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The Weekly Blague

Heck of a Job, Google

I knew there had to be somebody out there who knows more than I do about Google’s mysterious ways, and I’m happy to report that two readers well versed in the matter did, in fact, weigh in with their thoughts and suggestions on “search engine optimization” (SEO) and how it affects Google’s page rankings.

Debra Wheels had some good tips about content, links, and “submitting” this site to Google. But Ladyjean, a website designer and SEO expert who runs an excellent John Lennon site, Absolute Elsewhere, had some far darker things to say about the company that’s come to monopolize the internet. Referring to her dealings with “evil Googleness,” she said, “If for some reason you’re not getting good rankings (i.e. traffic) from Google, there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.”

Whatever the case, I’m always glad to hear from readers, and even if there is nothing I can do, there is some comfort in knowing I’m not alone.

But I would like to offer a theory that you can chew on over the weekend: In addition to this site, I also have two Blogspot sites, courtesy of Google. Chapter 27 is dedicated to my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, and Maiscott & Rosen is a site that my wife and I use to post reviews when we get the urge. Both these sites carry Google ads, which generate pocket change for me—50 cents on a great day—and probably about a hundred times that amount for Google, which for them is probably the equivalent of finding a penny on the sidewalk.

Perhaps my sudden and mysterious Google problem stems from the fact that this site, robertrosennyc.com, which used to get far more traffic than the two Blogspot sites combined, carries no advertising. And Google is in a petty and vengeful mood because they’ve had to lower their advertising rates for the fourth consecutive quarter, and their stock took a jaw-dropping eight percent dive yesterday.

Is Google punishing me for not carrying their ads?

If that sounds like a conspiracy theory, I’d like to point out that this scenario is similar to the main subplot of a recent episode of The Good Wife. In “Two Girls, One Code,” a Google-like company consigns to page-ranking oblivion another company that refused to buy their ads. And they punish the lawyer handling the case by suggesting “disbarred lawyer” when somebody types his name into their search engine.

When a storyline like that becomes fodder for a hit TV show, you can safely assume that Google dissatisfaction is widespread and reaching a tipping point. And I better assume that if I don’t watch my mouth, the first thing you’re going find when you search for me is pirated editions of my books.

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