I did something yesterday I thought I would never do, and I don’t know how I feel about it. It seemed necessary but I still question whether it was the right thing to do. I suppose it can be undone, but I am not sure how to do it so the same thing doesn’t happen.
I took down (as in deleted) a post I wrote on my other blog.
It was a pretty good post, at least I thought it was.
Apparently, other people thought so too, except for the wrong reasons.
It got some traffic after I wrote it two years ago, but not much. But I started noticing a lot of traffic to this particular post late last year. It was getting between 15-30 hits per month. I thought maybe it was because of the image. I could have been. I thought maybe it was because people were starting to make some logical sense of the topic, or maybe they just appreciated my take on the topic.
The last two months have had over a 100 and over 150 respectively. Hmmmm….
So, I Googled the title. It was third on the list of search results. Usually this would be a great thing and most of the time we would be flattered to be ranked so highly in a Google search because it means our writing is getting exposure. But…
That’s when I discovered that maybe the increase in traffic was because it had suddenly become the flash point, rallying cry, support, ammunition, (whatever you want to call it) for a group I have no association with, nor do I want to have. I don’t want to have something I have written be co-opted and used as propaganda to their “cause.”
I debated what I should do. How do I get it to NOT show up as part of the search for this group? Do I change the title? Would that help? Do I rewrite it so the phraseology changes the search algorithm? Do I remove the image or change it? Do I just put a disclaimer on it saying that I am in no way associated with or want to be associated with the group in the search results?
I finally decided to change the title first, but couldn’t come up with an equally good title. But, I did it anyway. I then updated and published it. Yeah, that didn’t/doesn’t seem to make a difference. It still shows up in the search results with the old title. It’s just when you click on the link that it takes you to the newly edited post. Doesn’t appear as though that would work.
So, I deleted it.
I searched again. Still there in the search results. Only now when you click on the title, it gives you a 404 error message…but if you click on the cached link, it still takes you to the post. UGH. Now what? I am not sure how long it will be there (or if it will ever go away).
I hate censoring myself in this manner, but I also don’t want something I wrote about historical matters to be used in the wrong way or by a group I don’t want to be associated with. Know what I mean?
Anyone have advice on this?
A “noindex” meta tag in the page head should eventually cause Google to drop it from their results. However, I don’t know how to add the tag to an individual page on WordPress.com, which is what I think you use for hosting.
Yeah, I use WordPress, and I don’t know how to do that either.
Possible bigger problem…the web archives. The Wayback Machine & archive.io may retain copies, too.
Another thing you could have done without deleting it is make it private or password protected. WP provides three ways to post…publish, private & password.
It may take a while for the cache in the search engines to dump it. Or, Google could keep its own cache indefinitely. Hard to tell.
I did consider the password protected option. But, I wasn’t sure that wouldn’t contribute to part of the issue because it would still be searchable and then it looks like something is hiding there, behind a wall.
As far as private, well, I might just go back to that. I would have to restore it from the Trash bin, and then change the settings. I have 30 days to decide before it is permanently deleted, so I will keep pondering on it.
As far as the web archives…that’s the part that worries me a bit. Someone, somewhere, sometime probably can still use it for a purpose it wasn’t written for.
Good lord, man…what did you write about?
LOL…let’s just say, one far far side of the political spectrum apparently really likes it and the other side of the political spectrum really hates it.
Maybe when I figure out what I’m gonna do I see if a select few can get access to it.
Ain’t that the way of the world? “Choose a side!” (Twix commercial).