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Friday Philosophy – Who Comes Looking? September 18, 2009

Posted by mwidlake in Blogging.
Tags: ,

I’ve been running this blog for a few months now and I find it interesting to see how people come to it. A handful of people come to it as I tell them I have a blog page, but most people come across it by either:

  • Links from other blogs or web pages.
  • Search engines.

WordPress gives me stats on these for Today and Yesterday and I can check back on the referrers and searches for any given day, going back several months. Most blog sites provide the same features, I thought I would just run through them for those who do not have a blog.

I can tell when I have been mentioned on someone else’s blog, as I usually see a spike in my hits and their web page is at or near the top of the list of referrers. Interestingly, I will sometimes see a burst of hits from an old reference on someone else’s blog or webpage. I think this happens when a third person has referenced the page or person which then referenced me.

Another interesting facet is the impact on my hits if an Oracle Name mentions me. My busiest day occurred when Richard Foote mentioned a posting I did on “Unhelpful Helpful People” and a couple of other well-known Oracle Names also picked up on the thread. It’s a bit like a small-time-actor getting into a scene with a Hollywood Star :-).

The most interesting, though, are the search engine hits.

My favorite search term to lead to my blog so far is “martin widlake unhelpful people”. I really hope that was someone looking for the post I mention above, as opposed to anything else…

As time goes by, the search engine hits are generating a larger and larger slice of my traffic (and the personal mentions less and less 🙂 ). This is going to be partly due to me putting more content on the Blog to be found but also, as I get more hits and links, search engines will give me more prominence. It becomes self-feeding. Search engines find me as I have been visited before, so I get visited again and Search engines see that I have been visited even more and move me up the list…

{This is, of course, how Burleson gets so much traffic, he always references back to himself and his web sites and appears to have several sites that all cross-reference between them, priming the search engine pump (or absolutely flooding it, I suspect)}.

Some of the most common searches that find me are on obscure items I have blogged about. They may not be of such general interest {such as when I blogged about errors with gathering system statistics {{and more to follow on that topic}} } but I guess when someone hits the same issue or topic, I am one of a very few places that has mentioned it. I get a steady trickle of hits for “c_obj#_intcol#” since I blogged about it often being the biggest object in the SYSTEM tablespace. So perhaps to increase my search engine hits I should not blog about mainstream issues but rather really obscure, odd stuff than almost no one is interested in!

Some days I will get several hits by people searching on “Martin Widlake”. I wonder why they are searching on me specifically. Occasionally, it has been just before I am called about a job. Usually not though {so maybe it was about a job – but then they found my blog and decided against it…}.

Some searches that get to my blog are just odd. Yesterday one search that found me was “how to put fingers on keyboard”. Why? I have no idea why a search on that would land on my blog. Maybe I should try it!

Oh, and I suddenly have a favorite search that found me, hot in today, just as I am blogging about the very topic:

“it’s a crock of cr4p and it stinks”

Now what is that about? Why search on it and why find me?




1. coskan - September 18, 2009

I tried it for you and found the reason


it says “After threatening for years to start a blog Martin Widlake has finally put fingers to keyboard. ”

And I found another blog to aggregate by the help of this search and I hope you can give the blog owners name to me (could not find it on site):)

One of the reasons I started my blogroll is to help good posts I find, to go higher google ranking and break the domination of burleson stuff. I think it starts to help a bit. If we all work hard we can achieve my dream of not having burleson article on top:)

mwidlake - September 19, 2009

We just need to teach people the use of “-burleson” in web searches 🙂

Something I like about my highlighting the “how to put fingers on keyboard” search hit is that I have inadvertently re-advertised one of my favourite posts. One that got little attention at the time and even less since! I’ll expand on that in a future Friday Philosophy I think…

Keep up that blog aggregation Coskan, it’s a valuable service to many of us.

2. coskan - September 18, 2009

I just realized that that site was just an feed aggregator. actual posting was from ANDREW CLARKE.

3. Martin Berger - September 18, 2009

do you have statistics about RSS-feed readers (as I am)?
One reason for the direct search for “Martin Widlake” is a kind of reference I sometimes give: ‘I have read about such an issue on Martin Widlakes blog. Of course I do not know the exact url, but just google for Martin Widlake and search the topics if the last x months.’ I’m pretty sure, some others do so, also!

mwidlake - September 19, 2009

Hi Martin,

You know, I am not sure about RSS feeds. I see things like “google.com/reader/view/?tab=my” in the Referrer section, but I am not sure if that is from an RSS feed.

I guess you are right about the “Martin Widlake” searches. I am terrible for remembering to bookmark things or add bloggs to my blogglist, so I myself sometimes search on the person to get the blog.

4. dombrooks - September 29, 2009

Hi Martin,

I’m reading most of your posts for the first time and thinking ‘why haven’t I seen them before’.

I get most of my news from the aggregators like OraNA. I can’t see your posts on their. I’ve contacted Eddie Awad via the OraNa site to check whether your site is on their because if it’s not then it definitely should be.


mwidlake - September 29, 2009

Hi Dominic,

Thanks for that, I really appreciate the support.

Why am I not on OraNA and other aggregators? I don’t know, I guess I have not gone out there and advertised my blog much or asked to go one aggregators. I’d love for more people to know about my posts and come looking if they find them useful, so I would like to be on the aggregators – but I guess I am too “British” about not self-promoting.

I guess I just naively thought people would stumble across my stuff and link to it or reference it if they liked it.

Do you think I should approach the aggregating sites and, if so, which ones?



5. dombrooks - September 29, 2009

oh – spelling mistake in my previous post, their = there.

Re aggregators, I know what you mean about the self-promotion.
But I get out of the habit of going to individual sites these days and presume these RSS feeds from the aggregators will tell me when there’s something new and informative to read.

So for the purely selfish reason that I don’t want to miss your posts, I think the aggregators are a good idea.

Which ones?
I just use OraNA these days but that’s just my preference and each to their own.

There are some others listed here:

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