The Thinker

Coaxing Google

As I am discovering, trying to get Google to place your web site back in its index is like trying to get your way with City Hall. Good luck. Once I had a web presence with Google. Now it no longer is aware even of this site. Since November 3rd, my site has disappeared from Google. Try it. Nothing comes up for this site, not a single link. Even my Google cache has disappeared.

Perhaps that is not entirely true. Apparently, its image index is managed separately. I still get occasionally referrals from Google for images placed here. However, as best I can tell, this is the extent to which Google acknowledges that my site is alive.

If I were a major presence on the web like, say, Google would take my call. Alas, I am nobody. I am just some guy with a blog. My blog may inhabit some very dark corner of the Internet, but it is my corner, representing a huge investment of my time and energy for nearly four years. Over the years, traffic to my site has been modest, but each year it has grown steadily. Much of its growth, I will confess, came from Google referrals. Since I have been unlisted, instead of being a very dark corner of the Internet, I am now in a dungeon. MSN and Yahoo stop by regularly and offer their sympathies, but both are search engine wannabees. Google sets the platinum standard. If Google gets around to reindexing this site, they will do so in their own sweet time, thank you very much. Like McDonalds, they serve billions. Moreover, like McDonalds, if you want a hamburger your way, well, be prepared to wait a while.

So here I wait. It is nine days since my web site mysteriously disappeared from their search index. My site traffic has dropped to one quarter of its previous traffic. Because I am not indexed in Google, my advertising revenue with Google Adsense is virtually nonexistent too.

I have tried using their Webmaster tools. It listed seventeen bad links on my pages and nine pages that were unavailable. I corrected all my bad links, which were carryovers from a time when my MovableType blog software created entry names that were numbers. Maybe it was these seventeen errors put me over a threshold and caused my blog to become unlisted. However, with nearly 600 entries long at this point, it is a bit time consuming to fix every bad link on my site. Still, to please the Google gods, I took the time to correct all of them.

I am left to wonder if a bunch of right wing Christian homophobes secretly run Google. All I know is that it was about the same time I published this entry on the Rev. Ted Haggard, defrocked minister and hypocrite that my blog unceremoniously disappeared from their index. Maybe I used the word “homosexuality” once too often and thereby crossed over some sort of threshold that placed my site in their bit bucket.

While no one cares but me, I find the whole situation very irritating. Google has become the indispensable tool for the Internet. It is so powerful I am starting to think that maybe it requires some regulation. Somehow, I doubt regulation would improve their product. Google should at least staff a public Google Help Desk where site owners can find out why their site does not appear in the index. If my site were banned, then I should at least have some explanation for why it is banned. Nevertheless, like Windows, the details of its inner workings are impenetrable.

Nonetheless, I am tempted to get even. While I am sure my tiny corner of the internet is too small for them to bother with, there are alternatives. While I cannot coax others to use Yahoo or MSN for their search engines, I can decide to feature Yahoo Publisher instead of Google Search and Adsense on my site.

Meanwhile, I will keep blogging, hoping that my diminished audience is only a temporary condition. Google is the 800-pound gorilla of the search business. Whether deliberately or inadvertently, it has squashed my humble little web site.


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