A Little About Me: John Andrews and Johnon.com

  • Started on the Internet in 1987 (email, Usenet, ftp).
  • Registered my first host into the DNS around 1989 (an EDU "sub-domain" pointing to my personal Unix workstation).
  • Created and managed a BBS from 1988. Shut down early 90s after years of fun with SearchLight
  • Started programming "the web" in 1987 (Hypercard);browsing the actual www in 1995
  • Started publishing to the commercial web in 1996
  • Started blogging in 1997 (Livejournal, then Radiolab, TypePad, etc)
  • Published my first (hardened) Wordpress site in 2003, and the JohnOn.com SEO blog in 2006
  • Full-time independent "competitive webmaster" since 2003, chasing lofty SEO goals FTW
"To an experimentalist, everything is an experiment. Observations are rarely what they appear to be."

*If there is a way to contact me, it is provided at the bottom of the page.

Active ruminations that may provoke future posts:

  • Something about microblogging and hand-crafted web pages
  • Something about "page speed"
  • Something abut Google's Manual Interventions in 2021
  • Claiming (and renaming) the podcast

JohnOn SEO Blog Reboot 2021

Modern Web Techniques

This blog reboot starts as a practice of modern web techniques, simplified for this blogging purpose. What does that mean?

Consider it an experiment using old school approaches to publishing. Many are widely considered contrarian today, yet they comprise the roots of all successful web publishing. They represent a first principles approach to competitive webmastering.

If you grew with the web you understand things like table-less design, CSS zen, markup validators, progressive enhancemnt and the like, even though those labels largely lost their meanings as the web either incorprated them into best practices and standards, or found better ways to move forward.

If you compete on the web, you probably understand why those things were, and why they are either no longer, are no longer needed, or perhaps are overlooked as contrarian/old school today.

If you didn't grow with the web as a web master, but as a user, you probably think content is king. Even today, while rainbow-haired Googlers manually edit the SERPs sans direct oversight. And the browser oligarchs freely modify the web "standards" as they see fit to compete with each other and force progress onto the rest of us.

This discussion is not for you.

CSS Validator badge? LOL... and OMG he's evenpulling the chicklet from their remote servers! And the site isn't even responsive!

The key question when considering this issue of modern web techniques is... how do you define "best"? What metrics actually matter? Why do those actually matter?

Toiling Away at Classic Canadian SEO, in Mexico

Every day, week after week, the two brothers toil away at "classic SEO practices" for their Canadian business client. Rarely taking a day off (but doing so with full holiday style commitment when they do). After all, Los Padres SEO Business continues to pay the families' bills year after year, as it has since they started it in 2014.

And their Canadian Client Marketing Manager continues to enjoy career credits for a long-tail-keyword-seo-project well done.

OMG what a slog that is. No wonder no Canadian or American wants to do it. Day in and day out rewriting page titles, submitting link disavows and Google reconsideration requests for the hundreds of minor webmastering nits that Google (and only Google) labels as "sub-optimal", in need of "fixing".

Here's a thought: if 2 low-schooled brothers in a secondary Mexico city are able to "optimize" your English language business website, what performance do you think you might get if you hired someone with more education, who naturally thinks and communicates in your target market's language and culture?

There is no excuse, except a combo of the classic "misalignment of incentives" on the client side, plus the oft-underrespected "necessity is the mother of invention". No blame nor shame on Los Padres Fortunato, of course. Every single home in their extended family has indoor plumbing now.

For sure it will take a crisis to change these SEO practices... and even then, there will likely be enough cash on hand to fund a patch job and a reset, so the mistakes can be continued after the temporary crisis is over.

This is why Google wins.

Staying Positive Even as You Go Woke

My new motto. Go for it brah... I'll just keep busy over here, out of your way.

The Art of Competitive Webmastering

Another inquiry, another proposal, another SEO client. And in between those three lies 15 hours of studying the search engine results pages (SERPs).

SEO is one large part of the competitive Internet, but not all of it. The SEO toolset, however, supports most of what we do when we get competitive. SEO tools are not just for SEO. They are for searching, gathering competitive intelligence, teaching and training. SEO’s drive the development of tools. They provide the knowledge base for understanding what the tools do. What they show. How they can be interpreted. We owe a lot to a small handful of really good SEOs for the tools we use every day.

But I think the number one activity of competitive development is studying the SERPs. Sadly, that is also one area where many clients have spent very little time. They spend more time in analytics reports than in the SERPs. Why? Because Analytics companies are marketers. They make their reports look like meaningful data. Did you ever spend an hour clicking around inside of Webtrends Enterprise? What a waste of time, yet we all do it on occasion. Why? There’s an excellent SEO lesson in there…one that Markus Frind would be all to happy to tell you.

SERPs look like what they are : results sets. Clients feel inept at search. And why not? They can’t find anything, so naturally they will feel they are not expert searchers. But the real issue is what you get, not what you wanted to get when you entered a query. Because what you get is what everyone else gets, too. That’s reality.

Is that clear? Go ahead and search for your company name. What comes up? I don’t care if you don’t come up, or you come up third, or whatever. I care about what comes up first. Who is it? Why did they come up first? That is where the gold lies. And I spend my time looking at that, not your web pages. And so should you. Only after you understand the market can you compete.

I do recognize that many people don’t know what to look for in the SERPs, or how to examine them. Recognition of that means progress. Should I help with that? You tell me.

I am thinking it might be good for me to present here, in this blog, specific steps for understanding the SERPs. Simple yet effective ways to look closely at what matters when you run a query against Google or Yahoo!. Basic but important stuff that should be checked each and every time, for specific clues. What do you think? Let me know if that is a good idea and I will consider it. I have plenty to say on the topic.

How to Contact John Andrews

Call me or text me. If you need my phone number, just ask someone that you know, who already has it. #simple.

If you discover that yu don't know anyone who knows me, well... sorry about that. Maybe you can you ask every SEO person you know "Do you know how to contact John Andrews?".

Old's Cool... Valid CSS!