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

More Search Terms

As I mentioned in my previous post on the subject, I am endlessly fascinated by some of the things that people google which result in them landing on my blog. So here are some of the highlights. These are broken down into a few categories of amusement, 1) what the heck was that person searching for, 2) how did that search land on my blog, 3) I don’t know why someone was searching for that, but amazingly, I have a blog post for them!

What the heck was that person searching for?

  • ‘tactical mayonnaise’ – Lunch tactics? Or war tactics?
  • ‘resplendent start with the dead’ – I don’t know what that means, but I’ve had that one no less than 4 times!
  • ‘pull out fingernails’ – Yeesh. No thank you!
  • ‘human zombie cat’ – Yeesh! NO THANK YOU! Stitch together your sick creations on someone else’s blog thank-you-very-much. I have enough trouble with a living, non-human-hybrid cat.
  • ‘jelly fish hunting fighting boats’ – What could that even mean? It conjures images of sea battles with giant mutant jelly fish.

How did that search land on my blog?

These are usually things that I don’t believe I’ve ever talked about, but I do in fact agree with or support. So it’s like Google detected that these people think like me and led them to my blog, despite me never mentioning anything of the sort.

  • ‘are “two question” marks aggressive’ – I don’t know how they found me, but for any future searches on this topic: Yes. Yes they are.
  • ‘awesome cat’ – Okay, I had a couple of hits on this one, but I’m not sure how those found me. I have the opposite. But I did get a hit on ‘nusiance cats’, so that one I understand.
  • ‘what do zombie pirates say?’ – I really don’t know. But I kind of feel like, if anybody should know, I should know, right?
  • ‘where there be pirates’ – Was this a search by an actual pirate?!
  • ‘i grit my teeth when i pet my cat’ – My favorite, hands down. It describes my position exactly. I don’t think I ever said that on my blog though, so how did they end up here?

I don’t know why someone was searching for that, but amazingly, I have a blog post for them!

  • ‘big headed chiquita bananas’ – Lead to this post, in which I mention the chiquita banana lady, but not the size of her head.
  • ‘bacon evie’ – Now those are good search terms for finding me! I get a lot of ‘erith1 is this thing on?’ searches, but those are more obvious. What if ‘bacon evie’ was looking for someone else?
  • ‘litter box in bathroom curtain AND cat peed on curtains why’ – I soo feel for the desperation of the person searching for this. Now, my cat didn’t pee on my curtains, but my story did involve both cat pee and a curtain. So I wasn’t too far off.
  • ‘picklerita’ – Wow, I actually had a good post for them! There can’t be that many picklerita posts out there.
  • ‘she toot on me’ – ::sigh:: but I did get a ‘toot hole’ search, so maybe the phrase is catching on!

The Fracus

On Friday I wrote a post about the Olympics and Chicago. It went live at 10:49 a.m., as soon as I heard the announcement. I had actually written the post the night before, and I was so sure Chicago was going to be awarded, that I wrote the whole thing as, “Yay, we did it!” So I had to totally re-do the post that morning.

At 11:54 I was notified that my post was promoted to the top story on wordpress.com, where it stayed for the rest of the day as the only Olympic related post. I was pretty excited about this. Too bad I had just completed my important moments in blogging timeline post! As expected, the post proceeded to blow up, dwarfing all of my previous high traffic numbers. I had over 1,500 hits on my blog that day (my previous high was like 150) and around 22 comments on the post, many of them from Brazil (and some not in English!) It remained on the front page Saturday and Sunday, netting me another 28 comments and 1,400 hits and 20 comments and 1,300 hits respectively. So, in three days, my blog had over 4,303 people visit, and that post received 70 comments.

I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of fun. I couldn’t stop compulsively checking it all weekend. I would go away for a few minutes and when I came back, there would be more comments. I was trying to approve the comments as fast as possible to keep the discussion going. It’s kind of funny because I didn’t really put any more time and effort into that post than any of my other posts. So it is kind of interesting to read all of the comments and really analyze that post in detail. I’m guessing my post was picked because it is somewhat informative, with a hometown view, without being critical or nasty. I wonder how much thought they put into picking posts for the front page. It’s probably totally random. 🙂

Anyway, in order to capitalize on the traffic, I put posts up for Saturday and Sunday as well. Many people who stopped did go and check out the next post back, to see if there was anything interesting. What post was it? The Toot Hole. <sarcasm>Lovely. I couldn’t have picked a better one if I tried, that’s exactly the post I would want the world to read. </sarcasm>

As of today the post is still on the front page, though it’s not the top post anymore, moving down 7 spots. I don’t know how often they change it, but it seems like it might be up there for a couple of more days. As much fun as it was to constantly see the stats going up, I don’t exactly feel like personally accomplished. After all, it was more of a “right place at the right time” kind of thing than a “my blog is awesome and deserved it” kind of thing. Still, I guess you make your own luck to some degree, and if you put enough stuff out there, something’s bound to catch on.

So, if you were wondering what was going on here over the weekend, now you know. And knowing is half the battle. The other half is getting your lazy keister off the couch. If only G.I. Joe would have had 10 more seconds each week to explain the second half of the battle, they could have changed the outlook of an entire generation.