After more than 11 years online, Intraspec.ca is closing down.
Some pages will remain available for a time, but since none are linked from this sayonara homepage,
all should fall from the search engines fairly quickly.
As to the reasons for the closure, they are multiplex. Judging by search engine rankings (organic results), the site model found evident favor with Google for many years: several pages remained in the top ten for specific
keywords, with no SEO finessing whatsoever. The idea was to gather and assess material from various authoritative sources on specific matters of health and well-being, then analyze and present the findings. Just thorough
research and commentary, with PDFs and other documents collected over time. The site thus became something of a repository on a range of topics. I thought of it as a service in the public interest, especially
with respect to issues of social inclusiveness and equality, dealing with problems of homelessness and poverty, for example. At its height, Intraspec.ca contained research pages on more than 70 subjects, from autism to cognitive mapping,
adverse effects of fluoridation, medical marijuana, medicinal mushrooms, nordic walking, pollution in people, thyroid problems, TOS, what fish are safe to eat there was a lot for one person to maintain and update.
Social media and smart phones, Facebook and Twitter ... times changed, and Google's approach to search changed too. Panda passed me by, without incident. But then came the Penguin update
of 24 April 2012: Intraspec.ca immediately lost 48% of its traffic. As additional algorithmic adjustments were implemented over the course of several months, losses eventually exceeded 85%. My
Adsense and affiliate income, which had been sufficient to help sustain the effort, diminished progressively. I tried to compensate, revise and remediate, but nothing helped. Traffic is now about 6% of
what it was in the months prior to Penguin, yet many pages continue to rank high in organic search. Ah, the mystery...
Income derived from the site is now zero.
To the best of my knowledge I have not violated Google's guidelines or otherwise done anything to warrant punitive response. Perhaps the damage was collateral, in that case, or, more probably, the result of an
intentioned shift in algorithmic priorities designed to improve search for mobile platforms and shake up long-established patterns. Regardless, I was stunned by these developments. Although I didn't realize
it immediately, I grieved the loss. Intraspec.ca had become a focus of personal activity, and it was difficult to let it go. Indeed, it has taken me more
than a year to do so.
Bit by bit.
Volume of information continues to increase, and finding specific answers to specific questions remains a crucial function of search, but given the user's capacity to input a sensible search string,
much of the first-level filtering of information is done for us by the search engines. Nonetheless, there remains a need for topical information gathering and higher-level assessment that, in a small way, is what Intraspec.ca
was intended to address with comprehensive reference and analysis pages on selected topics.
But that train has already left the station. I've never chased Google, and I won't start now. The Wheel has turned. And the truth is, I prefer to chart a different
course in this, my sixth decade. The grieving is done. Like the song says, I'm already gone. Time has come to focus on my arts, to paint, write and rhyme.
Ottawa ON CA.
3 May 2013.
2 February 2013.
The Homelessness and Poverty section, plus some 44 additional pages...
Intraspec.ca sustained a dramatic drop in visitor numbers coincident with and subsequent to Google's "Penguin" update of 24 April 2012.
Despite losses of up to 85% in site traffic, many pages at Intraspec.ca remained of high rank in Google's organic search results an apparent contradiction I continue
to find puzzling. Less confusing, however, was the fact that the site had been supported by nominal monthly earnings from Adsense and affiliate links, and these earnings were essentially
eliminated. As the months passed it became evident that as it was, the site could not be sustained on my otherwise minimalist income of $12K/annum. I needed that little bit of extra
not a lot, but more than nothing.
Content on this site is always date-stamped, attributed and hyperlinked. In many cases, such content can stand on its own with only occasional link checks and updates.
Other pages, however, require frequent review and ongoing research e.g., pages on homelessness and poverty in Canada, finding a doctor or naturopath in Canada,
autism and certain medical information pages, political and economic issues, legal aid and pro bono, environment and ecology. These necessitate more time and attention than
I can afford at this point, and the presentation of substandard pages serves no one.
So, many pages of the site have now been removed. Pages chosen to remain have been modified and updated but, should it not prove possible to maintain them to the desired standard,
I will fold my tent and move on. I apologize for the inconvenience.