Inspired by Petros’ observation about our Google ranking for “Bruce Ackermann” (though unfortunately not for the correct spelling “Bruce Ackerman”), I decided to check out how we rank for other search queries. All results come from anonymous Google searching over Tor, without any Google tracking cookie, so the results aren’t being influenced by my browsing behaviour (e.g. going to isaacbrocksociety.com and pressing “reload” 10 times a day).
Overall, more than 80% of our referrals come from search engines. By far the most common term is “Isaac Brock Society” or some variant thereof; for example, it accounts for more than twenty times the next most common term (FATCA). Other large sources of visitors last week included sites like the American Thinker, Economic Noise, and Jack Townsend’s Federal Tax Crimes blog. Twitter is a minor source of traffic; it brought in about five to ten percent of our visitors last week as well (counting the networkedblogs.com referrals, which are probably from the @IsaacBrockSoc Twitter account).
One obvious victory: Isaac Brock Society, our contributors, and our allies like ACA make up more than half of the top 10 Google results for “citizenship-based taxation”. Happily, this means we outrank all the imperialist academics who start with the conclusion that they need to justify the raw exercise of extraterritorial power, and afterwards come up with all sorts of facile rationales like “horizontal equity” or “going overseas is dangerous, all you expats should come back to the Homeland where you’ll be safe and can’t get into trouble”.
Brock is not in the top 10 Google results for “FATCA”, but Petros’ American Thinker article is. We do manage to break into the top 10 for “FATCA” plus various countries, like Jamaica (#10), Ireland (#10), Israel (#6), China (#4), Korea, (#3), Brazil (#1), Lebanon (#1 and 2), Russia (also #1 and 2), and Taiwan (#1, 2, and 3). We don’t break into the top 10 for “FATCA” plus Hong Kong, the Netherlands, or Canada.
Some other rankings of note:
- We’re at #3 and #4 for “passport confiscation”;
- We’re at #4 for “cut loopholes” (as in Carl Levin’s “CUT Loopholes Act”), behind the Tax Justice Network, ActionAid USA, and Levin’s own Senate page
- For “OVDI”, Brock (Just Me’s “OVDI Drudgery for Minnows post) is at #8 (below 3 IRS results, IRS Medic & another spammer, and then Jack Townsend’s blog).
- Brock is not in the top 10 for FBAR. Expat Forum, oddly enough, is.
- We’re not in the top 10 for “Foreign Earned Income Exclusion” either
- And as I just noticed in the site logs, Don Pomodoro’s post “Is the US going to collapse by 2025” managed to get us into the top #10 for “US is going to collapse”
Names of people and organisations
We get mixed results from our rebuttals of various bloggers and academics. We’re at #10 for “Matias Ramos”. We’re not in the top 10 for plain old “Richard Murphy”, but we’re at #3 and #4 for “Richard Murphy citizenship based taxation”. Similarly we don’t rank in the top ten for “Tax Justice Network”, but we’re at #2 for “Tax Justice Network Saverin” and #5 for “Tax Justice Network FATCA”. We could probably get better search engine rankings if some of these people actually responded and linked back to us. Unfortunately, none of them have been interested in a debate or in learning more about the issues on which they pontificate — unlike journalists, who at least have their professional training and ethics urging them to tell both sides of the story.
For the names of politicians and their caucuses: We’re not in the top 10 for plain old “Carl Levin”, but we’re at #1 and #2 for “Levin FATCA”. We’re not in the top ten for “Chuck Grassley”, but we do make the top 10 when you combine his name with terms like “expat” or “foreign earned income exclusion”. We’re at #5 and #6 for “Americans Abroad Caucus”
And though not in the top 10 either for newsmakers like “Eduardo Saverin”, we are at #6 for “Eduardo Saverin FATCA” (Brock contributor renounceuscitizenship is also at #2 and #3).
The way forward
There are a number of ways we can continue to improve our ranking. Leaving comments on other blogs and newspapers may help, though a lot of these links are marked “nofollow” and don’t contribute to our ranking. Nevertheless, these comments are still helpful for expanding our audience and improving our name recognition; the search engine optimisation effect (if any) is secondary. If you have a personal blog or website, links to Brock always help, especially if the text of the link contains important keywords.
Another important thing for those who are authors here: when you write a post, be sure to apply appropriate tags. Names of people and countries mentioned in your post are always a good starting point. Tag pages can rank very highly for two reasons: first, if new posts are being tagged with a given tag, then to Google and other search engine crawler bots it looks as though the tag page is being updated frequently (more often than an individual post, which tends to be static), and also the search term is directly in the URL. Tags also makes it easier to search the blog for old posts.
@Eric Thanks for the systematic analysis.
I just went back and tagged some of my old posts, although unfortunately one of my older posts somehow got moved to the top. Sorry.
I will try to tag from now on whenever I create a new thread.
One question, when one has posted on a newspaper site, I guess it would be possible to go back to the post page, and right-click-view source to see if the nofollow option is set? If it isn’t, the site in question might be a good place to put several responses with various links to IBS articles?
@Eric, well that’s a little embarrassing, to have misspelt the Yale professor’s name. Though, in my defense, Ackermann is actually how some people spell it. Two “n”s on the end of a -mann is a common German spelling.
Thanks for the info. No such thing as a pure search, because google is adapted regionally. I knew that. But sometimes you jump to optimistic conclusions.
@Eric, would you try “Saverin expatriot”? Brock is 26 in my cookie infested search, right behind Politico.
That analysis is very helpful for me. Makes me think more carefully about how I tag posts, or word combinations that are being searched. I am reading inflight right now, and modifying past posts is somewhat cumbersome with constantly having to re-sign into the wi-fi this flight has. It has prompted me to remember to go back and so some improvements on past posts. Thanks again for taking the time to provide this analysis.
@bubblebustin for ‘saverin ex-patriot’ (without the quote marks), I got Don Pomodoro’s post at #40, below thinkprogress.org. For ‘saverin expatriate’, Petros’ post quoting Business Insider is at #45. Didn’t see us anywhere in the top 100 for ‘saverin expatriot’ (without the dash), but Petros’ American thinker article was at #37. My tor exit node was in Hamburg, Germany this time.
oh yes, mine search was w/o quotes, sorry to mislead.