Sunday, August 12, 2007

Why I have re-posted on the Tour Montparnasse

If you're a busy person, ignore this post. If you're a blogger with a touch of geekishness in your makeup, not to say readiness on occasion to think the worst of big business, read on.

I have just re-published a post that appeared at the end of November 2006, entitled "Montparnasse: the Parisian Dark Tower".

Now why would I do that, one might ask ?

There are have been odd things happening with this post for a while. People have been doing Google searches on entirely different topics and have been directed, or rather, misdirected, to my Montparnasse post, and, as often as not, then giving up on their original search .

It gets worse, much worse. In the course of investigating this Montparnasse black hole, I discovered that although I had entered "Tour Montparnasse" into my list of tags, to flag up my modest contribution, "Tour Montparnasse" was not appearing automatically in my list of labels down the righthand side.

What is more, the system still prevents me adding it. It allows "Montparnasse Tour" or "Montparnasse Tower" of simply "Montparnasse" but not "Tour Montparnasse". All very strange, would you not say ?

There may be an innocent explanation, like some glitch or software bug in the system. There again, I may have stumbled on something about the way in which Blogger communicates internally with its parent organization, Google Search, giving greater visibility to some posts rather than others. Note the careful choice of words.

If one enters "Tour Montparnasse" into Google, one gets back a long list of returns. Interestingly, these are usually headed by a sponsored link headed "Tour Montparnasse" which is an advertisement for the Tour, the top floor and roof terrace of which are open to paying visitors. Advertisers pay for those sponsored links. They are the means by which Google has become a multi-billion dollar organization.

My post describes my visit to the Montparnasse tower-block. It relates mainly positive experiences, but lists some negative ones about the multi-story Tower too, like being a blot on the Parisian skyline. I'm not the first to have said that, needless to say.

My post used to be searchable under "Tour Montparnasse" but that is no longer the case, perhaps because of the missing label, or perhaps for some other reason. Who knows ? Any ideas ?

(ed: added Sun 20:55) within an hour of submitting this post, it appeared under listings for a Google search using tour montparnasse, having picked up the above phrase "My post used to be searchable .... ".

It's odd that it went for the phrase in the body of the post, instead of the title.
What's the point of choosing title words carefully, to reinforce tags, if title words are not given top-weighting ?

It will now be interesting to see if it this post goes up or down in the Google rankings. Watch out Google - the tables are turned: Small Brother is watching you.)

It has not disappeared completely off the system: it is still accessible if the search profile includes unusual or "powerful" search terms , but no one will find my post if they have to enter "dreams " or "daemons" into the search profile.

Re-publishing the blog seemed the logical thing to do. I have retained the original title, but entered just one tag/label. You can probably guess what it is: "Tour Montparnasse". Let's see if the post becomes searchable, and if so, for how long.

Footnote: I'd use this occasion to mention another, totally unrelated gripe re Blogger/Google. None of my posts topics are searchable in Google UK. They would only be found from the UK by someone opting to search in Google World Wide Web, but there's a lot of Brits I know who avoid the latter when searching for UK-ish topics, to avoid a welter of US and other listings.

It should be possible to opt for listing under Google UK, or any other national "currency" for that matter.

Update Sunday 12th Aug 20:30

As an illustration of the anarchy of Google image search, try entering plensa nomade antibes, the subject of a recent D&D post. Instead of taking you to that post, it takes you to an image of Prince Charles that I used in the Montparnasse post. Clicking on the image takes you to the Montparnasse post, instead of Plensa's Nomade. One wonders how many prospective readers one is losing through this software glitch.

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