The logistics of viewership

One of the things that I haven’t quite worked out yet in this whole blogging thing is exactly how traffic ends up getting to particular posts. In some cases, its fairly clear why a particular post gets a lot of viewership, either in general or at a specific time … for example, my post Feeling Insignificant Yet generates a steady stream of traffic and has ever since I posted it. Traffic jumps from time to time when someone links to it, but there is a constant flow of viewers finding that post through search engines and the like. The topic is a general enough one that it doesn’t surprise me to see traffic from search engines.

Other posts may get a temporary bump in traffic due to news events as well. Most of my space related posts get increased traffic when there is a Shuttle mission going on, and that’s the only time my post on the live video feed to the Shuttle ever gets hit. Again, its pretty easy to see I get the traffic I get on these posts, and why I see spikes sometimes, and no activity other times.

But then there’s activity that I can’t really explain. For example, yesterday and today, my post on the retirement of Ken Dryden’s hockey jersey in Montreal, from a month ago (Feb 4th, 2007), has been getting hit like crazy. So far today things seem to be slowing down based on yesterday’s activity, but its still way higher than usual. Between yesterday and today on the two blogs (my main one and the mirror at wordpress.com) that post has had well over 200 views, which is quite a few given that 200 views total for all posts represents a reasonably active day on one of my blogs … having that many for a single post (plus normal traffic to other posts) represents a big jump in traffic.

Thing is, I even know where they are coming from for the most part … my search engine stats shows clicks to that post from at least 76 searches for “number before neuf” on Google. Added to that are a variety of similar searches like “neuf number” and “number neuf.” There is a direct connection, therefore, between the search terms and the name of the post (which, if you recall, was “… numéro vingt neuf, number twenty nine …”) but that doesn’t really explain why those search terms are driving traffic to a post about Ken Dryden or why my post is at the top of that search.

If Dryden had been in the news in the last few days (as far as I know he wasn’t), I could understand the traffic. Further, if the search terms were more clearly related to Dryden’s jersey number (ie, “vingt neuf”) I could understand the traffic as well. But from what I can see from my stats, a whole bunch of people searched Google for information on what number comes before neuf in French and decided to read my post on Ken Dryden when they saw it in the list.

I don’t really have an explanation for why so many people who searched for one thing were so interested in a Dryden reference when it came up (I am NOT complaining, mind you,), nor do I have an explanation for why so many people suddenly started looking on google for “number before neuf” in the last few days. I can see the mechanics of how the traffic is getting to my blog, and I can trace the line from start to end in most cases … its just a line that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me and I am curious about it.

I am happy to see so many people looking at my post on Dryden … to me, he really does epitomize what hockey players should strive to be. I hope people keep reading it as well. Maybe, like Christmas, if I knew why or how people were getting there, it would ruin the magic. I am curious where the readers are coming from, but I am also very happy just to have you all here, reading the blog. I hope you enjoy your time here, and if any of the folks who got here from a Google search for “number before neuf” wants to post a comment on what you were looking for with that search and why my post on Dryden drew your interest, it might help explain why there is suddenly 10 times the readership for that post. I’m certainly not complaining, but I am the kind of guy who likes to have everything explained, so this has me a bit curious.

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