Anyone would think Sciencebase resided in one of the seedier corners of the internet. Because of all the recent fuss about the new seven deadly sins, I was just checking out the visitor traffic using Google Webmaster Tools and found some quite worrying search queries that bring you, dear readers, to this cybershore.
Apparently, 4% of the searches on Google Images this week brought you looking for the periodic table of sex!
Well, I have to admit, there is a thumbnail graphic of said item on the site, mentioned in a post Periodic Post, from August 2006. And, Sciencebase ranks #7 in Google for that phrase, so it’s perhaps not surprising. Slightly more worrying is what people were searching for who reached my post Giving Good Headline, which was about the subject of press releases and the best approach to headline writing. Then there are the dozens of visitors looking for Girly Games who found my article on the psychology of video game addiction and how it apparently differs between males and females.
I’m loathe to list some of the other terms people are searching for on Google Images for that brings them to Sciencebase, oh go on then, you twisted my arm: erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, seven deadly sins, erotic, and several I’d blush even to type.
Now, Sciencebase, for one reason or another (and it’s not because, it’s that kind of site) somehow ranks quite highly for several of those terms. However, there are a few others that bring visitors to the site for which the site ranks way, way down the search engine results pages (SERPs), and I don’t just mean the bottom of page 1, or page 2 even, I mean bottom of page 73. Now, that reveals true search diligence, I’d suggest. Whoever works their way through 72 pages of results to get to that one item?
Most visitors are not after smut, thankfully, they’re after the site’s hard-hitting science news and views with a cynical bite. Unfortunately, as I was writing this post, I realised that posting it in its original form was unlikely to reduce the tide of filth, in fact it might simply encourage more of those seedier searches, so I’ve removed a few of the less choice keywords, just to make it safe for work and to prevent the site from getting slapped with an adult-filtering ban.
Afters I’d put the finishing touches to this piece, I checked the site’s top searches in GWMT again, just to see if there had been any additional phrases of interest. I discovered that Sciencebase is now ranking for “polar bears willie soon” in blog searching. Asa search phrase that has to be pretty unique. I assumed it was from someone in the UK urgently tracking down Arctic bestiality sites, or Inuit innuendo, until I realised it’s actually two phrases – Polar Bears (the Arctic beast in question) and Willie Soon (the climate change skeptic) – both of which I mentioned in my CO2 refusenik post recently. It seems that Sciencebase is not quite the quagmire of filth some of the site’s visitors had hoped after all.