Hallelujah, We’re Back on Google

As many of you may remember, a few months ago I was completely dropped from Google without explanation. In the era before I was dropped, you could Google things like “Il Laboratorio de Gelato” and my review would be on the first page of results. (This got me into trouble, actually: I wrote a negative review the first and only time I went there and the owner left a comment on the post–a nice comment asking me to come back. So I guess that’s not so much trouble as exposure.) I was a mighty man on Google. Clotilde conjectured that my success had to do with the number of sites that linked to me and the frequency with which I updated. All of this meant nothing, though, the day I was dropped.

I can’t pinpoint that day exactly but I felt the aftershocks: my hits started to drain. Not so much that I’d lose my Miss Popularity crown, but enough to know that I could be getting significantly more hits than I was getting. More importantly, I was losing a huge influx of new readership: many of my readers discovered my blog doing Google searches. Without Google, I was preaching to the choir, so to speak. [Sorry, loyal readers, but you are my choir!] And though other search engines exist–Yahoo, ummm, Yahoo–they don’t have the impact on the world that Google does. Case in point: the browser I’m writing this in (Safari) has an automatic Google search feature built into it. Google is important.

So getting dropped sucked and I did everything I could to get reincluded. I wrote e-mails to Google, I asked questions to techies, I read hundreds of thousands of letters (ok maybe 10 or so) from loyal readers who desperately wanted to help me out. Then, last week, one of these loyal readers–Ann–sent me a link to this post written by a Google employee. The post explains how to file a reinclusion request for those who’ve been dropped. Simply figure out what you’ve done wrong, correct it, and go to the Google support bin (it’s all detailed on the post) and fill out a form explaining what you’ve done, how you fixed it, and that it will never happen again.

My biggest dilemma during my Google crisis was figuring out what I’d done wrong. Many people e-mailed me the list of Google’s Guidelines. I didn’t feel (and I still don’t feel) that I violated any specific one, but the tone of the Guidelines suggested to me that perhaps my greatest claim to fame was the source of all my woe.

My Janet Jackson Breast Cupcake (which basically launched this website) sort of “tricked” Google users who simply were searching for cupcake recipes into seeing an image of Janet’s giant breast. At the time before I was dropped, if you Googled “cupcake” mine was the first result. It occurred to me at this late date (last week) that perhaps this was why I was dropped. It’s as good a reason as any other. So I went to that post, deleted the picture of the giant breast (but kept the rest of the post intact) and e-mailed Google saying what I’d done wrong (“Misled users searching for cupcake recipes”), how I fixed it (“I deleted the picture of the breast”) and that I’d never do it again (“I promise never to do it again, Google, I swear.”)

The site says you won’t see a result for a few weeks. But just yesterday my web redesigner, Ralph, e-mailed me to say I was back on Google. And it’s true. Google “The Amateur Gourmet” and there’s my site: the #1 result. I’m back…back with a vengeance!

The only problem now is regaining my Google prowess. I don’t know how this happens. As it stands, reading my stats and referrers, here are some Google searches that will take you to my site: [I was going to link you to the searches themselves, but that’s against Google’s policy and we don’t want me to get dropped again, do we?!]

– “Mario Batali” asshole [I’m on the 2nd page of results for lyrics to a Ben Folds song]

– Janet Jackson breast [3rd result, 1st page]

– Iron Chef America tickets [This is weird—it has an excerpt from my Iron Chef post but takes you just to my main page. What up with that, Google?]

– it says someone came googling “eat uncooked weed” (for my “Toking with Toklas” post) but when I clicked to the Google results, my site wasn’t listed. Again–what up with that Google? Why are you so whack?

Sorry for calling you whack, Google. And sorry for any other wrongs I may have committed in the history of our relationship. I could go on a rant here about how powerful you are and how scary it is that you wield so much power, but I’d rather just kowtow before you. Look at me I’m kowtowing, Google. Please don’t ever drop me again…. You are mighty and powerful and I love you. Amen.

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