I just learned that John Chows rankings dropped even for his own name! He suspects that it has something to do with his review for a link back promotion. I am sure that is the problem.
As of yesterday, I was not ranking for my own name. My problem was that when I moved from wordpress.com to my own server, I had http://hamletb.wordpress.com and http://hamletbatista.com, both with the same content. Fortunately, it was very easy to fix. I made hamletb.wordpress.com redirect to hamletbatista.com, and requested a removal of hamletb.wordpress.com from Google's index via Webmaster Central.
Some useful SEO tweaks I did to my blog:
1. I installed all-in-one-SEO plugin so that I can have unique titles and descriptions. Meta keywords is not really useful for SEO.
2. All category pages, etc. have a meta robots noindex tag to avoid duplicate content.
3. I registered an XML sitemap of my blog to Google.
Would these steps solve John's case? I don't think so.
While they offer to get link and traffic from a high PageRank website, such as his, and as compelling as it seems, I chose not to do any review for a linkback. I have linked to his site several times, but never a review for a link back. Why?
I understand search engines. I've been there and I have done that. I've learned my lesson. I know very well they don't like any type of manipulative behavior, no matter how creative it is. John was doing great as long a Google was not aware of what he was doing.
He says that he will change the rules; but, I think it doesn't matter, – if he changes them or not. Google is already aware of his efforts as he is doing it in the open.
If you are one of his reviewers or are following the same strategy, I wouldn't be surprised if something similar happened to you.
John says it doesn't matter. He only got a few visitors each day. Well, those were free visitors from a term that costs a lot of money in Google Adwords. Is it worth it to lose such ranking?
I have to say that I agree with him when he says that it is not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. You need to have a comprehensive marketing mix for your blog. Ignoring Google is definitely not on mine.