Great Google-y moogly

What are you searching for?

I’m just sitting around today killing some time by putting WordPress through its paces. I’ve been digging through my blog stats.

My #1 post of all-time, by far, is My list of top five angry songs. It is second only to the home page.

Curious, I went and messed around in Google a bit. I finally found that my blog is result #10 for the phrase: angry songs

Wow. If you think about it, that’s pretty good. And it must certainly explain why that particular piece of tripe is my #1 post ever.

Making the top ten results in Google means you are on the first page of results. That is huge.

I’m no SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist, but I have learned a thing or two in my travels.

Consider the phrase “angry songs” that I mentioned above. What is so special about it?

First, it is rather generic. In search engine terms, generic means something broad rather than something specific. If you have high placement for a specific phrase, that’s nice, but nothing to get too excited about. If you have high placement for a generic phrase, however, then it might be party time.

For example, right now, my little blog is the #1 result in Google for the search term: tweeturbation. One reason for that might be because I invented that word. (Sadly, though, that same Google search shows someone else invented it, too. And a bit earlier than I did. Is there no such thing as an original idea any more?) Unfortunately, that search term is extremely specific, so my #1 placement isn’t much to get excited about.

Another consideration is the popularity of the search term or phrase. It is no good being #1 for a search term if no one ever looks for it. Obviously “angry songs” must have at least some popularity or else my placement for that phrase wouldn’t make my post the most popular one I’ve ever written. This was, of course, entirely by chance and certainly nothing I ever planned.

Going back to WordPress stats I then displayed my my popular search terms. The phrase “angry songs” has been #1 six out of the last seven days. On the other day the #1 term was “angry songd.” (Most likely because “s” and “d” are neighbors on the keyboard. This shows the importance of misspellings, too.)

If I look at “all time” search terms “angry songs” is again #1 and about four times as high as it’s next closest competition “whatever happened to joaquin phoenix.”

From all this I surmise that two things are very important to my traffic. The first is having regular readers who visit my blog multiple times. To me, that is my bread and butter and is also the most meaningful traffic. That is the traffic that I really care about. But also, getting good placement in Google (and other search engines) for popular search times can really impact the amount of traffic my blog receives. Maybe one out of every couple of hundred random visitors will decide to subscribe or make a comment. Then I have a chance to convert them into a regular reader. If that happens often enough then the sky is the limit. :)

I also think posting every day is important, like it somehow keeps that snowball growing and growing. My stats have leveled out a bit of late so I’m hoping persistence will pay off.

18 responses

  1. I had to test this out, and yes “angry songs” brings up your wonderful blog at Number Ten in my google search, too. I had wondered whether google searches differed among IP addresses. For example, since the cyber world knows so much about each of us, might it tailor the search to bring up the angry songs that might appeal to our own particular type of rage… But since google knows you and I are virtual friends, actually your blog should have been placed higher!

    1. Thanks, fellow researcher! :)

      Actually, search results can differ. I think it’s because Google has multiple servers and the indexes may not all be synchronized the same way at the same time.

      The whole think can be somewhat complicated and rather mysterious. It’s not like Google talks much about what really goes on behind the curtain.

      The context-sensitive awareness you describe in search results is something that maybe even Google might not have thought of yet. Your thinking is way ahead! :)

  2. Just a bit more:

    For “conklin dairy farms” I don’t show up within the first five pages or so. (I quit looking after that.)

    For “gary conklin crowbar,” however, I’m #1. Woot! True, that’s a specific phrase, but it just might bring in some hits. (No pun intended.) :)

  3. How about “gerbil”? Did you check how high you are with that? Or the Empty Nest Syndrome? I know those are more specific, but still… Anyway, it’s AMAZING that you’re number ten on Google for anything – I mean, that is a seriously big feat, especially for a term as simple as “angry songs.” Kudos to you (I’ve never in my life used the word “kudos” but it seemed appropriate now..) because you deserve it. Your blog is made of sheer awesomeness [Wow. That's a word.]

  4. I think my placement on the phrase “angry songs” is extremely cool. It was also just blind luck.

    I checked on “gerbil” but that is far to generic. I got no chance at all with that phrase.

    While looking, though, I did find something called The Church of the Gerbil. Now that is some weird stuff! :)

    Gotta love the internet.

  5. homemade calzones brings the most traffic to my blog. kinda funny how many people wanna make calzones!

    1. I just tried it. Yep, there’s your blog! :) And I’ve made homemade calzones before. I never can get the dough just quite right but they are still delicious. Dough is one of those “analog” things where understanding defies me.

      1. i just buy Pillsbury pizza dough. no homemade dough for me. So I guess saying “homemade Calzones” isn’t exactly the truth.. but oh well!

  6. People seem to find my blog the most by Googling “sexy freddy kruger costume” or something similar. I’m #8 in a search for “happy dress like a slut day” and that seems to be my most popular post.
    I am #1 if you search for Mrs. Dahmer. I don’t know if I should be proud or disturbed.

    1. Dress like a slut day? Tell me more! :)

      Seriously, though, the phrase “happy dress like a slut day” is a perfect example of generic vs. specific.

      “happy dress like a slut day” is #8 in Google
      “dress like a slut day” is #21 in Google

      The more generic phrase (without the word “happy”) drops you from page 1 to page 3 in the results. That’s not bad, just interesting. I like learning how this stuff works. :)

      Just like why would anyone would ever want a sexy Freddy Kruger costume! :)

  7. Oooooo! I love a good Google stats post. I’m not sure why but anything involving stats and blogs gets me all tingly! Congrats on your #10 rank on the Google page. But don’t forget your inspiration for the post! ;)

    1. Yes, it can be fun to learn the arcane knowledge of Google.

      Are you talking about the phrase “angry songs?” If so, I never forget about being angry. :)

  8. I also buy the Pillsbury dough when I make mine. I’m just not that good at handling it and it rips open a lot. :)

  9. Of course this made me run to my WordPress stats too! Not counting the home page, my most popular post of all time is Breast MRI followed closely by The Zodiac & Wolves. Several months after posting the Zodiac & Wolves entry I noticed a HUGE spike in my stats – and when I went to Site Meter to see why I figured out that it was because of a picture I was using with the post – the file name of the picture was libra… I used this picture because I thought it was perfect for me, since a lot of my blog focuses on boobs & ovaries! Though this particular post didn’t – anyway, this may sound weird, but once I figured out what was getting me all that extra traffic I replace that picture with a different one – I like getting hits on my blog – but I want them to be legitimate hits based on what I actually blog about – not extra page views because of an image I used which happened to attract a ton of viewers I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Anyway, wow, this could have been a new blog post alone, not a comment! Sorry for bogarting your blog! lol

  10. Excellent comment!

    I neglected the whole Google Image Search (GIS) angle. You are 100% correct. The way the WordPress stats work, we don’t know if the phrase was a web or image search.

    For the phrase “breast mri” I found:

    * Your blog is on page 9 of a Google web search
    * Your blog has the #2 result on page 1 of a Google image search

    I suspect the GIS is where the vast majority of your traffic comes from for that phrase.

    You are also correct that qualified or relevant traffic is way more important than random traffic. You are very smart to monitor your site and tweak things accordingly. That increases the odds that people who find your blog will be interested in what you have to say. It greatly increases the chances they’ll visit your blog again.

  11. I’m second under Picnik when you search the term “edited in Picnik”. I think they need to pay me for advertising for them with my tags. :)

    1. I tested the phrase “edited in picnik” in Google (including the quotes) and found this:

      Web search: Result #5 (on page 1)
      Image search: Results #5 and #13 (on page 1)

      Without the quotes, however, your position slips a bit:

      Web search: Result #14 (on page 2)
      Image search: Results #24 and #29 (on page 2)

      It is interesting how the quotes make a difference.

  12. I just noticed I’m now #14 in Google web search for the phrase: gary conklin

    Woot! :)

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