Friday, January 4, 2008

on the hunt

The other day, the bill for my website came due, and while I was in the web site control panel to update the payment info, I spent some time checking out the Usage Statistics for my site. I haven't looked at them in forever and so I spent a while seeing what's what. And it turns out that when I got down into the Search String section—the words folks type into Google or Yahoo when they're searching for something—I discovered a magical world of wonder and delight.

Here are the search strings people have used to find my web site since the start of the New Year (and please note, some of the words are naughty, at least in what I guess is the intended context):
  • bill cameron (okay, this one makes sense)
  • bill cameron soccer (still makes sense, though my site has exactly zero soccer information on it)
  • bure (huh?)
  • cop looking for 6 c cell maglite (Interesting. Weird, but interesting.)
  • kept woman (okay, not a search string I'd likely put into a search engine, but at least I have a short story on my site called "kept woman.")
  • she lets me touch her vagina (uh, double huh?)
That last one was particularly eye opening. What an odd phrase to type into Google. I mean, "cop looking for 6 c cell maglite" makes a certain kind of sense. Maybe you're a cop. Maybe you need a new MagLite, and maybe you want a 6 C-cell version, and since you're a cop you want the search engine to know you're a cop in case maybe there's like a cop-friendly source for C-cell MagLites. Works for me.

But. Um. That last one? All I can say is if it's you, email me. I have some questions. (One of them is, "Who actually lets you touch her there anyway, bub?" Most likely answer: no one.)

Now, if you type "she lets me touch her vagina" into Google, a link to my site appears on page 2 (as of this writing). What's amusing to me is the link is to my story "On the Road to Find Out," which, I confess, does have all those words in it, though not in that particular order and certainly not all in a row like that. And, I swear, none are used in a fashion that would in a million years elicit prurient interest. I hope.

Needless to say, after a few minutes with the January 2008 Search Strings, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. The candy shop of random Google searches, sure, but sugary sweet and delightful nonetheless. So I started looking back in the statistics for past months to see what else people were searching for when they found me. It was wonderful.

Now, sure, there are lotsa unsurprising search strings. Variations on "cameron" and "bill", which will find you not only me (and in fact, not usually me), but also a dance instructor, a prolific blogger in Great Britain, a guitarist, and links to the late and much beloved CBC broadcaster of the same name, among others.

But once I got past boring old "bill cameron," things started cooking. For instance, I was surprised to learn there seems to be a deep and abiding interest out there on the interwebs in "kept women." These strings showed up often:
  • well kept woman
  • are there really kept women
  • looking to be a kept woman (who isn't?)
  • how to be a kept woman (there's a manual?)
  • kept woman find I want (Yoda has unexpected tastes)
  • kept woman salary (They get a salary?)
Another string that got my attention was:
  • what if she rejects me
Oh, lord. How forlorn is that? I mean, if you're entering that into Google, I feel for ya.

Some other favorites:
  • nylon feet shoeless
  • bill cameron chain gang (Aiieeee!)
  • lost dog reviews touch wood (They do?)
  • good looking woman hump (I have a feeling I know where that one was going.)
  • short mysteries for fifth graders (I can assure you, I didn't even write short mysteries for fifth graders when I was IN fifth grade.)
  • author of book about lost dog (That would be me. Among others. As it happens.)
  • settings of the man and his dog (sandwiches of the ham and his cheese)
  • cameron mysties (a deep-fried treat available from some crazy vendor down on the boardwalk)
  • dipsey doodle poodle (Yes, there is an actual page on my site with those precise words on it)
  • find out about a kid named jt (I would like to find out about that kid myself. I mean, seriously. What's that kid up to, anyway?)
Sadly for many searchers, my site features a serious lack of imagery, though I do have a short video featuring shoeless nylon-clad feet. I also have a picture of a lizard, not to be confused with the "lost trouser snake" of one mysterious search query. (I don't want to know how one loses his trouser snake.)

Ultimately, if you've got a website, marvelous entertainment can be found just perusing the visitor statistics log to see what search strings lead to your site. I mean, come on, how else are you going to find out if "sex in the frontseat of a car" finds you?


Mark Combes said...


Well you certainly have more creative folks finding you than I do. Nothing nearly as salatious as "she lets me touch..." One of my recent "keyword searches" was "wrecked the book." Everyone's a critic....

Nina Wright said...

As always, Bill, you have brought humor and originality to our little blog.

Thank you for that, and for suggesting yet another way I can waste time online.

My mysteries feature a "diva dog" with a "boundless libido." Plus, I write teen fiction about characters "exploring their sexuality" as well as their paranormal gifts. And one of my books is called "Sensitive."

I'm afraid to look at my search strings, Bill.

Then again, they might suggest a whole new genre. I am planning to diversify this year....

Mark Terry said...

I'll have to check that out. I do an ego search periodically--ie., run "Mark Terry" through Google. I'm pleased that my website shows up at the top, but it's always interesting, for instance, if you type your name into Amazon's search box and come up with your own books. Mine aren't really at the top of the list, although there are some admittedly interesting choices. What's a book by Bill Nye doing there? Oh hell, I wish it were the other way around. Type in "Bill Nye" and come up with my books.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Great post, Bill.

BTW, what is the salary range for a kept woman? Inquiring minds want to know.

Joe Moore said...

Nice post, Bill. Considering that the antagonist in our Cotten Stone series is Satan, you can imagine what some of our key search words are.

Bill Cameron said...

I think I should follow up on those kept woman searches. There's the salary question, sure, but what about other benefits? And I don't mean "benefits," but important stuff, like health insurance.

Now, so far, nothing about Satan in my search lists, but a boy can dream...

Anonymous said...

A fascinating and hilarious post!

Felicia Donovan said...

Use your fertile imaginations to guess what my Black Widows have been searched for...

By the way, you've all been TAGGED! You can choose to play or not, but everybody is doing it. I got tagged

so now it's all your turn. Have a blast. You're welcome!