Dress yourself in Clive

I’m losing Google juice!

Hmmm. It seems I’ve lost some of my Google juice.

For months, when you typed “Clive Thompson” into Google, you got Collision Detection as the top, first link. (Indeed, that’s one of the reasons I started the blog in the first place — to ensure that it was easy to find me online, as I wrote in a blog posting a while ago.)

But I just typed “Clive Thompson” into Google, and it appears Collision Detection has slid to the #4 spot on the first page.

I wonder why? One interesting clue is that my personal domain-name site — www.clivethompson.net — appears higher than Collision Detection, in slot #3. That’s weird, because as far as I know, there are almost no inbound links to www.clivethompson.net. Meanwhile, there are at least several score inbound links to Collision Detection. And the logic of PageRank, one of Google’s main search strategies, is to prioritize “popular” sites — ones that have a lot of inbound links pointing to them.

What could it mean? Obviously, Google regularly rejiggers its algorithms, and that’s happened here. But why the heck would they prioritize www.clivethompson.net, a site that is almost invisible in the social network of the Web, over Collision Detection, which is empirically way more “popular”? It would seem to suggest they’ve somehow tweaked their stew of algorithms so that syntactic or semantic meaning — the appearance of the words “Clive Thompson” in the URL www.clivethompson.net — have edged out the importance of Pagerank-style, links-based calculations. Weird.

Well, nothing I can do about it.

Actually, yes, I suppose there is something I can do about it.

I can NAKEDLY AND SHAMELESSLY BEG ANYONE WHO’S READING THIS POST to put me on their “blogroll” — put a link named “Clive Thompson” on their site, and have it link to Collision Detection. I mean it, people! Seriously. Drinks are on me. Heh.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson