Who’d a Thunk?
by L. Stewart Marsden
On my blog site there is an administrative site that gives me all kinds of information. It records how many folk have come to the blog, and what pages or posts they looked at. It scores the best day of visitors, totals the number of visitors, and ranks my posts in terms of how many times they’ve been accessed. Doesn’t tell me whether or not you liked the post, unless, of course, you make a comment (which I encourage you to do, regardless).
If you used a link to access my blog, the admin site tells me what/where that link was located (I always announce a new blog on my Facebook page). If you used a search engine to try to find something, and my blog came up AND you clicked on it, it tells me what your search criteria was. And that’s where things can get interesting.
I’m going to assume something.
Yes, I know.
I’m going to assume that when you type in a string of words, like, The Blue Danube, you know the search engine is going to parse the entry into “the,” “blue,” and “Danube.” In doing so, maybe with the exception of the word “the” because its numbers would be astronomic, you will receive a brief blurb on the websites that contain “blue” and “Danube.”
When I plugged Blue Danube on Yahoo!, I got over ten pages of websites, with about 15 websites listed on each page. These websites are ranked in order in terms of the number of “hits” on the website for the search criteria. Wikipedia was first, by the way.
If I use the Boolean (don’t ask) method to narrow my search by putting the Blue Danube between quotations, e.g., “The Blue Danube,” then the search engine knows to look for sites that carry my search phrase, and not to parse it. The results are significantly reduced.
But, you see, I assumed you knew that, and if you did, I apologize. If you didn’t know that, then hooray and there’s no extra charge for that bit of information!
Which brings me to why I wrote this blog today.
I was looking over my admin page last night, and went to the search referral sections that lists search terms. Normally, the searches make sense as to why someone ended up on the blog site. But last night? I stared at the search term and could not think for the life of me how that web surfer ended up on my blog:
Chapel Hill socialite drowns in bathtub.
No matter how I twisted my gray matter, I could not squeeze out the answer.
Then I decided to plug in the search terms in Google to see if that would render a verdict, and, voila! There it was!
Parsed out, Google highlighted where each of the words was to be found on my blog:
Socialite, from my account of my daughters’ first skiing experience in The First Slope;
Tub, from the story of The Cat From Hell, and the description of where the beast was depositing her “treasures;”
Chapel Hill, where I referred to those misbegotten Tar Heel fans in the article, Why God is a Denver Bronco Fan;
Drowned, from a story written by my grandmother about her grandfather, who drowned when he broke through the ice one winter in the Dakotas, Great-grandfather Ross.
So, that surfer scrolled down the page and found my blog website listed, Writing Odds n Ends, and clicked on the link.
Who’d a thunk?