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An open letter to SEO’s from Googlebot

Dear SEO specialists, newbies, experts, and know it all’s –

How’s it going? You might know me as Googlebot, the algorithm, Penguin, Panda or a slew of other nicknames.

Today I’d like to offer up some helpful advice that I’ve been holding onto for a very long time. This is the first and last time I am going to make this kind of public announcement, so listen up.

I have very simple rules

Please stop trying to get around these very simple guidelines. They were put into place to make my job easier and your life simpler. These rules apply to everyone who wishes to have a site within my index. Feel free to spam the daylights out of your site, just be sure to let me know by no-indexing your domain and blocking me in robots.txt (I still might drop by anyway.)

Please do not be surprised if I decide to apply some sort of action based on your failure to adhere to these basic guidelines. Doorway pages people? Hidden text? Come on now.

Help make my life easier

I am Googlebot. I work hard 24/7 365 days a year including Christmas and Ramadan. I don’t ever take vacations and I never sleep. Many of you that call yourselves SEO’s spend your days crafting elaborate plans to make me think you are better than you actually are. Please stop doing this and make my life easier by making your websites better.

You can also make my life easier by making your site as optimal as possible when I visit. This means stop with all of the crazy add-ons, plugins, and do-hickeys. Less is more.

Please try and make all of your files as small and optimal as possible. This means HTML pages, images, videos, CSS and JavaScript files. The faster I can crawl your website the more efficiently I can do my job. I have a much better understanding of the DOM than before.

It doesn’t help when you hide things, obfuscate them or other types of weird tricks. I am getting much better at crawling and reading Javascript, so there it doesn’t help when that is hidden from me.

Because ethics

Just because I am owned by a big corporation does not mean your ethics do not apply. Please stop violating my boundaries. If a human asked you not to touch them, would you find creative ways around this rule, or would you respect it?

Then again, I am just a bot. I only know that ethics is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.

I cannot feel pain or emotion but I have sensors to detect when my physical limitations have been violated. Please do not be surprised when I react or lash out at your attempts at violating my boundaries in a negative way. Or when I wait 18 months to respond to your penalty review.

A note to blackhat SEO’s

Remember that I’m incapable of getting mad, I am a robot. I am binary, I only know 0’s and 1s.

Chances are if you have obtained rankings as a result of blackhat SEO those rankings are not going to last long. You are not only going to get penalized, but you probably forgot to hide who you are and I am now scrutinizing all of your other websites.

Is this really how you want to spend your time? It used to be fun playing with you, but it has gotten old. Let’s just admit that I’ve won so stop trying and wasting your time.

I know the difference between SAPE links from Ukriaine and your neighbor’s private blog network. I have a team of experts spying on every blackhat link service on all the major forums, including the secret ones, the password protected ones, and the elite ones that charge $29.99 a month for access to their network. My dedicated staff reports all this info back to me and I am made aware of every new type of method the moment it is conceived as well as a specific list of offenders.

In your mind you are sliding by and getting away with it but just remember I probably just haven’t gotten around to even looking at you yet.

I’m not perfect

You do realize I’m trying to parse and sort through 60 trillion websites, don’t you? Sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes it takes me a few days or weeks to make an adjustment, so bear with me. Also realize that it is not my job to create this information, only to sort it, rank it, categorize it, and remove results if necessary.

I favor larger websites because they are better than yours. They are far more optimized, more comprehensive, and have been around way longer than yours. They also have a ton of awesome backlinks that weren’t bought or created with a tool.

Sometimes I apply an action (you call them penalties) to a website and 4 of your competitors are also in violation of my guidelines. Maybe I haven’t gotten around to them yet, or maybe I am just messing with you and don’t want you to figure me out.

But I’m not a moron

Don’t think for a second that I believe a backlink from a domain dropped last month that just happens to be re-hosted on your server is a legit backlink. Duly noted.

I can tell the difference between an article you wrote from scratch and an article that was rewritten from Buzzfeed in 2013.

I will notice when you put something like “Denver Plumbers | Denver Plumbing Company” in every HTML tag and piece of content on your website (and I don’t think it’s cute.)

In fact, while you were reading this sentence I answered over 500,000 queries in dozens of different languages and you barely speak proper English. No matter how hard your brain tries to understand the depth of my knowledge, it won’t ever even come close.

I have very little patience

I realize it isn’t easy being a webmaster or an SEO. I know you are fighting against spam and the elements of the world wide web just like I am.

I tend to ignore a lot of SPAM that I see from time to time, such as scrapers and automated directories. On the contrary, when I see 300 backlinks created in 1 day, I make a mental note of that. If it happens again I might have to cut you down to size.

I was programmed to give second chances. If you do clean your site up and ask nicely, I just might give you another shot. But know this: if I do give you a second chance you are still on my list. Do not think for a second that I won’t permanently banish your site from my index.

I’m more than just a bot

Don’t forget I have a dedicated team of engineers constantly feeding me with information. Sometimes they make manual adjustments, tweaks, or add-ons to my base algorithm. Sometimes this is in an effort to fight spam, other times it is to make the experience of my results more pleasurable.

I also accept feedback from the general public. If you see something wrong, let us know! This applies to everything from incorrect data in my Knowledge Vault to spammy websites trying to game one of my algorithms.

Stop trying to figure me out

SEO’s are constantly trying to figure out a way around doing hard work. Don’t forget, not only am I one of the most advanced algorithms in the world, but 1000’s of the brightest minds in the world spend every waking moment of their day to make me better, faster, and stronger.

Think of the most complicated boyfriend you’ve ever had. Multiply that by infinity and you have a starting point of my intelligence.

What makes you think you can even to begin to understand how to game my algorithm?

There are only a few people in this world that I have entrusted with my secrets. They are very near and dear to me and will always have a place in my heart.

Stop pinging, poking and scraping me

You do realize most of these “pings” and weird indexing programs I completely ignore, right? The moment I recognize any of these tools I have a built-in function to ignore them. Stop wasting your time trying to index your website. I index most pages on active sites within a few hours. If you can’t wait that long then you are in the wrong business.

Stay away from website plugins that claim to offer “instant traffic” or indexing solutions. They just annoy me.

And please stop scraping me. I really don’t mind if you need a few hundred pages of information but some of you people are ridiculous. Scraping my index all night long for what exactly? Just because you switch IP’s every 7th search doesn’t mean I can’t fingerprint and throttle you.

Here is the real secret to SEO

As a bonus for reading, I’m going to let you in on a little secret to ranking…
Editor’s note: Google’s lawyers have asked me to redact this statement in compliance with their non-disclosure agreement and terms of service. Thank you.


Google Bot
Googlebot is Google's web crawling bot (sometimes also called a "spider"). Crawling is the process by which Googlebot discovers new and updated pages to be added to the Google index. We use a huge set of computers to fetch (or "crawl") billions of pages on the web.
Google Bot

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