The strange world of Internet searches

Webmaster tools - helping get search resultsOne part of running a website is making sure that you are getting visitors. How they get to your site and what search terms they have used if they arrived via a search engine.

How we do that is via multiple tools. One being Google Analytics and the other being Webmaster Tools. Bing has its own version of Webmaster Tools but what that search engine gives this blog, it’s so small it’s not worth looking into. I get a handful of searches a month from Bing compared to the 1,000s that I get on Google.

There are other packages available that do the same job. Determine what search terms have got to your site. The webmaster tools are only limited to its own search engine. Something like awstats is search engine independent. It just runs from the raw log files and does gives you the basic figures that Analytics and Webmaster Tools do but not in a real-time way.

The log file analytic software, of old, gave you the mainstay of showing performance of your website for the web in the 90s. Hits. That’s all that people wanted to know back then. It then dawned that this figure was quite meaningless as you could have 60 or 70, tiny, images on a page and get back a huge number of hits. They then asked for “page views”. A much better number to use. That figure has now gone because of “the social web”. Now people want unique users. How many actual people view the relevant page. This metric has always been a bit dubious to me. How does the reporting software know if I use this laptop at starbucks and then at a railway station how does it know I’m the same user. Does it? Or does it just look at the IP address and so something with that and the, assumed user session. I think it will log you as two different, unique users even if you’re actually the same person.

Hits & pages are good, easily defined metrics whereas users and unique users are a bit woolly. Bring back the days of quoting figures that were unambiguous and easy to understand.

Google Vs BingThat can be proved by Microsoft who had a great idea to show how good they thought Bing was. The bingiton website. That website shot the search engine totally in the foot. I think it was an Elephant gun they used on the poor foot. I used it and got a better placement, according to that comparison website, on their arch-rival’s search engine every time.

It can be a lot of work, if you have the time and will to go through all the possible options. Set up goals and similar things. You could be there all day just to discover that lone person from South Korea who likes Donald Duck. Then they made it to this blog!

I do, occasionally go, deeper, through the analytics data to see what I can learn. Sometimes that springs some odd results.

A good example of this examples of this is that iOS is the most commonly used mobile Operating System to view this website. I thought that it would be Android.

The greatest, or strangest, search term that got someone to my blog is Andrew Garfiled covered in cum. I’m not sure if it’s strange that someone was searching for that or the blog post. It’s high up page 1 for that search term! The fourth or fifth hit. It, probably, wasn’t the thing they were actually searching for but it got someone to the site. They must have read the piece about Spider-man and went away happy.

Most of the time, the search terms are normal. Searching for something I’ve written about. It could be a character name from Guardians of the Galaxy, Gru’s minions or the blog’s name.