Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Google Works in Mysterious Ways - Liz Taylor's Husbands and Bones of the Foot

There was a bump in hits to the blog this morning.  People were getting here by googling variations of "liz taylor's husbands/children." 

(Let's pause a moment in remembrance of this beautiful woman and talented actor whose life was filled with great and not so great moments.  Each person is born with different personal characteristics and into different life situations.  There are no instruction books for life that fit all those different conditions.  The life of a beautiful woman has its own opportunities and hazards.  The life of child celebrities has additional perils. Elizabeth Taylor got to meet some of the most interesting people of the 20th Century, and was, perhaps, one of them herself.  But that's not, as her life demonstrated, a guarantee of generally sustained personal happiness.  Taylor's work for cures for AIDS has made a big contribution as did her excellent acting.)

Back to google's mysterious ways.  People are getting to my post on Famous People Born in 1909 which includes a short bio of one of Taylor's husbands, Mike Todd, which includes the line, 'and one of Elizabeth Taylor's husbands.'  (The one, I'd note, that seemed like the one that would last, but he died in a plane crash.  But a lover who dies in the height of the romance can never do wrong, so who knows?)   But could this humble blog's obscure mention of Taylor be snagging google hits for this?  I googled to see where What Do I Know?  showed up.  I gave up after 20 pages of google.  I did a google image search and didn't find the Todd picture I have up either. 

A second google mystery I've been pondering:  Suddenly one day last week I was getting hits on a post about my wife breaking a bone in her foot.  People were googling "bones of the foot" or 'foot bones."  I tried googling and again couldn't find a google page leading here.  But then I noticed these were image searches and there is a picture I found and posted (with attribution) with bones of the foot - in addition to an x-ray of my wife's foot.  And that showed up near the top of google images.  But why is google sending them to my blog instead of the original site with that picture? I realize this has to do with other factors google uses to rank websites and that blogs that update regularly like this one gain some advantage that way.  But what changed last week after 10 months with no hits from people searching for foot bone pictures?  It's like all of a sudden the switch was turned on. And it's continued every day since. 

These are hits I don't think I really 'deserve.'  They are accidents of google algorithms.  But then there are hits google botches - getting them to this blog, but not really to the best page here for the search terms. 

And since I'm doing this parenthetical blogging post, I'd note that I started a Famous People Born in 1911 post.  I have a list of names and started some bios.  But each year the internet gives me more 100 year old names than the previous years and my bio research keeps getting more elaborate and it takes more time.  And I'm distracted by other topics.  But I want to do this one because this year would be my father's 100th birthday.  So it might happen. 

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