Trying to build a following can be a frustrating task and there is always the danger that a platform which offers free web space for people who want to post can close its doors at any time. There are no contracts, no service level agreements. It happened to me in 2015 and from 15–20K page views a day I went down to hundreds.
When I started building, about 2002, the internet was different. Quality still counted for at least as much as quantity. Joe Blow a couple of comments down nailed it when he said, “

Gonna admit something. I ghostwrite SEO articles that no one reads except the Google, which magically ‘reads’ them with its algorithms or something? I don’t know how it works, but, apparently, this activity raises the SERP of the client

That’s right, I can’t pinpoint when but somewhere along the line Google, who were headed far too much power by the governments of the free world, made the frequency with which we post far more important than what we post.

In Trump’s attack on Google and Facebook today, in his usual clumsy way he got it right when he accused Google of filtering search results to hide conservative opinions. They (and Facebook,) have done that for some time, probably more for financial than political reasons originally. In spite of the corporate denials anyone able to do a few simple tests of their own will know it to be the case.

As mentioned I’ve been around the web a while, and I remember when the most important info on your page was in the ‘keywords’ metatag in the head section of an HTML document. That was where the page author told the search engines what the post was about. Then Google decided that AI would make better decisions than a human about what a page’s keywords should be.

And thus we were robbed of the ability to give our posts punning or cryptic titles. I recall on of my posts that had clocked up a steady stream of views for years. It was titled “My Problem With God” and I had used keywords like atheist, agnostic, humanist and pagan to reach the audience I was aiming for.

Google decided my keywords were God, Jesus, Bible, faith and probably a few others, and the ads that appeared in the post suddenly changed to plugs for evangelical churches and such. I also started getting emails warning that if I did not accept Jaaaaayzusss as my saviour I would burn in ETERNAL FI — YUH.

We should not let any of this discourage us if we want to find an audience but we should be sure we are in for the long haul and it will not be a smotth ascent to the summit. There may be a few plunges into the abyss along the way, and probably periods of wandering the abyssal plain before we find another route upwards.

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Opted for comfortable retirement before I was fifty due to health problems and burn out. Now spend my time writing and goofing around. Home: northern England..

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