Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fun with Google Analytics

Do you know the word "sockdolager"? I didn't, until today, thanks to Kathy (and whichever of her students used it). What a good word! In case you don't like clicking links, it means "something that settles a matter : a decisive blow or answer." Synonyms include beaut, doozy, and humdinger.

After tweeting about my newfound knowledge, Sarang (AKA @excitedstoat) alerted me that the third definition in the OED for "sockdolager" is "Something exceptional in any respect, esp. a large fish." Is that not the greatest? If more definitions ended in the phrase "esp. a large fish," vocabulary would be lots more fun.

Anyway. Blogging luminaries like Patricia Lockwood and Blake Butler frequently like to share the disgusting search queries that led people to their blogs, such as, in Tricia's case, "creature porn" and "owl vagina" (and in Blake's case probably something even worse). Most of the keyword referrers for my own blog are not disgusting (because I'm not an effing sicko, ahem), but nonetheless I thought you might be curious what brings the masses to these pages. Excepting my "brand searches" (searches for "The French Exit" and "Elisa Gabbert" plus many misspellings thereof (elissa gabbeert? just double everything!)) and lots of uninteresting stuff, here's whence I get the mad hits:
  1. "claire danes": I ripped some crappy photo off a celebrity site and my blog was ranking in the images at the top of the SERP for "claire danes" for a while, but the Claire Danes fanclub traffic has dropped way off this year. Related keywords include "claire danes insecure," "claire danes lousy actress," and "claire danes bitch and unfriendly" (no joke).
  2. "camouflage": Same deal as above. Someone got here by asking "why is camouflage pixelated" which is exactly what I wanted to know.
  3. "scare quotes snl": I provide not only funny video but a full rundown of what scare quotes mean.
  4. "seth abramson": And many variations including "i hate seth abramson" and "why does everyone hate seth abramson."
  5. "why I am not on facebook": Why would someone google this? Don't they know why they aren't on Facebook? Maybe they don't realize that you have to sign up first. (Something Zuck is probably working on.)
  6. "brazilian chicken stew": Amazingly, my fake chicken stew recipe is #2 for this query as far as I can tell.
  7. "jackalopes": Another short-lived image search.
  8. "dave matthews band tattoos": And "leonard cohen tattos," "tom waits tattoos" etc. Did I ever tell you about the time a girl emailed me and asked me to take down the picture of her tattoo? She just ran across it one day. Hilarious/mortifying.
  9. "poetry is boring": Nuff said.
  10. "________ in french": Because the word "French" appears in my blog title, many people arrive here looking for English-to-French translations of fun phrases like "I had a good weekend," "been thinking about you," and "did you bring the money"
  11. "whale joke": And related, including "whale joke muffin variation" which must have been someone I know.
  12. Bunch of 10-or-under-hit-wonders: "emo gay sex blogspot," "grace kelly arms," "freakgirl@aol.com" (!), "wrench porn" (OK I guess I have no claims to spotlessness), "better bald than balding," "if you liked waylander" (only two results for the exact match!), "rabbit run made me cry," "reading poetry to feel," "3 page essay why it's important not to talk during french," "after i saw black swan i felt weird" (ME TOO), "best way to ask for a happy ending," "classy sausage," "do twentysomethings live in northern wisconsin," "flat chested kitten syndrome."
There are literally thousands more, but with that I really have to call it a night.


  1. sockdolager has been one of my favorite words for years. just hard to find an excuse to use it. like wearing suspenders.

  2. Just use it whenever you would use the word "humdinger"!

    The way you find an excuse to wear suspenders is to buy pants that are too large.

  3. the next time i'm doing play-by-play for a 1920s baseball game or boxing match i will keep these terms in mind.

  4. You seem to be forgetting the fish variant.

  5. That Bishop poem would have been so much better if she'd caught a sockdolager.

    By far the most common non-obvious referral to my blog is "malcolm gladwell is an idiot" (and its misspelled variants). Image search referrals: a giant marmot, lo(wel)lcats, a picture I made back in 2008 morphing Britney Spears's face into Obama's.

  6. The only stat counter I have in my blog is the one that comes standard with Blogger now, since sometime last year. And most of the search terms that have taken people to my blog are pretty humdrum. I don't use phrases such as "classy sausage" or "flat chested kitten syndrome" much in my blog.

    Though come to think of it, Classy Sausage and Flat Chested Kitten Syndrome would be great names for blogs. Grace Kelly Arms would be a good one too.

    I think "esp. a small fish" would be a good catchphrase for you to start using here. You could just insert it at strategic moments. E.g., "Rabbit, Run made me cry, esp. a small fish," or "Why I am not on Facebook," esp. a small fish."

    I think it has possibilities...

  7. Sarang, did you write a post outlining why Malcolm Gladwell is an idiot? My post about Seth Abramson actually speaks in his defense.

    Lyle, "esp. a large fish" will definitely be making the rounds in my conversation. Also, I've never used the phrase "flat chested kitten syndrome" before, but I think I have.

  8. But I think it have it, rather.

  9. I'm proud to say my blog gets a lot of hits by people looking for pictures of Chris Sarandon.

  10. Nice! He is pleasant to look at. Or used to be.

  11. Yeah, I did write a post at some point saying G. was an idiot. I also wrote a metapost at some much later point about the search results for "G. is an idiot," which elicited a comment from you about your referrals for "Seth Abramson is a douche," which then led -- for a week or two -- to a nontrivial number of people getting referred to _my_ blog with S.A.-related searches.

  12. Amy's blog gets an enormous amount of visits from searches for "Matt Damon's wife." Consider this a sprinkling of magic Matt Damon dust all ovah your blog.

  13. Ana! Thanx for the sprinkles.

  14. I'll say this: I never knew how many people searched for "poems about macaroni & cheese" until I looked in Google Analytics for RFBanjo.

  15. Just checked my Recent Keyword Activity for the first time in a while and encountered this:

    "being fucked by a dog isnt normal but on meth it is"

    As soon as I saw it I thought, I MUST TELL ELLISSA GABBER

  16. John, I've gotten searches for "poems about" pretty much every conceivable thing. Shit like "poems about what to do when your alarm clock doesn't go off." Nobody reads poetry.

    Tricia, it's an aphorism!