Articles on the Internet

Trying to find decent articles about crystals, rocks and minerals online can be a real challenge because so much of what your read on some mainstream websites is repetitive, unoriginal and in many cases, not even factual.  I research extensively in preparation for the articles I write on crystals, rocks and minerals for Stone Mania and have been doing so for a very, very long time.  One thing that has become apparent over the years is that people love using other people’s work and having tweaked it slightly, truly believe they can pass it off as their own.  In many cases the information that’s been copied is not even factual which has led to an explosion of inaccurate articles being published online especially in relation to rocks, minerals and in particular gemstones.

If you want to be sure that something you’ve read online is accurate, cross reference the information with a respected website, we tend to use four or five but our two favourites are Wikipedia and Geology.com  Alternatively try to find an article that has been written by an expert in that subject matter but admittedly unlike mainstream websites, they can be a little more difficult to find and you usually stumble across them when you least expect to. Specialist discussion forums can also be an invaluable source of information and if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can always post a question.  Most forums have members with a vast amount of knowledge in a particular subject so it’s unlikely, certainly on the subject of crystals, rocks and minerals, not to be able to find the answer that you’re looking for or to get clarification on whether something is factual or not.

When Google first made it known that writing articles to post online contributed to search engine ranking, articles started popping up all over the place and whilst that certainly helped build the internet into what it is today, it also meant that a huge amount of copying was going on.  You could even pay someone to write an article for you but generally the end result was low quality, generic and repetitive and often it was blatantly obvious that its sole purpose was to improve search engine ranking.  I have to say that having had a few articles written for Stone Mania on crystals, rocks and minerals by different companies, they all turned out to be utter rubbish and were never used and I even refused to pay for them.

It’s really important to emphasize that there are some truly excellent articles to read on crystals, rocks and minerals but sadly, there’s also far too many that are really not worth reading at all.  Many unfortunately are works that have been copied and reproduced to make them appear to be original but having read exactly the same information so many times before, you don’t need to be Einstein to see that they’re really not original pieces of work.  The practice of stealing someone else’s material to use as your own is known as plagiarism and sadly, it’s rife across the internet.  Google has become wise to this in recent years and takes the problem very seriously but despite making various amendments to their algorithm, it’s not a problem that’s going to be easy to eradicate.

A few years ago if you put something into Google which related to crystals, rocks or minerals such as, “Turquoise comes from the French, pierre turquoise meaning turkish stone”, that exact line of text would appear in page after page of search results on hundreds of different websites.  We all have different ways of writing and expressing ourselves so it’s pretty unlikely that so many people would write a line of text in exactly the same way so it was clear the text was being taken from one source, only to be used in another. Thankfully this rarely happens nowadays not only because Google’s algorithm has changed so it searches in a completely different way but also because it has become wise to the issue of plagiarism and is trying to address the problem as best as it can.  That certainly doesn’t mean text is no longer being copied, it just means people are being much more careful.  It’s common knowledge that if you want a page that you publish to rank well, it must be original so significant changes are now being made to material that’s been plagiarized.  The problem with this however is that if not done carefully and by someone with a thorough knowledge of the subject matter, the article may end up having a completely different meaning and will likely also lose much of its accuracy.

There are more articles online about amethyst than I care to imagine which is great because it’s a fascinating and interesting gemstone to read about but unfortunately, some of what’s been written is not accurate and in some cases bears little or no truth at all.  Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral quartz whose colour is caused by trace impurities of iron and manganese, this statement is factual and can be written or incorporated into an article in many different ways depending on who the author is.  If Google detects that it appears on multiple websites written verbatim and also finds additional text in the same article that is also repeated, it’s highly likely that the page will be penalized.  Facts are facts and Google recognizes that but it soon becomes clear when information is being copied, even if it has been changed.

Another example which demonstrates how inaccurate information can spread like wildfire relates to a myth that was written by French Poet Remy Belleau and published a year before his death in 1576:

“Bacchus (Roman name for Dionysus, Greek God of wine) was pursuing a maiden named Amethyste who refused his affections. Amethyste prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Diana answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethyste’s desire to remain chaste, Bacchus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple”

Although written in the 15th century, many articles online and even in a book that we have in our collection called ‘Guide to Gems’, state that it comes from Greek mythology which is not correct and furthermore, as the passage has continually been rewritten, it has changed considerably and in some cases is not even recognizable as the same text.  Several variations have also popped up and they too claim to be from Greek mythology.  This is one of the most popular:

“Dionysus had been insulted by a mortal and swore to slay the next who crossed his path creating fierce tigers to carry out his wrath. The mortal turned out to be a beautiful young woman named Amethystos who was on her way to pay tribute to Artemis (Goddess of virginity and protector of young girls). Her life was spared by Artemis who transformed the maiden into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The God’s tears subsequently stained the quartz purple.

Despite being a heart warming tale it is just that and is neither factual or a myth from Greek mythology.  The only reference to amethyst in historical text relates to a stone that was given to Dionysus by the titan Rhea in order to preserve the wine-drinker’s sanity.

The original myth as written by Remy Belleau is quite difficult to find and what people who want to use it as part of their article on amethyst don’t understand, is that they should be quoting it as historical text using citations instead of trying to reword it to try and keep it unique for the benefit of Google. As a result there are hundreds of versions online many of which lack accuracy and with regards to the longer version, not only does it bear no historical value, but there’s little or no proof of where it even came from.

Historical text should always be quoted instead of being rewritten and citations used to show readers that it has come from another source.  Citations should also be used whenever something is quoted, paraphrased, if you use an idea that has come from someone else and when a reference is made to someone else’s work.  They should even be put in place when something has been used to develop your own ideas.  The purpose of a “citation” is to make it clear to the reader that something has come from another source and it also enables them to refer to that work should they wish to.  Using citations in an article is completely acceptable and not considered by Google to be plagiarism nor does it detract from the originality of the article.

Some of the worse culprits of plagiarism are people who manage an online business because its success is largely reliant on Google.  In order for potential customers to find a website, it must rank well so articles are often churned out on a regular basis and lengthy descriptions written adjacent to products being offered for sale both of which help improve search engine ranking.

The purpose of this article is to highlight that not everything that’s published online is accurate and especially with regards to crystals, rocks and minerals.  A large amount of what’s available to read has simply been written with the sole purpose of increasing search engine ranking and not everyone goes to the lengths required to ensure that what they are writing is factual or accurate.  In many cases articles are written hastily or by someone with little or no knowledge of the subject matter hence the minimum amount of research is done in order to find suitable and adequate material to use.

From the perspective of an online business and someone with plenty of experience writing articles to publish online, I would recommend that citations be used where relevant and if ever you’re not sure whether something is factual or not, make that very clear in your article.  Sometimes it is difficult to confirm whether something is true and that’s fine but never take it for granted that it is without having hard evidence to back it up.  If in doubt leave it out or make it clear that you’re not able to find evidence to support what you have said, it’s better to be truthful than to put your name to something that’s simply not true.   Remember that once an article has been published online it’s likely to be around for a very, very long time and what may initially seem like a well written and original article, may over time begin to have a negative impact on the page or website that you’re trying to promote.

Suspect Reviews Online

Having already written about the black hat SEO techniques used by Dave Adamson of SEO Juice Australia (seo juice .net) and his subsequent bare faced lies which served no purpose other to further infuriate me, I was interested to see three reviews of his company which have recently popped up on Twitter.  Sadly because the Operations Manager at SEO Juice, Ally Church has already written at least two sparkling reviews that I know of on the company masquerading as a customer which she then posted in the Warrior Forum claiming they were written before she worked for the company, it’s pretty hard to trust anything that is now written about them.

From my own experience with SEO Juice and Dave Adamson in particular, I would suspect any reviews on this company that refer to them in a positive light are probably fixed.  I signed up with them in good faith, all email correspondence between Dave and myself during the period we worked together was friendly and I went to him to take advantage of the SEO services that he offered.  When I terminated my agreement after not seeing any improvement at all after almost seven months, only then did things become very unpleasant.

If you make guarantees in black and white to refund money if certain results cannot be achieved and you do this time and time and time again both in forums and on your own website, surely you need to honor this when the work you have been doing has clearly not paid off.  Furthermore if you out-source work to India and it’s then brought to your attention that they have been using black hat SEO techniques which have caused significant damage to your customer’s website, just apologize and help put things right!  Why on earth would you deny that your company had built these spammy links when you have already sent them the URL’s in your monthly report and even worse, then tell bare faced lies to try to pass the blame on to your customer for there not being ANY improvement in search engine ranking?

I’m pleased that I have been able to substantiate what happened between SEO Juice and myself by producing actual screen shots of email correspondence between Dave Adamson and myself and forum postings because this confirms undoubtedly, what a liar and a cheat he actually is.   There are many, many genuine companies out there who work tirelessly to promote themselves online in a good light but sadly there are just as many who absolutely cannot be trusted and I feel it’s really important to highlight these cowboy companies so that other businesses do not get taken in by them in the way that I was.

SEO Juice is a search engine optimization company run by Dave Adamson and they’re based in New South Wales in Australia.  If you value your online business and want it to succeed in the eyes of Google, then I would definitely avoid this company and take the promises that they make on their website with a pinch of salt.

Rip Off Companies Online

In this article regarding the Australian based company called SEO Juice run by Dave Adamson who I used to promote my website Stone Mania, I am going to expose the lies which they make in their advert which can be seen on their own thread in the Warrior forum.  Sadly there are many companies like them who promote themselves through the internet and it’s frightening to think that no matter how careful you are, you can still fall victim to cowboys like these.

SEO Juice (seo juice . net) regularly posts in the Warrior Forum promoting their SEO services and it had often caught my attention.  Although initially very wary of the guarantees they make, I decided after speaking with Dave Adamson through his own website to give them a go.  The time that I spent with them as a customer resulted in my website losing all credibility in the eyes of Google and other search engines and they almost lost me my online business completely.  Having spent over ten years building Stone Mania’s website into a trustworthy, secure and reputable online business which sells crystals, rocks, minerals and ladies gemstone pendants, it was brought completely to its knees by this company in just six months.

The original posting in the thread that lead me to use SEO Juice has been updated in recent weeks although Dave does not state this and the only giveaway is that the Google updates that he mentions had not even been released at that time the article was originally posted.  However the basic promises and guarantees that Dave Adamson of SEO Juice makes, remain exactly the same but be warned, these are false and should not be believed.  I have used excerpts from his emails to me in response to my complaint about his work to prove this.

The updated posting can be seen by pasting this link into your browser:  http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-special-offers-forum/383681-seojuice-ranking-through-panda-penguin-hummingbird-jump-now-free-trial.html

 

 

The Original Posting

Screenshot of the original posting

Above is a screenshot of the original post which has since been used again in a different forum.  In the screenshots below you’ll also see other parts of the original posting from the Warrior forum. Although this has now changed, the original thread remains very active.

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One of the first points in the updated post on the Warrior forum, it is stated that all content is written by native English writers which is not true.  Whilst promoting my company for six months, well over two hundred comments were posted in various discussion forums which linked back to my website using the keywords that had been agreed.  None of these were quality links nor were they written by people who could string a sentence together in English.

Original posting recently updated

Original posting recently updated

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 Below are just three examples the links using my keywords which were sent to me by Dave Adamson in my monthly report.  Sadly I never checked each and every link that was built for me at the time.

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These are the so called high quality links that are promised by SEO Juice, in fact they’re nothing more than low quality, rubbish, black hat spammy links, a perfect recipe to get you penalized by Google which is exactly what happened to my website.  The other thing that SEO Juice did was to copy a snippet of text from the home page of the Stone Mania website and paste it hundreds and hundreds of times into more discussion forums.  Once again all the links to these threads were sent to me in my monthly report but I never went through each one to check it.

Excerpt from Stone Mania homepage

This caused furhter problems as Google hates duplicate content and has issued updates to tackle it hence traffic to my site quickly started to fall.  Despite complaining to Dave Adamson regularly about the fall in traffic and business, he assured me he was doing everything that could be done to promote my website and stated on many occasions that he could find no reason for the drop in traffic.  The comments from his emails can be seen in my previous post.

So back to the promotional post in the Warrior Forum.  Below is another screen shot of what they promise but the this is yet another lie.  After six months of working with SEO Juice and my website almost falling out of the top 100 of Google listings for all of my keywords, Dave Adamson admitted defeat and his response to my email can also be seen below.

Guarantees from SEO Juice

Guarantees from SEO Juice

Response from Dave Adamson

Response from Dave Adamson

I certainly wasn’t offered any refund on the $2000 that I had paid for their services and in fact when I queried this was told that I wasn’t eligible as I hadn’t signed up through the Warrior Forum.  In fact, what I had done is click on the link in the forum posting which took me directly to his website and from there, I emailed Dave directly to set up the original agreement.  I have never received one single penny back for the work they did on my website.  

What he did point out to me in one of his replies was his Terms & Conditions and in that they state:

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Interestingly since updating his promotional ad in this thread, his prices have increased as have the reduced prices that he is offering and the packages themselves have also changed.  He continues to offer guarantees of page one ranking!  Furthermore in the customer reviews lower down the page, the one submitted by Ally Church who is the Operations Manager at SEO Juice has now been removed.  Her review can be seen in my  previous post.

In Dave’s most recent response to an enquiry, he once again confirms that his company can achieve wonderful things.  My experience with him was catastrophic for my online business and Google rankings and I would warn anyone looking for an SEO company to avoid SEO Juice at ALL costs.

I’m very pleased to say that Stone Mania is in a much better position once again on Google and myself and the team can now get back to doing what we love most, which is selling beautiful crystals, rocks and minerals!

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I posted a comment in response to the above

Dangerous SEO

Stone Mania is a London based business who sells crystals, rocks and minerals online.  The company was formed in 2002 and the website followed soon after.  Having spent many, many hours over the last ten years learning about search engine optimization so that my website would appear in the first few pages of Google, I can honestly say that I’m no stranger to the way things work or what Google expects from those hoping to promote their website.  What I do know without a shadow of a doubt is that the success of an online business is largely dependent on how easy it can be found in Google’s rankings using the most relevant keywords.  Get this right and you’re well on your way to having a successful business, get it wrong and it could be a disaster.

Selling crystals, rocks and minerals online is extremely competitive and there are many websites all of whom want to be on page one for the most relevant keywords for their type of products.  So for example if someone searches Google using the term Rocks and Minerals and a website appears on page one or possibly two, the chances of attracting new business will be significantly higher than if it appears on page three or beyond.  However for a keyword to be successful it needs to be promoted well and for those who don’t have the time to do this themselves, one of the alternatives is to consider using a company who specializes in SEO or search engine optimization.  Statistics clearly demonstrate that very few internet users go beyond page one when looking at search results, if they cannot find what they’re looking for within a few seconds, they’ll search again using different words.

The primary aim of any search engine is to offer their users as enjoyable an experience as possible and most of all they want to ensure only the very best websites appear in their results.  From an online trader’s point of view, the most important thing is to rank as highly as possible hence people are prepared to spend huge sums of money to try and ensure they achieve page one or two ranking.  The combination of exactly what is needed to be a top ranking website in Google remains a well guarded secret and they intend to keep it that way but they do make it very well known how you can generally achieve this.  Whilst there are many tips and recommendations online about how a website can improve, some things are never shared and this leads to a great deal of speculation.  Google also releases updates online which address specific problems that arise for example the Panda update of 2011 addressed the issue of low quality webpages filled with duplicate and uninteresting content and subsequently Penguin released in 2012 addressed the issue of artificially manipulating the number of inbound links.  Links have always been considered an important contributing factor to the success of a website however these need to be genuine and carefully accumulated as opposed to just having a mass of low quality, irrelevant or spammy links.

SEO JUICE

Screenshot of one of the rotating banners at SEO Juice . net

The business of SEO deals with the promotion of a website in a variety of ways with the ultimate aim being to improve search engine ranking.  It goes without saying that there are many companies out there who make promises and guarantees they cannot keep simply to attract new business and anyone with any knowledge in this field, will be well aware that it’s just not feasible to offer a guarantee of page one ranking with highly competitive keywords.  Whilst trying to promote Stone Mania over the last ten years, I’ve met my fair share of time wasters in this field so understandably am extremely cautious with regards to who I give my business to, however what I do have on my side now is a comprehensive understanding of SEO hence I am much more savvy than I used to be.  That said, it makes it even more frustrating when I look back and see the mistakes that I made with SEO Juice, an Australian based company run by Dave Adamson who I used to try and promote my website for six months.  They farmed work on my website out to a company in India who in turn used ‘black hat’ SEO techniques which severely damaged the reputation of my website causing it to be penalized by Google.  As a result not only did Stone Mania tumble almost into oblivion on all search engine rankings but I also lost out on many months of revenue because I received virtually no new business at all during that time.

When I first went to SEO Juice I explained to Dave Adamson that I currently appeared in the top ten pages of Google for most of my relevant keywords including crystals, rocks and minerals but I would like to have a stronger presence on page one.  After six months of working with them, six of my strongest keywords showed up outside of the top one hundred pages of Google.

I paid SEO Juice almost $3000 over six months and in return I almost lost my business as a result of the work they carried out.  They make very clear statements on their website and in their adverts yet it’s all lies and I  hope writing about my experience with them will prevent others from falling victim.

SEO Juice

Screenshot of one of the rotating banners at SEO Juice . net