You and Me: Google-Free?

by / Wednesday, 29 August 2012 / Published in Google
What Would a Google-Free Website Look Like?

Seems the death-to-Google feeding frenzy is upon us. I’ve seen the hate escalate to fever pitch over the past few months, and I’m sure you’ve seen a bit of fury yourself if you’ve spent any stretch of time in webmaster forums lately. Jenna summed up the reasons for the rage in her most recent post: The Anti-Google Movement is Gaining Momentum. In it, Jenna pointed to Tadeusz Szewczyk, an SEO pro who has a newly Google-free blog called SEO 2.0.

This guy, oh man… this guy. In a nutshell, he protested Google by banning the search giant entirely from his blog. I visited the links Jenna included in her article, and I ended up killing a smooth hour on his site. I was hooked by his unabashed fearlessness and his anti-Google sentiment: articles with titles such as Giving All Your Great Content to Google For Free is Suicide and Why Peer-to-Peer SEO Beats Influencer Ass Kissing kept me reading for much longer than I’d comfortably like to admit.

I went on to visit sites run by this guy’s like-minded peers – did you know there’s a whole underground movement  dedicated to SEO sans Google? I guess I had an idea, but seeing it in action?

Wow. Powerful stuff.

If you’re a search marketer, think about all the time you’d save if you didn’t have to do so many things each day to keep the Google gods happy.  Think about how much liberty you’d have with your website! I, like all of you, have come to consider Google’s rules as the rules of the Internet at large instead of something I’m doing for Google specifically.

Google’s rules are so deeply imbedded in my brain that I now consider them standard website-building techniques.

That’s why I want to step back for a second, in light of Jenna’s post and all that I read on Szewczyk’s site and others, and dream with you about what we’d stand to gain if we completely eliminated Google from our marketing strategies.

Here’s Your Control Back

I can think of some things right off the bat that would make my life a heck of a lot easier if I cut Google from my marketing strategy. How about you?

Let’s start with my favorite: Google PageRank. The reason we’re all so preoccupied with PageRank is because it gives websites the link juice (read: lifeblood) they need to rank well in the SERPs.


Because PageRank is the measure of how much Google trusts your site. More trust, more lift in your SERP position. Imagine not having to worry about this metric ever again. Why would you care about whatever “score” Google gives your site if you’re not worried about ranking in the first place?

You wouldn’t.

That’s just the beginning. Now let’s talk on-page mandates. No more fretting over awkwardly-placed keywords in your otherwise great article titles.  No more using CTRL+F to count the number of times you mention “sky blue baseball cap” in a document. No more checking H1 tags for LSI keywords. You could just write. Imagine that.

And nofollow tags? You don’t need no stinkin’ nofollow tags!

Clearly, this wouldn’t be a license to write gibberish. You should still use language – and stick to topics – that people in your niche will know, recognize, and want to read. However, here’s another fun fact – you would never have to worry about Google possibly tagging your site as “adult” and blocking it from searches if you use curse words in your content. Of course, dropping F bombs all over the place is not in the greatest taste, but the point is that you won’t have to censor yourself to please G.

Backlinks would also be a huge weight off your shoulders. You’d worry about your backlink profile far lesswithout Google in the picture. With all the talk of negative SEO and reports of emailed threats demanding money for link removals, this may sound awfully appealing to some webmasters. Again, you should still monitor your backlinks from time to time if you indeed decide to set Google free, but there would be no more obsessive logins to your Google Webmaster Tools account or futile nervous emails to spammers in remote countries begging for removal of a wayward link.

P2P SEO: Loving This Concept

Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about banning Googlebot completely from your site like Szewczyk did. That, to me, is extreme. However, if you’re into that sort of thing, by all means, don’t let me stop you.

I’m discussing what not caring about Google would look like.

If you build your site for people, and it gains popularity – it will inevitably begin ranking in Google naturally, with no SEO help from you.

Google wouldn’t be the primary thing you’d think about when building your site, but if you rank, great. Extra traffic never hurt anybody. With all the algorithm changes that we’ve experienced in the past year and a Penguin refresh just around the corner, shifting your focus may not be a bad idea.

I’m really digging the concept of peer-to-peer (P2P) SEO that Szewczyk and others have been writing about recently. It’s not actually “SEO” at all; more like anti-SEO. It’s about ditching the search engines altogether and marketing by leveraging the traffic of your peers.

P2P SEO is very similar to what we’ve been exploring here on Site-Reference for quite a while now: building up your network and marketing through community-building in your niche. It’s starting to emerge as a much more viable long-term strategy than traditional search marketing.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, Szewczyk’s take on the technique:

SEO 2.0: P2P SEO

Bottom line: I feel a shift in the tide coming soon. Seriously. The feeling here and elsewhere toward Google is just… changing. For the SEO world, on a macro level, I’m really interested in seeing where this goes. On a micro level, I’m applying these techniques and focusing on Google much less with my own websites going forward.

We’ll see how it goes.