Back during the early days of the misguided and idiotic COVID-19 lockdowns in May of 2020, I built and published my own personal website through the company Weebly. There were a couple of reasons for this. I have built basic and bare minimum websites through my years learning the command line in Linux. But after watching hours of instructional videos, I decided to use one of these website building services. Building a website was too complicated for my primitive, simple brain. For a small fee (Slightly over 100 dollars a year), I found it easier to use the tools that this website provided to complete and build the website. After launching Expert of Some, I got to experience something I was not expecting, endless marketing calls regarding my website. This short blog will be about this experience, and it will tie into Parts 2 and 3 which involve the incredible amount of frustration that was created during my attempts to get my book published. If you have the suspicion that inside of this surveillance capitalist system where so much of our economic output is now directly tied to the world wide web and the lack of privacy that this entails will lead to marketers swamping you with calls and emails, then your instincts are absolutely correct.
Before beginning, I want to define a term that is key to understanding this article. SEO stands for search engine optimization and every year, approximately 73.38 billion is spent on SEO by corporations’ advertising and marketing departments. Search Engine Optimization’s definition is this.
” The process used to optimize a website's technical configuration, content relevance and link popularity so its pages can become easily findable, more relevant, and popular towards user search queries, and consequently, search engines rank them better.”
The key to SEO is to help your company stand out online by using key words which allow the search engine algorithms to pick up your website and prioritize it near the top of the search results. During the building of my website, I could create my own SEO words that I wanted to prioritize. After publishing and creating fifteen SEO words to market my website, this is when my trouble began. For over a year, I would get a daily phone call or email from some random marketing firm or SEO “specialization” company about hiring them to optimize my new website. Almost every single one of these calls was from three locations: India, the Philippines, or China. And the calls were persistent. To gain my privacy back, I had to be firm and often belligerent with the marketers to get them to leave me alone. The only way to truly stop the harassment was to threaten every single marketer that contacted you. After 15 months of this psychological torture, the phone calls did finally stop. So how did they get this information?
I only have two possible explanations for this. One of them makes more sense than the other.
One, Weebly owned by Square sold my data off to third party marketing firms who used the information provided to swamp me with emails and phone calls.
Or Two, these companies are using analytical tools to track the additional websites that are being added to the world wide web every day and using this information to make their marketing push.
I have no idea which one of these possibilities is the actual cause. And this is another problem with the internet. Who gets your data? No one really knows as the tech company will give you a large, twenty-page user agreement that does not specify who they sell your information to.
Finally, did I end up purchasing SEO services? The answer is NO. As many of you know from my writing, I have dived into the controversial topics of censorship and vaccine mandates on my blog. Did the Google algorithm flag me for disinformation and pull some of the links to my website down? It appears this is the case. Since this happened, purchasing any SEO services is pointless as the algorithm determines the visibility of your website.
Let’s compare. Here is what I get when I put “ExpertofSome” into the search engine.
Bing was the worst. It forced me to clarify the search to +expertofsome.com. If an expert of some was entered, the top search result comes up as expertofhome.com. With the modified search, it pulls up my website with sub links underneath to the other three pages. My new book selling on Amazon is also in the top 5. And that is it.
DuckDuckGo is the best. Every possible webpage and my Substack where I cross post articles from my personal website all are top searches. This search also brings up my LinkedIn page. My book does not appear as it is listed properly under my real name.
Google censors my blog in the searches. My home and about page are the top searches. My blog is nowhere to be found. Of course, this is where the “controversial” content would be located. The publisher of my book comes up and my top comment on Substack written for Edward Snowden (Who did reply and reached out to me) are the other two choices. Everything else including my LinkedIn and Substack are missing.
So here is my recommendation. Unless you really have no understanding of how to set up a website or engage with the SEO process and the investment is worth it to you, avoid it at all costs. No matter what words are used, the fate of your website is totally dependent on the whims of the algorithm and whether your content is controversial enough to be flagged and disappeared. Because this is how censorship works now. They will not remove your website. They will just make sure no one alive ever gets to see it.
Next week, Part 2.
EXPERT OF SOME