Friday, January 19, 2007

Google Mysteries

I didn't post for many days this month (January 2-16) and as a result traffic dropped off some, not just regulars but also searchers stopped coming so often. Then, before the no-post period ended, on January 15, I saw that there had been a small jump up in visitors. On that day I got seven hits from searchers using the terms "float like a hummingbird," bringing them to Floats Like a Hummingbird, a post about hummingbird moths. There have been a few more hits based on the same search since.

Nessus Sphinx Moth (Amphion floridensis)

Sometimes the first title for a post that comes to me is one that evokes a phrase, book title, movie title, etc., for me, in a way that is not particularly relevant to the post. I use it, perhaps entirely for my own amusement. So when I saw this little surge of hits the first thing I thought was something had happened to Muhammad Ali, because the title evokes, for me, a song popular in the 70's that borrowed Ali's "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."

So what were these searchers looking for? Had something happened to Ali?

Turns out he had his 65th birthday on the January 17. Happy Birthday, Mr. Ali!

Mystery solved?


Anonymous said...

I never do much checking into why hits come from some search phrase, but occasionally they are quite odd. Btw, a couple of months ago, I had to disable the stats counter and all of the accompanying statistics stuff from my blog as it was causing a weird conflict in the pages. I do still have some idea of the traffic from my bandwidth use. Not nearly so interesting as it used to be when I would notice hits such as the ones you've just described!

Pamela Martin said...

It is fun to see the search terms--gratifying when someone finds something on the blog that they're really looking for, picture of a cecropia caterpillar for example, and nice when a link to one of my posts is posted to a listserv or sent to a mailing list. This case was unusual in that there were a number of apparently unique hits, same terms, not really looking for anything on this blog, and not clear what they had in mind.

Tom Andersen said...

I've had two days where phrases from my blog have appeared coincidentally as clues in the New York Times crossword -- and the number of hits to my blog soared. (My own personal crossword ethics would never allow me to Google a clue, of course, except if the clue was really hard).

"Cousin of an alewife" and "Sphere in the Olympics" were the clues.

Pamela Martin said...

Hey, Tom. New York Times crossword puzzle clue! I can only imagine traffic like that. I wonder if any of the Search Engine Optimizer guys have tried it. :)

Just tried googling "cousin of an alewife" myself--yours was the only site to come up.