Disturbing Keyword Referral Analysis

by Dave on September 19, 2011

in Nerdery,Professional,Pye in the Face

An online marketing guy by profession, one of the most integral metrics I have to keep an eye on is known as keyword referral traffic. Namely, what people are typing into search engines before ending up on a given site. And Jiminy Crickets – those keywords can get weird.

nerderyPye in the Face has been around for over a decade now, and there are thousands of posts, galleries, tags and categories capable of pulling in organic traffic from Google, Bing, etc. Most of which I’ll regret during my next job search. Through the magic of reporting software which crunches and parses log files – My tool of choice is the awesome and free Google Analytics – you can not only see what keywords are generating traffic but what search engine and which one of your pages the visitor is landing on. You can also see what country they’re from, what time of day they visited, what operating system they’re using, what browser. It’s incredibly deep, fascinating and addictive. When I first started building websites I’d check these sorts of stats fanatically – but my favorite was always, and remains, the keyword referrals.

Obviously, everyone with a website wants it to rank well in Google for a specific set of keywords. The power of big G is incredible. Fortunes are literally won and lost every time their algorithm, which determines how sites rank for a given keyword or phrase, undergoes a major update. If you sell “pink roller skates” and are #1 on Monday for that term, you’re laughing. Book a trip and start pricing jetskis. If, when you get to the warehouse on Tuesday, you’ve dropped to #39 – you’re out of business. That quickly. Better sell that jetski to Kenny Powers.

kenny-powers-jetskiKenny has actually had multiple liasons on jetskis.

Ranking well for mission-critical keywords is, well, mission-critical. A website has the potential to rank and draw traffic, however, for any combination of keywords which appear within the code of their site. It’s also important to note that the terms comprising a multi-word search phrase don’t have to appear on a site in the same order. They don’t all even have to appear in the same paragraph. If the potential for ridiculousness isn’t sinking in by now, it should be.

If there isn’t a ton of competition for a phrase which has somehow worked its way into your site’s copy one might find themselves on Google’s first page within a few hours of that text’s addition. Sites with regularly updated blogs especially can start ranking for hundreds – nay, thousands – of terms over the course of a few years. This is definitely the case with Pye in the Face (Last month people used 1,570 different keywords to find the site), and without prattling on about this nerdy stuff any longer I’m going to share my…

5 Favorite Phrases DavePye.com Drew Traffic for in August 2011

1. Florence Welch Bum: Florence may have her machine but she’s also in possession of a breathtaking caboose. I admit, when I featured her on Wednesday Wadio a little over a year ago I took screenshots of the best examples from the band’s video and named the resulting images “florence-youve-got-the-love-ass-video-bum.jpg” and “florence-and-the-machines-ass-butt.jpg” respectively. It was a sad, misguided experiment, but a very successful one. My site is #1 in Google (your local results may vary for everything on the list) for the aforementioned term and pulled in 6 visitors last month. It’s also the top entry in Google’s image search. Traffic also came in for florence and machine bum, and a guy named Dan actually left 2 comments looking for more Welch booty. If I roll the data back to cover an entire year, that article pulled in over a hundred visitors using 84 different keyword variations including: florence welch arse, florence welch hindquarters… butt, ass, shake, buttocks and bottom. This data is embarrassing, sad and doesn’t paint me in a particularly flattering light – but that doesn’t make it any less frickin’ fascinating.

2. Bobby McFerrin Raped my Grandmother: When Alec Baldwin hosted SNL 5 years ago he uttered this phrase during a particularly hilarious skit which you can can’t see below. I jump around on Google’s first page for the phrase, and 2 people found me using by using it last month. Since I wrote the article way back in November 2006, 65 people have typed it in before paying me a visit. I can only pray they were looking for that sketch and Bobby McFerrin isn’t being sought somewhere for questioning.

3. Bunkhouse Cock Buddies: Upon seeing traffic from this term I typed it into Google to see which post of mine could possibly be ranking for it. I went about 5 pages deep through the site results before giving up. Nothing. Then I tried image search – and sweet God in heaven do I wish I could take that back. All the therapy and bleach in the world will never erase that sight from my poor mind. Please take my word for it.

4. Does the Interrogator in the Movie Unthinkable Cut the Terrorist’s Penis Off?: The Unthinkable made an impression on me and I think my review of the Samuel L. Jackson flick holds up. I’m glad I took my time writing it because since it was published on May 28th of last year the post has pulled in an amazing 500+ people via Google and become one of my highest-viewed articles ever. I never mentioned the terrorist’s penis.

5. I’m Going to Die Alone with a Plethora of Cats: Is this someone “calling their shot”? Are they looking for a support group? Regardless, this is a great example of how different words from different areas on a site can combine causing a website show up for a bizarre search. I ranked #6 for this term and the landing page is for one of my categories. Over the course of the 10 articles which appear in this category, I mention cats, dying alone and use the word “plethora” in different posts – hence the ranking. Try to explain the ranking away as I might, I’ll still probably have my face eaten off by a cat days before my neighbors notice the smell.

Sorry, folks, if this all got a bit lengthy. After such a long period of irregular and sporadic writing I must have a lot of flexing to do. I hope you enjoyed all this disturbing data and I do believe I’ll make referral analysis a regular feature. A profoundly disturbing regular feature.

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