It’s Time to Plan for the Future

Taking back control, going in new directions

Yes,  last month we were “updating” everything, as had seemed necessary.

This week, Google changed the game in even bigger ways that we’d expected.

Now, I’m looking at taking back control over how people find me – and far more importantly – how they access my insights and research results.

The reality is, I can no longer rely on Google (which – as of January 2024- is used for over 80% of online searches, worldwide).

Yes, I still want to expand the content on my ghost-related YouTube channel, but it may not be a priority over the next several weeks.

The short explanation is: I’m pausing to decide the best – and hopefully most permanent – ways to share my insights with others.

For those who want more details…

As you probably know (or have noticed), when – at Google’s search engine – someone enters a question, Google has started placing an AI-generated reply near or at the top of the search results .

That means information-based websites (like mine, and especially are becoming… I don’t know… “irrelevant” might be one way of saying it. 😳

(However, I’m fairly certain that Google’s AI’s answers are extracted from sites like mine. Ah, the irony! lol )

In recent metrics checks, we saw that traffic to my sites had abruptly plummeted.

Despite that, we’ve been manually adding my own YouTube videos to relevant pages at my websites.

It seemed logical that – since Google owns YouTube, and they’d probably want those videos seen – Google might place my site higher in their search results. (Yes, I know: That was probably wasted time and energy.  * chuckle and sigh * )

All of that changed this morning.

Today, Google informed me that 477 of my articles have been de-indexed. And for a very wide, very tangled number of reasons.

After hours of research with Google’s own URL Inspector, some issues can be fixed.

But here’s the biggest problem:

Google’s bots think that too many of my pages have the same information. And yes, they do, for those who stumble onto one of my articles in the middle of a series.

For example, I repeat a few key points in each of my very early series of pages about Gilson Road Cemetery in New Hampshire.

That’s so no one has to go back and read everything, just to find out about one area in that cemetery.

And I’ve been doing the same in my articles about haunted “outsider” areas, and probably several other general topics I cover from different perspectives.

I guess the bots see that information as repetitive.

All of this adds up to one thing.

The internet is changing, and in major ways. (Yes, again… lol !)

As I see it, it’s time to be very forward-thinking with how I share my insights about ghost hunting, haunted places, and so on. Otherwise, I’ll be in reactive mode every time ye olde internet changes.

(Remember GeoCities…? And webrings? I do. And yes, some archives still exist, but this pattern of vanishing resources needs to be addressed.)

Breaking that cycle will require time, research, and serious consideration.

I want relatively evergreen – and perhaps redundant – solutions. So, books, audiobooks, videos, and podcasts are likely to be in the mix.

But, while I’m actively considering my options, I’m likely to be quiet, online, at least for a few weeks.

And I’m taking both of my ghost hunting websites offline for now.

Yes, Google’s AI may have already harvested all the insights it needs for its replies to questions about ghosts and haunted places.

Nevertheless, it gives me a small sense of control, and – yes – I will make sure my insights and research are available again (and more widely), quickly. They may simply be in a different format or context.

UPDATE: Or they may be very different.


3 thoughts on “It’s Time to Plan for the Future”

  1. Google aggregate sometimes gives opposite facts. Could be dangerous with medical queries. Many questions are directed to youbute,to drain the data balance. Situation is tough for newbies,they won’t even know what they are missing.

    1. Vivek, regarding Google’s AI aggregate, that’s a danger that never crossed my mind. Scary!

      I’m doing what I can to keep my research and insights visible, but – for at least a short time, during the repurposing phase – much of my content will seem to vanish.

      It’s annoying, but I’m also mindful of Bill Gates’ predictions about AI’s long-term impact on Google, etc.

      So, I may be among the “early adopters” of reduced dependence on some Internet resources, including Google.

  2. And Julia is saying ‘hello’ after all these years I got to come in touch with her. Also please remove the first mistakenly posted comment.

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