All the People All of the Time: Adventures in SEO

Like most bloggers I am a traffic whore–one so desperate for eyeballs that I am ready to open up for business no matter how likely the customer is to choke me out and run out of the gas station bathroom without payment or even a cordial thank you.

Why else would I obsessively review the search engine terms that have driven people to this blog by the dozens (and those are all-time numbers, people)? Why, to find out what people want and then give it to them.

Of course, I am almost as interested in the one-off searches and what plagues the occasional oddball. What type of person would ask Jeeves for help with 21st century existential puzzlers such as:

  • why isn’t the Bob Marley documentary on Zune
  • what Stephen Harper doesn’t want you to know about his church
  • vomiting what looks like coffee grounds
  • picture of a monkey votion (sic, and most definitely, huh?)

Actually I’ve since surmised that this last search was hoped to produce an image of a monkey voting, which brings up an interesting point: it was a two-time search term. Now I’m not sure which is the more frightening end-times scenario: that two people separated by geography and social strata entered the same mangled phrase into Google; or that the same person entered it once, was displeased with the result and thought, “Fuck you, Internet. Can’t you understand my simple desire?” and entered the same phrase in again.

For the record.

Come to think of it, I believe I could string together a few of these search terms and emerge with a strong entry for any open mic poetry slam:

Jon Hamm Ass

how tall is Lisa LaFlamme
Herman Munster in caution tape
improvised knuckles
weekday richie flannel
cup of flowers
how to deal sexually abused child
laptop muppet skins
mud therapy
romney rusty trombone
triumph tree, black box tree
dead gaddafi pics
Horrible Bosses on TV
how do you make your vagina tighter with alum vinegar rock salt
might be mine r. kelly

Intriguing, but how will appealing to these one- and two-term entry people spike my numbers? No, I’m better to appeal to the broadest crowd possible, those search terms that clock in at the mightily impressive mid-forties.

The following is a compendium of the greatest search engine hits, with a few overlaps put together for a better big picture view. I believe that a study of the larger numbers draws a more detailed picture of the psyche of our fellow Netizens, but also provides me with the excuse to include all my “best hits” in a single post.

I hereby present the burning questions from a select number of people in places such as Canada, the United States, Algeria, Israel and Thailand and the deepest, most profound existential quandaries that gnaw at their very souls:

  1. Gay Boner
  2. The Way I See It (Starbucks parody)
  3. Wu tang Christmas
  4. Bad Writing (Monkey Writing)
  5. How to Fuck
  6. Cafe Pick up Lines
  7. Mad Men
  8. Ol Dirty Bastard Christmas
  9. Upside Down Christmas Tree
  10. Stupid White People

Now while I’m not exactly ashamed that “gay boner” has driven up my traffic (if you know what I mean), I can’t say I’m all too chuffed about it, either. No one to blame but myself, really, but when you write about professional presidential bridesmaid Mitt Romney’s faux pas with a gay veteran, how the hell else would you title it? I mean, to distinguish it from any of his other whistle stop faux pas? (Apologies to those who arrived at this site in hopes of seeing an actual homosexual erection–I guess those must be difficult to find across the Internet and I am truly sorry for wasting your time.)

The second is interesting because Starbucks stopped their The Way I See It coffee cup aphorisms a few years ago. I suppose this tells us that the attention span of the people isn’t that short after all, provided it is something they really important.

A post about an apocryphal (but no less desired) Wu Tang Clan Christmas album has turned up quite often, and I have to dispense mad props to the like-minded genius who also thought said masterpiece ought to be titled 36 Chambers of Christmas (another one-time search term).

To my mind, “Bad Writing” is the most heartening search. It signifies a determination to avoid the pitfalls and traps that we use the language for (or “…pitfalls and traps for which we use the language”…yes, that’s better).

Of course I included it as a tag for a piece on How to Write like Michael Crichton but this was a while before he died, so get off my back. I do like that neophyte authors arrive at my site in an attempt to find, and hopefully avoid, bad writing; by the same token, I’m not happy that bad writing has brought anyone to a site featuring my work, so I may have to rethink that tag.

Now for the heartbreak. How to Fuck Up a Cup of Coffee was meant as no more than a long-winded goof-about (and in that way so different from everything else on the site), and not a siren call for the sexually cumbersome. Those searching the Internet on how best to copulate were met, I imagine, with frustration at the results (or downright rejection if they tried to use any of the items in that list in the bedroom).

Maybe this is simple projection, but I can’t help feeling bad for those who search with those three desperate words. I imagine this because of my vision that those surreptitiously pecking the question into a keyboard are likely crater-faced, goat-smelling teenage boys and I say that with all due respect and I’ve-been-there-myself affection.

This might be a good time for a big It Gets Better speech, but here’s the cold truth about how to fuck:

  1. Stretch first
  2. Use protection
  3. Try to think about your partner as much as yourself
  4. If it gets all weird, fake an orgasm and pretend to fall asleep

This will also work for the ladies, if required.

All well and good, you might ask, but what about people who aren’t already hitting up your sporadically-posted buckshot humour postings? Apparently I need only pander by including celebrity names and the single most search term of all time. See if you can separate the wheat from this chaff (thanks to the Yahoo Buzz Index):

Lindsay Lohan

Giselle Bundchen

Katherine McPhee


Zsa Zsa Gabor (?)

Nicki Minaj

Christina Aguilera

Kelly Clarkson

LeAnn Rimes

Obama Grandmother

Malcolm X Tape

Israel and Iran

Obama Mother

i am bored

Optimize that, Internetizens!


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