DaveN Interview

Well folks, it is time to get this mutha off the ground. Judging by the big fat text that say’s DaveN Interview you will have guessed that Mr N has agreed to answer a few questions related to search and anything else that seems pertinent.

So without further ado I invite you to read on and see what is going on right now in the world of DaveN.


I remember when it was easy, throw up a page, throw in some links and away you go, but now things seem much harder for new builds. So how can the ordinary bloke with a website compete with aged sites and resource driven people. It’s a case of the richer getting richer no?

It certainly seems that way at the moment but I still believe that it is still easy to throw up a page and push some links to it and away you go. It’s all about knowing where to host, what’s on the page, the content of the page etc.

If you remember the old days of SEO when there were 8 Golden Rules to follow, now it is the case that there are 8 Golden Rules for each Golden Rule to follow… do you follow. More like 3D SEO rather than 2D.

There is though so much information on the web these days about SEO techniques. When I started it was all very secretive and not really understood what the true value of it was. If an ordinary person has enough time on their hands to sift through the forums they will get a head start.

Have you ever been wiped out of Google, what was it for, did you get it back and what lessons did you learn from receiving a good kicking?

Yep, I have had many sites penalised and hand removed from Google. But this was because I was lazy and stupid and didn’t keep 2 steps ahead of the game. They didn’t get back in and I opened up a fish and chip shop and retired. No, seriously we tend to run 3 or 4 different techniques at a time and if certain sites do get burnt we just walk away. We know for next time what works and what doesn’t.

I know that you do client sites that would be considered uber clean and you do outright, pushing the boundaries stuff, but are you ever tempted to push it a little to get client sites cooking that little bit more?

Not anymore. For the first time in my life about a year ago we took a clients’ site a little too far. We offered up advise which was like giving a child a gun with bullets. Basically the client went overboard on link acquisition and failed to stick within the boundaries of the Golden Rules.

You wake up one morning and you have no resources, no programmers, no full rack of servers, do you think it is possible for a non “resourced up” person to make it big in the search world. Could you do it again and how would you tackle it?

To be honest if I woke up one morning with no resources, no programmers, and no rack of servers it would probably be because I was on a yacht somewhere anchored off a tropical island in the sun, retired from the game.

I could do it again and I’d tackle it head on. I’d wake up the next morning and buy new resources and start again. I still have the knowledge that I will never lose and a great deal of motivation when something interests me.

A good friend of mine, NFFC, ran a thread on one of the forums a while ago and there was one thing that really hit home about how I work within the industry, which was the classic quote from The Godfather.

“Someday – and that day may never come – I’ll call upon you to do a service for me”.

Being a good SEO is about being aware of changes, even trying to predict. Pushing the boundaries it about taking it that step further, do you go out looking for flaws, do you share them with mates, do you experiment, what is your angle?

I do go out looking for the flaws in the search engines, which I suppose is the same as a good accountant who will try to find the loop holes on the tax system for instance. This enables me to keep a few steps ahead.

I do tend to share ideas with friends when it is advisable to. I have been caught out though in the past where ideas that I have shared in private forums have been abused. Not in the sense of being offered up to the search engines, but in the sense that if you find something that could make you £50k a month if implemented slowly and carefully and will live for 8-10months then great. But if this is implemented aggressively it may net £100k and only live for a month. The scraper sites were a classic example of this, even though I still believe that Google is still struggling with them.

When I see “golden nuggets” appear of forums, I think to myself, “there ain’t much time left on that one” and I have seen things that I have been privy to “outed” and then killed, so would you say there is a large amount of secrecy and funny hand shakes in this game?

Not too sure about the funny hand shakes mate, but there are certainly “funny” instant messages flying around the web these days. Small groups of SEO’s who are part of small private forums openly discuss ideas and new techniques.

You have a fairly large infrastructure, so you clearly believe in this business long term. So as a pie in the sky exercise, where is search going to be in 2, 5 and 10 years and will you still be able to make cold hard cash from it?

Predicting the future of the search engines is a very hard thing to do, but one thing for certain is that you will always be able to make cold hard cash from it if you manage to keep up with the changes. The word that is in the back of my mind more and more these days is “community”.

There will be more personalised search, like DaveN likes football, drinks beer and has an unnatural obsession with reading blogs. The search engines with then deliver ads related to my profile and not keyword related.
Also I feel that Google, Yahoo and MSN seem to be all focusing more on releasing new products like video download, photo libraries and software than on their own core search product.

I may be a cynical old bastard but when you take that 99% of all Googles revenue comes from adwords delivered by keyword search it’s hard to make sense that the natural listings are irrelevant, spam filled or informational.

In term of search what are the craziest things that Google / MSN / Yahoo are doing right now and how could they fix that?

I would say that for Google it would be that in an attempt to fix the 302 issues they seem to have caused some 301 dupe content issues now.

For Yahoo it will be MyWeb2. There is a funky thing that Greg Boser pointed out today that if you search for Threadwatch you get every listing from threadwatch.org, but if you search for David Naylor you get clusters of results from many sites including mine.

And MSN, it still seems that if you have the keyword in the URL and title that you can rank for anything.

How to fix these… that’s their problem… why should I tell them how to fix their problems.

You are a self proclaimed blog spammer or were, do you still do that, if not why and any plans to unleash the evil in the future?

Lol, I stopped blog spamming when everyone else started it, before it became a mainstream technique. That’s probably about the time when I started RSS scraper type sites.

The mighty blog spammer is still in my arsenal of tools and maybe one day I may dust it off and let it loose again. But as you well know I run a lot of blogs now and I know that it pisses people off a lot. Adding to that WordPress and other blog companies do a much better job at blocking blog spam. So perhaps a project for the future will be to build a new one that will break through this extra blog protection.

Now time for a question that is like one of those quirky “end of news bulletin” stories (remember Butch and Sundance the escapee pigs). Well, what, to date has been your biggest SEO / programming faux pas, go on give us a laugh, have you ever sent 25K visitors to an aff, thought their conversion was cack then realised you left your aff code off for example?

I’ve done worse than that mate. I have built networks of sites and then when they started to pop in the plan was to monetarise them. I built one such network then forgot about half of it, so basically we were getting about 100,000 uniques a day that saw total garbage and no monetarisation at all. In fact I think there are still pages out there somewhere.

Another crazy one was that I was sat in the office with a guest while I watched with untold belief the conversation between a UK spammer and a Russian programmer. I can’t believe people actually use Russian programmers. 😉


Well Dave, I would like to thank you for taking the time out to answer a few questions, most appreciated.

If anyone does not know they can catch up with Dave on his Blog or talking random seemingly, unplanned stuff, on his explicit radio show with Mikkel on StrikePoint!. Enjoy.

ukgimp out.

5 Comments on “DaveN Interview

  1. plumsauce, I have used russian programmers myself, well one that I kept going back to. He was top notch, but the trouble with using services like elance is your ideas get sold onto other people. Given the choice I would prefer partnered programmers or inhouse ones.

  2. Just to clarify, I’m not knocking all Russian programmers… I’m sure most of them are very good. I haven’t used any foreign programmers personally.. I try to keep all of my stuff in house where I can control it.
    This was more of a dig at UkGimp 😉

  3. So you have come across some crazy ones then Dave? :-). I must admit i like Russians, it is their unique (my perception) crazyness that makes me smile the most.

    All Russians are crazy, no? 🙂