Google

Kathryn asks

Have you done something to Google? Put your name in – the first 5 entries all relate to you!

To be fair, that’s googling in the UK — if you google in the US, it’s just the top three that are me, and then there’s a jazz musician in New York, and some sort of sportsman, and a few other people with the same name as me.

But it’s true, Google seems to hold me in very high esteem. It’s not something I’ve deliberately done. Getting a little involved with a blogging community through libdemblogs and occasional links from people with very high traffic, like Guido and Iain Dale certainly help on the page rank front.

WordPress is also excellent at putting my things under Google’s nose, not least because everything I write shows up under multiple different URLs – this post will be under http://www.alexfoster.me.uk for a day or two, then will be found at all three of http://www.alexfoster.me.uk/categories/general and categories/tech and categories/ramblings for a while, before being relegated to http://www.alexfoster.me.uk/2006/08 and so on.

But Google is erratic — look at Will Howell’s experience a few weeks ago. As far as I’m concerned, one of the links for me – the http://www.niles.org.uk links – now point to web space I am not actively using and am still thinking up for a long term use for; I’m not sure where Google get the description line for this domain, but how do I change it if my personal circumstances change?

The thing that really gets me, though, is looking through my referrer logs to find out how people get to my website. (I use  MyBlogLog.com to sort out the technical stuff for me.) And Google send almost a hundred people every day with various different criteria.

Some of them are things I have written about, like Black Rod’s Garden Entrance, the “boom boom bah” music in Dead Like Me, and roasted tomato soup. Thank goodness someone explained what the regular daily hits for “niles crazy” were about. Some of them are projects I am definitely involved in like librivox and libdemblogs. (I get tens of hits from both every day, and there’s a fair bit of reciprocal linking from other people involved in both going on too.)

Some of the people who end up here must be really disappointed. The following are just a few search terms from just the last twenty-four hours, and the page here the searcher ended up at

I’m going to stop there, not because I’ve run out of Google search terms but because WordPress is going to put itself into loops sending me pingbacks for that little lot. The point is – people have ended up on my blog and not found what they were looking for. I hope they enjoyed what they got instead.

Final thought goes to the person who got here by googling “help me, i’m starving” last year – I already wrote about that here.

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