Monday, March 11, 2013

The Peculiarities of Web traffic

Some days I wonder about how web traffic works. In the last two days traffic at my blog has jumped 300%, and 60% of that traffic has been for a single page. This has happened before. Usually it is because some other far more popular website has featured a post of mine and the flood gates open for a couple of days. This is not what has happened this time. The traffic is not from one person or from the same referring link, but from all over. Google searches, no referring link, encrypted searches. And very different places too. Oregon, California, Utah, Connecticut, Michigan, and even the UK, Philippines, and Australia.

That page itself was not exceptional. It was about Henry G. Sherwood and a company of saints he led from Tennessee to Missouri in 1837. The only item of note was that Abraham O. Smoot, who was in the company, had estimated that there were 200 people in the company. It was a figure quoted over and over again by historians. But it was certainly wrong. There weren't even two hundred saints in Tennessee at the time to have joined the company. Forty at most joined from Tennessee and Kentucky combined. Others joined along the way from places unknown, but also headed for Missouri. I suppose the group could have grown to 200 by the time they arrived, but I really think it was more hyperbole that anything else.

About a third of visits are just searching the web and my post comes up first. Most of the rest look like they are heading to my post deliberately.
*Google search 30% (i. e. "Henry G. Sherwood")
*Encrypted search 8%
*No referring link 25% (Typed the URL by hand, or copied and pasted it in)
*Google based link 31% (with the name of my blog, and "Henry G Sherwood" right in the link, like they knew I had a post about him.)
*Other search engines 6%

But why this post, and why this weekend? Was there a paper just released on him? Is there a Sherwood family reunion being planned. Did an online university give an assignment on him? I have no idea.


Amy said...

Hopefully someone will let you know what's going on!

It's always interesting to keep track of what's bringing people to my blog; every now and then it will result in some new information. For example, I'd believed what someone said about a certain ancestor and seeing someone's google search term led to an interesting discovery about some legal difficulties the person had been involved in. And sometimes the search terms are just plain interesting, like a few weeks ago when someone from Tehran was searching for "Zion Missouri" and landed on my blog.

Bessie said...

My guess is that quite a few people use the internet to study/prepare to teach Sunday RS/Priesthood lessons. This week’s lesson, “The Grand Destiny of the Faithful,” names Henry G. Sherwood on the first page. He is the brother that President Lorenzo Snow was listening to explain a passage of scripture, when President Snow received insight and understanding of the pathway of God and man. And afterwards he formed the couplet discussed in yesterday’s lesson. What do you think?

BruceCrow said...

Amy, Google search terms can be a real hoot, can't they.

Bessie, I think you may be on to something. That might be a way to draw more traffic. Anticipating the search needs of people preparing those lessons. Mmmmm.