Hostgator is bad for SEO – Goodbye Hostgator

hostgator are crap

This marvellous Infographic that I made should sum it up for you. HostGator is CRAP, using it to host my sites has hurt my Google rankings quite badly.

Let me explain, in order for Google to love your website it has to be able visit your sites pages and index them. It does this with its googlebot crawler. I had a few problems with the rankings of one of my main sites, some of the inner pages were not indexed or had fallen out of the index. after a few more weeks this became really bad in that of the whole site with over 200 pages, only the front page was indexed. Google Web Master Tools was also reporting that Googlebot could not access the robots.txt file.

The website is currently only a brochure type site and uses WordPress as a CMS for flexibility and ease of publishing. It use to rank in the top 2 spots for the keywords I targeted and many of the inner pages ranked for similar and related terms. After the de indexing of many of the inner pages the sites homepage still ranks on the first page of the Google search for some of the terms, but the inner page rankings had been lost.

After some serious testing with different hosting accounts I also use; Host Papa, Bluehost, Servage, United Hosting, Xtra Hosting, Heart Internet and some others. I have quickly come to the conclusion that HostGator is blocking googlebot on innerpages of wordpress sites. This is bad, really bad for the search rankings of any of my websites with Hostgator and has lead me to the conclusion that Hostgator is CRAP and damages your SEO.

I really don’t know how or why but they are blocking googlebot but I created a simple test site on HostGator and the same on Host Papa. Tested them both using the brilliant web-sniffer which can mimic googlebot accessing your website and show you the responses. With the brand new sites created, both sites allow googlebot to crawl the home page, both sites also allow googlebot to crawl the sample inner page too.


Sample page on HostGator works fineHG ID sample page test


Sample page on HostPapa also works fine.

HP ID sample page test

So then what’s the problem? Sample page is working as it should right?

Most people who setup WordPress will not use the default permalink settings as the URL is left ugly. the URL for the sample page on the test sites were which is an ugly URL. So to get the URLs looking like you will need to select this option in the permalink settings of wordpress.

Permalink select


I then retested both sites again with the new URLs

Host Papa first this time, with no problems

HP sample page test


Next up HostGator. Look at the response header

HG sample page test


Status: HTTP/1.1 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable

That is the same result that I get for ALL inner pages on ALL WordPress sites on my HostGator account and that is why HostGator are crap for SEO as they turn googlebot away and that means I will also be turning away my websites and my business from them.

I did raise this issue with their support and they just told me to check the robots.txt file. I have obviously done all the appropriate checks. Its something technical to do with their servers or firewall or something else. Either way its not good, its crap. Goodbye HostGator!!



Make Money When You Buy Stuff

Make Money When You Buy - QuidcoI use Quidco whenever I buy any building / DIY bits from screwfix or B & Q. When I buy  furniture from Homebase, Argos, Tesco direct etc. When new tenants move in to one of our properties, we set the utilities up for them and get a little bit of cashback too.
The mrs uses Quidco for her online shopping and we get a bit more cashback.

In the last 2 years we’ve made a little over £6k in cashback, you could do this too.
Try it – Quidco its free to join 

Author Image Finally Shown

My author image finally shows in Google listing when searches show my blog or other sites that I have written for. If you look under the first result below, you will see a picture of me and my son then the “by Dave So” link.

dave author image
dave author image

I’ve still yet to find solid proof that these author images help with click throughs or conversion rates. At the moment they just kinda seem like a bit of eye candy by Google. Why the hell does my site rank for “dolly noodles” ?? Ha ha, part a little test I was doing a few years ago, just to see if I could – The result, I did!

Dropbox 16Gb Free Increase

I just got an email that they are increasing my free space up to 16Gb. That’s double the previous max 8Gb of free space and double however much free space you had. I only had 5.4Gb out of the 8Gb max so with that doubled I now have 10.8Gb. That’s awesome!

Now all I have to do is refer more friends to get more (up to 16Gb) space. Dropbox rewards me and my friends with 500Mb each when they sign up through this link.

Here is the email:

dropbox free space increase
dropbox free space increase

“Hi Dave,

You can now earn twice as much free space by inviting your friends!

For each friend that installs Dropbox, you’ll both get 500 MB of free space. You can earn up to 16 GB.

Invite your friends now!

Thanks for spreading the Dropbox love,
– The Dropbox Team

P.S. Already invited a bunch of people? Don’t worry! You’ll get credited for all of them.”

Don’t you just love free stuff?

Blog Networks hunted down by Google

Hunted by Google
Hunted by Google

This has been on the cards for a while, Google is getting better at detecting those blog networks. One of the biggest public networks has had a large number of its blogs deindexed by the big G. Why?? Well they were allowing their clients to game the system all too easily. Google has been getting better at detecting these networks and now is taking action. Lots of smaller networks have been hit recently, but this is the biggest network to be tracked down and punished.

You can read all about this on’s offical statement.

No I didn’t use them and don’t use any public networks. Whilst the rewards are there its also quite easy to detect and hence quite risky. Stick to the more traditional methods guys and you should be ok.

sologo – new domain name

You may or may not have noticed, but if you have reached this site by going to the URL you are now on is

I bought about a year ago when the .SO domain was launched. The .SO domain is the TLD for Somali and has since last year (2011) been available to the general public to purchase. Fantastic that my family name fits within a TLD I bet not many people have that to talk about.

Buy Dolly Noodles

Dolly Noodles

When it comes to noodles, especially instant ones buy a brand that has been recommended by someone you trust and stay away from anything that costs 5p from Asda or Tescos as you normally get what you pay for. When in doubt, the building block of a good bowl of noodles is Nissin ramen. In nearly all oriental supermarkets, Nissin dominates the shelves. They used to be sold in Sainsburys and Tesco’s, but not any more for some unknown reason.

All flavours are good, my favourite being classic Beef or seafood. I seem to remember they also did or still do a Tom yum flavour. I may have dreamt this though as I often dream about noodles!

do you colaborate?

Online collaboration

As a business owner you almost definitely need an online colaboration system. Why I hear you ask? here are a few examples that I have needed and used them for in the past.

Managing shared calendars
Let say you manage a small team of people. Having their calendars online and shared will make it easy to see who is on holiday and who isn’t. Booking work for them will be a breeze too.

Private discussion groups
You can talk with your team on private discussion about the next deal or an ongoing project in the prvacy of your own discussion board / forum. No waiting for group emails to be recieved as the responses posted will be instant.

Keeping shared documents updated
Online collaboration really comes into its element here. For example if you have a conference planning spreadsheet which two or more people need to see and you are emailing it backwards and forwards it can usually be a real pain to keep it updated or to make sure everyone gets the latest updated version.

If more than one person updates the spreadsheet and emails it out that will have created at different versions. It will then be hard to get back to one version without some major headache!

With online colaboration, this spreadsheet would be stored online and users would always edit and view the latest version.

Access from anywhere
You can forget bringing the laptop out all the time. All you need is a webbrowser and you can then access your documents online anywhere. You don’t even need to have spreadsheet or word processing software installed.

There are many benefits of online collaboration and Central Desktop allow you to try it for free.

RIP Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

I know its everywhere by now, but i just found out and i am very shocked by the news. Michael Jackson was 50 years old at the time of his death and leaves behind 3 children: Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II.

Michael Jackson was loved worldwide and was known worldwide as one of the greatest performers of all time. He was a pop icon and will be missed greatly by all his fans.