10 Ways to Piss Off an SEO

Duh!Thank you Alhan Keser for your hilarious blog post 10 Ways to Piss Off an SEO.

I come across Number 4 a LOT and it still makes my eyes water.  Reminds me of the Top 10 Dumbest Web Site Decisions article I wrote for SiteProNews last year.

The moral of this story? Beware the angry SEO!

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Dumbass of the Week: AdWords Support Staff

DuhLet me preface this post by saying that I love Google and I’m a big supporter and very early adopter of AdWords pay per click advertising. BUT a recent experience I had with AdWords support staff left me shaking my head and my fist in frustration. And it wasn’t an isolated incident.

Sadly, a level of bureaucratic lunacy seems to have pervaded Google AdWords in terms of ad approvals and editorial policy in the past 12 months. Here’s the latest example:

My client, a psychotherapist based in New York, had asked me to create a series of new ads for his AdWords campaign based on a new service he was offering. His site domain is unusual in that it contains 44 characters – way beyond the standard 35 character limit allowed by Google for display URLs in text ads. So we had been using a non-existent but similar shortened version of the URL as the display URL for years, with Google’s approval.

Scores of ads were still running successfully using the fake display URL so when it came time to draft new ads a couple of weeks ago, I used it again. But every time I created a new ad, it would show up as “disapproved” within minutes. I double checked the running ads to make sure I typed the display ad correctly and tried again and again. Every time the ads would be approved and then show up a few minutes later as “disapproved” with the display URL being cited as the cause of the problem.

In despair I emailed AdWords support staff to ask for their help. The first response I got was from Manvee, who wrote:

“The ads are getting disapproved when you are using another shortened version. Please know that I reviewed your client’s account and found that their ads are being disapproved because they are using display URLs which do not match their destination URL. Please know that we have allowed your client to use only specific shortened versions like [shortened display URL]. Therefore, their ads will be disapproved if they use any other version that we have not allowed.”

Sure. Except that the specific shortened version they suggested WAS the one we were using. So after another week of disapprovals and an increasingly frustrated client, I sent a follow up email asking AdWords staff to please have somebody login and manually approve the ads or explain why the display URL they recommend was no longer acceptable, even though it was running fine on older ads.

The next response I received from AdWords support was from Ruchi:

“Thank you for your email. I understand that you are concerned about your ads being disapproved even after you have made the required changes.


Our AdWords Specialists found that there was unauthorized access to your AdWords account [account number removed]. No campaign changes were made to your account on that date, but we believe that the security of your account has been compromised.”

Huh? What? Did I not just explain that my client and I both have full access to the account via separate logins? Could it be that you think one of us is a hacker? And even if the account was compromised (which it wasn’t), how on earth would that influence the approval or disapproval of my client’s display URL? And why haven’t you addressed my actual problem?

As you can imagine, my patience was fast running out.  I emailed my frustration and asked Ruchi to escalate the issue to a senior account manager. The response I received was not the one I was expecting:

“Thank you for your response. I apologize for any frustration experienced by you. We suspect unauthorized access to you account by a 3rd party. We have reactivated the MCC and child account. However for the client account: [account number removed] we still need you to check and confirm that all the changes made in your account were authorized. As soon as your confirm this we will activate your account.”

So not only did they NOT offer any assistance with the problem at hand, but they de-activated my client’s account without warning! At this point, my client stepped in and called AdWords support directly, which was probably a good idea given my plummeting patience and rising stress levels. This time we both received a response from someone called Priti:

“Thank you so much for your patience.  I received a response from our specialist team, and it looks like in order to use an alternative URL for your ad, the URL must be of a non-functioning website.  Currently, [shortened display URL] is a functioning site (this is possibly a recent development), so the ads cannot be approved for this URL.

We definitely want your ads to be approved, so here are the steps that need to be taken:

1) Please change the display URL for these ads to [shortened display URL (a)]
 or [shortened display URL (b)] (both of which are non-existent websites and within the character limit)

2) Please then email me back you once you have done so.

3) I will then send your ads back to our Ad Review team for expedited review, and follow up with you once they have done so.”

Phew! At last somebody at AdWords support was offering us a solution. I logged into my client’s account, made the changes to the ads and emailed Priti immediately. Problem solved right? Wrong! Within a couple of hours, my client received the dreaded You Have Disapproved Ads status notification.

By this stage, my client’s stress levels had caught up to mine and he sent back an email to Google that simply said:

Here we go again! When will it ever end!?

I was dumbfounded by 3 weeks of fighting AdWords bureaucracy and decided it simply wasn’t worth pursuing any further. It wasn’t until 4 days later that my client received the following email from Priti:

“Thank you again for your patience.  I apologize – I was not in the office over the weekend, and so did not get your email nor Kalena’s email until just now.  I do see that you have made these changes in the account, and I am going to send this to the ad review team immediately so that they can approve your ads.”

She then expedited the process and the ads were up and running within the hour.

Hats off to Priti for finally resolving things, but shame on Google for hiring support staff that don’t seem to have the ability to solve relatively simple problems and for creating so many unecessary layers of bureaucracy for advertisers to jump through in order to do so.

Given the number of web sites inflating the size of the Internet on a daily basis, it’s likely that domain lengths are going to increase as fewer short domain names become available for registration. In light of this, you would think that perhaps Google would consider increasing the allowed character limit of display URLs, or at least suggest alternatives at the point of ad creation.

Anyone else got a tale of woe to share about AdWords editorial policy?

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Dumbass of the Week: The guy who wants the answer to everything

DuhLoyal readers of my blog will know that I don’t give out the Dumbass of the Week crown lightly. I’ve never given it to a question submitter before but felt compelled this week when I received the following question:

Hello Madam,

I am SEO and working more than 55 sites last one year, i want to know the Online Marketing Strateges like google adsence (sic) and adwards (sic) etc. I also how can i get one way links, is free one way links are good or not? like gotlinks.com, backlinkspider.com etc, Till how many keywords i use in title tag, description tag and how can i use h1, h2 in our pages. Pls give me all the information as soon as possilbe (sic).


Hi iliyas

First up, my name is Kalena. I would’ve thought that was pretty obvious from the site name, but perhaps not. I don’t expect to be called madam until I’m 96 and using a walking frame. Or being schmoozed by a door greeter in Walmart. Either way I don’t like it and never will.

Next, if you can’t even spell them correctly, I doubt you will be able to grasp the complexities of Google AdWords and Google AdSense. It takes our students up to 6 months to do it.

And as for “Pls give me all the information as soon as possilbe” – what’s up with that? Not even a triple grande white chocolate mocha donation could compensate for that crap. You didn’t even offer me a short black.

Lastly, if you’ve SEO’d over 50 sites and you still don’t know how to obtain one way links, how to use heading tags or how many keywords should go in your title and meta tags, your clients are in real trouble.

Perhaps you should start from scratch and take our Search Engine Optimization Starter Course?

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Dumbass of the Week: Site Scrapers

DuhSitting in the big chair marked Dumbass this week is an annoying little SEO outfit from Manchester called Web Propeller.

I ranted yesterday about how they were evil site scraping bastards because they basically steal the content from this blog within an hour of me posting it. I’m not the only one they steal from. They scrape Marty’s content too, as well as Niall Kennedy’s blog and others, listing us all as “contributors” on their blog home page. What’s up with that? As someone commented on my post yesterday, perhaps they should change that title to “unwilling, unwitting contributors”.

Well as luck would have it, they scraped my post from yesterday. So now they are proudly announcing on their own site what evil site scraping bastards they really are. And the kicker? They’ve tagged the post under the category seo problems. Bwa ha haaaaa!

Web Propeller evil site scraping bastards

And just in case somebody from Web Propeller notices their stupidity and deletes the post from their site (perhaps while on a break from stealing other people’s content), I’ve posted a screen shot:

Some days, I really love my job. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if they scraped this post too?


dumbass web propeller


I think it’s time they changed their catch phrase from “making you rank better” to “making you rank better for your own stupidity”.

UPDATE 3: The penny has dropped. According to a public apology by the scraper himself, Web Propeller is a fictional company and the domain is owned by a company called Creative Suit.

The site scraping was apparently nothing more than an unauthorized experiment by a naughty junior staff member. His boss is plenty mad about it and is asking for suitable punishment suggestions. I was going to suggest they make him use this picture as his screen saver, but figured that was too cruel.

Apology accepted! Maybe site scrapers will think twice now before doing this to anyone else.

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Evil site scraping bastards

Yep, check it out. A mob called Web Propeller are scraping every single post I write on this blog, within an hour of me posting them. Compare my recent post to theirs.  They’ve even stolen my image!

I feel a site scraping bastards Googlebomb coming on! Anyone care to help?

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