Blogs “Victim” of Google Link Penalties

My name is Jon Payne. My blog URL is The first two words in the Title tag on my homepage are… you guessed it – Jon Payne.

Now, there are certainly other people out there with the same name as myself. Its not an overly-common name, but not the most rare either. I will, however, go out on a limb and speculate that there aren’t many other Search Engine Marketer’s with my name – but that’s just a guess. Certainly, being just a name with no direct monetary value associated with it (unfortunately for me), the competition for high rankings in the SERPs for this term is quite light.

Search on jon payne or jon payne seo blog in Yahoo or MSN and you’ll find this blog ranked #1.

Search on these terms in Google and this blog is somewhere between pages 3 and 10. In fact, I was roughly #35 yesterday and today am not in the top 100 in Google for just my name. What’s worse, even many “scraper sites” even that republish content from this blog are ranked in the top 20.

So why is an SEO not ranked in Google for even his own name? I think its a classic case of one of the few times when Google’s over-analytical algorithm has simply gone too far. Yahoo and MSN have this blog #1 without question, as well they should. The blog has my name in the text, title tag, even the stinkin’ URL 🙂 What’s more, there are a fair amount of inbound links all with anchor text like “jon payne” and “jon payne seo blog”.


That’s the problem. Unlike any other sites I’ve ever promoted, this blog gets alot of automated links to it. Lots of RSS feeds and pingbacks from other blogs and such. Really, in a very ironic way they are “natural links” in a very true sense – in that I did absolutely nothing to solicit them.

What does everyone choose as anchor text when linking to this blog? You guessed it. Either my name, or some combination thereof with words like SEO and Blog. Not exactly suprising.

Now as any beginner SEO can tell you, that should be a good thing. Good inbound links help rankings. Links with keyword anchor text help more. But alas, my problem is not that 20% or 40% of my links have such anchor text, but that more like 90-95% have the same anchor text. This is a problem. Google sees this and assumes its “unnatural” linking. Nine times out of ten they’d be right – typically identical anchor text in inbound links is a byproduct of an automated link-building campaign. But not at all in this case.

So what am I going to do about it? Well, for one I don’t care so much as its not like its costing me any money. If my name were “Online Poker” or something than I might care alot more! 🙂 But alas, here’s what I’ll do:

1) Change the official name of the blog in WordPress to something like Jon Payne’s Internet Marketing Blog. This isn’t a great fix, but will change it up a bit. I suspect that in some of the RSS and auto-generated, scraper-site links this will result in a small bit of diversity. I refuse to remove my name from the title though as a matter of principal.

2) Build a few “natural looking” inbound links. That’s right, I’m going to build links in order to look more natural. To this point I haven’t built links, they’ve just come naturally – which is sort of the whole deal with Google’s algorithm and such… Very ironic – but whatever… Gotta play the game.

I think a bit more link diversity should help reverse the penalty I seem to be getting. We’ll see, and I’ll keep you posted.