Innocent in Australia

A Scot down and under in Melbourne

Posts Tagged ‘SEO

Blogging’s best kept secret: when you look at me, I look at you

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So you’ve learnt some top SEO tips, whacked the words Britney Spears and sex into every second headline, gained your first million subscribers and hyperlinked loads of cool stuff. People are falling over themselves to visit your site, right?

Well … WordPress, as I’ve written about before (click here), gives you the search terms people use en route to reading you. When I see “Innocent in Australia” or my name I sigh with relief and then say: “Go on, son, well done, mate, she’ll be right, we can do this! We can!”

But I see many other terms, too. Every fifth or sixth term these days is Stanford Who’s Who thanks to the post: Oprah Winfrey and the Stanford Who’s Who (click here).

I receive comments and messages from people – usually tales of woe. They find me because, when they type in “Standford Who’s Who”, I’m right up there, in third spot.

Go on, son! Go on!

But the biggest revelation is this: the search terms people use, and subsequently find you by, don’t relate to your headlines.

If you load your headlines with top search terms – Google is typed in 618 million times a month; Lady Gaga averages 25 million; Oprah gets 5 million – you’re facing extreme competition: unless your piece gains immediate momentum it will be swept to page 199 on Google, the end of the internet.

Far better to use terms people are looking for, but not in huge numbers. On average, 3,600 people a month search for Stanford Who’s Who and, when they do, I pounce on them.

Cracking the Shits is even less popular. Only 14o people search for this expression each month, but when they do, I’m waiting.

=

Well, done, mate, she'll be right.

Blogs are a two-way process. What I write gives insight into me; and the search terms people use to find me give insight into them.

The terms below – all from the last quarter – have stuck in my mind, and not always for good reasons. For the sake of illustration, I’ve divided them into character types, and present them complete with original spelling and syntax.

Many, as you would imagine, deal with sex – depraved, disturbing sex. I actually worry some of these sick bastards have become subscribers (although, if you have, woo-hoo!).

If you get the boak easily, skip the next few lines: they’re gross.

 Sexy beasts/ beasts

* teen boys giving milk to other by his cock

* dad shits in boys mouth

* visible g-string above jeans edge youtube

* middle age nudewomen and younge rmen horse leg

* melbourne house party orgy when please

* spanking with pan

* massive piss flaps

Medico-curious

* sick people snot

* snot and sneeze in your face you

* why do they call snot crows

* ahh right on my coccyx

* drop dead in australia

V-J Day curious

All of these relate to the picture, reproduced below, by Alfred Eisenstaedt. Though merely mentioned in passing in a post about the SNP victory in Scottish elections (click here), it’s been a nice little traffic driver – certainly more than the SNP has been (ungrateful bastards).

The "broken-back" move is a clear winner.

That said, no-one has actually searched for “Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Times Square photo”, but rather things like:

* man woman snogging after war lovely

* kiss nurse wars over

* kissing nurse stops war

Scotland curious

* bawbag

* gaun yersel

* your a bawbag chimp

* deck him

* why im proud to be from scotland

Australia curious

* is life in australia like neighbours

* is better australia or scotland

* bogan as

Seeking instruction

* how to break into holden nova

* how to get out of going to your dad’s

Sartorial

* where can you buy rastafarian hat in sydney

* cat flap british haircut

* rasta hats melbourne

* grey fitted blazer adelaide

Miscellaneous

* getting married at 8pm

* saltwater combover

* middle age man melbourne

* psychiatrists christmas card

* maroon bedroom ideas for kids

There’s one I rate above all others, though. I like to imagine the person who wrote it on their back in a driveway, a monkey wrench in one hand, a can of oil in the other. Though sweating and dirty, this person feels pretty pumped.

He or she stands up from the driveway and walks into the house, stepping out of the filthy overalls. Those biceps look pretty good in the mirror, don’t they?

Now, what shall I type into Google? I know:

* working on my car feeling manly

Go champ!

Thanks for reading.

Part 5 of 5

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Click here for part 2

Click here for part 3

Click here for part 4

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Written by Paul Dalgarno

July 8, 2011 at 10:13 am

Hyperlinks (and tits)

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The way hyperlinks are anchored or seeded in copy causes consternation in certain circles.

Essentially, it boils down to whether it’s better to say “click here“, thereby giving readers clear direction (a bit like someone shouting “jump” really loudly when your at the edge of a cliff), or to embed your links subtly as you go.

For sure, the constant clamouring of blue or purple lettering in an otherwise monotone text can be off-putting.

But it depends what’s being linked to: if it’s amazing tits or a big red dong, people are more likely to click.

A passing link to Synthesis of lamellar niobic acid nanorods via proton-exchange and their conversion to T-Nb2O5 nanorods is way less appealing – especially in an article about tits.

Because so few people read them, links are a labour of love on the part of the writer.

Getting to links means cracking through the ice of a text, rescuing those pages and pictures bobbing helplessly under the surface? – it’s an inconvenience, and generally you can’t be arsed.

They’re simply footnotes, or those little numbers in modern editions of Dickens next to “cutting the throats of the Graces” and other obscure phraseology. Who actually flicks to page 487 to get the full explanation? Erm, I dosometimes.

In their defence, hyperlinks do a few important things:

1) They show there’s a primary source, whether or not you choose to verify it, even just to make sure the author’s not having a laugh at your expense.

2) Well thought-out hyperlinks give you more than the link to some crappy Wikipedia page or a some gigantic, scholarly tome. Done well, they add real value.

3) As the writer, if you can’t be arsed, they give you an opt-out from explaining sexual selection or macropodidae, or even describing something as simple as two kangaroos shagging in front of stunned boy.

One less obtrusive approach is the Easter egg link – seemingly random gifts that take your most diligent readers in new directions. Whether a word or a single letter, they’re saying: you won’t see me, but I’m here, blue and waiting, like the undead …

Sometimes links can lead you down a dirty black hole or to a horrific dead end, and that’s frustrating

By the way, did you see the previous three posts in this series?

Click here to read How I got my first million blog subscribers
Click here to read Sex gives SEO a spanking
Click here to read Gaga Lady Spears Britney Claiming: Charlie Bit My Finger

How valuable have the insights been so far? What are people really looking for online?

More of that later … maybe tomorrow.

Part 4 of 5

Click here for part 1

Click here for part 2

Click here for part 3

Click here for part 5

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Google makes me SEO happy

Written by Paul Dalgarno

July 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

Sex gives SEO a spanking

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Writing about sex is like painting sound – not easy. Edvard Munch tried to paint sound in his student-bedroom favourite The Scream, but that doesn’t sound like anything …

And yet the idea persists that sex sells in a written format. Why? Because it’s true. Just the mention of the word can get people’s legs twitching, regardless of how incongruous the link.

The UK’s 2002 Iraq Dossier, with it’s 45-minute claim, was racy; but the fact it was said to be “sexed up” gave it added frisson –  journalists everywhere had the horn for months, and any time “sexed up” could be used in a sentence or headline it was used.

Dr David Kelly, of course, who came forward as the source of the “sexed up claim”, committed suicide in woods near his Oxfordshire home shortly after the story broke – not hugely raunchy as an event, although people tried to sex even this up as a conspiracy involving MI5, oh, ah, ohhhh …

Why does sex play so well with readers? Because it’s way more alluring than famine, unless it’s a story about Teri Hatcher’s four year sex famine.

The keyword tool Google AdWords seems to back this up. The figures below chart the number of times words are entered into the company’s search engine. The numbers on the left are global monthly searches; those on the right are Australian monthly searches …


fellatio 1,500,000 165,000
sex 618,000,000 68,000,000
spanking 5,000,000 1,500,000
bum 7,480,000 673,000
blowjob 9,140,000 3,350,000
boobs 24,900,000 7,480,000
knockers 201,000 90,500
arse 1,500,000 201,000
earthquake 11,100,000 5,000,000
plague 1,220,000 550,000
drought 550,000 246,000
famine 1,220,000 550,000
orgasm 7,480,000 2,740,000

You’ll notice “sex” trumps everything, with 618 million searches a month, roughly 606 million more than “earthquake”; and that nearly 7 million more people search for “bum” on a monthly basis than “drought”.

Of course, the internet’s about more than reading. One recent study found 85% of males and 15% of females view porn on the internet regularly. Other sources suggest the female porn-ogling figure may be closer to 60%, with 17% of women describing themselves as “addicted”.

Stuff you read about sex online tends to be biological (fine, if you like birds and mice), instructional (way too challenging physically) or “erotic” (usually rubbish).

Why rubbish? Because the text is loaded with voiceless velar plosives – the K sound mostly – “cock”, “suck” and “fuck” being the obvious ones; but also “silk”, “cape” and the almost-instantly-orgasmic “croquet” – go on, whack some balls … On the page, these words get boring really quickly.

Feathering and flirting with the issue at hand is key.

T.S Eliot called this the objective correlative: a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula for that particular emotion

Sex can be earnest; or surreal and earnest; or surreal and earnest and sinister. It can be meaningfully surreal, even if you can’t quite grasp the meaning; or excitingly earnest. But can sex be earnest and sinister without dirt? That’s virtually unimaginable … and undesirable. There’s no poetry without dirt.

The following passage is one of my favourites: a barmaid and land surveyor have sex on a grubby floor under the jovial gaze of two male “assistants” while the barmaid’s “master” moves about in the next room.

[…] they embraced each other, her little body burned in K.’s hands, in a state of unconsciousness which K. tried again and again but in vain to master as they rolled a little way, landing with a thud on Klamm’s door, where they lay among the small puddles of beer and other refuse gathered on the floor. There, hours went past, hours in which they breathed as one, in which their hearts beat as one, hours in which K. was haunted by the feeling that he was losing himself or wandering into strange country, farther than ever man had wandered before, a country so strange that not even the air had anything in common with his native air, where one might die of strangeness, and yet whose enchantment was such that one could only go on and lose oneself further.

And then: Where were his hopes? What could he expect from Frieda now that she had betrayed everything?

And then: He had spent a whole night wallowing in puddles of beer, the smell of which was nearly overpowering.

And then: There on the bar counter sat his two assistants, a little heavy-eyed for lack of sleep, but cheerful. It was a cheerfulness arising from a sense of duty well done.

A masterful piece of writing? Incontrovertibly! One to get your rocks off to? Probably not.

But if straight, Route-A sex vocabulary is the way to search-engine heaven, why are there not more articles with the headline Tits Tits Tits?

Because most writers are looking for your love, not a one-night stand? Even lowly bloggers such as this one.

How do you build loyalty and move towards your first million subscribers? More of that later … maybe tomorrow.

Part 2 of 5

Click here for part 1

Click here for part 3

Click here for part 4

Click here for part 5

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Google makes me SEO happy

Written by Paul Dalgarno

July 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

Gaga Lady Spears Britney Claiming: Charlie Bit My Finger

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Chances are you’re not even reading this. Online, it’s been said, people are “flat-out less likely to read funny headlines”. Not that I’m saying the headline’s funny; because it’s not; but I’ve seen far worse.

The “flat-out” quote comes from the article Google Doesn’t Laugh: Saving Witty Headlines in the Age of SEO by David Wheeler.

Wheeler attends the American Copy Editors Society’s annual conference, where delegates are workshopping headlines for a story on Leonard Nimoy’s move into cooking:

“Spice: The Final Frontier” is one; “Spice me up, Scotty,” is another.

Because I write headlines for a living, I can’t help adding, at least in my head: “It’s a knife, Jim, but not as we know it,” and the more laboured: “Star Shifts Enterprise”.

But Wheeler’s article suggests that, in the age of search engine optimisation, funny headlines – such as those with puns – are an endangered species, almost certain to go extinct. The following should give you an sense of the tenor:

“Sharp, witty headlines that stray off the ‘literalness’ line will live, barely, for a little while longer […] As the veterans of newspapers are gradually replaced by younger copy editors who grew up with the Web, we will see such headlines less and less.”

Hands up if you dig really funny headlines.

In a magazine or newspaper, the headline “It’s a knife, Jim, but not as we know it” across a double-page photograph of Leonard Nimoy chopping a carrot would work fine.

But in the cold light of internet, where actual search terms are king, you have to mention Leonard Nimoy, or at least Spock, and somehow communicate the story, ideally in eight words or less. “Spock takes to the wok?” might work, as might the double-barrelled: “Spock and wok: Leonard Nimoy moves into cooking.”

Identifying what people look for online is the goal of content farms, where people work like battery hens, taking words that perform well in SEO terms and weaving them into some kind of (gobbledygook) narrative: they file up to 10 stories a shift, hitting deadlines every 25 minutes.

The sole purpose of such farms is to attract high readership figures – or click-on figures – which in turn are used as leverage to sell ads.

Is this good news, bad news, or neither?

And what happens if you load headlines and copy with sex? More of that later … maybe tomorrow.

Part 1 of 5

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Click here for part 4

Click here for part 5

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Google makes me SEO happy

Written by Paul Dalgarno

July 4, 2011 at 7:31 am

Google makes me SEO happy

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One of the joys of writing a blog, as opposed to writing on bits of looroll you let the wind rip from your hands as you step from a Portaloo, is the little box on your dashboard – with WordPress at least – that shows the search engine terms people have used en route to finding you, the actual words they tap into Google.

I look at these regularly, searching for hints (over and above Site Stats, that love-hate numbers game of the blogger) that people like what I’m doing, or have at least thought to look for me.

In my case, I’m glad to say there are quite a few instances of people keying in “Paul Dalgarno” (and a not-surpising-because-it-happens-a-lot number looking for “Paul Delgarno”. Sure, I sometimes imagine snapping off the finger that’s typed the erroneous “e” but mostly I kind of like it: it makes me feel Cuban, like Scarface, and hard as nails.)

Some people type “innocent in australia” too, but the vast majority seem to have stumbled on to the site by accident. They’ve come to it blind and grappling.

An awful lot could be described as “miscalleneous” – search engine terms such as “sliding partition”, “mothers and sisters forego food in India”, and the diminutive “buh means”.

Sometimes I try matching the search term to the post, a wonderful game. When I see “craig mclachlan”, for example, I assume the person has ultimately clicked on Go Neighbours, go Yasi, a kind of kamikaze; when I see “adelaide drop dead”  it must have led them to Adelaide you’re drop dead gorgeous

The philosophy behind search engine optimisation involves making your posts, and particularly your headlines, rich in terms people are likely to be looking for anyway.

The first time I really tried to do this was with Oprah Winfrey and the Stanford Who’s Who. I was thinking, of course, that a percentage of people who punched Oprah Winfrey into their search engine of choice would find me, and that I’d become an internet sensation, and that Oprah would invite me on to her show. I had it all planned, you see.

On the day of posting I received the lowest readership figures of my blogging career and, I sincerely hope, my career as a professional writer.

It was a shock to the system. When no-one reads your blog, three things go through your mind:

  1. I’m not getting paid for this.
  2. Everyone hates me.
  3. I’m not getting paid for this and everyone hates me.

Now, some months later, that same post is one of my most-read and, in time, will almost certainly be number one.

Not for the Oprah part but the Stanford Who’s Who. Barely a day goes by without several, sometimes many more than several, searchers stumbling on to my site with search terms such as:  “Stanford Who’s Who Australia is robbing me”; “Who is really behind Stanford’s Who’s Who?; and “Stanford who is who is legitimate”.

In case you haven’t read the post (ya punk!), I don’t endorse the Stanford Who’s Who; in fact I’m highly suspicious of it. But shit, what a goldmine.

As is fecal matter generally. My site is fourth IN THE WORLD, yes, IN  THE WORLD, for the search term “crack the shits” thanks to the post Cracking the shits. I know, I know, stop boasting … pride precedes a fall …

Sometimes I find myself trying to picture the people making the searches and find it helps if I break them into types, a la:

The inquisitor

Many find themselves beached on the shore of the site with questions such as: “are thongs innocent?” (which leads them to this post); or the even more philosophical: “is australia innocent?”

With a certain class of inquisitor – “what happened to the innocent convicts on the first fleet?” or “what is a australia day to write and at least not that long?” – I hope they haven’t taken my account of Australia Day too seriously. I wonder what their teacher might have said (because surely they’re teens trying to plagiarise) if they submitted a carbon copy of the post in question.

The sexually depraved/chronically bored

I feel ambivalent about these searchers. On the one hand, a reader’s a reader; but on the other, it’s a peculiar soul who wants to see a “nude woman in stirrups please”.

Someone else typed in “turboteats”, which I thought I invented in a post about turbo-birthing.

I’m unconcerned that someone out there was searching for “black booty bouncing nude” (for who among us hasn’t?) but am slightly taken aback that they then clicked on a post called Sydney (let’s whisper this), I love you.

I can only hope he/she found what he/she was looking for.

The precarious

I’ve come to think of these searchers as “people in trouble”. Consequently, I feel guilty they’ve wasted time on my site, and only half-hope they’ll become life-long readers.

There are many people in this category, including whoever wrote: “my license was seized in melbourne airport”; and “I’m under snow in scotland”; and the very suspicious: “8.40pm accident heathmont”.

Call me a cynic, but could that have been the person who caused the accident trying to see if it had been reported? And then reading my blog!

The slayer

These are search terms that make me feel glum. Such as: “possible causes of gurgling in throat and coughing up mucus in the elderly.” (Is it too much to hope they had a chuckle reading Kids are plague crow snot goblins that cause man flu?) The same post snared “crow cough and hot head fever in kids” and the charmingly illiterate “plague crow am we good?” Poor things. Sniff.

The silver bullet

These are by far the saddest of all; so sad, in fact, that the category can only handle one search term at a time. Until recently it was “find me friendly anyone in Melbourne” which went some way to breaking my heart. But that was replaced just last week by someone who must then have read the post When will I be famous?: “i want to be famous but i missed my calling.”

Oh, what was your calling, dear reader? Don’t despair.

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