Searching for Godot
As part of the reworking of psychohistorian.org after the disastrous May Hack, I analyzed the server logs for 2008 November and December.
For those of you who don't know about these things, a website is a bunch of files stored on a computer somewhere. This computer, connected to others, makes up the internet. Whenever a page from a website is asked for by another computer, that request is recorded by the host computer and the file (= page) is passed along (hence, its a server).
So, say you're looking for something or other using one of the popular search engines (like Google or Yahoo). Your search query returns a page full of links for you to mull over. Let's say you click on one of the links that points to a page on my website. That click sets up a request that is sent to my server where it is logged, and the appropriate file is then sent back to you and displayed by your browser.
Part of this logging process is to record where the click came from (the 'referrer'). If the referrer is Google or Yahoo, then the words you typed into the search engine are also recorded. Which means, I can see what someone searched for that subsequently led them to my website.
So anyway, I extracted all hits to pages on my website that came from a search engine (Google, Yahoo, etc.). For the two months that I analyzed, this yielded a list of 30,768 search terms.
It is fascinating to browse through a list of these search terms. What were all these people looking for? And how did they try to find it? Ah, the little pleasures in life.
Moving along. Visitors generally entered three key words in their search box. Specifically, the average number of words per search was 4.85 ± 2.55. The longest search phrase, "what red star is seen to the west of venus and jupiter low on the horizon in november?", had 18 words. The graph shows the frequency distribution of the number of words.
A slip of the finger or a passing familiarity with English are both forgiven by the Google.
People interested in Astonomy, atronomical, astromony, astromoners find their way to my website when pondering the visability, vsbile, vissible, visable of venuse, veneus, venes, venue or juputer, jupitor, jupitar, jupeter, juipter in the sothern, southren, souther, southen hemosphere, hemishere.
This is understandable, because the apperrance, Apperance of a birght, brigth planetery, Plaentary, planat conjuntion, conjuction (i.e. when they aline) in the novenber, novemeber evning, evenine skys is surely something one would want to try photgraphing, photgraph, photoghaphing.
Naturally, a lot of hits were recorded for astronomy-related searches.
You may recall that Jupiter, Venus and the Moon had a spectacular get-together in the evening sky in November/December:
The article on DIY impact craters was a great hit, served from requests like crater your own person, make your own moon rocks and make your own meteorite. Miscellaneous astronomy queries served included:
Of course, some people never learn:
An inordinate number of people wanted to know about baking sweetcorn:
Admittedly, I do have a delightful recipe for exactly that.
A high percentage of Google searches are for porn. The following individuals have been googled for by name. These two facts may or may not be related. I may or may not charge a 5% finder's fee.
"Andrew James, annette van der berg, Anthony Ayiomamitis, auke slotegraaf, Ben Du Toit, Brandon Booth, carol botha, chris stewart, chris vermeulen, clinton armitage, COMMISSIONER LOUIS ESTERHUIZEN, dany duprez, David Block, Dr. David Bloch, duprez dany, Dylan Lewis, francois nortje, Frodo, Gavin Ivey, george ellis, Georgios Liakos, gideon retief von wielligh, Greg Roberts, hannes pieterse, hans van der merwe, joe perulero, johan kloppers, john baumgardner, Kobus Rensburg, Kobus van Rensburg, laurie Gaum, lerika, luke arnott, m.soltynski, Maciej Soltynski, Mitchell Krog, nina swart, Obama, Pat Booth, Philip van Heerden, Reinette Champanis, Rev Kobus Van Rensburg, richard ford, rick wright, steve preston, tertia meyers, tertia myers, tessa joughin, Timothy Ferriss, van heerden phillip".
Some of us are searching for an alternate truth. We are looking for God, and what better place to start than on the internet? (Indeed, someone searched for proxy god. lol).
My review article on glossolalia (speaking in tongues) continues to be very popular, with search-hits such as:
A high percentage of Google searches are for porn. See what I just did there? That is called 'keyword loading', because by using the word 'porn' again (as in a previous paragraph), this page could skyrocket in the search-engine rankings. Did I mention porn? Some websurfers seemed to find pornsex on pornohistorian.org:
(Someone thinks Halton Arp starred in a skinflick?!)
Some info-tourists hit my website searching for a good time, a pogitive experience one might say, looking for a gallary of funnie pics to relieve their mirthless boredom. Google to the rescue:
I'm not really sure what these folk were looking for, but I don't think they found it on psychohistorian.org:
nothing more to see. please move along.