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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.

December 10, 2013

Google Busts Anglo Rank, Anglo Rank Keeps Trucking

On December 6, Google’s Matt Cuts sent out this cheeky tweet: “’There are absolutely NO footprints linking the websites together.’ Oh, Anglo Rank.” This was effectively an announcement that Google had busted the paid link service; when Search Engine Land’s EIC Matt McGee theorized that the network was “torched,” Cutts confirmed that Anglo Rank had indeed been penalized and that Webmaster Tools would be sending out a lot of penalty notifications in the near future. He also told Barry Schwartz that Anglo Rank was far from the only network that was being targeted by the latest raid and update.

tipped-lawn-chair-earthquakeThis isn’t the first link network that Google has gone after in the past year, but they’ve been taking them down with greater speed and frequency as their algorithms increasingly demand high-quality, honest link strategies from sites in order to get them anywhere near the top 10. In contrast to all of the quality, content-focused work that we SEOs have been doing in the wake of Hummingbird, Anglo Rank’s listing on Black Hat World appears almost delightfully quaint; it promises English-language links from high-PR sites on top-level domains, and boasts that the network builds enough anchor and link diversity to ensure that Google won’t flag the links as spam. Cutts quoted a piece of their sales pitch in his tweet; Anglo Rank promised that there was no way that Google would see that you were participating in a linked network of sites. Clearly, that’s no longer the case.

What I find personally fascinating is that the report of Google’s bust has done anything but shut Anglo Rank down; its thread on the Black Hat World forums has reported Cutts’ tweet, but the requests for sample links and packaging prices have only increased as a result. The sellers have actually reassured interested webmasters that the network has barely been touched, and any attempts to warn potential new customers away have been met with hostility and accusations of being a Google spy.

It’s actually a little amazing to see the black hat side of this story; while most of us would assume that having a link network busted would result in a mild scramble to rework strategy, it seems that Anglo Rank is still running under business as usual, and webmasters see Cutts’ announcement as more of a challenge than a threat.

For dedicated black-hatters, things like this are just dust in the wind; it’s all a part of the game, and there are plenty more churn-and-burn sites and underground link purchase networks to exploit. But it’s also a potent reminder to everyone with a good website that they can’t afford to lose; never trust someone who promises quick results and bulk link quantities; while the black-hatters may know exactly what they’re doing, if you are their client then you may end up bearing the brunt of the penalty. Good SEO requires patience, hard work, and a lot of give-and-take; Anglo Rank isn’t the first network to get busted by Google, and it won’t be the last, but we are in the final days of these Wild West tactics and they are not going to produce good long-term results.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:59 pm

Categories:Google,link building



December 6, 2013


Are you sure you want to play in Google’s sandbox? Google Sandbox is a theoretical purgatory where a certain business under manual penalty sits until a review. Unfortunately, many companies are playing around in the Google sandbox and most of them are sitting there because of bad black hat link strategies. For example, Dave Davies mentioned that a client recently reported of sitting in purgatory over unnecessary and malicious link building. A horrible thing but most of the work done today is spent on disavowing backlinks for clients than progressive strategy. This is more likely the given state of affairs until this monster transition settles down.

Too many robots in the kitchen already! From self-driving cars to roaming vacuums Google has now entered robotics with the help of Android developer Andy Rubin. This lifestyle product will be dedicated to making day to day activities easier; catered to save you time by connecting your home to you. The artificial intelligence is built to know each and every user on an individual base far ahead of earlier model concept such as Microsoft once proposed. Google has made advances to where the robot adapts to individuals rather than stick to a ridged non-responsive software.

Yucky things can be found in the sandbox
Your best friend will be a robot (if he isn’t already)
Get your Christmas website prepared well in advance
Darth Vader is replacing Mickey Mouse

Find out more on Webcology

SEO news blog post by @ 3:45 pm




December 3, 2013

Electric Love: Apple Acquires Topsy

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Apple has purchased Topsy, the leading Twitter search engine and analytics tool, for a rumored $200 million or more. While Apple has not released a definitive statement on what they plan to do with the service, the social web has been abuzz with what this partnership could mean for Apple’s iOS operating system and for Twitter users worldwide.


It is, in fact, impossible to have too much fun with Photoshop.

It is, in fact, impossible to have too much fun with Photoshop.

The San Francisco-based company launched in 2007, and is widely acknowledged as one of the best Twitter search engines in existence, thanks in large part to its incredible index; the service can access every single tweet in existence from 2006 to the present—approximately 540 billion tweets in total—making it an immensely helpful for social analytics. Throw a few keywords into the analytics search engine—“star wars” versus “star trek”, for example—and you can see how many tweets per day mention each key phrase, and who comes out on top (for this week it’s Star Wars, surprisingly). Users can also explore their entire Twitter backlog, examining which of their tweets has had the most influence on the social sphere as a whole and who they influence the most.

From roughly 2008 to 2010, Topsy was one of several “real-time” social search sites fighting for prominence; it competed with other companies like Collecta, Crowdeye, Tweetmeme, and Scoopler, to name just a few. However, the major search engines began including real-time results in their own algorithms, killing off most of these tools—except for Topsy, which remained strong as one of the few companies with full access to Twitter’s entire back index of tweets. The company won the race for good when the same search engines either shut down their social search functions or lost access to Twitter’s veritable “fire hose” of tweet data; Topsy retained what Google couldn’t keep. So it’s not surprising that Topsy was a hot acquisition property, but its purchase by Apple is an interesting twist.

There are tons of ways in which Apple could use Topsy’s services, but unlike the company’s other recent acquisitions it’s not immediately clear how it will be applied. Some analysts predict that Topsy’s information may be used to help improve app recommendations in Siri, the App store, and iTunes; if you think about it, Twitter is a far better way to discover connections between properties. Apple’s Genius tool can use a mathematical algorithm to recommend Bob’s Burgers if you’re a fan of Archer, but Twitter trends may show that people who talk about Archer are overwhelmingly more likely to also mention Breaking Bad—the crucial human element of choice and preference that may have slipped past Apple’s algorithm. Apple is also highly likely to use Topsy’s data to improve its digital voice assistant, Siri; they integrated Twitter information into Siri with the iOS 7 update, and Topsy would greatly improve the results.

While the details of what Apple plans to do with Topsy aren’t yet clear, it’s an intriguing turn of events; no one really expected that data to end up in the hands of the consumer electronics giant, and considering Apple’s recent competition with and separation from Google services it’s clear that the developers are seeking alternative methods to accurately search the web in all its forms. Whatever the outcome, it seems that little Topsy has, at last, found electric love.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:16 pm




Why I Can’t “Like” George Takei

Or: Facebook Done Wrong

George Takei

Pretty much every search marketer has taken a lesson from George Takei and his amazing use of social media.  I know that I for one, as a huge Star Trek nerd and Internet Marketer on top of that have “Followed” him since his earlier days on Facebook.  So you can imagine my surprise when I found that I could no longer Comment on his status updates or even Like them.  So why would this be?

Let me begin by noting that at no time in any of my Comments did I make any statement that might be considered offensive.  I don’t object to his orientation, I love Star Trek and I’ve got way too much to do in my day to troll (and if I wanted to there are just so many people I’d rather launch into objections on).  So what happened that resulted in me having my ability to Like or Comment on George Takei’s Facebook page blocked you ask?

It Started With A Comment Being Removed And Then …

It started with a comment getting removed.  I can’t remember the specific product over at Amazon that was being promoted on his Wall that I Commented on but I do recall that when I clicked the link my first though was, “Really?  This is what you’re promoting?”  Rather than insert that comment (which would have matched quite a number of others at the time) I decided to do a little snooping.  It seemed suspicious to me that all the links were through (though he now uses different URL shorteners).  I mean, when I just find something I like I don’t usually shorten the URL unless I either need to track it or hide it.  So which was it?

Well here’s where I got myself in trouble with Mr. George Takei (or more likely, the folks managing his social media).  I noticed that the URL shortener lead to an Amazon URL (like … every time) and they all have an affiliate ID (I know as it looks just like the IDs I use).  So we can now eliminate the need for tracking since that’s available through the affiliate program itself.  All that leaves is hiding the URL.

Well, I decided to make mention of it and props to them for responsiveness – within about 30 seconds it was removed.  I should note that at the same time as my one comment noting that the link was an affiliate link and they should be open about it and not promote crap, there were numerous comments on his wall that I’d deem as downright offensive.  Those stayed – mine was removed.

Well – I let it go for a bit but I started seeing more and more affiliate links and to worse and worse products.  I decided to make mention of it again and this time included a note that without disclosing that there was profit behind the link, that they were likely violating the law which requires disclosure of such.  And that was the last time I was able to Comment on George Takei’s wall on Facebook, or even Like a post … I’d been blocked.

And So …

I use this as a horrible example of how to interact on social media and one which could backfire.  If I’ve noticed then certainly others will and if the products marketed on his wall continue to be second-rate there’s sure to be a loss of interest.  People followed George because he was entertaining and honest and if that’s gone – then what’s left?  And do I even need to mention that posts like this one, not particularly positive, are likely to creep up?

Getting back to my Treky roots however I have to hope that things smooth over and that the social media folks stop trying to eke a buck or two at every turn and stick to promoting George himself, being clear when they’re profiting of links they post and hopefully stop being skewed by their Amazon affiliate ID and post links to genuinely interesting things.  And if any of the social media managers of George Takei read this: ThinkGeek has an affiliate program and their products are far more entertaining than what you’ve been posting lately.  Just be sure to note the profit you’ll be making.  People don’t mind if it’s genuinely interesting.

SEO news blog post by @ 8:02 am




December 2, 2013

Security Tips for Cyber Monday

Notebook SecurityWith Holiday shopping in full speed many small businesses have been preparing for a successful season. With a steady increase to internet banking and shopping there is an unfortunate rise of identity theft as well as fraudulent transactions. The unfortunate case of becoming a victim to online theft can leave many people or businesses facing financial as well as personal loss. Michelle Stone from AmOne, gives us some basic tips on how small businesses can keep themselves and others safe online.

More than ever small businesses are utilizing online shopping to engage a larger clientele. What would be the first move to help prevent online scams and fraud?

Simply put, online retailers, regardless of size, should have at least the basic security and encryption in place. There are a number of companies that provide authentication and security for ecommerce sites. In addition, many web host providers offer packages that include site security. The best, first move? Think like your customers. You’re a customer yourself. Use your experience in shopping online and think of how safe you feel your personal and financial information is. Which online stores have you used and how secure are they? Do they display things like HTTPS before their web address, is there a green padlock in the address bar of the browser, do they have some form of certification? Odds are they have all of this and more and you as a consumer felt confident that your payment information wasn’t going to be compromised. Take notes from these retailers and apply them to your own business.

Are there ways of safeguarding online customers from a cyber-attack?

Customers can be compromised from a number of areas. While you can work to make your website as secure as possible, it’s harder to make sure that your consumers haven’t been compromised in visiting another website or falling prey to a phishing scam. You can educate your customers on what to look for when it comes to spoofing, phishing, pharming, smishing, and even vishing. If you don’t know what those terms are, you should. Do you have frequently asked questions on your website? If so, talk about how you take their online security seriously and explain what they should be on the lookout for. Tell them that they should always go to your website directly and access their account from there. If you have a newsletter or other email marketing, add this information in as well on a regular basis. It can be a monthly security tip. Help your customers help you by informing them and keeping their computers safer. This in turn will help your system limit exposure to a possible attack.

Is there any benefit to educating employees to internet safety?

Your employees are as likely to fall prey to fraud or an online scam as your customers are. There are even more direct threats to your business, threats that use your employees as a way to access sensitive data. Your employees are your first line of defense. Making them aware of social engineering techniques such as someone calling the company and posing as a vendor (or even as a coworker) will help to protect your business from someone wanting to steal information.

What would you consider the best possible way to educate employees?

Keep your employees informed. Many of the exploits that can target your business also affects them as consumers. This will help make the training materials easier to relate. Just like with assessing your business and where you shop to get a sense of how you can prevent identity theft, put yourself and your employees in your consumer’s shoes. It’s easy to stay informed on the latest scams, fraud schemes, and vulnerabilities through government websites like and

Is there a particular role a business can play when engaging the online community from social media and client communications?

If nothing else, listen to what’s being talked about in social media and listen to your customers. What are the current security issues and concerns? Twitter is a fast way to find out the latest information, whether it’s breaking news or Twitter chats with non-profit organizations like the Identity Theft Resource Center to learn how you can learn about threats and how to counter them. You can also take part in these chats and share information via social networks and emails to your clients (like a monthly newsletter). You should also claim your name on the major social networking sites, especially those that relate to your business. It can be easy for a fraudster to sign up a social media account in your company’s name and use that to try to defraud your customers out of their personally identifiable information. Make sure your employees and customers know which social networks your company is on and monitor your name and activity for any sign of potential issues (including client reviews).

To sum up online safety for the small business; what would you say is the number one necessary piece of advice to maintain a healthy and safe experience on the internet?

Think of how you use the Internet and what you expect from retail, media, government, medical, even entertainment websites when it comes to the safety and security of your information. Would you trust your own website with your email address? What about your credit card information? If not, why not. Then follow up with, why should a customer trust your site? Keeping it to that simple question, do you trust your own company’s website? can help to guide you in safeguarding your customers’ sensitive data.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:38 am




November 29, 2013


Goldieblocks, an educational toy company focused to increase intelligent learning with young girls. Earlier this month they produced and published a video rewording the Beastie Boys song Girls. This unsanctioned video became viral overnight and caught the attention of the beastie boys themselves. In reply the Beastie Boys politely replied refusing the use of the song explaining it was never their intention to distribute their music for commercial use. Unfortunately, in a poor PR decision Goldieblocks fired back with a lawsuit. Unfortunately, Goldieblox began to arrogantly point fingers reversing much of the positive marketing and commercial direction into a negative focus. In this case Goldieblox should have walked away quietly to maintain the positive marketing effect the video had in the first place.


Google wants to put the words in your mouth. A new patent proposed from Google monitors how you communicate to determine what you would say it would then post it on your behalf on social platforms. An interesting patent but how far could this go? Technology is great but there is a large margin for error and could cause issues in communication. Whether or not this patent makes it to design the idea based on this concept will in no doubt further artificial intelligence technology. .

How important is Google authorship to you?

Google+ authorship authenticates material that promotes quality content and a source of the content with the site is published on. There are multiple positives for any author who has published content with this tag attached. First off the content that is produced reveals a profile avatar that allows the reader to follow the source to the one who wrote the article.

For many companies this can work by magnifying the content giving the content clear visibility when being searched. It also encourages BtoC companies to create a face behind there authority like a digital ambassador and reach their clients easier. The idea behind it is that people tend to click on a face sooner than they would on plain text. In many cases this is showing signs of a more frequent click through rate. Raising traffic but at the same time trust between the customer and the business.

A question that is often asked is should a copywriter be aloud to own his authorship via th rel= author tag. The answer is it depends on the client ,content and contract. If the client is a brand releasing content that is relevant to what you want to be known for then it is probably something to be discussed to be written in the contract. If the clause isn’t written into the contract initially then the copy is expected to be owned by client.


Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
Google artificial intelligence may help you win or lose that first date
Are you sure you want to be the author to Viagra copy?

SEO news blog post by @ 3:51 pm




November 27, 2013

Yellow Advertising: Will Google’s New Labels Transform PPC?

I took last week off to volunteer for a friend’s charity drive, which generally meant trying to be funny on a live webcast at 4 in the morning. So needless to say, getting back into the swing of things at work was a process. Yesterday, as I was catching up on what I’d missed during my vacation and doing a little bit of research, I noticed something very interesting: the Google paid advertisements in Chrome’s SERPs had bright yellow labels on them which blared the word “Ad.” This is a test being run by Google on their AdWords search results. As Jennifer Slegg reports on Search Engine Watch, the labels are one option being considered to clarify the difference between paid and organic results, in wake of an FTC guideline update which requires search engines to clearly mark what is an advertisement and what is not.

If you think you’ve never clicked on a Google ad, you may be fooling yourself; research in 2012 and 2011 showed that nearly half of web users couldn’t tell the difference between a PPC ad and an organic search result, and the PPC results for high commercial intent phrases can take up as much as 85% of the above-the-fold pixels on a SERP. Google Ads account for 74% of clicks for high commercial intent searches, and a search of any of the major SEO news sites will reveal dozens of articles talking about PPC’s increasingly prominent role in our work. pale yellow bannerGoogle’s ads are typically either in a right-side column or in a light yellow banner at the top of a SERP. A few test searches showed me a listing with three paid ads at the top; on one of my monitors, I could barely tell where the pale yellow/tan background ended and the regular results began. It makes sense how some people could inadvertently click PPC listings without realizing it.

The FTC is absolutely correct in its concerns; when customers can’t tell the difference between an advertisement and an organic result, it blurs the lines of consumer psychology and leans dangerously into the field of manipulation and obstruction; people don’t like being lied to, and it’s vital to keep the distinctions clear. The new alert labels replace the light yellow backdrop, which is interesting; while they are brighter and thus draw the eye, the listings now resemble the organic results in every other way.

The concern for PPC advertisers is: will the labels increase or decrease click-through-rates? It’s an interesting question, and one that will only be answered when Google rolls out the test in full and releases its decision as to whether it’ll stick. Some are sure that the eye-catching color of the tag will increase CTR, while others are worried that seeing the word “ad” beside their advertisement will result in customers fleeing from paid results in order to avoid playing into the marketing game. We’ve been hardwired since the early days of the internet to avoid banner ads at all costs, and an increasingly tech-savvy user base responds to advertising far differently than they did twenty or even ten years ago.

ad bannerSo what will become of Google’s AdWords? I’m not sure yet. I repeated my test search for washing machines in the Chrome browser that shows the new ad labels (so far it seems to be the only place where Google is testing it out), and I personally am pleased at the new look. I won’t be clicking on the advertisements, but I know they’re there and I feel that clearly marking each listing makes it far more clear to the user where the advertising stops and the organic results begin. But then, I’m wise to the ways of SEOs and online marketers, so I’m probably not the best person to report on this phenomenon; time will tell if this will mark a change to Google’s AdWords for good, and if so, how it will affect PPC rates.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:45 am

Categories:Google,Google Chrome



November 22, 2013



Is the acceptance of Bing on the rise? Many changes have been made in the past year making it harder and trickier to rank in organic query from Google search. Although, Bing needs to algorithmically catch up before it can take Google’s 90% of the market share the possibility is that it could still take a certain portion of the sector. Like Davie’s said; “If Bing just ruled the house and gave mobile search to Google than this could become more of a reality.”

Bitcoin is on the rise and major international institutions feel a little inadequate. This money transferring system is a fee simple option for online transactions. Meaning you pay less than you would anywhere for transfer fees. International banking institutions are feeling uncertain of the rise of this system as Bitcoin was once a system to sell illicit goods under an unknown identity. Although groundbreaking it could create a large disruption in what we know today as the economical norm. Because the stereotypical financial institution is so large they are mutually creating a stand still preventing Bitcoin users from utilizing an actual bank account. Although, Bitcoin is deemed uncertain in the a traditional sense of banking it’s ahead of the times in terms of online money transfer. The coin is tossed yet heads nor tails has been called wer’e sure that the future has a place for Bitcoin.


One of the largest SEO conferences SES has decided to switch to Click Z. Many long time attendees and followers are somewhat shocked that a conference like this would change their branding with having so much success. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

A big congratulations to Dave Davies of Beanstalk SEO for his latest interview in the
Sandra Faleris interviews Dave asking how he achieves time after time success for many of his clients.
The internet marketing guru gives a clear insight to how to clear obstacles in the search engine world.


SEO news blog post by @ 3:32 pm




November 19, 2013

The Curious Case of the DNS Error

While reviewing a client’s Webmaster Tools data yesterday, we came across something rather odd. WMT reported a DNS error on November 14th. A quick manual check of keyword rankings determined a significant loss, yet the analytics data showed a slight drop in organic search traffic between Nov 15th and 16th with a full recovery by the 17th, but keyword rankings are still slow to recover. We resolved to investigate the issue further and found that we weren’t the only ones seeking answers.

Fast forward to today and there’s a slight buzz in the SEO community from those who have noticed similar occurrences among their own sites. Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Roundtable wrote an article today bringing attention the issue. Although there has been little official word yet, Barry did receive a comment from Google stating that they were not seeing anything unusual.

Could it be a bug on Google’s end?

Dr. Pete over at has suggested it may very well be. In April 2012 there was a Google bug that affected some domains by treating them as parked domains – which resulted in devaluation. There is speculation that this may be a similar case.tin tin

In the discussion at Search Engine Roundtable yesterday over whether or not there was an algorithm update on Nov 14th that could be related to the occurrence of these DNS errors, Dr. Pete wrote:

“A DNS issue at large scale could absolutely affect the index. If Google had a technical problem that caused them to fail to resolve host records, they could interpret that as a site outage and potentially de-index sites temporarily. That’s speculative, but it’s possible. The fact that many of these warnings seem to be false alarms also indicates that something failed on Google’s end.”

At this point there are no solid answers over the cause of these mysterious DNS errors and what, if anything, it has affected. So, if you too have noticed a DNS error on your site from Nov 14th /15th, hold tight and we will report more information on the issue as it becomes available.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:52 pm




November 15, 2013


In this week’s Webcology episode, the boys try to distinguish which animals are black and white, but possibly make you go hmm. No, not Toronto Mayor Rob Ford or a hummingbird but yet another creature that could blow your digital attention away.


Produce and Deliver. It’s becoming more and more apparent that we love Netflix. Cutting out the middle man might be the way of the digital future. Producers of entertainment media are looking to have more control of the content they produce without the grief of large distribution regulation. Recently, Netflix released their top twenty most viewed shows and three of their Netflix originals made the list. This proves the case that the day of digital entertainment and self-production is strong enough to make a future for itself. This leaves us with a final Techology question; “Is Netflix the ultimate authority in entertainment or is Rob Ford?”


It looks as if the long time lawsuit between Google and the Authors Guild has finally come to an end. The defense team of the search giants proved to show that although Google is scanning 100% of the book only small snippets will be released to the general public. But should the small snippets still be considered the property of the author that wrote the? Dave Davies made an interesting point that the information is a matter of corporate property and the lawsuit was only to determine who actually controls it. Yet if they gave the “Authors” control of whom and what got published maybe this would take a different direction.

Dave asked this stand out question; “Where does human intellectual property begin and what’s the next step in the digital world and what does it mean?” Jim then ties it in to how our social properties are now the property of Google and can be used for advertising purposes and isn’t really far off from the thin lines this lawsuit rides. We are definitely entering vague, shaky ground with who owns who.


It’s a zoo out here and can we handle another cute little Google algorithm mascot? Search Engine Journal released a what-if-Google-did article. A mythical Zebra has been in the matrix mix and many have been anticipating the possibility that this could happen; yet if it did what would it target?

In this fantasy story they walked the most recent updates and theoretically targeted the Ecommerce sector. Although this fictional forecast and The Merchant of Doom Preparedness Kit was a what-if article it caught the best of the SEO’s, creating a frenzy. The article was entertaining but proved a point – that we should consider evolving where Google has already begun to set the trend.


Netflix is good stuff
Rob Ford isn’t the new Google Mascot
Link builders; don’t pee in someone’s pool!
A hummingbird isn’t black and white
Rob Ford is not a good business example.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:22 pm




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