Search rankings for Google Mobile and ASK

Today I updated my Google search app on my phone. I had been monitoring the results on there for some time, but not in great detail. Looking at the first page only, the first hit remained – throughout this entire exercise – a link to the abandoned blog with my name listed on it. This has been the one big site which I have not been able to resolve either through outranking or through requesting content to be amended. It still has my name down as the owner of the site responsible for one of the email scams relating to Adobe and Skype products (as discussed previously, the scammers used both my stolen credit card details to pay and then used my name to register).

The update to the Google search app changed all that. Why? One little change in their app and algorithm – ranking locale specific to where you are, rather than the USA. This pushed the abandoned blog down to hit #9 immediately. A ranking I am much happier with compared to #1.

Similarly, if I use, that same problem site is #1, but If I use, it doesn’t appear at all!

Conclusions? It would seem that the only way I can get something to outrank that abandoned blog on US-based searches is to host things in a US-based way. That would be difficult, but may be necessary if I were to apply for a job in the US.

Search rankings update

Following on from the two significant recent changes, and some other SEO work done, it is time to look at the rankings again. Also, I have let my ad run down again as most of the content has been amended, and my content is ranking reasonably well.

All of the engines in question now have updated the 37prime content. Interestingly, Google was almost immediate. Ask refreshed the content two days ago, and Bing/Yahoo! updated today. It has taken around the same amount of time to de-rank the now defunct Skype forum that also had the stolen identity related content (including some slanderous remarks). Google did take longer to de-rank than to refresh content, but the timing of the other two engines was concurrent with refreshing the content. Duckduckgo is still draging the chain on the content update.

Page 1: bad results at #5 (abandoned blog) (#7 is updated 37prime) (out of 10)

Page 2: none

Page 3: #6 (abandoned blog again)

Page 1: none (out of 10) see bing below for more details

Page 2: #9

Page 3: #3

Page 1: none (out of 10) – #9 is the updated 37prime content

Page 2: #9 (this is the abandoned blog)

Page 3: #3 (same blog – it is indexed multiple times because the same story can be linked to via different URLs based on the article tags. This phenomenon held true for the 37prime blog as well; the permalink and the archive both showed up)

Page 1: #1 (the abandoned blog) (#5 is the updated 37prime post)

Page 2: #5 (same abandoned blog, through permalink)

Page 3: none!

One continuous page: result #4 (37prime), 9 (Skype forum), 11 (abandoned blog) out of a total of 33 results. It looked rather different earlier this morning – 31 results, and the content had been updated, so their sources and algorithms appear to change.

So in summary, my SEO changes seem to have had some positive results for me on Bing/Yahoo! but haven’t made any difference to Google. Ask was slightly worse, and DuckDuckGo is a mixed bag. I will keep monitoring as I do want to de-rank the abandoned blog, as well as see what is happening on DuckDuckGo.

Search rankings update

Time again to do a snapshot. Since the last snapshot, I have submitted this blog to a number of blog indicies, as well as added some new content on other sites. Cross-linking between my own pages has also been updated. Finally, the negative content on the Skype discussion board has been retired, although still appears in search engines at the moment.

Same note as last time about Yahoo! and Bing. My Google ad is appearing periodically as they keep refunding small amounts of money based upon what they believe are bogus clicks. I’m really unclear on how this is assessed, and how they decide where to run the ads (apart from geographically – which is selectable).

Page 1: bad results at #5, #8 (out of 10)

Page 2: none

Page 3: #6

Page 1: #8 (out of 10)

Page 2: #3, #6

Page 3: #2

Page 1: #8 (out of 10)

Page 2: #3, #6

Page 3: #2

Page 1: #1, #7 (exluding my ad which is running again!)

Page 2: #6

Page 3: none!

One continuous page: result #3, 6, 9 out of a total of 32 results.

Ask is definitely on the improve, with the bad results sinking (apart from that abandoned blog at number 1). Google has gone in the right direction this time, but Yahoo!/Bing is definitely worse.

DuckDuckGo has also come out worse, but strangely now has a note about the results coming from Bing and being built by Yahoo!, but with no real explanation.

So is there much else I can do at this point without spending a lot of money? Having your online brand managed seems awfully expensive, and comes with little to no guarantees. As the Skype forum data disappears from primary searches, there will be some improvement but the other two sites are looking difficult to contain. There are no doubt other repositories of this data further down the search, and the Wayback Machine will no doubt have archived much of it, but I still would like to clean up the first 3 pages, and in particular, bump the retired blog from being the first hit on Ask.

Internet sense of humour

So a funny thing happened to me on the way to the internet. I’ve been monitoring where things are at, seeing if anything new comes up, and lo. A new search hit on Apparently there’s enough data on me on the internet now to put me on Naturally, I don’t rate very well, but it seems well enough to appear on The thing I found most amusing was that the first thing that appeared (the ranks have changed again since a few hours ago) was:
russian hacker vs shawn sijnstra
which was surprising to say the least. I didn’t even know that my “hipness” was being measured, but there you go. And compared to an apparently mysterious russian hacker. While the issues happened on a Russian registrar, I don’t think I’ve ever identified the “hacker” as anyone in particular. I’m wondering whether it’s just an ad placed with an interesing piece of AI to generate the pages (there’s a lot of ads on that page), or if someone added this stuff manually? Perhaps the same kind of spammers that offer “comments” on this blog to link to their products.

Upon closer inspection, it appears that I’m compared to everything that has been related in this blog about my identity theft. Perhaps a semi-manual process has been used to generate pages, inflating the content on hiprank? Next question though, is how did hiprank suddenly appear on the first page of results on They are scraping in to the bottom of page 3 on, and top of page 5 on Bing. Oddly enough, duckduckgo doesn’t care. Props to them for working out ask’s ranking scheme.

Search rankings update

Time to do another snapshot of where things are at. Same conditions as usual. Rankings do bounce around a lot, and I am only viewing them from my own searching perspective (affecting locality). I am not logged in to Google when searching, so hopefully it doesn’t tailor the answers by detecting who I am some other way.

Also of note is that I am still checking both Yahoo! and Bing results separately even though they are rapidly approaching 100% identical as their Search Alliance nears completion.

Page 1: bad results at #3,6 (out of 10)

Page 2: none

Page 3: #2

Page 1: none (out of 10)

Page 2: #1, #8

Page 3: #3, #10

Page 1: none (out of 10)

Page 2: #1, #8

Page 3: #3, #10

Page 1: #1, #4 (my ad is low on credit so no ads this time.)

Page 2: #2

Page 3: none!

One continuous page: result #8, 10, 13 out of a total of 28 results.

So what do I think of the results at the moment? Minor improvements on DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo!/Bing are much better.

The Google results are much more disappointing, although not all bad news. While the bad results on the first page have climbed somewhat, out of the top 30 results, the count is down by one and the other link is disappearing down the stack. On Ask, the search rankings have only gotten worse, and in particular I am disappointed that I am being outranked by a no longer maintained blog.

What to do next? There is more positive content up relating to me, and I’ve also done some more cross linking today. Hopefully that will assist. Also, I need to consider legal avenues on content removal – not sure what my options are in all cases. I’ve been assured that some of the content will come down shortly, but the two remaining blogs are my biggest issue and I need to see what my legal options are here. Questions are:

  1. Is this libel or something else? i.e. how do I legally define this issue.
  2. How do I get an international court order for take-down of the content?

Search rankings update

Time to do another snapshot of where things are at. Bear in mind that rankings do bounce around a lot, and I am only viewing them from my own searching perspective (affecting locality). I am not logged in to Google when searching, so hopefully it doesn’t tailor the answers by detecting who I am some other way.

Page 1: bad results at #5,7 (out of 10)

Page 2: #9

Page 3: #5

Page 1: #9 (out of 10)

Page 2: #3, #9, #10

Page 3: #2, #8

Page 1: #9 (out of 10)

Page 2: #3, #9, #10

Page 3: #2, #8

Page 1: #3, #5 (out of 10; excluding my ads inserted between 1 & 2, and at the end.)

Page 2: #3

Page 3: none!

One continuous page: result #5, 6, 12 out of a total of 27 results. One less result here is a good thing in this context.

Bing and Yahoo! are looking a lot better on the first page. Very happy with that. Ask has improved slightly on page 1, and Google has made no difference to page one. Duckduckgo has also improved a little, as all of the engines have improved at least a little in the lower ranks.

Overall, there are signs of improvement but still a lot more to do. First impressions count, so my focus is on the first page; but I still want to be more thorough than that.

Next observed stats change

So while relooking at the search engines, I’ve noticed that the root home page for this site has come up the ranks. It’s pushing some other results down by one. Interestingly, it is the home page with little content – not the blog – that is creeping up in rank.

On another note, the last updated page is yet to update in search engines. I will need to spend more time on seeing what I can do there.

Status update on search engine results

So at this point I would like to record where the negative results (due to the credit card and identity theft) are turning up so I can track how well the good results are percolating up. I should have started tracking these earlier as I’ve already had 1 reference successfully removed (it no longer shows up in any of these search engines), and some new pages I’ve created have shown up in the top 3 pages.

Page 1: bad results at #5,7 (out of 10)

Page 2: #1, #7

Page 3: #5, #10

Page 1: result #6, #9 (out of 10)

Page 2: result #4, #9, #10

Page 3: result #3, #6

page 1: result #6, #9 (out of 10)

page 2: result #4, #9, #10

page 3: result #3, #6

page 1: result #1, #5 (out of 10; excluding my ads inserted between 1 & 2, and at the end. The abandoned blog beats my ad!)

page 2: result #5

page 3: result #1

page 1: result #5, 6, 7, 11, 21 out of a total of 28 results. Clearly I’m not popular enough on duckduckgo.

I still have my work cut out for me!

First plans of attack to reclaim my identity

So the first step to drawing up a plan of attack is to work out what is the outcome I am after.

So what do I want?

It would be awfully convenient if none of these pages ever turned up again, but that isn’t going to happen and may not even be what I want.

My primary goal is to ensure that if my name is searched on any major search engine, the first 2-3 pages of hits do not associate me with any of the negative fallout of having my name misappropriated. Once that has been achieved, I can see whether I can do better than that.

As I mentioned previously, I do want the bulk of the information in these pages to remain available, but without the reference to my misappropriated details. For brevity, I’ll refer to these negative references caused by the abuse of the misappropriated details as “the fallout”.

So then what are the possible angles of attack to recover my name?

  • Increase ranking of positive references to my name over the other pages.
  • Removal of my name from the inappropriate and negative pages from search results.

Where do I want these removed or rank lowered?

  • Search engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo
  • Metasearch engines:
  • People profiling sites: Pipl
  • More amitious targets: DuckDuckGo

So now that I have an indea of what it is I want to achieve, what are my options?

Based on feedback from my very good friends, there are a few things I will try.

  • Build a site to explain the situation and link to the good material on the internet
  • Use Google ads to improve site ranking of a site describing the situation
  • Ask the people to remove my name from the offending pages
  • Get people to go on a clicking campaign on my behalf to help the good results turn up first
  • Remove my name from people indexing aggregators that associate me with the fallout

As I implement these, I will write up caveats, hits, misses and take on any extra ideas from you!