Success with Google Effect! The forcefield is down.

By Harmless - 26 Nov 19 7:07 PM

Ok, I don't know how this translates into practical advice, but...if you feel your lives would be made several times easier if not for the Google Effect, take heart!

A 2016 article about me in the Edinburgh Evening News, which always used to be no.1 in search results for my name, has, due to its age, last week been relegated to some archival area of the newpaper's website, and, though it still appears among search results for my name, it no longer is classified by Google as "news" (it is just another web page), and therefore no longer ranks high, and is off of page 1. And is vulnerable to further SEO.

I'll clarify the mechanics of it....

Some google search results are recognised by google officially as being news stories. Esp. if they appear in a mainstream news publication. This means if you click on the "news" tab in Google, (as in " - images - news - groups - videos - books ") they fill the "news" results.

The *problem* is this: Stories tagged as "news" also appear in the mainstream google results (plain old typing into google, not news or images), and are thus prioritised above all other types of web page. What's worse, they are largely immune to "search engine optimization (SEO)". That is, even if you create ten major phoney web sites just to take up space in search results, they still won't outrank the news article.

So, for example, Stuart Schoefield eats a hamster (I pick a name as rare as mine to make the point). He makes the local papers. The digital edition of the paper produces a search result marked "news". This means "Stuart Schoefield Ate My Hamster" appears as the first result (2nd or 3rd at best) in search results for that name. This comes even before the result that says "Face book profiles for Stuart Schoefield" etc. Or "Stuart Schoefiled Twitter Profiles" and even any "StuartSchoefield.Com" that may exist.

Follow me so far? For as long as it's officially "news", it rises to the top.

But as soon as the newspaper site reorganises, Google may not classify the old story as "news" any more, and it becomes just another web page in among the ocean of crap on the web which may contain the phrase "Stuart Schoefield", and will almost certainly appear behind "Stuart Schoefiled on Facebook".

And even if that's not enough to knock it off page 1, it means you can get to work shunting it off page one by creating Stuart Schoefield Blog etc etc etc etc.

One method that works for me is: get to work on a Wikipedia page for whatever Stuart Schoefield may have existed in whatever obscure field (e.g. the Victorian inventor Stuart Schoefield), complete with photo (and enough relevant info justify the entry), and it'll come first in search results and the photo will take up a lot of screen space (in google, which shows wiki photos). It may eventually give rise to a "did you mean..."? UNLESS of course the offending article is still officially "news". In which case it is much harder to displace.

By Was - 1 Sep 21 2:53 PM

Interesting. Unfortunately I have a unique name. It's not a Fifi-Trixie Belle type name, but although I've found similar, in the last 3 decades online I have not found anyone with the exact same spelling anywhere else in the world, which is a little unfortunate.

I've not Googled my name for the last 4 years and wasn't planning to until my SHPO runs out next June. This could however explain why my dormant, but still live, Twitter account has not received any abusive messages.