Saturday, February 11, 2006

Yahoo Hits and Misses

I love getting hits or even links to my old posts. It lets me think that what I write is just a little less ephemeral than love notes written with a stick in the sand below the high tide mark. Thanks to the links from The Comics Curmudgeon and Drink At Work, my Ted Forth tribute will always get a few residual hits as people read the back posts from those very popular blogs. About a week ago, Freyburg linked to my old mash note to Maureen Dowd. These links bring fresh eyeballs to the blog, some of whom stick around to read newer posts.

Another major traffic builder is the search engines. I am very proud to be the Google “I feel lucky hit” for “foobs” and “alligator mouth”. These are topics that I have deliberately tried to focus on. Search engines, however, are fallible. Plenty of bloggers put together hilarious posts about the misguided and sometimes rather disturbing searches that end up at their sites. There are a lot of sick people out there and I don’t think the NSA or FBI can track them all if they tried.

Often some random conflagration of archived keywords has led searchers to me as a bad practical joke on both of us. The person looking for “tween lesbian summer camp“ did not find what they wanted at my blog. And this guy was persistent. I was only the 132nd highest link for that search. Most misplaced searches are a little less prurient than that. For these people, I like to think that I have something in a post interesting enough to read, even if my blog wasn’t exactly what any particular LostGoogler® was looking for.

Even more benign search words can be very misleading. Yahoo has somehow decided that I am the number two source on the web for “cute baby pictures”. Don't believe me? Click here and see. Nearly 20% of my traffic is now lost Yahoo searchers landing on my site. I also get hits for “cute cartoon babies” and “cute monkey pictures” and a bunch of other minor variations. Yes, I do have a blogpost titled “Cute Baby Pictures” and it does have two pictures of a particularly adorable cousin of mine, but it mostly talks about the nature of cuteness. I don’t think that level of philosophizing is what these people are looking for. They want lots of pictures of cute babies, not links to evolutionary biologists.

This has made me very suspicious of the validity of whatever algorithm Yahoo uses to rate sites. If you put the same search into Google, you get sites like this or this that are far richer in cute babies than mine. These are what people are searching for, I hope.

On this blog I openly lust after Angelina Jolie and post pictures of scantily clad actresses far more often than I wallow in sentimental photos of newborns. I have a rep to protect. So, if you were looking for cute baby pictures, I have thrown one in just to appease you, and feel free to browse through my old posts for, as Monty Pythoners say, something completely different. But if you really want boatloads of pics of grinning, drooling moppets please find yourself a better search engine than Yahoo.


Anonymous said...

I've mentioned the weird hits that take people to my site. Sometimes that's more fun than anything else. I don't write about it anymore because it gets real meta when they wind up going to those posts instead.

Once in awhile, out of curiosity, I'll track it back a little bit to see why they decided to come to Baltimore Diary. I go to the search page and discover that I was way down on the page, or even on the second page, and there's not much in the excerpt that would suggest that my site is the one they were looking for. And they came by anyway. That's kind of cool.

yellojkt said...

Great Jane.
Sometimes when I get the off the wall hits, it's from a keyword in the comments. Now this post is going to get hits for "Monty Python Spanish Inquisition". I'm gonna blame you when it happens.

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