Thursday, August 09, 2018

All Over?

I really don't know why I'm writing this: nobody is going to read it.  To be accurate, nobody can read it.  Why?  Well, because thanks to yet another Google algorithm update rolled out over the past week, my traffic has been entirely wiped out. Both here and at The Sleaze.  When I say 'wiped out', I mean that it has been reduced to single figures.  For the past week visitor numbers have been dropping like a stone, but today they are practically zero.  Which is both ridiculous and heartbreaking - a lot of effort goes into my sites and to see them arbitrarily destroyed by Google in this way is more than I can bear.  I say 'ridiculous' because, until this update, we'd been doing OK.  Not great, but OK, with a modest increase in traffic month on month for the year.  Sure, it was still nothing compared to a few years ago, before Google decided that it was going to start abusing its position of virtual search monopoly to manipulate search results to favour its own interests. 

I'm not alone in suffering this catastrophic loss of traffic: countless sites have, apparently, seen their traffic (and revenues in many cases) vanish overnight.  I thought that things were bad back in February of last year, when Google shut off another traffic source by kicking satire sites off of Google News without warning (because satire sites are 'fake news', obviously, and we all hate that), then stopped indexing new pages.  This is much, much worse.  It isn't that my pages aren't being indexed this time, it is that Google has chosen to bury them so deep in the search results that nobody can find them.  As a most of my non-search sources of traffic (links from other sites) have suffered a similar fate, it means, in effect, that they have blocked any source of visitors for large swathes of the web.  Google seems hell bent on destroying as much of the web as we know it as they can, as quickly as they can. I think that it has been an intense source of irritation to them that small independent sites like mine have hung on over the years and refused to shut up shop and leave the web free for Google and the other big players to make money.  The fact that they are even prepared to trash their own properties like Blogger in this update, shows how determined they are to kill off smaller sites once and for all. 

But, like I said, nobody is going to read this.  I've managed to find ways to keep my sites alive in the face of previous assaults by Google, but this time, I really can't see a way ahead.  They've blocked all of my existing options for generating traffic.  And don't anybody suggest social media.  The idea hat it generates traffic is utter bollocks.  I know.  Today, for instance, the latest story from The Sleaze was posted to our Facebook page.  Last time I looked, it had accumulated over 700 views, but not one of those people looking at the post bothered to click through to the full story on the site, so we got no benefit from this 'traffic'.  That's the trouble with social media: it tends to be a 'walled garden' from which they don't want you to stray.  So, I have no idea where we go from here.  I don't see the point in spending time creating and posting content if its potential audience is prevented from seeing it.  I suppose that, if nothing else, I'll continue to post about my restoration of that model railway locomotive I'm in the middle of, even if nobody sees it. 

Apart from that, I really don't know.  But before I go, on the off chance that somebody stumbles across this, I would urge everyone to simply stop using Google for search.  Not just out of spite, but because you might be surprised to find that other search engines often (not always, but often) return better results for most search terms.  When I say better, I mean more relevant to your search query.  Refreshingly, they don't waste time trying to second guess what you actually meant to search for, or screening the results for alleged spam, (although, ironically, they are far freer from spam sites than Google's, despite the latter always claiming that its unending algorithm updates are intended to eliminate the scourge of search spam).  You will also find that you don't have to scroll through endless ads to reach the actual results.  So, go on, give it a go, try Bing, Startpage, Duck Duck Go, anything but Google.  Trust me, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.  Oh, and before I forget: Google, just fuck off.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home