How To Grab Google’s Attention

I admit, I am hopelessly addicted to my own site logs, especially to the tracks of the 60% or so of my visitors who arrive here via Google search (and, to a lesser extent, other search engines – but Google traffic wins out by nearly two orders of magnitude).

In five years of blogging, I’ve meandered over a pretty wide variety of topics, with no particular intent – I just write about whatever is on my mind. I’ve taken a few basic steps to optimize my site for search engines, like putting the entry title in header tags and using it as the page title in individual archives, but I certainly haven’t gone around stuffing my titles and writing with carefully chosen keywords. Most of what I write is useless to the average results-oriented Googler, anyway. Nevertheless, a few entries have caught Googlebot’s fancy, including a few that I’d never’ve expected in a million years.

Top Ten Most-Googled Entries

  1. Friday Random Nineteen – I shared my weekly crop of weird search requests, one of which was meaning of * Cryptic * Spy in provocative underwear. That entry is now the #1 result for queries about cryptic spies in provocative underwear, which at over 100 visitors a month is an astonishingly common search.

    I still have no idea what these people are looking for. Is it a half-remembered bit of smut? A story about a femme fatale who uses lingerie to accomplish covert missions? I’d love to do something useful with my inadvertent Google-fu and help ’em find what they’re after, but I’m just completely clueless.

  2. Penis Talk Redux – why don’t men kvetch about their sex organs the same way women do? More people arrive at this entry looking for women talking about penises than looking for men talking about penises.
  3. Speaking of kvetching about sex organs, What I Hate About Menstruating has everlasting search engine appeal for a certain set of fetishists – one of them even left a comment.
  4. Happy Hair Fetish
  5. Someone Wants Naked Sorority Frolicking – are we beginning to figure out what’s on the Internet’s collective mind yet? The unfortunate thing about this entry is that AdSense finds it offensive, so I’m not making any money on it.
  6. Fat-Free Half and Half – everyone else is as confused as I am. The trick seems to be that if you have a sufficiently small serving size, almost anything can be labeled “fat free”.
  7. Tara, I Hate You – the world contains a lot of pent-up aggression. The comments on that post are just the tip of the iceberg; more than once I’ve had to start ruthlessly deleting endless stupid bickering between small groups of semiliterate twelve year olds.
  8. CBCBC – the Copenhagen Bloggers’ Coffee and Beer Conspiracy waxes and wanes in importance on the Googlestream; this month it’s on an upswing.
  9. Shark vs. Bear – though actually, “bear vs. shark” is the more popular query.
  10. Gotta Pee

And an honorable mention goes to Red Pop, #16 on the most-searched list. Searchers took a completely unrelated entry and, four years after it was written, turned it into a forum for sharing jelly recipes.

I hereby declare this a meme, but I’m not sure who has both the depth of archive and the stats package to participate so I won’t tag.


  1. sciencewoman wrote:

    I only look occasionally and only keep track in my head, but in an informal way, I’ve discovered that my most popular post is from the “proper name for a woman” series, followed by the polar bears and penguins rant at Coke. I guess I just don’t write about as provacative a topics as you do.

  2. Lab Lemming wrote:

    Sorry, but the only searches I’ve had with n>1 are:

    A. variations on lithium, contamination, cleaning, and ICP-MS

    B. “cold nipples” (several). Somehow, I doubt the nipple searchers were looking for a way to remember the order of the group VIIIa elements (Fe, Co, Ni; Feel Cold Nipples).

    Perhaps if I understtod what you meant by this:

    I’ve taken a few basic steps to optimize my site for search engines, like putting the entry title in header tags and using it as the page title in individual archives
    I might be more suited for having some sort of clue about how blogging actually works.

    As it is, most of my visitors from other parts of the web come via either you, Dr. Shellie, or a secretive cabal of expat American housewives in Europe who have adopted my chocolate chip cookie recipe.

  3. Andrew Ironwood wrote:

    I too once suffered from site log addiction, but through hard work and perserverance I managed to overcome it (thus the lack of any stats package on my current site).

    That said, the ‘cryptic spy underwear’ thing sounds to me like a video game reference, but after a couple of cursory search attempts, I couldn’t place it any better meself either…

  4. gengar wrote:

    Other than a recent surge of searches for variations on ‘scantily clad women’ (which must be disappointing for the poor dears), most of the people who find me through google seem to be making vaguely relevent geology-related searches. I do get a background of pokemon-fetishists searching for ‘gengar’ though…

  5. Mel wrote:

    I shall never understand google searches.

  6. Eli wrote:

    After posting an innocuous goofy story, I started to get dozens of search hits every month for “she had to pee”. What really bothered me was that according to the server logs, those folks never stayed to check out the rest of the site – and some of them seemed to be the same people, day after day, never learning. So I stuck a script on that page that would detect those kinds of Google referrers and put up a message like “What the hell is your problem? Can’t you tell from the summary that this is not what you’re looking for?”. And, because I was still obsessively reading the server logs, I know that a few strangers did get that pissy message… somehow not nearly as satisfying as I imagined.

  7. yami wrote:

    Yeah, it’s only fun when they respond – “no, I was just really bored, really!”

    Alternatively, I’ve started showing these people extra ads. They click through more often than normal visitors, and I don’t care if they’re annoyed by the commercialization.

  8. Lab Lemming wrote:

    What happens if the googlebot thinks a page is too risque? Does it blank out the ads or just run pub service ads?

    I ask because, after finally writing something that more that 40 people want to read, I find that people pursuing postulation about Pluto only see ads for the red cross.

    Maybe Google is cryophobic. . .

  9. yami wrote:

    You get a choice when you set up your AdSense unit, but mine are all PSAs. And, heh – thanks to Adblock I didn’t realize you even had ads. Are they yours, or Blogger’s?

    Sometimes it seems like the bot needs some time to find appropriate ads – it’ll run PSAs for a bit, and run real ads after a couple days.

  10. Lab Lemming wrote:

    They aren’t mine in the sense that I went around to the local shopkeepers, asked for their logos, and put them up for a fee, like back in the student newspaper days. But I have an adsense account that claims to owe me twelve cents. I was hoping that the bot would be smart enough so that if I bitched about some hard-to-import chemical in my blog, it would find me the ad for a supplier. But it doesn’t seem to have worked that way yet. Maybe it’s time for the tantalum oxalate post.

    BTW, have you read the snide remark on Way funny.

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