Classic(s) search results
While thinking about how I might best re-brand this blog, I had been idly wondering what might make a good strapline for the site, until I read this in George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch’:
...they had both been educated, since they were about twelve years old and had lost their parents, on plans at once narrow and promiscuous, first in an English family and afterwards in a Swiss family at Lausanne, their bachelor uncle and guardian trying in this way to remedy the disadvantages of their orphaned condition. It was hardly a year since they had come to live at Tipton Grange with their uncle, a man nearly sixty, of acquiescent temper, miscellaneous opinions, and uncertain vote. He had travelled in his younger years, and was held in this part of the county to have contracted a too rambling habit of mind.
The phrase “acquiescent temper, miscellaneous opinions, and uncertain vote” seemed to me to be a neat, literate and humorous way to sum up my intentions for my fledgling blog, so I resolved to incorporate the phrase as my new strapline come the redesign.
A few days later, and I idly wondered what Googling for my new catchphrase would turn up – would my blog stand proudly alone, or had anyone else thought to use the Middlemarch quote for this purpose (or indeed any other)?
Mu-huh? Apart from a couple of literary websites, the vast majority of results returned are for Online Casinos, Online Pharmacies, or Spanish Hotels?! We all know about the Dark Ages of Search Optimisation, when canny webmasters would stuff scores of invisible keywords into each page, but where do the classics figure in website optimisation?
Curiouser and curiouser
On closer inspection, all the sites contained comment tags that seem to indicate their system-generated nature, and the text (which seems to be most of Chapter 1 of Middlemarch) does not appear on the page itself. However, the text is riddled with links to other pages within each site, and presumably the weight of text is supposed to fool the search algorithms into thinking that the links must therefore be relevant.
Bemused, I wondered if I had chanced on a one-off, or if other classics had been defiled with the same treatment, but a lengthy trawl through my small library didn’t turn up any similar results. I appear to have chosen the one catchy tagline that I am destined to share with Vegas Casinos and Discount Zoloft.
Oh well – at least it will make for an interesting story at parties.
Filed under: Internet.
Previously: How to make your content findable