3 Essential Steps To Free Your Blog Of Google’s Influence
This post is about Freedom, SEO / 7 minutes
I originally published this post on LinkedIn Pulse. Yes, the title (and the post itself) is intentionally thought-provoking!
Last updated: April 29, 2019
What?! Free my blog from Google? Why should I want to do something so crazy?!
I know, this is not for everybody.
If Google is your main source of traffic, you may want to think twice before you work on freeing your blog from the big search engine company’s influence.
Google doesn’t forgive– and when it does, it’s because it made you work hard — very hard — to get back into its good graces.
But if you are a blogger who’s growing tired of Google’s ever changing guidelines and you find yourself spending more time trying to please Google than to listen to the needs of your readers and pursue your own objectives— then you may want to read further.
Remember: Google doesn’t own the Web. It only owns its own slice of the Web. Whether you’ll be part of that slice is up to you to decide and act upon.
1. Remind Yourself Of WHY You Built Your Blog In The First Place
Was it for yourself, to share your thoughts and ideas on a variety of topics?
Was it to help people in a certain niche to achieve something?
Was it to educate people on a certain philosophy, lifestyle or cause?
Was it to share a portfolio of creative crafts you are able to do?
There are many a reason for building a blog.
Stick to your reason, the WHY behind the existence of your blog.
(And if you built your blog just for Google, then this post is not for you.)
2. Pretend Search Engines Don’t Exist
Google itself gives out this piece of advice in its Guidelines for Webmasters, even though the company doesn’t always live up to it.
In a world free of search engines, how would you get your blog found?
- Submit it to relevant (or niche) directories
- Syndicate your blog posts across multiple websites
- Join webrings and web cliques
- Submit a press release upon launch and whenever you have something newsworthy to say
- Build relationships with other bloggers
- Comment on blogs and news sites
- Swap links with bloggers you have a relationship with (or to start a new relationship)
- Add a link to your blog in forum signatures and profiles
- Add a link to your blog on your Social Media accounts and send out updates every time you have a new post up
- Guest post on other blogs
- Interview and get interviewed
- Send out emails to bloggers in your niche and ask for a link (to one of your helpful resources; perhaps a tutorial or an ebook?)
- You wouldn’t use the rel=nofollow attribute because there would be no search engine to instruct on that matter
All that can be spam if YOU make it spammy, but if you follow these practices in the most human possible way, caring for your readers, you will do just fine.
And in a search engine free world, nofollow attributes don’t exist. Links are links — they are there for people to see and click, to create relevance and relationships.
3. Remember That YOU Have The Last Word On Your Content, Not Google Or Its Followers
Let’s speak honestly on this matter— if Google hadn’t such a substantial, loyal following (or ‘disciples’, so to speak), the current hype and culture around Google wouldn’t exist. Or maybe it would exist, but it wouldn’t feel so strong and frightening to webmasters.
Alas, we live in a Google-addicted society. Google is a new type of drug; the dangerous type. If you just randomly scour the Web for technology or marketing discussions, all you hear is Google Google Google.
BUT– you don’t have to buy into it just because everyone else does. You have your own mind, wishes, desires, objectives and interests. You were born a free human being.
One commenter at SE Roundtable said that “Google has far too much influence on our evolution”, and I replied that what they say for trolls is also true for Google— don’t feed the troll, don’t feed the search engine.
When Google says “no thin content”, you keep writing content that suits the needs of your readers– if that needs is 300 words news, that you give them, not 1,000 words guides that will frustrate them just because Google said so.
When Google says “no private blog networks (PBNs)”, you keep your blogs running even if they all end up de-indexed. Google may forget about your sites, but the readers who love what you do will not. Word-of-mouth still exists and it’s time proven.
When Google says “no low quality guest posts”, it’s up to you to decide if a guest post is high or low quality and do your best to write content that’s helpful, entertaining or just thought-provoking.
Whatever Google says, YOU have the last word.
Why I Care So Much About Independence From Google
I’m a firm believer in the independence of webmasters from search engines, and I have been since I first found out about Google’s Guidelines for Webmasters, back in 2007.
My only income at the time came from art commissions and sponsored posts. Learning more about how the latter were perceived online brought me to find out about the Google’s war on paid links and how webmasters got hit by more and more penalties over the years.
This story didn’t sit right with me, but I was pretty naive at the time and anyway, what Google preached didn’t touch me.
However, it began to touch me later on. When some advertisers told me my PageRank wasn’t high enough for them to consider my blogs for sponsorships (even though I had a lot of daily pageviews and readers). Some would use downright rude words to me, or label my blogs as “rubbish”.
So I tried to follow Google’s guidelines.
Guess what? Over time, I felt my blogs belonged less and less to me and more and more to Google.
It felt like prostitution. I felt trapped in a vicious cycle where I had to use nofollow links to please Google, but then advertisers wouldn’t want me, and when I used normal links for advertisers, it was Google not to like me.
My blogs and I were the slaves of both Google and PageRank-hungry advertisers.
As soon as 2011 peeped in on the calendar, I couldn’t take it anymore. It was time for me to say NO to Google and free my blogs from their chains.
By 2014, I thought it would be selfish of me to keep my hard-earned philosophy to myself. I could try to help others see the corruption behind the current state of online advertising and sponsorships, and how the Google’s war on paid links and ‘webspam’ was only a Google matter and it shouldn’t affect us.
In simple words– who’s Google to push so much onto webmasters’ shoulders? It’s your search engine, guys, manage it the way you like, but leave us alone!
Websites and blogs are valuable beyond any bias Google might have against them, their structure and the way the make themselves known online.
In August 2014, I founded Sponsored Circle, a (now retired) free-to-join advertising community on a mission to foster the collaboration between brands and influencers and to bring advertising back in the hands of those who count– the advertiser and the publisher.
The intent was to try and change that “all for Google” mindset that made everything feel so distressing in the world of blog sponsorships.
A Last Word
When I write or do marketing for my clients, I am sometimes forced to do things to please Google. Nothing I can do about that, unless my client has a change of heart, because that’s the current state of affairs in online marketing— you do things to please Google, so Google can send you a lot of free traffic.
I can’t force my clients to think like me, but I hope — and wholeheartedly so — that every client, marketer and blogger out there think of their own blog, readers and subscribers before they do Google.
If you can’t believe that success is possible without Google, I invite you to read Brian G. Johnson’s blog post and SEO ROI’s Independent Webmaster’s Manifesto.
Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Originally posted on: Written on February 18, 2015, WednesdayLooking for older posts? Check the Articles archive!