How people find a blog

Let’s talk about search engine terms. No, I’m not going to hand out blogging advice. You won’t find any advice here that you’d want to follow, on blogging or any other subject. What I want to explore is that strange and lovely world of search engines and algorithms and other things I don’t understand, about which I want to ask the following profound question: What the hell are they thinking?

I know, thinking’s the wrong word. Algorithms don’t think. Someone does, though. A human mind, with an actual human being attached to it, programs these suckers and sets them loose on the world trusting that they’ll connect the right question to the right answer.

Or not caring if they do.

A chough, pronounced "chuff," Cornwall's official bird. It was driven to extinction in Cornwall, but a few years ago a pair flew over from Ireland and nested successfully, and a handful can now be found. Those who know are keeping their locations secret. I know and I ain't telling. Photo by Ida Swearingen, who ain't telling either.

A chough, pronounced “chuff,” Cornwall’s official bird. It was driven to extinction in Cornwall, but a few years ago a pair flew over from Ireland and bred successfully and a handful can now be found. Those who know are keeping their locations secret. I know, at least vaguely, and I’m not telling. Photo by Ida Swearingen, and she isn’t telling either.

And then there are the people who type some of these terms into Google. Spare a moment to wonder what they’re thinking as well.

So here’s how people found Notes from the U.K. (I’ll do a separate post on vaguely relevant search terms. Sooner or later.) They typed in (with Google’s lower case format carefully preserved):

good comments with u: All my good comments contain that letter. Except this one. My bad ones? They don’t.

who are the bigwigs in legal highs: . Okay, I’m pretty clear on what this poor kid was looking for and can make an educated guess or three about what they planned to do with the information. And they were so disappointed to end up in the middle of a discussion of lawyers’ wigs. Sorry, kid. Now get off the internet and go finish your homework. And remember to use the letter u.

kittens dash into rooms they shouldn’t: Rooms and dash are clear enough to work with, but we need a definition of shouldn’t. They shouldn’t because they’ll get scolded? Because they’ll get eaten by the Minotaur? Or the Merrimac? Anyway, we need to define the term. And we need video, which I don’t do. And come to think of it, how young a kitten do they want to see? So I was a disappointment here. I do have a page of kitten pictures, which I haven’t updated lately now that I think about it, but I can’t imagine I’m high up the Google list. How many web sites and blogs did the googler go to before being disappointed by mine? What is it about kittens and the internet that someone went through that many links looking for this?

dog poo for rubbish collection Cornwall: For this, they need to contact the county. Unless they’re looking for dog poo itself. If they can convince me it’s a good idea to donate it, we have plenty. And a nice collection of the cat variety as well. But, well, I will need convincing.

Sumerdress: These are what they wore in Sumeria? Sorry, this isn’t a fashion blog.

kitten club: I can make a fair guess about which regular readers would  join, but I don’t know where to refer them. And a kitten a month? It’s too many. No matter how cute they are. Plus it’s wrong to ship them. They need to be hand delivered, lovingly.

notes of the kettle: This was weird enough that I googled it myself and was, sure enough, led to one of my posts, “Putting the kettle on,” as well as to notes from a community meeting that included the subhead “Vott is kettle,” which is all about JavaScript. Why is said “vott” instead of “what” is a mystery. Or maybe “vott” isn’t a mispronunciation of what but some arcane bit of geek speak. You know: “I’m going to vott your computer now. Stand back.” I’d love to give you a link to this so you don’t think I made it up, but I didn’t copy it down at the time—I was too busy being baffled—and it won’t come up again, but if you want to buy a whistling kettle, several of those links popped up. I think it was when I typed in “vott is kettle.” The connection’s obvious, isn’t it? The kettle whistles and you run into the kitchen yelling, “Vott iz itt dis time?” (Sorry, my phony accent’s a bit woozy. I’m not sure what language group I’m supposed to be imitating and I doubt I’d get it right if I was sure. Normally I wouldn’t stoop to making fun of someone’s accent, but it’s justified this time. Necessary even.) You can find out about Kettle Knudson, who’s either from or visited Bemidji, Minnesota, I’m not sure which, but the story’s in the Bemidji Pioneer. On this I could give you some links but not having them introduces an element of randomness that’s way more fun. What does it all mean, bartender?

tumblr pics of fully clothed grandmothers: I hardly know where to start with this one. Is a website somewhere offering pics of semi-naked grandmothers? And if there is, how do we know the pictures are of genuine grandmothers and not women like me, of a grandmotherly age but without grandchildren, which by any definition I understand disqualifies me from grandmotherhood? I mean, how much less of a turn-on is it once you know the background’s been faked?  You won’t find me on any site of that sort. Not only won’t I lower myself to pretend I have grandchildren but because my clothes are tattooed on, so I’m always fully clothed. Even in the shower. So, how did they find Notes with that in the search engine? The only one of these words I remember using is of, although it’s not impossible that I said everyone somewhere or other was fully clothed. It sounds like me. And in many of the places I go, including the supermarket, they are. Time after time. In fact, even as I type this, I’m fully clothed. It’s chilly in the morning at this time of year. I only frighten the neighbors in warm weather. As for what the googler was looking for, I can only speculate. And I’m not sure I want to.

71 thoughts on “How people find a blog

  1. that last one is disturbing!

    Not quite as disturbing as some of Nancy’s search terms on
    some of which I feel a tiny bit responsible for…

    At one point my the search term people used the most to find my blog was “why does it take 365 days to go from one midsummer to the next” or words to that effect… i declared that if people didn’t know that I didn’t want them on my blog! (which may be a little judgmental but never mind)

    I love the idea of a kitten club…but you are right, one kitten a month is too many…there would soon be chaos…fuzzy cute chaos…and the manpower to deliver them would be phenomenal as you are right about the shipping…

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re right: Not half as disturbing. That’s Nancy’s search terms, but yours as well. I mean, even I can explain the 365 days. And if I can explain something with a number in it, then, come on, anybody should be able to take a rough guess.

      Or so you’d think.

      But it gave me a good laugh, so all’s well. I’ll go tell my cats we won’t be having any kitten deliveries this month. They both say two cats is plenty. The first cat says two is more than enough.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I feel a tiny bit responsible for a couple of Nancy’s search terms, we dance a dance called Spank the Monkey which I mention in her comments a fair bit :-)

        I have consulted with my 3 and they agree that more kittens would not be desirable! They feel there would not be enough shrews to go around!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Now you have started the big trouble. I have seen it happen before, with other bloggers.

    Once you actually start to mention the odd things that people search for to find your blog, the search engines will notice the discussion, and your blog will become a magnet for people searching for images of fully clothed grandmothers, votts of kettles of votts and kittens, and Sumerian sundresses.

    Now you know where all of your followers come from. I believe that I typed in “how do u c a fully clothed wall of corn, u know a corn wall ex-pat not grandmother.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • I always do wonder how people find me, so thanks for letting me know that. And I have mentioned corn, although not, as far as I can remember, in conjunction with wall. Unless it was to say that the cornbread was so bad I threw it at the wall, although if I said that I might as well admit right now that it wasn’t true. Not that anything has to be true for an algorithm to pick it up. So yes, of course it was a sensible way to find me. Now, vott’s all this about kittens?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. pretty wild, I had no idea! I found you ’cause wordpress thought I’d enjoy your posts (good algorythm?) and have had sufficient suggestions from them to feed me interesting conversations. I also see that people sometimes visit when I comment their posts. Now you’ve got me wondering how a couple of bizarre bloggers found me :)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I found this post full of good advice, which I shall be taking directly; thus, I disagree that you should be let off the advice hook just yet.
    In fact, I’m wearing my Sumerian dress to Bemidji this evening to present my new line of PermaGram autumn girdles, followed by a delivery of poodle shXX, ahem poop, to the Junior Vice Duke-in-waiting and Keeper of the Earl of Tidypants’ Extra Retainer.
    And thanks to the advce Google unearthed because of you, I expect to end the evening in his castle, Kitten Club getting gloriously and legally high.

    Ellen, my dear, I must say you have demonstrated a rare gift for getting right to the heart of British culture You owe it to your readers to devote yourself to an advice column.

    I already have three question to get you started:

    1) Does the Queen Mother wear PermaGram?

    2) Does a Earl beat a Duke?

    3) Does a full house beat a straight?

    P.S. Me for real – Your post is absolutly hysterical!! And it fits everywhere

    Liked by 2 people

    • Um. A duke beats an earl, but only if he’s younger, stronger, and knows how to fight. A duck beats a chicken. No reason for that, it’s just how things are. And carrots beat kale anytime. I’m not sure about the full house and the straight. Back when I drove cab, I discovered two things about playing cards: 1. I really like gambling. 2. I’m a lousy player. That didn’t seem like a healthy combination, so I quit after one longish wait at the airport, playing tonk. And yes, I did win some money, but it was through dumb luck, not skill.

      Now, let’s get serious. What’s PermaGram? A permanent telegram? A metric wave for your hair? A girdle you can’t take off? It’s academic, though, because the Queen Mother’s dead. I guess she’s wearing something, but probably it isn’t anything she chose.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well then who’s that old lady living in Buckingham Palace and why isn’t Philip king? Or the older Prince, What’s his Name, married to the ever-annoying Kate? Good god, your’e not going to go with Harry, are you? That gene pool’s too small…It’s bad enough they gave Harry a gun, military authority, and a boat.

        You people are evidently getting altogether too careless. If you’ve got a monarchy, you’ve can’t let it run around unsupervised.

        Hey, wait a minute, I’m Irish! What the hell do I care?

        Big Mouth O’Brien

        Note to your English readers: This is humor. That’s all it is. It’s in no way meant to offend or disrespect. I save the latter for my own global threat, I mean my own country. (;:

        Liked by 1 person

        • The old lady living in Buckingham Palace? That’s the queen, not the queen mother. Phil’s her husband. He doesn’t get to be king, no matter who kicks off. Either wisely or unwisely, he close the wrong parents for that. Some things just can’t be undone. Next in line is William, poor fellow. The job doesn’t look like a lot of fun, although god knows it pays well. I’m of the of the opinion that the anti-monarchists missed a trick when they didn’t adopt the slogan “Free the royals.”


  5. Ha ha ha! What a wonderful collection of random googler visits. I must admit that the main reason I ever view my blog stars is to see what random Google terms have brought people to my blog. I would say 75% of them are mystifying or bizarre and I mostly cannot fathom how that search term brought anyone to my blog. I probably ought to note them down somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A colleague once asked me to explain a language we were using for constructing algorithms. He just couldn’t get it. “The first thing you have to understand,” I told him, “is that it is a language for the painfully literal.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The comments here are almost as delightful as the original post! Whether or not they contain a “u”!

    I just checked mine to see what entertainment I might add. Sadly, not much. Many variations on the theme of “how do I talk to my therapist about masturbation” — which both genuinely makes me sad AND makes total sense. (I mean, I’ve got a post that starts with that set-up. Doesn’t answer the question, though.) My favorite head-scratcher is the search for “sex in bed,” as though “in bed” constitutes some arcane and rare sexual phenomenon requiring specialized training.

    Also? If you ever want a topic to entice the sumerdress seeker to return, I understand Innana was one snazzy fashion plate, At least for special occasions, yknow, like descending to the underworld or hanging out with her hubby, the Plague God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I ever feel myself running dry, I’ll write about what to wear when descending to the underworld or hanging out with the plague god. I should be able to dash off a thousand words about that without too much trouble. Unless you decide to do it first. Great topic. Wanna arm wrestle for it?

      No, no, you suggested it first. It’s yours.

      Sex in bed is an odd one to search for. Especially if you know about sex. And about beds. It’s just like sex in the kitchen, but more comfortable. And further from the whipped cream.

      Okay, I’ll stop now. Really. That’s enough, Ellen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for ceding the “what to wear” post; I’m the absolute pits when it comes to arm-wrestling. (My money’s on “exorbitant amounts of lapis lazuli,” btw.)

        Seems that someone thorough enough to google “sex in bed” would also be someone who advance-stashes a can of whipped cream in the boudoir. But that’s just me.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. It was a sad day when Google started hiding the majority of search terms. I’m pretty sure we’re not seeing the best ones any more.

    I quickly Googled “vott is kettle” and am happy to report that this post is currently number 2 for that search string, though Google thinks I should be searching for “pot vs kettle” instead. One can never satisfy the Google.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow. With a popular search term like that, I’ll be swamped any day now.

      I’ve wondered what those “unknown search terms” were. How could they possibly be unknown? They passed through Google’s virtual intestines. It’s enough to kick up a massive case of conspiracy-theory paranoia: What are they hiding from us?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Chuckles served with my oatmeal once again. Visions of partially clothed grandmothers floating in my semi-awake state. You have inspired me to look at those search terms in my blog on occasion. The last time I thought of doing so it seemed to be mostly about potatoes. Didn’t seem to tempt me to go back for a second look.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bad jokes are a possibility, but I’d guess egg collectors had something to do with it. I’m not really sure. I should check, but this morning isn’t the time for it. If I find anything out, I’ll post something.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not Lutheran, but I lived in Minnesota long enough to think “Lutheran funeral jello” is a perfectly sensible set of words. I seem to remember Louise Erdrich doing something very funny with it in one of her early novels. Exactly why someone would google it I’m not sure. Maybe they haven’t been to a funeral for a while and miss it.


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