I’ve been meaning to run some Webtrends reports on my personal site for… most of my life really, and finally got around to doing so. I’m used to running these reports on commercial webservers, and getting very little back in the way of interesting information, so I was amazed at some of the stuff Webtrends had to say about my site. In particular the search-engine terms which had led people there in the first place: for the commercial sites we maintain, there are usually very few of these, most searchers getting there by the rather wasteful strategy of typing the site’s URL into a search box. For my site, the phrases were many and varied, often with little bearing to the information on my site.
The most popular term by far was Yorkshire Sculpture Park. For some time now, my life pages and others, which describe places I’ve been, have acted as surrogate websites for the places themselves – others being Grizedale forest, Kew Gardens, London Zoo and Portmeirion.
Next in popularity: CD and song titles. A while back, mainly as a thought experiement, I wrote a program to catalog my CDs via CDDB and put the results online (thanks to Maggy for planting the idea). Although I’ve never done anything with this since writing the program and plonking the results online, the wierd and wonderful collection or words contained therein has attracted visitors like flies to shit. This explains why terms such as “disciplin kitchme”, “towering inferno kaddish”, “children’s songs”, “comme des garcons”, “stock hausen walkman”, “virtual violin”, “hum bom”, “ligeti musica ricercata” and “everybody else is doing it so why can’t we?” crop up with alarming regularity.
Of course, there were also a sizeable number of hits caused by things I have actually written, albeit not necessarily in the form that I wrote them. A few of my favourites are listed below:
- sad pictures (I presume because of the page of photos of myself, which I entitled “Pictures of some sad old git”)
- sad git (ditto)
- nigella lawson photo (obviously a juxtaposition of words on one of my lifeless pages)
- leo burnett (not that wierd, as I work there and mention it frequently, but there was a time when my website came top of Altavista UK’s list when searching on this term, much to the embarrasment of both myself and Leo Burnett’s senior management)
- los angeles zoo (Never been there, although I almost visited the zoo in San Diego once. This actually links to a page that mentioned the band Los Bastados and Antwerp Zoo)
- okapi (yeah, I think I took a picture of one once)
- nonsense poetry (nice to think that I’m included on this one)
- henry moore (although there’s a lot of his sculpture at Yorkshire sculpture park, which I have photos of on my site and which is one of my most popular “search engine draws”, it seems that this search is leading to a CD page which lists both Henry Kaiser and John Moore)
- rhodedendron (one of my favourite words, even if I can’t spell it. Glad to see it crop up here)
- demons myth (a page of Sun Ra CDs seems to contain both Angels and Demons at play and Sun Ra’s Solar Myth Arkestra)
- justified (makes me feel vindicated!)
- poem death funeral (from Thoughts about Death and Love)
- love and death poem (ditto)
- night monkey (from The Monkey)
- diesel dan
- picture of croissant
- stood on the burning deck
- drunken amateurs
- wierd drawings
- life video of london
- apple of my eye
- catholic guilt
- buckingham palace guards
(To find out where these queries lead to, you could do worse than heading to Google and doing a site-specific search covering just www.sumption.org).
Finally, where would we be without Ask Jeeves?? Well, we would probably be a lot wiser, but infinitely less entertained. The three top queries from Ask Jeeves to hit my site, with possible explanations, are as follows:
- where can find pictures of ludvig van beethoven? (I have a CD of the Pastoral Symphony by the aforementioned composer in my collection. No mention of pictures though, nor any idea why Jeeves’s Altavista UK link-up should want to send people to me)
- from 1920-1979 how did disciplin in schools change (Hey buddy, learn to spell discipline, otherwise you’re just going to end up with a track listing for a CD by Disciplin a Kitchme)
- where can find cd by sheila chandra entitled this sentence is true (not on my site, I’m afraid. I do have a copy of The Zen Kiss, but I’m not selling)
Postscript: Of course, by repeating all of these phrases on this one page, I am doubling my chances of being hit upon by disenchanted web-searchers. For anybody reading this who arrived via a search engine, I’m sorry you didn’t find what you wanted, but please relax, make yourself at home, and feel free to explore everything else that I have on offer.