Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blog Post No. 1100: The Power of Google

January 7, 2012 was the very first date this blog received 1,000 page views. It turns out that day was the centennial of Charles Addams, the creator of the Addams Family and many great and ghoulish cartoons. Google, the popular search engine, honored the memory of Addams with a Google Doodle on its home page, and thus many internet users with perhaps only a casual interest in the artist were prompted to search for the master's macabre cartoons. This blog even back then was a minor player in the online world of Charles Addams, and the uptick in traffic was enough for Attempted Bloggery to reach just over 1,000 page views for the first time. The lesson was clear:  Google possessed the powerful ability to direct web traffic to a great many specific places, including this blog.

Charles Addams Google Doodle
January 7, 2012

A glance at the monthly page views received by this blog shows an all-time peak for the month of October 2013. Since that date, the monthly page views have fallen off considerably, although not quite to what they had been previously. What then was behind the increase in this blog's internet page views in October?

The graph shows Attempted Bloggery page views for each month since the blog's inception, with the most pronounced peak occurring in October of 2013. Uncharacteristically, Google has mislabeled the three years to the left on the x-axis; this blog was begun in June of 2011, not 2009.

A closer look at the peak month of October 2013 shows that the increased web traffic did not occur throughout the entire month, but only during about two weeks, between October 9 and October 21, and then again on the last day of the month.
Attempted Bloggery page views for October 2013

A weekly graph highlighting the increased page views received on the last day of October 2013.

Here's an earlier view of the brief run-up that began suddenly after October 9 and ended in under two weeks.
Attempted Bloggery's Page Views, September 23, 2013 to October 22, 2013

Intrigued? I was. One might imagine one particular page or search term was generating the unusual traffic, but that wasn't the case. The sources of incoming web traffic were unchanged as were the distribution of page views; there were simply more total page views in the same general pattern as always. And, as always, the prime referring site was Google. For whatever reason, no other search engine makes a significant contribution to web traffic here. My conclusion, then, was that the increased page views seen on this blog was solely because of increased search engine traffic from Google.

Search engine optimization is a goal of many websites, but realizing this kind of sudden upturn in traffic volume from one search engine is something largely out of one's control. The details of Google's ranking algorithm are proprietary, of course, but having external websites link to yours is probably one of the factors that increases a website's ranking in search results. Why such an effect should last for only two weeks and then largely disappear is a matter for conjecture. It could be the result of a minor tweaking of Google's algorithm or of something entirely different. Perhaps the increased traffic referred to this blog didn't stay on a page for more than a few seconds on average, and Google recognized that. Perhaps the bounce rate was high. Maybe Google's search engine results favor those sites that use AdSense, rather than an advertisement-free blog like this one. It's difficult to know what went on with any certainty.

Monthly page views here are currently on the order of 17,000. If page views were maintained at the higher rate seen briefly in October, it would come to some 45,000 page views per month, which sounds agreeable enough to me. While there would be little point to bringing readers here who are not interested in the subject matter, it is most essential that those readers who do wish to learn more about the topics covered on Attempted Bloggery are able to find their way over here.

Note:  All the Attempted Bloggery centennial posts may be reread here:

Blog Post No. 100

Blog Post No. 200:  A Shaggy Dog Story
Blog Post No. 300:  From the Libraries of Searle, Koren, Booth, and Saxon
Blog Post No. 400: The Attempted Bloggery Quiz
Blog Post No. 500:  The Second Attempted Bloggery Quiz
Blog Post No. 600:  What I Do When I'm Not Blogging
Blog Post No. 700:  The Many Hazards of Blogging
Blog Post No. 800:  Think Locally, Blog Globally
Blog Post No. 900:  The Blog I Was Meant to Write
Blog Post No. 1000: Happy New Year, Lurkers and All!


No comments:

Post a Comment