Thursday, October 18, 2007

History is Boring, Irrelevant and Made-up

I'm currently sporting a finger injury sustained in a rough frisbee game last night, so I'll have to be briefer than usual today. I was monitoring traffic to this blog the other day using Statcounter, and I was surprised by one of the Google searches that landed some poor soul at my blog. I see all the time people who search for "Canadian War Museum" end up here (often, it's the Canadian War Museum checking to see what I'm saying about them). I can understand why such a search would land someone at my site, since I have two posts on the topic.

However, I was shocked to discover someone in London England found me with a Google search for: "history is boring irrelevant and made up." In fact, my site is ranked fourth most relevant on the web for such a query (probably higher after this post).

Granted, my blog does contain the words "history" "is" "boring" irrelevant" "and" "made" as well as "up" - though not in the same post, let alone sentence. This leads me to wonder exactly how Google's magic searching formula works. A couple of weeks ago, we discussed in our course a few readings about how Google works.[1] But, apparently they havn't got the process completely refined just yet.

I hope that the person was disappointed and was unable to find evidence to support their beliefs while they were at my page. Although it's always interesting to see what people are looking for out there on the web.

[1] Cutts, Matt. “How Does Google Collect and Rank Results?” Google Librarian Center Newsletter (19 Dec 2005).

Cutts, Matt. “How Does Google Determine Which Websites are the Most ‘Trusted’?” Google Librarian Center Newsletter (19 Jan 2006).

1 comment:

pstewart said...

It's now the top hit on the list. Well-done!

A friend of mine has operated her own blog devoted mainly to classics-related issues, and she would turn up some incredible - and at times utterly nonsensical - search terms. We're almost certain a majority of them were automated blog-trawling by spambots and the like.

I'll need to ask her about some of the "better" ones that showed up.