Category Archives: internet

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.

Chinese New Year 2009

!!Gung Hei Fat Choi!!
Wishing everybody health, wealth and prosperity in the year of the OX


Another year another celebration. I love chinese new year; getting together with family, stuffing my face with delicious foods and getting red packets from all my older relatives.

From this year forth as I am now married me and Sally have to give red packets to the younger ones of our family. Its tradition and is for good luck and as the old saying goes “its great to give!”.

Google and Baidu the two most popular search engines have again changed their homepage images for the festive days.

Chinese New Year Ox Google image
Chinese New Year Ox Google image


Chinese New Year Ox Baidu Image
Chinese New Year Ox Baidu Image

For those of you who have never heard of Baidu, Baidu is the most used search engine in China. Which is probably why its main page is in madarin. In China surfers tend to mainly use Baidu and Yahoo. Google is not too popular.

Anyway which image do you like better?
The Pastel shades of the Google image or the traditional red and gold Ox head drawing from Baidu?

Soda Estates gets authority from google

Whilst there is another PR update happening at the moment, most of my sites have not been affected. One site has reached PR4 which is very good considering I have not even promoted it much.

One of my best website marketing achievements at the moment is for the Soda Estates site. When I do a google search for “soda estates” I get the following result:

soda estates site links
soda estates site links

See the links underneath the listing (how we help, latest news, repossession stopped) ?
In the webmaster community a site is considered to have “authority” when it has those links. The site becomes an authoritive site. According to google however there is no such thing as an “authoritive” site. The correct name for these links is “sitelinks” as listed in Googles webmaster tools. Google adds them to a site to help the users browse to different sections of the site and these happen automatically.

They cannot be changed manually and there does not seem to be a way to influence them. This is a shame as I would not automatically choose the same links that are displayed. Whatever they are caused by they seem to be quite an achievement considering the age of the site and the relatively low content that the site has. The site still does not list too well for the keyword terms that I have chosen, but its slowly getting there.

Freedom 2 Surf Suck

My ISP Freedom 2 Surf had a major outage last week and I was without internet access for almost 3 days. Their sales guys confirmed that over 3000 users had been affected and had no internet. I only found this out after calling the sales department as I had been on hold to the technical team for over 2 hours on an 0870 rip off number!!

Crap Website, Crap Service

I thought 3000 users is a pretty major outage but its not even reported on their service status website. Talk about misleading customers. Technical support called me about 1 day after my broadband came back on, this is the conversation i had:

f2s: “hi this is Micheal from Freedom to Surf, I’m just calling to check that your broadband is working now”

dave so: “yes it is thanks, what was the problem?”

f2s: “we don’t know”

dave so: “my internet was down for 3 days and you don’t know why?”

f2s: “sorry we don’t know, I’m just calling to check its working now””

dave so: “ok thanks for your information”

I could not believe my ears, they didn’t even no what the problem was??? I think I’ll be changing ISP’s very soon. There is no way I’m staying with a company that has downtime of 3 days and does not know why.

Goodbye Freedom to surf!!
Does anybody have any suggestions of a better ISP? I’ve heard Entanet are very good.

What do people do without the internet? being without the net for 3 days was really difficult and I really struggled to be honest. I think i’m just to used to being sat infront of my screen like a total geek for hours and hours.

Happy Chinese New Year 2008

Gung Hei Fat Choi – San Lien Fai Lok !!

Happy new year! Chinese people all over the world will be celebrating the coming of the new year. The festival which traditionally lasts 15 days begins on the first day of the new lunar month.

There are 12 animals in the chinese zodiac, each year is attributed to one animal. 2008 is the year of the Rat. Google China is celebrating with this festive image which replaces their normal Google logo.

year of the rat
year of the rat

Google is China’s second most used search engine falling behind the much more established Baidu. Baidu have also a festive Chinese New Year image.

year of the rat
year of the rat

Which image do you prefer?

I’m off now to hang my red lantern and eat some lotus seeds. Gong Hei Fat choi!!