Competitive Webmastering

Google says it won't index content that isn't visible on page load. Sometimes. Other times, Google admits it does index "content hidden on load", but that it won't for mobile device content. Except, sometimes. Real SEOs know this confusion is reflective of the game of search -- you can't be a legitimate web search engine if you don't index web content, but if you index all web content on its visible merits, smart SEOs will be able to position their content in the search rankings.

The root of this "problem" is Google's perverted will. We explore that here, on this blog that is not only mostly-not-visible-on-page-load, but has been at times banned by Google, penalized by Google, deindexed, reindexed, indexed sans content, and purposefully excluded from Google (by formal request, by technical directive, by outright blocking, and other means -- none of which were 100% effective). In other news...(PDF)

Appreciate the opportunity to read this blog? Say so on your social media.... referencing John Andrews at Or even better, link to it from your own website. Your voice matters, and your public comment will be counted as a success metric, encouraging more (and more specific) writing.
I encourage those pursuing edge seo to reconsider such ruinous, disconnected SEO efforts.

The Current SEO Opportunity: Artificial Intelligence

I've said it many times... over the past 25 years of web publishing, there has never been as much opportunity for SEO as there is now. The problem with that statement relates not to its accureacy, but its interpretation. The very same SEO people who might read it, read with mindfulness limited to the short term. Can they even see the opportunity?

Maybe it's easier now, with AI?

I've long insisted that AI is a scam... while AI took the stage and is now considered "everything". Few will remember a conference I helped host and run back in... I guess it was around 1988. It was a full day academic engineering conference at a major Engineering college, at a real university. We brought in speakers from all over the world, to present on "Artificial Intelligence", a very new academic discipline emerging at that time.

Our invited guests and speakers were and went on to become DARPA funded, NIH credentialed, granted, celebrated, widely-recognized experts in various fields of science, engineering, and even government advising and policy-making.

AI was a scam then, and it is a scam now.

But our perception and definition of "scam" has certainly changed. Today, one could even write off those early efforts to carve out a niche in Artificial Intelligence as "good marketing". It clearly was -- and continues to deliver high performance for its proponents.

I just looked up one of the speakers I remember clearly, due to personal connections I had established at that time. He's a very senior person at Johns Hopkins, probably aging out around now, but clearly quite distinguished in his fields of engineering and the sciences. He made it, by every definition of that phrase. Congratulations!

To be frank, he was one of the most vocal people at that conference when it came to acknowledging that artificial intelligence was a scam. I guess that was a form of boldness in-context, since he was more junior amongst the established set at that conference, and was relating with young 'uns like me, discussing the topics at hand. Today (as then, honestly), I just consider him to have been honest.

Artificial Intelligence was a scam, but turned out not to be a scam, after all. It turns out, in 2023, we see that the phrase "artificial intelligence" simply refers to fake, or stand-in intelligence.

That system of statistical analysis and its siblings (every true Engineer knows that analysis and sythesis are sisters from the same mother), which was back then expected to empower the understanding of (and development of) "neural systems", became a replacement for actual intelligence. Who expected that?

Not even our esteemed speakers anticipated that, lol.

Society is accepting that AI systems are intelligent!

The system labeled "AI" has now started to fill the role of artificial intelligence that apparently was desperately needed by our society, as was recognized by those early pioneers back in 1988. In that sense, AI is real: Articial Intelligence is now actual, trusted intelligence being granted authority by the populace.

God help us.

You Don't Have to Work Any More

It's still a secret, because those governing the masses of "regular people" don't yet know how to handle this fact. Their biggest problem, is that the rate of advance of technology (and the deployed systems) is increasing, fueled by its own progress. There is not only "no stopping it", but there is less and less time to think about what to do.

Many accept that we just have to wreck everything, to slow things down.

What do you think?

If every man no longer has to be productive, in order for civilization to sustain itself and keep advancing at rates that exceed all threats to civilization, that should be a welcomed improvement. It could eliminate general suffering. But there are immediate practical problems.

While maybe every person doesn't need to produce, some people do. How is this to be managed?

Think about it. If we need just 50% of workers, how do we both support the other 50%, but also engage them into society? How do we avoid creating an entitled, exploitative class, while sustaining a smaller working class?

And then when it drops to just 10% ?

The secret is that we are already there. Transient and localized perturbations are hiding the truth, but the rate of change is high, and that truth is being revealed.

Your elected leaders are NOT the smartest people, and don't have the answers we need. What will they do with their authority, in that case?

What will you do when they are exposed?

What would you do with the "technology benefit" that is reducing the workload, and fueling its own advance?

Recently published to the Ample. substack:

In her book "Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door", Dr. Stout notes 2 attributes of certain professions that are "extremely and specifically attractive to sociopaths". The first is "to have interpersonal power over a number of people who will seldom question you". The second is "privacy", defined as a "setting that is effectively closed to outside observers".

Doesn't this seem to apply to Google, where the search "algorithms" (and all components of the search engine conglomeration) represent a privileged position of power over people? Search is an interpersonal setting, because when the individual executes a search, Google uses privileged a-priori knowledge of the searcher's other online activities and behaviors to profile them, and to customize...

quote about sociopaths working at Google

Subscribe to Ample. on Substack if you want to follow along:

Future Posts:

  • There's a podcast show in the works, and it covers a lot of what modern "SEO people" consider to be SEO. And it'll be fun, based on what I've seen so far. Are you ready? I'm not.. lol... because the more we do and the more we talk with producers, the odder things get... including getting farther from the realioty that is performance-based web publishing. But I'll figure this out... and finally produce the show I've always wanted to produce.
  • The local web training seminar series is expanding, and may get some publicity this time, as I need to fill the room for more complete feedback. Free seminars are odd in that they draw a strange crowd on the first day, but if meaningful, some very interesting characters show up the second session. It's just fun for me, but for reasons unstated, it's about to get a little more "interesting" ;-)
  • Bring back some classics like /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
  • Bring back "the Dawn of the Disinformation Age" from Feb 2017, which predicted where we are in 2020.

Where are the Old Posts? So many are missing..

Most old posts are deleted. They had value to me when current, but the value proposition changed when they aged, towards value gained by others (such as search engines and LinkedIn Professionals). Therefore, old essays are routinely deleted.

Also worth noting : my legal team pursues those who publish my copyrighted work elsewhere, and my reputation management team takes on all cases where those kind, legal efforts fail to get the content removed. After all, thieves only steal things if the gains exceed the costs of stealing them -- hence we make sure the costs associated with stealing are, shall we say, excessive.

About John Andrews

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):

  • 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
  • "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 a profile published in advance of a rare conference appearance.
  • A very kind reference passed along by a business owner looking for a trustworthy SEO consultant: "We have worked with John Andrews in Seattle for two years now, and are very pleased. He is very high-end as an SEO consultant, but for some reason he tolerates us bothering him month after month. He's very advanced, but still knows how to communicate (rare!)"
  • 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."
"Confidently chase market share as an SEO success metric. Document your many assumptions (of course), but do boldly estimate market share based on real data you collect on queries, user distributions by intent, geo, and other factors. Always, always pursue higher market share."

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 an 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 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 an 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, in order 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.

On Content

Content. That word is so important. And when you read it.... like when you read it above, you believed more than the type expressed. You projected into the typed word on my web site, your own committed belief of what it meant. And not just the meaning, but the pronunciation, as well.

Chances are very good that you read "CAHN-tent" as in the content of this web site post. But I wrote "content" pronounced "cunn-TENT", meaning at peace, pleased, satisfied, or perhaps some flavor of happy.

Stop projecting your own meaning into other people's words! Read what I wrote, not what you think I wrote. You look like an idiot when you do that.

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


Update Advisory : There are certain disordered personalities in today's SEO world who not only don't care about any of the things that Daddy should have advised them to be careful about in life, but for whom negative attention is an actual goal. Rather than describe such individuals here, I will simply say you know who you are. And, often, so do I.

Normally it is a bad idea to provoke careless, deviant personalities. Many of you out there in SEO world choose to actually pay them to leave you alone. I have witnessed this, and feel more remorse for your sad soul than theirs -- you at least acted out of free will, when you did wrong. Shame on you.

As for the deviants who seemingly enjoy causing trouble, often for attention-of-any-kind, I have a specific warning. I have worked in behavioral health and rehabilitation (both physical and mental) for probably as long as you've been alive. My "other" personal activities have typically engaged with very high functioning, and very high "level" individuals of all sorts of persuasions and personality types. The kind of functional people who get things done -- including the Dirty Work, and especially swift, effective, typically permant actions that eliminate competition. I do not condone their behaviors, mind you, but I have worked alongside them, advised them on matters of which I have insights, and received from them great learnings of how things are actually done in this world.

"Revenge is a dish best served cold", they advised me, time and again. Yet, my own professional work, with physically altered individuals such as those with locked-in syndrome, and mentally captured individuals such as those addicted to methamphetamine, has taught me there is no greater hell than the one that inprisons you.

The best reaction to an unjust assault by a deranged individual, such as a suffering young SEO who acts out against others online because he feels he can remotely do harm without getting caught, is to understand his hell and, if after determining he cannot be helped out of his misery any reaction is necessary, add another lock to his prison cell door.

So if you choose to meddle remotely, you will gain my full attention -- and trust me, I have a lot of free time -- with which I will attempt to get you local help. Endlessly. Through every available avenue -- your local priests, Evangelical ministers, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors.... street outreach teams... suicide counselors...from the top of the food chain (police, etc) all the way down to the uncredentialed and poorly-regulated former heroin addicts who think they can help save you. I have direct access to these very effective tools, and will make sure they ALL understand how important it is to help you... and if necessary, how rewarding it could be to at least try with all of their might.

Clearly, you have better things to do than earn such a response?

It's not Me, it's You.

My Word of the Day today is ostensibly. Do you know what it means? Or are you one of those moderns who say "I know what it means when I read it or hear it in a sentence, but I can't give you a formal definition". We get so much BS from those egotistical, ignorant moderns.

The title here is a twist of a phrase. During my lifetime experience, the phrase "It's not you, it's me" grew during the Friends generation. The Friends era was anchored temporally by the TV show "Friends", which showcased a culture quite different from my own post-Boomer, pre-Millenial culture. They tried to avoid conflict. They evolved a neo-pagan, self-deprecating culture which, due to inevitable aspects of human nature, fostered passive aggressive behaviors, all-in megalomania, and victimhood, all of which we now see quite commonly in our society today.

I'm of a more scientific background. I know that actually, in fact, it's usually not me, but you.

Humans tend to behave as they have before. You can bet on that. The era of "I'm OK, you're OK" was before my time. That age of Valium and relatively low THC marijuana paralleled cultural rot and hedonism:sex, drugs, acting out, and giving up. Boomers, but not all Boomers.

So, keep this in mind: if your past behavior (by my witness) was X or Y, then I (just me.. not necessarily anyone else) will expect that you are likely to behave the same way, in the future.

Reason is a human behavior essential for survival. And reason requires that consideration.

If you're now thinking to yourself that my position here is bigoted, or suggests that I think people can't change, or that I fail to provide allowances for people to recover or otherwise repent from past errors, then you're being stupid. And that is a fact.

Remember, this is for YOU. You have established a reputation, and a pattern of expected behaviors. Do you even know what they are? In context?

I am your context. How I recall you behaved, is how I expect you will behave. Have you changed? Are you different now? Well, that might be awesome! But how would I know? I don't... but I do know who you were before, and I will very reasonably expect more of the same from you.

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.


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.

For everyone else, try emailing me at one of my domains, like or or this site, or maybe andrews@

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Archive: The Dawn of the Information Age

The Dawn of the Disinformation Age

We can haggle about the exact month or quarter later, when we have historical hindsight, but as of right now I'm calling it: the Information Age has ended, and we are now in the Disinformation Age. Fake News is not the Reason

Chris Hedges did a good job describing the Fake News phenomenon:

The object of fake news is to shape public opinion by creating fictional personalities and emotional responses that overwhelm reality. Hillary Clinton, contrary to how she often was portrayed during the recent presidential campaign, never fought on behalf of women and children—she was an advocate for the destruction of a welfare system in which 70 percent of the recipients were children. She is a tool of the big banks, Wall Street and the war industry. Pseudo-events were created to maintain the fiction of her concern for women and children, her compassion and her connections to ordinary people. Trump never has been a great businessman. He has a long history of bankruptcies and shady business practices. But he played the fictional role of a titan of finance on his reality television show, "The Apprentice".

The rise of Fake News isn't responsible for the Dawn of the Disinformation Age. It's just one very obvious symptom of the establishment of the new age. Fake News has been around forever. When I was a kid, it was gossip, and rumor. The internet has amplified it, and made it more powerful. The corrupt press has adopted it as a tool.

We all saw that part coming... the rise of the "television Anchor Man" who wasn't a real journalist. The dawn of "cable news". The embedding of media and elimination of field journalists & photojournalists. The consolidation of newspapers. The success of tabloids in Britain, as newspapers struggled. The firing of news staff, replaced with new people charitably described as early-career "writers". The move from professional photography to "hey wanna-be celebrity news correspondant, don't forget to bring your iphone to get some pics".

Corrupted Information Distribution

Now we also have the corruption of information distribution, via agendas pursued behind the scenes by Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and others. Google has long hidden its manipulations behind a secret "algorithm". Facebook hid its manipulations behind the Timeline interfacess. And Twitter..well, I guess poor Twitter couldn't come up with anything better than the outright censorship they've implemented.

The Blogging Revolution didn't last long. The corrupt entities worked to kill it technically, while simultaneously shifting incentives away from independent reporting.

Google manipulated commenting, compartmentalized indexation & ranking of blog-published content, and killed non-Google distribution efforts. It raided the RSS world for virtually all the leadership talent, and then aggregating the feed users via its subsequent virtual monopoly on RSS feed reading and distribution. Then Google killed off its own popular feed reader abruptly.

Facebook's core agenda competes directly with blogging, so simply advancing with billions of IPO dollars worked to kill blogging. Similarly, Twitter's parasitic "microblogging platform" eagerly sickened the host.

Group Think and In-Group Preference

Probably the biggest colluding factor aiding the rise of the Age of Disinformation seems to be Group Think, also known as "in group preference". That part is YOU, dear reader. When you echo only sentiments you agree with, whether or not they are based in fact or even reasonable, you contribute to the group think that appears to be reality to so many who know even less than you.

All the Trump comments are perfect evidence of this. I won't go there in this article, but if you have a firm stance pro or against President Donald Trump, you are likely part of the problem.


In America, the common man has been abandoned by the press. As individuals permit their livelihoods and lives to be placed at risk, as a consequence of they themselves choosing not to investigate or reason through often inaccessible facts, they feel the vulnerability. In response, they are forced to cope with fear and uncertainty, even as they go about their regular business.

Fear and Loathing in America

Ambient fear and uncertainty takes a significant toll of the psyche.

Operating under fear, individuals do not think more reasonably, act more rationally, or listen more astutely. Nor do they react more appropriately.

On the contrary, manipulated by fear they over-react, shut down, deny threats, take drugs to manage anxiety, and sometimes scream out in anger, resentment, or despair.

Have you ever tried to console a 3 year old whose balloon has escape and is visibly soaring away, high in the sky? Nothing will ease the pain, except a promise of immediate attention to the task of getting another one, right now. And sometimes it needs to be a bigger, better one.

That promise is often a lie... unless the little tyrant has previously proven he really means to wreck the world unless he gets his balloon back, right, now.

Reference: I don't agree with a lot Chris Hedges writes these days. I see him as biased; swayed by disgust with his journalism peers, and perhaps disappointed to the point of depression, if not actually crippled, by his loss of access to quality information. But, within this essay I found the above commentary on Fake News

— Originally published to, last revised Feb 21, 2019

Historical Reference on a John Andrews

From correspondance between a John Andrews and his brother, a very long time ago:

"However precarious our situation may be, yet such is the present calm composure of the people that a stranger would hardly think that ten thousand pounds sterling of the East India Company’s tea was destroy’d," Andrews wrote. And yet he called it "a serious truth" that Boston will feel "the whole weight of ministerial vengeance."

But, he pointed out, most people think Boston stands an equal chance of receiving troops whether they threw the tea in the harbor or not. "Had it been stored," wrote Andrews, "we should inevitably have had ’em, to enforce the sale of it."

He characterized the Tea Party as "transacted with the greatest regularity and despatch."

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