Sunday, 15 May 2011

Stand back, I'm a Googlebot

People often ask, but really and truly I don't know who visits my blog unless they tell me or post a comment, with one exception (the clue is in the picture). There is a site meter, but it provides a very broad brush picture of daily activity - and I'm only interested in the numbers. The peaks and troughs give me an idea what people find interesting, and the trend tells me how many people are dropping by now compared with, say, six months ago.

The image is from this morning, and is not untypical. I've just had a look, and the blog has been visited by a googlebot exactly ten times since midnight. Googlebots are a law unto themselves, and inferring anything from their visits is another broad brush affair. I do know that the bots enjoy words (as long as there are enough of them), are excited by images and sometimes go positively nuts over videos - as long, in each case, as the content is original. Meaning unique.

To me, googlebots are like roadrunners on what we used to call the information superhighway. They fly around at high speed taking notes on every new route and all that it leads to. Occasionally, they spot a crowd by the side of the road and screech to a halt, elbowing their way to the front to see what all the fuss is about; if it's a big enough crowd, and especially if it's still growing, they linger - I've known the bots to spend three quarters of an hour on one visit - put a big red tick in the notebook and scribble down the most pertinent words they overhear.

Hey presto - that particular discovery rises to the top of the search results.
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