Thursday 28 January 2010

In search of . . .

Blog stats! They are endlessly fascinating to us bloggers. When I have met up with bloggers they have come up in conversation. Numbers are fun and interest some but it is not what catches our attention as much as the odd search terms.

Search terms are great. They give us an inkling of strangers’ desires, interests, gaps and quirks. At times I feel pleased to be able to answer a question or give just the right recipe. My blog must be a godsend to some and a puzzle to others. But there are days when I wonder what they were thinking and how the search engine found me.

The ways of search engines are a mystery to me. They sometimes seem to be so clueless. I sometimes wonder what a person thinks when they are searching for an album that has got a passing reference in my one line ‘on the stereo’ at the end of the post, and they find themselves directed to a food blog. Or those who are looking for the effects of pomegranate on childbirth might be frustrated to find a post I wrote about it which looked at the effects in history rather than any medical information.

You may have noticed a little counter far down on the right hand side menu. It is the ,which I installed at the end of March 2008. I have also just installed Google analytics when I was thinking about this post and will be interested to see how it differs.

Some popular posts seem to be nut roasts, novelty cakes, and my uncooked chocolate cake. Interest in posts can be seasonal. The nut roast traffic is particularly heavy at Christmas time and just recently with Burns Night on Monday there were more searches than usual for vegetarian haggis. Blog events and bloggers referring to my recipes and, in particular posts that have been cited by uber bloggers, all generate traffic.

I thought it would be fun to share a few of the terms that amuse and bemuse me. Of course people searching for information about giraffes and eating often find me. But really, who would want to eat a giraffe!

Giraffe search terms:
  • How to eat a giraffe
  • how to cook a giraffe
  • roast giraffe
  • what does giraffe taste like
  • giraffe punched by child
  • do giraffes suck on bones for milk?
  • i looked up at a giraffe as it stared back at me
  • does a giraffe give birth or lay eggs?
  • how does the giraffe impact humankind
Then there are those who are amazingly verbose in their searching and/or accidentally copy and paste the wrong thing.

Long searches:

  • what if i don't have enough sour cream for the green pumpkin soup what shall i do
  • i am looking for a recipe for festive ring for vegetarians made from chestnuts cranberries goats cheese was in bbc good food vegetarian magazine many years ago
  • 'what cake do you want for your birthday billy?' asks mum. 'well, i really like sweet chocolate cake!' says billy. 'ok, i'll make you a sweet chocolate cake,' says mum. five minutes later bill
  • each student should bring a packet of savoury or sweet biscuits, or home baked slice, to share with other students at morning and afternoon tea for the duration of camp.
  • if john has four cups crystals and 9 cups of water if his sis add one more cup of crystal .how many more cup of water is john add

Many people type in questions. Some of these I am able to answer easly.

Questions my blog can answer:

  • What to serve with a nutroast? (the ideas are endless but roast vegetables or salad are favourite side dishes for me)
  • Are scones and biscuits different? (yes and no, depending on where you are)
  • What to do with leftover cake crumbs? (make cookies)
  • What can i do with left over chestnut puree? (make soup)
  • Do you have to soak beans to make chulent (no)
  • Is bread pudding soggy? (yes)
  • Why boil bagels? (to make them chewy)

Some questions either puzzle me or amuse me. Often I would like to know the answer, in most cases because it would entertain me. Others are of the ‘how long is a piece of string’ variety and if you find the answer, I would love to hear it.

Questions I wish I could answer:

  • what does it mean when my cat brings an apple home?
  • what is the best cake idea for my mum 68th birthday?
  • what is the portion size of dessert at lygon street in Melbourne?
  • can you feed a hedgehog graham crackers?
  • which people are likely to have a meal of 'haggis'tonight?
  • why didnt anyone clean out the ncr fridge before tonight?
  • what does it mean when a guy says you are so lovely
  • why did the shredded carrots in my carrot cake turn green?
  • what are black bits in banana cake? (this question intrigued me so much I checked and found they are tiny seeds)

Then there are the search terms that really make me scratch my head and wonder, what on earth were they thinking when they typed that in or what sort of strange person wants to search for this. Most importantly, why did this search lead them to my blog???

Strange and/or disturbing search terms:

  • breast milk condensed milk and tea
  • middle aged virgin seduced
  • old bimbos with great legs
  • brunswick street fitzroy melbournesex shops
  • made my hedgehog really mad
  • water monster finland
  • nazi's tying a pregnant woman's legs together
  • virgin mary on pudding lid
  • i am still mean to you

And finally there are the search terms that I see that start my mind whirring with possibilities. I have already made the first couple of dishes because I was fascinated by what I have seen in the search terms.

Search terms that inspire me:


  1. This was so entertaining! (And at times, scary, but I think I'll skip over those search terms.) After reading "Can you feed a hedgehog graham crackers", I suddenly have that children's book "If you give a moose a muffin" running through my head :D

    And now I'm off to check out your pumpkin smoothie recipe, for I quite like the sound of that too!

  2. This is a riot! I'm going to start a running log of this stuff too. I don't get nearly as many odd things, but I get a TON of traffic for people searching for "ordinary vegitarian". I surmise that these are people trying to figure out what a vegetarian eats because they need to cook for one, and that vegetarianism is such a foreign concept to them, that they don't even know how to spell it. :)

    My favorites of yours are the bit about giraffes giving birth vs laying eggs and can you feed a hedgehog graham crackers. Hilarious!

  3. I don't keep track of my own blog stats, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! Humans are strange creatures :D

  4. The Virgin Mary on a pudding lid search is one that I am half tempted to try myself! :)

  5. Who on Earth asked if Giraffes lay eggs??! Crazy people :)

  6. Love the photo.
    This is a very intresting entry into the minds of some fellow human beings. Mmm.
    I was reading a fellow bloggers post recently on a similar entry. She grows vegetables and highlighted some of the words people typed to land on her blog such as pole dancing when it was to do with pea poles, you get the jist, I won't go into detail.She said sometimes it is better not to know how other people found their blog, but I am curious at times. I put on google analytics a little while ago and got hits on the vegetarian haggis, buckfast cheesecake and irn bru recipes, now that is saying something, but nothing like yours, so far its been quite 'normal'.

  7. Fantastic roundup, Johanna! I like hearing about other people's relationships with their blog stats. And looking at my own.

    "i looked up at a giraffe as it stared back at me" - this makes me smile, what a nice search term to have bringing people to your site. But the ones about eating giraffes are awful! Particularly for a veg blog!

    Funnily enough, just this morning I got a giraffe-related search term on *my* blog: "giraffes fucking". This is, amazingly enough, a term that I have used in one of my posts, although maybe not in the way that they were looking for:

  8. LOL - how interesting! I have never looked at my blog stats - primarily because I don't have the technical know-how to get how those stat counter do-dads work. You have to wonder about someone who wants to eat a giraffe. Love the picture of your cat looking hopefully outside!

  9. It is endlessly fascinating :) I occasionally wonder about doing a post like this, and then I think, if I post my crazy search terms will I just attract more crazies...?

  10. Heehee funny!!! I don't get anything near as interesting as this in my search terms!!

  11. I've never been smart enough to figure out how to see those stats but I sure get a kick out of yours.

  12. Reckon "old bimbos with great legs" could well be the name of my next blog :)

  13. Thanks Hannah - hope you enjoy pumpkin in a smoothie - will be interested to hear if you have other ideas about how to include it in a smoothie - most that I have seen on the web are of the creamy pumpkin pie type

    Thanks Sarah - would love to see some of yours - love reading about others search terms - that is funny about those with dodgy spelling - I often wonder if I have a typo in my post and then see that the search engines just ignore the typing error in the search

    Thanks Nupur - the mind boggles!

    Thanks Mary - yes I would love to see it too

    Thanks Fleur - the image of little giraffes hatching out of eggs is cute though :-)

    Thanks Mangocheeks - sounds like an amusing post - I can imagine some of your scottish posts are popular as there wouldn't be much like that on the web

    Thanks Lisa - it is always nice to have a search term that makes you smile at the sentiment as well as those which are just amusing - wonder exactly what the person searching for 'giraffes fucking' was after? Sometimes I wish I could talk or comment to these seekers

    Thanks Cakelaw - it is not too hard to get stat counter working - I am not a technical whizz either - I sometimes feel zinc looks like she is searching when she looks out the door - though mostly I think she just wants to go outside

    Thanks Rachel - I hope you do a post about the searches - I figure the crazies will come whatever you do and the nice readers enjoy hearing about searches

    Thanks Penny - give it time and you might be amazed

    Thanks Tanna - it isn't hard to do but just another time consuming vortex

    Thanks AOF - now you have just identified an unfortunate gap in the blogosphere - or maybe the name is taken already :-)

  14. Too funny! I have to admit that I've never installed any kind of stat counter and rely on ol' Wordpress, which I'm sure is far too incomplete! I'm dying to try Google analytics but haven't a clue how to install it--must get some help on that end. But I'm also always fascinated by the strange questions and terms that lead people to my blog.

  15. Yes, the pumpkin pie-esque smoothies does seem to be the norm. But perhaps some mashed pumpkin, coconut milk/sorbet/ice cream, and a little bit of peanut butter for richness?

    Okay, maybe that would be entirely not-pleasant... but I do subscribe to the notion that nut butters make most things better :P

  16. Haha. I just found your blog, your search terms are really funny.. I wish I had written down some of the one's in my stats. Though I recall somebody landed in my blog with the sentence "cake that reads no one likes you"... And I do think the search terms are a great source of inspiration: they have made me to bake both beetroot cake and lingonberry bread.

  17. Lol I love the "what does it mean if my cat brings an apple home?"


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