Imagine my surprise when this website did not show up on Google. All the other pages were there–the Goodreads’ links to this blog, my poems. The only way I could get this site to come up was to actually type it in.
The first day I didn’t mind that much. By the third day, I was affected.
I started looking into whether this site had been deleted. I posted a few feeble tweets. I called Network Solutions who told me it was nothing on its end. I tried to talk to someone at Google, but guess what? There is no one to talk to, just a website to navigate. I was foundering.
I am tech savvy to a point and after that I am like every other tech phobic person: fearful. I got so far in re-registering this site with Google until I got to the verification step and then I was wracked with doubt.
What if I screwed up everything further? I did what I usually do when having to make a decisions and I am unsure, I stalled. I went my deck and sat in the sun.
Often when I face tech problems, I can simply be stumped by what step to take next.
I called Network Solutions again but I never quite got the tech Mark to understand that this site had simply disappeared. He told me about algorithms and I tried to explain the site was not just lower in the rankings, but –poof–it was gone.
I asked about Network Solution’s recent hacking by Islamic Ghosts Team–for some reason, could my registration with Google need to be re-done after this? I told him how far I had gotten into the verification process as outlined in Goggle’s Webmaster Tools. Where should I cut and paste the “unique security token” Google had provided? Do I paste it over something that is already there or put it on its own line? Then Mark said the magic words. Network Solutions ‘s Gorilla Marketing Program would do if for me.
I am pretty sure I don’t need Gorilla Marketing and I know I can’t afford it. But those were the words I had longed to hear. Someone would take care of it for me. By the time I hung up the phone I already had a case of buyer’s remorse. Would my problem actually be solved when I hadn’t managed to explain it to Mark so he understood the glitch? When, if ever, would my Google status be restored?
I was back on the deck, in a stew despite the fine weather. There was the tech frustration, sure, I felt thwarted. But there was something else making me glum. I was untethered in cyberspace like David Bowie’s Major Tom. I was free-floating in black nothingness.
Saturday, still un-Googled, I spent the whole day on the deck with mostly analog pursuits like crossword puzzles and the Atlantic Monthly. My son suggested I reach out to the nephew who is the most tech savvy person in the family so I shot him an email.
Sunday I was out all day and did not even check my phone, that often.
Monday, I printed out the directions from Google Webmaster with the steps outlining how to verify my site. My nephew emailed back that the situation stumped him. But, he wrote, I was up on Yahoo and Bing so we knew it was a Google problem. He gave me a link to an article on Marketing Sutra (“My website disappeared from Google Search”). I printed it out but didn’t have time to do more than that because it just so happened I had lunch plans with another nephew that day and he suggested I Google for an answer. So later, I Googled “Why doesn’t my website show up on Google?” and it turns out there are pages and forums devoted to the topic.
Tuesday I headed to the computer resolute in my plans to complete the website verification process. But before I did, I figured I’d Google myself. I was back. There was this site, at the the top of the Google rankings when I Googled my own name.
I don’t know exactly why this site is back. I never completed the website verification process to re-register. I don’t know whether Gorilla Marketing has kicked in. Nevertheless I am relieved.
But I have spent some time thinking about why being un-Googled unmoored me so. It was as if a part of me was missing. A friend suggested that it all tie in to how my Google presence related to my identity. After all, she said, I had even written a poem called “I Google My Name” (which I have reprinted as a companion piece to this post). The fact that what stumped me was “verification” is not be lost on me. I’ve come to realize Google verifies me somehow; gives me proof that I rank. This is something I am still pondering.
It bothered me so, yet I don’t think there was another person who noticed it. Neither communication nor commerce was affected by it. No one has said, “I tried to find your site on the web and couldn’t.” This is what I should be noticing. That it didn’t really matter.
And yet. I don’t know too much about physics, just enough to know there is particle theory and wave theory, and it is this latter view I have in mind when I say that without Google, what was missing was some emanation of this site. For us to see a light’s shine, the light must reflect off something; without Google, the light this little website shines was lost in the blackness like an endless wave never coming to shore.
Peace, love, and solace.