Google Searches V

Since my friend Dan mentioned it on his blog, I decided it was time for another round of strange Google searches. These are things that people searched for that somehow landed them on my blog.
  • “funny things to say at a bachelor party” – That’s pretty lame my friend. Make up your own jokes. And I have to assume this is the same guy who later searched for, “sayings for bachelor paintball” and maybe even “sweet to say on monday quotes”. Dude, you’re trying too hard!
  • “that noise robert downey jr makes in sherlock holmes” – What in god’s name does that mean? Did he make a noise in that movie? If so, what else is there to know about it? This one really baffled me.
  • “zombie wizard of oz” and “wizard of oz zombie art” – Both are topics found on my blog, but not usually in conjunction with each other.
  • “congratulations you are alive” – Thank you?
  • “creeper stare” – ::sigh::, I guess that’s me.
  • “antonym of sleepwalk” – Uh…is the opposite of sleepwalking just sleeping? Or did they mean walking around while not sleeping?
  • “awful face” – Aw, really? And they found me? Geez. Good thing someone else searched for “heaven fantasy picture” to balance it out.
  • “why geeks shouldn’t have children” – Ouch. I guess I’m the poster child for this? That one cuts deep.
  • “flannel sheets dry skin” – Ugh, god! Most horrible search term ever! ::shudders:: Why would you be looking for that? I’m looking to *avoid* that!
  • “zombies and skylights” – I don’t know what this one could be, but it sounds like a bad combination to me, hombre.

Google Searches IV

It has been nearly a year since I’ve done one of these. Mostly this was due to the fact that search engines were no longer ranking my page as high as they had been. However, things seem to be getting back to normal now, because strange searches are starting to trickle in again. Allow me to demonstrate:

  • “from the desk of an evil genius” – Hello. Do we have a new blog title?
  • “hide and seek champion” – At least 3 people are still looking for him…but that’s what makes him the champ!
  • “pooping on boat” – In the bathroom hopefully? Does this require instructions?
  • “sara s 2nd birthday party pictures” – I guess this is someone searching for a specific set of birthday party pictures, with the super common name of ‘Sara’? Yeah, good luck with that. The fact that they found my blog means they were desperately clicking on a loooot of links.
  • “40 year old creeper” – Hey, I’m not that old!
  • “and then i was bacon” – I actually received more than 1 hit on this. Maybe it was a dream? A very good dream…
  • “smell my gas” – I don’t know why someone would be searching for this. Maybe they’re looking for someone to perform this service?
  • “what does the tickle monster look like?” – Like Oliver.
  • “scary zombies” – As opposed to the cuddly, non-scary ones? Good thing they qualified their search.
  • “older floozies” – This is obviously the place to come for older floozies. It’s practically my specialty! Older floozies, get’cher older floozies here!
  • “crime of hairacy” – The worst crime of all. Lucky for this person, I have, in fact, covered the crime of hairacy in a post.

The case of the disappearing web traffic

In general, the traffic on my blog has had a generally upwards trend since I started keeping track of such things in October 2008. There are a few ups and downs, and a couple of specific spikes which I was able to explain.

However, starting in December 2010 there was a huge dip in traffic, after which it has gone continually down. Last month I had less traffic than I have ever had since January 2009, when I started blogging every day. This month will be lower yet.

Anecdotally, despite the statistics, it seemed like roughly the same number of people were reading. I had about the same numbers of comments, and the same number of people sighing and saying “I read it on your blog!” when I launch into a story.

I should specify that I don’t do this for the traffic, per say. But as a blogger, you can’t help but look at the statistics and say, “What did I do to drive them away? What am I doing wrong?”

Sara has been listening to me complain about this for months, but then she finally gave me the clue that I needed to figure it out:

“Are you getting as many random searches as you used to get?”

As a matter of fact, I had noticed that I had not. I usually keep a running list of funny searches people used to get to my blog, and I hadn’t had anything to add to that in months. But I had never connected that to the decrease in traffic before.

Once I figured that out, I connected the dots and realized that I had moved to shanehalbach.com in mid-November 2010, right before the big traffic drop in December. I don’t know how that never occurred to me before, but it made perfect sense: my web-rank went down.

Not to be too technical, but search engines have sophisticated algorithms to decide which search results are most likely what their searches are looking for. Websites that have a high “web-rank” are returned at the top of search results. Spam websites, or new websites with no authority or popularity are ranked lower, since it is less likely that someone searching for something is actually looking for them. So in a sense, the rich truly get richer; the more traffic you get and the more people link to your website, the higher you return in the search results, so the more likely random people are to find your website.

By moving to a new domain, I was basically starting over again at 0.

Anybody who had previously linked to my site was now linked to my old site. And because wordpress.com is a well known, well reputed site who tries to keep out spammers, etc. I was previously benefiting from being associated with them (this was part of my confusion, since I’m still technically a part of wordpress.com, but apparently the search engines don’t see it that way). I also lost other traffic that was previously driven to me from inside of the wordpress network. From what I’ve seen online, this is all supposed to come back in a month or two after moving your site thanks to special web redirects that wordpress puts in place, but that obviously didn’t work for me. And I never would have guessed that so much of my traffic was due to my wordpress.com URL.

So the question is, knowing what I know now, was the move worth it?

I still think so. While I’m disappointed with less traffic, I’m not nearly as disappointed as I was when I thought that people were just getting disgusted with my blog and stopped reading it. I can’t really feel too bad that people searching for “clocks” don’t land my blog anymore. And obviously I don’t just do it for the traffic, since I would be (and was) blogging anyway, even if nobody is reading.

So if switching is going to take you down to 0, you might as well do it sooner, rather than later. This site is probably not destined to achieve much web rank anyway, since it is pretty random and not devoted to any single topic. In other words, it is relatively unlikely that someone who doesn’t know me would be interested in reading it.

So that’s it. Thanks for not abandoning me, even if I thought you had!

Google Searches, Part III

Periodically, I like to round-up some of the strange things that people search for in google that land them on my blog. Certainly I get plenty of normal searches, but there are always a few that leave me scratching my head. Sometimes I can think of the post that might have caught their attention, sometimes I can’t.

  • “wheelchair broom” – No idea what this means. Is it a broom for cleaning off a wheelchair? Why would such a thing exist?
  • “pictures of chicken in the shape of fish” – Maybe they’re looking for some kind of ad campaign? I can’t fathom what on my blog could have registered on this one.
  • “whale with a jelly fish on its head” – I’m intrigued by this one, I might have to perform my own search on it.
  • “Jackie P—– psychopath” – Okay, this one cracked me up. Certainly I know the Jackie in question (name blanked out to protect the innocent), but I don’t think of her as a psychopath! Obviously somebody does…
  • “olympic jelly fish” – I’d pay to see jelly fish Olympics
  • “reasons not to like the dentist”  – Ah, I love it when I have a satisfied customer!
  • “nun skin” – YES! I finally got a hit on nun skin!
  • “a person who smells like a cat” – Yeesh, I hope I wasn’t the one they were looking for. They did end up on my blog…is there something you guys aren’t telling me?
  • “farting in the bathtub” – What did they hope to find? Video? Why did they find me? Oh wait, a quick search did reveal a post. Very well. But I still don’t know why they are searching for it.
  • “supernatural shane” – Of course I have talked frequently about the show Supernatural, but I’d prefer to think of this one as someone who refers to me as “Supernatural Shane”.
  • “you’re not a fox you’re a weasel” – Score! A fellow dog trainer!
  • “bacon wrapped mashed potatoes” – Uh, kind of hard to wrap mashed potatoes with anything. Although if they found a result, I’m all for it.
  • “gateways to hell on earth” – Now I happen to have a post on this, but I want to know what else they found? Was this a serious search, like “I’d like to find all of the gateways to hell on Earth for my own nefarious purposes…”?
  • “hungarian honeys” – All the hot XXX hungarian honeys you can imagine! That’s practically why I run this blog! Truly, I should have just named the thing Hungarian Honeys.

I don’t know if this says more about bacon, or Canadians

Okay, right off the bat, this survey is talking my language:

Three out of four survey respondents (73%) said they love bacon. In fact, nearly one in five Canadian men (18%) agreed that some days, they just can’t survive without bacon.

And:

When asked to rank various aromas by preference, 23% of men ranked bacon as number one.

Bacon is a pretty awesome scent, however, this statistic is essentially meaningless without seeing what the other scents are.

Anyway, the survey quickly got down to the important question: bacon or sex?

When asked to choose between bacon and sex, more than four in 10 (43%) chose bacon.

And even higher in some areas of Canada:

Of respondents from British Columbia, 50% said they would give up sex before bacon, versus 37% of respondents from Quebec

But then again, come on, you just knew the Québécois were going to be the oddballs.

As I said in the title, I don’t know if that says more about how awesome bacon is, or how crazy Canadians are for bacon. In fact,

One in four of respondents (23%) from Manitoba and Saskatchewan wondered if ‘my partner loves bacon more than me’.

Bacon: now with more ruined marriages!

Link via Meg