The story of blogging, or "How to feed the Googlebot"


Based on just shy of nine years blundering around at it, blogging can be summed up as follows:

You spend hours writing a post about something you really care deeply about – hours of lovingly fact-checking, putting in links, photos etcetera. And then two people and Googlebot read it.

Let’s call that type of post “the Googlebot post” – virtually unseen by the human eye. An example is this post which I wrote about the Leveson Report. I spent hours poring over that report. And it is thick! I put enormous energy into carefully picking out relevant quotes and assembling them together with a cogent argument. I think it got two visits and one of those was from “Mountain View” – the Googlebot.

In contrast, the second type of post – let’s call it the “quick flick” post – is when you spend a few seconds sticking up a quick post and it receives SHEDLOADS of views. An example is the post I did speculating on whether Top Gear actually went to the North Pole. I did it in two minutes flat. But, I have had loads and loads and loads of hits for it, over several years. It is the gift that keeps on giving. Everytime that episode of Top Gear gets showed or repeated somewhere in the world, like Kazakhstan, then I get loads of hits from the local Google. I can track where that episode of Top Gear is being shown in the world by the suffix of the Google site which the latest traffic comes from. (They really like Top Gear “down under”, I can tell you.) At one point I put a notice at the top of my sidebar saying “Liberal Burblings – the home of the answer to the question: ‘Did Top Gear really go to the North Pole?'”

My latest such “quick flick” post is a post I am very fond of. But it was another one done in a few minutes. That is my post on the origins of the “Death in Paradise” theme tune, which included a charming sixties reggae dancing video I unearthed. That post was another quickie but the hits just keep on rolling in for it. Thank you Google! I am now considering putting up a sign saying: “Liberal Burblings – the home of the answer to the question: “What is that little tune that they play at the start of ‘Death in Paradise’?”

So there you are. The posts which loads of people look at are the quickies about silly little things. The serious posts you spend ages on, about things that you think are thunderously important barely get a look-in from anyone.

Although, thankfully, there are exceptions to that rule. Occasionally, when some kind person links to one of my political posts, I get a respectable number of readers for something serious.

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