October 2011: My Blog was removed from the Google Search Results
After three weeks of editing, or rather, fiddling with the guts of the blog while crossing my fingers, I know enough to manage it, albeit on the most basic level. I have investigated all the dashboard features at least once. After a lifetime of living without even a modicum of technical or mechanical ability erring on the side of KISS (keep it simple stupid) is a way of life. It goes without saying that most of the features of this ‘Rolls Royce’ of premium blog themes will remain untouched – at least by me. However, I can create new posts and pages, link to content and change the colour scheme. I can also read statistics and the c-panel on Hostgator comes complete with information about who has visited the website (via the IP address), the referral websites and data about which pages were viewed.
In the last post I wrote about accidentally indexing pages I thought I had deleted on Google. At that time my blog was ranking on the first couple of pages of SERPs for my name. Two weeks later my blog has disappeared into cyberspace – at least on Google. It is still ‘live’ and indexed on Google but it has a page rank of 0 and does not show up in the SERPs for my name. Google ranks pages according to their perceived value to the world. There are a range of free online tools to check the page rank of a website. The page rank calculation of this blog is consistent across all the tools: ‘You are NOT listed on Google, or you have been kicked off.
I had heard that websites could plunge from the lofty heights of the first couple of pages of the Google SERPs for their keywords to 0 in a nanosecond. Google can and do take remedial action if websites violate their guidelines. In fact, spamming is a capital offence as far as Google is concerned and they actively encourage reports from Google users. Websites like Ripoff Report which earn money from exploiting their page rank are apparently permissible. However, if websites use too many of the links that’ Google doesn’t like’ they can press a key and send them into oblivion.
According to the Google analytics, my blog is officially indexed on Google and it has not been officially blacklisted for contravening the webmaster guidelines. Granted, the blog is only new and and link building is slow, but this doesn’t explain why it disappeared from the SERPs for my name on Google. The blog is still indexed in the first three pages on Bing and Yahoo and has a web page rank of 3 for my name as keywords. I am not a fan of conspiracy theories and not arrogant enough to think that Google cares that I am suing them. Surely they have bigger problems with that pesky antitrust issue.
Google pontificate that they are ardent advocates of net neutrality and freedom of speech or at least as it pertains to the rest of the world. The old saying ‘what is yours is mine and what is mine is my own’ appears to sum up Google’s approach to information. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that Google does not provide a level playing field. Their business model is undoubtedly advertising based and it also appears that they are not above playing favourites (especially with their own products) or engaging in a ‘bait and switch‘. A submission from ‘Foundem‘, a company that spent three years in Google Siberia states:
Crucially, Google determines the exact placement of its own services independently of the ranking algorithms it uses to determine the relative placement of all other results. The degree of favoritism—whether they appear first or third, for example—is therefore entirely at Google’s discretion. Google calls this process of merging its own services with actual search results “blending” (others have justifiably called it “bundling”.
But I digress. Clearly my blog doesn’t fit into the Google world view but there is reason to suspect that its page rank has been manually adjusted. Google knows everything that is posted about it within seconds of the information hitting the information super highway and that may explain its relegation to Siberia. It appears that the blog pages have had more than a couple of visits from an IP address in Mountain View over the past 2-3 weeks.
My Blog is Back
In December 2011 my blog was suddenly returned to the Google search results the day after I complained about ‘censorship’ in a blog discussion in which Matt Cutts, the head honcho of webspam and public face of Google was participating.