know about the site.” (Loosely transcribed)

Penguin 2.0 is about to be released. This version is targeting “black hat” websites and webspam. He said it will me more aggressive than Penguin 1.0. For websites that are on the up and up, this is a shrug. For people trying to game Google – it will have an effect.

He also said they are continuing to look at links, which does affect us. I for one am working hard to ensure the links to other sites are valid and credible. I do this by creating links from related sites, and for the most part – links are contained in text that also relates to the linked site.



What Google Wants

… Give it to them.

As I have stated before, Google has changed a lot in the past 18 months. In the old days I used to have no trouble getting sites on the first page in Google. And for the most part – using “white hat” techniques. These days – not so easy. We still manage to get sites ranked well, but it is a lot more difficult. The thing is, Google wants to produce the best search results possible to their users. And that is honorable indeed. There is a lot of spammy sites out there trying to game the system.

So bottom line then… what is it Google needs for a site to be considered worthy of the first page?

Content. That is now #1. Metatags, key words and so on is much less important these days. Google doesn’t even consider the “keywords” metatags any more. Sites with fresh content (blogs) added often, every day/week constantly win the top spot.

Inbound links. Aside from content, links is still pretty well the only way search engines know your site is out there. But you can’t just go and buy 1,000 links for a hundred bucks. You need quality links from related sites. Period.

If your blog is noticed, others will link to it. You can spend some time going to related forums and register using your site link. You can post to other blogs. Yes, there’s some work to it.

Many Small Businesses Don’t Have a Website!

A study done about a year ago stated that 51% of small businesses didn’t have a website. Which is really incredible when you think about it. Those 51% of your competitors are the ones you can beat if you had a website.

Most people go to their computers or smartphones to look for products and services. They will go to a company’s site to look for details about offerings, specials and contact information. Few people still dig up a Yellow Pages book to find products or services.

Whether you are a landscaping company, coffee shop, roofer, painter, physical therapist or what have you, if people are not able to find you, they are eventually going to stop calling you. Word of mouth is only good for so long – you need a website so that people can learn about your business and call you.



What your Website Needs

Your site does not have to be an award winning design.

It needs to be clear, and give the visitor the information they need and a call to action. Here are the basic requirements for a small business website:


  • A very clear description of who you are.
    You don’t want the visitor to wonder who you are. Say it right up front on the home page who you are and what you do.
  • A sensible web address
    Also called a domain name. It is getting very difficult to find a non-registered domain these days that is short and memorable. So a little digging is needed here. It all depends on your business. It is better to have a longer domain name that makes sense than a short one that no one can remember.
  • Customer testimonials.
    This is important. One of the most powerful influence tactics is the concept of “social proof”. If you see a testimonial from a person that belongs to a group you respect, your confidence in the product or service will increase.
  • Fresh content.
    That’s why a blog is a perfect website. You can add posts as often as you want, and search engines love fresh content. Besides, customers might come back to your site several times before they are ready to buy.
  • A clear call to action.
    If you want them to call for a free quote – say so.