Whatever you're searching for, it appears we have it here.

I no longer pay much attention to this blog's visitor stats. When I first started the Gazette, I had a free Site Meter account and monitored it regularly, but that was back in the salad days when blogs were the only social media outlet (and when I actually worked harder at it). When I redesigned/relaunched the site a couple of years ago, I dropped the account and now I just have the stats program that comes with my hosting account, and it records visits to my entire domain, not just to the blog. So, the stats aren't that meaningful for gauging readership.

That doesn't mean they aren't entertaining and sometimes perplexing, though. The one reporting category that I occasionally enjoy reviewing is the list of search keyphrases - phrases that people enter into search engines and that somehow lead them to the Gazette.

It's sometimes obvious why this blog came up for a particular search phrase. Take this one, for example, from earlier this month: is toby keith giving credit to robert earl keen for bullets in a gun. That's an obvious match to this post (and, as far as I know, the answer to the Unknown Seeker's question is "no, he isn't.").

Others are less obvious, but still logical. For example: american bandstand had regular dancers there was a dancer named debbie but i can't remeber [sic] her last name. While I never posted any single article that provided a good match for this quaint query, the Gazette has a "Ballroom Dance" archive page that combines all the posts in that category, and the fact that I have a wife named Debbie and she's a dancer makes that page come up in the third spot on Google when that term is entered.

This month I've gotten a steady stream of visitors who are searching for articles related to Netflix DVD-only plans, A&M/LSU football history, the Canon S95 camera, QR codes, and fire ants (I always feel bad about those poor souls coming to the Gazette in hopes of solving their fire ant issues). Those topics could lead logically to this blog, as I've recently posted about all of them (well, except for fire ants...wonder why anyone would come here looking for that topic?). But there's a whole slew of phrases for which the link to this blog are rather tenuous:

  • what's my personal year
  • nincompoop generation
  • lyrics button up your overcoat daydream you'll get a pain when you re on a treee [sic]
  • deadhead skulls
  • what scary tv show had tumbleweeds on a porch in the intro?
  • he hails from a country where they speak of spokeless wheels
Finally, there are the searches that cause one to wonder about the emotional state of the seeker, or the circumstances that might lead to the necessity of googling these phrases:

  • tell google maps that we exist
  • how to write a story about a fire after christmas
  • pictures of big rats*
  • discharge of an unloaded gun
  • I hate Midland
  • ever had one of those days
  • it's going to get ugly
  • bad service when to fire employees
  • is there a virus that causes a coomputer [sic] to catch fire
  • why do bicyclists wear those clothes
And my personal favorite:

  • ballroom dances inspired by fish and ants
If nothing else, this illustrates the paradox that accompanies the increased "intelligence" of search technology on the web. Search results are often more rich in content, but not necessarily in usefulness. On the other hand, usefulness is in the eye of the beholder, and I can but hope that people who came to the Fire Ant Gazette based on the previous search phrases were satisfied with what they found.

*Believe it or not, "big rats" was the most frequently used phrase in 2010 to find this blog via a search engine. Maybe I need to consider a name change for the Gazette.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Eric published on January 12, 2011 6:54 AM.

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