John Andrews SEO Blog

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SEO optimizations for Cloudlfare Images

Cloudflare has been working on an image hosting solution that follows the rest of its CDN-based hosting model, and promises to disrupt image serving. It will be a game-changer, of course, but the core SEO questions always interfere with these innovations -- and this time SEO for Cloudflare will be even more important than before, when images were 3rd-party hosted.

You can see their official announcement here, and the detailed supporting development docs here.

A few of the immediate SEO issues with Cloiudflare Image hosting, which will need investigating:

  • Regarding Google spoecifically, how will Cloudflare hosting of images on their new domain influence Google with respect to the soft concept of "ownership" of unique images?
  • How will search engines address images as domain-based web resources on a different domain than the content-hosting website (the rest of mixed content), and how does this comopare to the way they do it now? Those who know seo already know how Google differs from other "search engines" on this matter. How will SEO techniques need to adjust?
  • When it matters (and it does sometimes matter), how will search engines (especially Google) address SEO "power" assigned to a domain/URL that hosts mixed content which includes a significant proportion hosted on Cloudflare image hosting domain(s)? Those who know how negative SEO works, whether for ofensive or defensive reasons, will need to figure this out and watch carefully.
  • Those who draw gains from managing technical web appearances for SEO wins are already keely interested in learning how Google manages thresholds for image content, when the image content is 3rd party hosted vs. proxied 3rd party hosted, vs. statically hosted, vs. dynamically served... and now we need to look at Cloudflare (again). I wish there was more stability on this issue.. more definitive knowledge, but alas, the very definition of modern day SEO includes the very real variations we deal with every day, such as these.... where Googlers seem to have almost direct influence over "the algorithm" via un- or ridiculously under-considered actions that impact serious SEO players but probably aren't on Googlers' radar because they don't impact the PInterests of the world. Let's face it, the days of only mostly uber smart people working at Google are long gone.
  • How long will I "own" a unique high-quality, defining image after I get indexed and rank with it, when it's 3rd party hosted on Cloudflare (vs. proxied Cloudflare... for as long as they tolerate headed proxying), vs. independent 3rd party proxying (if Cloudflare or other CDNing of it is even avoidable) or direct hosting?
  • Will Google take the easy route and simply declare images dead for SEO aside from image hosting/Pinteresting/galleries/social media? I would not be shocked to see this for a year, supported by the dutiful SEO influencer puppets declaring so for longer than that.. which begs the follow up question of what then, after they give up and return to awarding credit.. will they also be lazy and ust revert to the same as before, or bother to do something different/better?
  • Will the low cost of Cloudflare image hosting cause Google to further discount image value? Or will other factors supporting original image value for SEO override that.. which prompts follow-up questions about how Search Tech will justify the work required to "manage" these innovations, and the natiural political question "Has it already been worked out via behind the scenes collusion?"

Cost is one of the more entertaining aspects of SEO, because good SEO services are so much more expensive than all other aspcts of web tech, the pricing pressures suffered by tech are often insignificant to those who successfully deploy high-performance SEO. If you drive tens of millions of dollars worth of traffic via SEO, you don't care if you hosting goes up $500. This is one of the SEO Dividends we SEOs enjoy (and appreciate).

It's practically free to jump in the deep end for most emerging technologies today, as long as we on-net produce gains from our research and experimentation. I barely need to even consider cost-averaging for most tech these days (but I would if I needed it -- do the work, to get the wins!) To be honest, the biggest "cost" of my own tech spending is not the direct cost, but the indirect costs of tech that doesn't come even close to delivering on its promise (I'm pointing at you, Apple 2018 hardware, and you unnamed innovative host who decided to block server extensions "temporarily" while building prettier dashboards, prioritizing the Growth Marketing team over customer retention concerns).

Cloudflare is pricing its image hosting very cheaply... offering 100,000 images served (without counting the autogenerated size/crop/quality variants at all -- they are "free") plus $1 per 100,000 served. Cloudflare must make it unquestionably affordable, in order to make the huge adoption numbers it needs to succeed as a near-monopoly CDN -- something which it must do to compete with its market competitors.... who are not traditional "hosting companies" but rather near monopolies on hosting content (Google, Facebook, etc). Cloudflare customers can already sign up for the new service.

I hope you SEOs are all-in on pushing The Goog to make quick decisions on how to handle this... because that G-haste is what we need for us to continue to win, lol.

Zero Sum World View

Ignorance used to be bliss. Now, it's paranoid, resentful, and desperate.

Soon you, and everyone else, will learn what it means when ignorant yet insistent bullies get to write the rules. Those rules, we may see, consider earthly existence to be a zero sum game. In order for someone else to move up, you'll need to move down.

American Exceptionalism is the only framework that has successfully bypassed this form of mental illness thus far. But now American Exceptionalism has been left rudderless. It didn't fail... it simply let the wrong people plan the excursion, and those "leaders" forgot to pack the rudder and supplies.

My cowardly ex-pat friends in Ecuador recently noted that Cuenca is a "small city". It is only the 3rd largest city in very small Ecuador.. and trails considerably behind its larger siblings.

Cuenca, Ecuador has over 4 million people.

If one more midwestern USA marketing idiot tells me that there's no more room in the world for mankind, because of "overpopulation", I'm likely to leave Texas and go live in a mountain cabin somewhere, away from the idiocy. Maybe in the mountains. Near a stream.

I hear it's really peaceful in the mountains of... Ecuador... outside Cuenca.

Your mid-sized US cities (like Cleveland, duh) have populations of near or below 1 million. Many have to extend their reaches pretty far out into extensive suburbs just to reach enough taxpayers to support the city infrastructure and welfare programs (see how "Urban Development Zones" consume thriving independent suburbs). Most American "cities" are of the 100,000 or less population variety.... a very, very far cry from population densities in many very peaceful places.

Somehow (perhaps with magic?), those nations and their city governments manage to organize and operate those "small" cities, with less. I do acknowledge the citizens are far more likely than Americans to execute or otherwise eviscerate corrupt politicians, but that's a different story.

And this is where my midwestern USA marketing idiots chime in... to make a case using FACTS prove cities like Cuence in Ecuador are inferior to US cities, citing healthcare, access to clean water, poverty, food security, etc etc etc. The very case for American Exceptionalism these idiots otherwise drown out by humming "nah nah nah" while plugging their ears with their finders.

You can't fix stupid.

The first rule of totalitarianism (or cultism) is to isolate the idiots and keep them dumb, so you can mislead them with propaganda, including fear-inducing fake news that disrupts independent thought.

The second step is organizing them to be "activists", so they can scare their local politicians into towing the party line at the local level, where control is excercized.

Same idiots? Nope.. the activists are harvested from the idiots' children... easy pickings, and as a bonus, the idiot children are easily turned against their idiot parents when that time of the plan arrives.

Future Posts:

  • bring back /fake-reviews-cesspool.html, wednesday-fun.html, seo-consulting-2.html, google-chrome-privacy.html, health-vault.html, google-agency.html, google-go-words.html, google-toolbar.html, free-seo-tools.html, panda-update-seo.html, trailing-slash-seo.html, seo-zend-framework.html, seo-correlations.html, nytimescom.html

The Proper Definition of a Rat

For all the GodFather fans out there (the original, not "II" lol), we now have an update on the proper definition of a rat.

"you give up people around you, to save yourself (from a prison sentence). The people that you were in bed with, the people that you trusted, that trusted you -- to save yourself, you bury them, whether they were your friend or not. That is not something that you're supposed to do" - Michael Franceze

Now you can debate whether the guy who violated his oath and left the life is a rat or not, but like everyone else you have to work within a proper definition of "rat" so here we are with one that not only works but seems to match the working definition defined by decades of street life.

Not everyone is courageous. No everyone is wise. Not everyone has the skills needed to manage every situation. But no one, ever, should be a rat. It's not just ugly, or disgusting, or wrong. It's quite simply inhumane. Which is why the rodent was chosen as the model.

Do whatever you can to not be a rat. There is nothing better for you to do.

John Andrews and

Someone once told me that when they hear a conference speaker describe some SEO issue, they prioritize finding out "what would JA do..." as their next step. This blog was named "JohnOn" because it represents my opinions "on" a variety of topics (most related to entreprenuring using the web, in competition with other publishers).

A few selected references noted from a brief period when I was public with my SEO thoughts (a random few of many -- I see no reason to list them all here):

  • Sole guest on a segment of Webmaster Radio, where I was literally grilled by the host on a variety of SEO topics, as if he was capitalizing on his chance to get some free SEO consulting he could use for his own SEO consulting business. He admitted during the interview that, yes, I really did know a lot about SEO. LOL
  • Quoted in Bloomberg Business Week, on Google's and Demand Media's co-dependency (2011)
  • "John andrews is one of the smartest industry folks i've ever met", said the author of Killer Facebook Ads (in the book).
  • Cited as an essential resource in the book "111 SEO Tips" (published in German)
  • Cited for defining competitive website optimizing as an effective practice, in the book Website Visibility: The Theory and Practice of Improving Rankings
  • "John Andrews is one of the smartest, most perceptive people in search marketing", noted by search conference organizer in 2008, in a profile published in advance of a rare conference appearance.
  • Invited and sponsored to attend/speak at numerous conferences, some of which I accepted and attended. These include TRAFFIC (several times), Search Engine Strategies (SES), Search Marketing Expo (SMX-Advanced), Domain Roundtable, Search Fest, and others.
  • Recommended as one of 3 resources for business people seeking top-tier insights into web publishing: "John Andrews.... you'll need to read between the lines a bit as he's not going to just lay out every tactic or shift in black and white. He'll suggest things to consider and in general he's way ahead of the curve. Read everything on his site and sign up for his newsletter."
  • I have known 2 former Rock Stars who became web marketers/SEOs, and this compliment was published by the one who went on to win a lot of web marketing awards: "Some writers have more guts than others...John is fearless and totally gets it. There was some buzz in 2010 about how effective certain SEO firms, known for correlation studies, are at reverse engineering Google’s algorithm. This post from John Andrews is the definitive one to our mind, and challenged other thought leaders in respectful and compelling ways."

Quoting My Self

"To an experimentalist, everything is an experiment. Observations are rarely what they appear to be."

MediaPost highlighted my "Healthcare Search Marketing" SEO notes, so I ranked myself into position #1

MediaPost highlighted a blog post of mine about healthcare search marketing consultants and agencies. I had noted that ranking for a healthcare search term was not always associated with servicing the searchers finding the top-ranking result. If you were good at SEO you could rank for a term, even if you didn't deserve to be top-ranked for that term (

After that, I decided to rank myself for "healthcare search marketing" and promptly earned the top #1 position. I held for over a year. During that time, I received emails from professionals in the health space, complaining that I had insulted them. Remember, this was back when people actually believed Google was a benefactor for the web. Some successful yet amazingly ignorant programmers back then were so sheltered, they openly hated on SEO (even technical SEO), preaching that you could rank for relevance by just-making-good-content (Cal Evans, "Just Say No to SEO", July 2007 updated Feb 2019).

On Censorship...quoted from a 2008 interview

Prior to Threadwatch I mostly stayed out of forums and the like, due to frustrations I felt dealing with those who quietly "managed the message" as moderators. People only see what gets published, and they want to believe it’s the whole story. If they are told "we only edit out obscenities" then they believe that what they see is what was written, perhaps sans obscenities. Sadly, that is far from the truth. Posts are edited and deleted as needed to manage discussions, and often there are strong agendas at work behind that process. Threadwatch started as a place that promised not to do that, and it didn’t. I was one of the first 3 editors of Threadwatch, and I didn’t even get any instructions for doing the job. It was simply assumed that we would only fix problems, delete obvious spam and bring questionable issues up for discussion. Everyone had a voice if they exercised it. If there were too many UFO posts the community complained to the posters before any moderators did.

On Helping Others with SEO as a Consultant, quoted from an interview

I follow the consultant model in my business, rather than an agency or practice model. That means I focus strategically on those aspects of search marketing (and competitive webmastering) that bring business success rather than simply SEO success. I believe that a business looking to succeed in search marketing is actually looking to succeed online in general, not just gain more search traffic. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have that general online success model worked out yet, and their SEO efforts fail to perform cost-effectively even if they succeed based on SEO metrics alone.

Fortunately, the same knowledge an SEO needs to achieve SEO success can be used by the business itself to refine the online success portion of the overall Internet marketing equation. This can be done at the same time, and with relatively little incremental cost, via the consulting model. I hope to demonstrate that for the Search Fest audience, by showing how working effectively with an SEO at the strategy level can guide you towards overall online success, while simultaneously empowering you to effectively manage your SEO engagement and empowering your SEO to succeed on your behalf.

On Competitive Webmastering...quoted from 2008 interview

Much of what we do as search optimizers is really just good web publishing, following proper technical and usability guidelines. But as search becomes the default access channel for Internet users, building for search (search friendly publishing, or SEO) is actually necessary.

And that is a self-reinforcing thing -- the more search works for people, the more they use search. If every webmaster optimizes, they all need to optimize further to compete. So if you expect to be competitive today, you need to be search optimized. If tomorrow we have something new that is more important than search, we webmasters will need to accommodate that as well. In general, you are a competitive webmaster.

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


Not 10 seconds into my first post on Substack, I broke the editor. A few clicks later attempting to unbreak what they broke during the edit process, my 2 paragraphs of prose were gone. Deleted. Never saved.

So simple a task... and so broken a process of building businesses on the web.

To this "user", Substack sucks. It only took 10 seconds to find out. After 20 minutes of signing up (investing in Substack).

Because there are both pros and cons to substack, and this "reminder" quickly shifted Substack from the "worth trying" side to the "just another broken app that will cost me in the future", I will not continue with Substack.

I know why everyone else continues with them... but that's not important to me.

For reference: wrote some draft text. Use hard returns to separate paragraphs a bit, like normal writers do, when writing. Now highlight a few lines, and use the editor toolbar to assign them to a (numbered) list. Notice how wrongly it formatted your content into a numbered list.

Good luck undoing that... you can't edit the markdown, and you can't access the list tool again.

Now look for help on formatting.. there's a link or two.. click it and... your content is gone.

Yes I understand embedded editors, toolbars, etc. Yes I have worked with TinyMCE, configured and extended it, and even "fixed" parts of it etc. I know what's involved, and how rough that road can be, and browser dependencies etc. Not my first rodeo. And... Substack sucks.

Need to reach me? Call me, or text me, or hit me up on Slack, Discord, Telegram, or other. I'm not active on Facebook, nor am I on LinkedIn.

If you need my contact details or phone number, just find someone you know who already has it, and ask them for it. #simple.

If you discover that you 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?". That sometimes works well.

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