Why I Banned Google on my Blog

Three people happily jumping over a sunset. One already landed, the one in the middle is just above the sun, the third on seems to hold a backpack. We only see the silhouettes. It's an inspiring image called "happiness".

I banned Google on my blog in 2012. Why? Isn’t it ironic for a self proclaimed SEO (as in “search engine optimization”) blog to ban Google? Let me tell you the whole story.

When I started out this blog in 2007 I did not get any significant Google traffic for months. I was proud of that. After all I preached “SEO” beyond Google.

I got thousands of visitors back then from a social media site called StumbleUpon which was the place to go in those days. Also many other bloggers linked to me so I got traffic from them too.

My articles have been translated into dozens of languages from all over the world, many exotic ones included.

Google Found Me. I Suffered Ever Since

Then one day Google finally realized that I’m there. I think it was like 6 months later. In the meantime I was hugely popular all over the place especially for a boring niche topic like SEO.

Of course SEO 2.0 was never really about SEO and Google, it was more about social media and blogging indeed.

It was about relationships and engagement. It was about enthusiasm. Somewhere on the way I lost this enthusiasm.

I ended up following Google and trying to make bots like my site.

I relied more and more on Google. I even used boring headlines and added “seo blog” both to my title and headline so that Google finally gets that I’m writing an SEO blog here.

I’ve been ranking top ten for SEO blog for years until some time in late 2011 Google decided that my site is low quality and dumped me.

The query [seo blog] is not an important one but it was good to know I rank there for my ego.

Recently I was checking out the new Google knowledge graph for [seo] and then I wanted to see what happens when you search for [seo blog]. So what did I find? On #11 a really spammy “seo blog”.

I was at 11 for a long time as well so it was really as if this blog has changed places with me. It was apparently the lowest quality possible and only a few months old.

It wasn’t even really a blog. I did not want to out it here though. I did it on Twitter. That’s enough. I wanted to deal with this my way.

After Google penlalized me at the end of 2011 I did not check my rankings anymore because there were no rankings to check left.

I didn’t rank for anything anymore really. I fixed some obvious duplicate content issues and the likes. It didn’t help.

Un-Googling the Blog

Yet I was glad I could de-optimize my title and call myself SEO 2.0 again like before my optimization for Google.

Approx. 40 – 50% of my traffic was still arriving by way of Google even after the penalty but it was mostly offtopic or even parasitical.

  1. People not interested in this blog found it via Google to steal my images.
  2. “dofollow blog commenting” spammers could find me via Google.
  3. Automatic scrapers that wanted to copy my content came via Google.

Only a few percent of the Google traffic was valuable at all. As most of that traffic was “not provided” I didn’t even know what people were searching for on my site.

I didn’t care enough to frantically try to overcome the encryption of referral data problem.

This blog has always been a proof of concept. It was about being independent from Google. Then Google itself reminded me that you can’t rely on it.

I have been always providing “great content” and got myriads of natural organic links plus did all those things Google demands you to do.

All that “white hat SEO” stuff people recommend to you. It doesn’t work though when Google decides to penalize you. Yes, I said it. White hat SEO does not work.

You can be the whitest hat alive like I was on this blog and in the end you get a kick in your guts. Black hat SEO gets you penalized even faster but white hat SEO does as well.

The only thing that works is SEO 2.0 as in my original concept. You have to become independent of Google.

You need to establish an audience on social media and direct traffic alias subscribers and returning visitors. Google is not a reliable traffic source whatsoever. Thus I’m banning Google on SEO 2.0

People not Robots

I used the noindex, follow meta robots tag starting in 2012 so that the people I linked out to didn’t get hurt but Google wasn’t allowed to capitalize on my content anymore.

It was meant to solve the content theft problem and the comment spam problem ideally. The scrapers outranked me anyway.

I do not make this site for Google bots. It’s not a drop-in and take away blog. I want to write for regulars who appreciate me and my writing style.

Google: Fuck You, I won’t do what you tell me.

I even considered to start a new “seo blog” as a proof of concept where I use all of the spammy “techniques” the spammy but ranking blog I described above did.

  • Using stock photo cliches.
  • Linking out to Google videos on a static blog “homepage”.
  • Using the term “seo blog” all over the place.
  • Getting some dodgy links.

In the meantime I wanted to try to regain my enthusiasm on this blog here and to make my real audience happy, especially the people who stayed with me for 5 years! I love you! You rock!

This is a blog for people and about people not about search engines and built for engines. I may ban only Google in future in the robots.txt and let Bing etc. in but why should I?

In case you wonder: I unbanned Google search three years later. Why? I wanted to publish an ebook but Google showed some low quality sites above me when ranking for [SEO 2.0]. That would be misleading!

By now – 5 years and almost 500 optimized, updated or pruned posts later – I got some albeit very few rankings back. Was it worth the effort? Probably not. I owe it to my few remaining readers though who arrive here on their own accord mostly.