I have another secular blog that I don’t care about all that much, but occasionally post investment tips, political thoughts, and other ideas. But the name of the blog, “Sanity Defense,” used to come up as the #1 Google hit when searching for that term, and still does at the moment. But there was a period of several months last year where it suddenly vanished. The site was still indexed, and I could pull up pages from it if I restricted Google to searching within the URL sanity.blog-city.com, but otherwise it was almost impossible to get pages from the site to show up within the first hundred or so hits, even when I typed in lengthy exact phrases from the posts there. The blog, small as it is, has had some significant links to it, so it should have reasonable visibility. I was experiencing what others have called “Google hell” – the mysterious exile that some sites experience when they are given a bottom priority by that all-important engine. It can destroy the value of a site – a true frustration for some Webmasters and bloggers.
After reading about some of the connections between Google and a certain prominent foreign power and source of awesome cuisine, I wondered if a couple of my political comments about the nation might have been misinterpreted by someone or something at Google as being unfriendly. (Silly me – I didn’t like those missiles pointed at us, or the military support given to some apparent enemies.) So, being the ambassador of international goodwill that I am (and, frankly, having some very good friends from that country that I didn’t want to irritate), I shined up my best chopsticks and plucked out the three or four blog posts that might have been viewed as critical. After correcting my site to a higher level of international political correctness, it was soon redeemed from Google hell. Maybe that was just a coincidence, since the transgressions that cast sites into Google hell are not actually known outside of Google. But now, those searching for sanity defense will find me at the top of the list, ironic as that may seem.
The loss of visibility in other search engines can occur for other reasons. For example, there is a LDS-oriented search engine, LDSSearch.com, which searches a variety of known LDS-related Websites. Some users have observed that nothing from Mormanity or from my LDS-related Web pages (LDSFAQ, etc.) shows up on that engine, while a variety of harder-to-find-in-Google (lower page rank) sites show up. They have no obligation to include every Tom, Dick and Jeff in their search engine and it’s OK to be fussy about who’s in and who’s out. But I will admit I was curious about what transgressions on my site resulted in the exclusion. Could it be something I said about China? 😉 The point is that those using the site should understand that some pro-LDS sites may not be included for editorial reasons, so be sure to also check Google and other search engines as well.
Any search tips on how to find the best LDS-related material would be welcome. Some LDS sites have inadequate search functions, while others are great.