I’m not going to mince words. Everybody knows what’s wrong with Google now. There’s lots of speculation and also lots of actual information about why and how it happened, and lots of debate about this, but everybody’s clear on the results: Google is no longer a reliable way to find the most relevant content.
A few years ago, a real live human webmaster could “optimize” a site for searchability, and be fairly sure they would not only be found, but fairly rated as to relevancy within their topic. The only way someone was going to outrank the most relevant page was by making an even more relevant one.
I never paid Google a dime. In fact, some of you out there may remember that I did a few months getting paid by them through Adsense. Even after the ads became overly predatory, I don’t think many of us who quit Adsense actually blamed Google for this. As long as Google remained the most useful search engine, whatever criticism anyone had of them was softened with the hope that they would fix the problem and stay useful.
Then SEO got harder.
Competing with clickbait happened. Competing with spammers happened. Competing with scammers and phishing sites happen. Webmasters hated having to jump through increasing hoops to make sure it was clear that we were the human writers, artists, and curators, but it was worth it. In the end, we knew that Google would find us, and if it found us and spidered us, it would rank us according to our actual relevance or at least close.
In those days, if you looked for African American authors, you got a list of pages with lists of African American authors. The first one was very likely going to be a page by an academic institution, and maybe even a historically Black one.
Now you get a list curated by Google that contains some social media influencers, including one who spreads disrespectful blaryan nonsense, and no bell hooks.
Google gone y’all. It may not be dead, but we are to it. People may still find us if they type our entire site title with a description, and that is still a maybe.
I don’t know if it will fix this. For now though, I am just doing my best to try to keep my sites from dying while I rearrange everything to roll back to having to do almost all of my own self promotion because I’ve become search invisible in the past couple of years. I am coping with the new reality. If you’re new out here, I advise that you do too. We are now up against the algorithm on the regular internet, not just in big social.
Let go of search optimization and focus on your site being useful and presented to people who might be interested in it. Build communities and get people to link to you. Human curated lists and search are the future.
That’s what I have to say on that.