Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lijit Widgets

I've had a search widget on the right of this site for a month or so now.   It's provided by Lijit who I read about on Brad Feld's website who I came across after I met Charlie Feld, his uncle, and a senior guy at EDS. And so the world turns.

I love this widget.  Every week they send me a mail with the stats of who is searching for what, what they clicked on, how they got to the site (if they used another search engine - and some 300 people a week get to this site from google).  There are loads of numbers in the mail - of course they could all be made up, but they look good and they're better than any other numbers I have, which is always important.

Here's an extract from the last 25 searches (which would have been Sunday):

And the top eight searches that brought people to my site (last week)

  1. dlva (15 times)
  2. www.dubai.gov.ae (5 times)
  3. www.dubai.gov (4 times)
  4. francois xavier diet coke man (2 times)
  5. mindshare public sector (2 times)
  6. carly goose (2 times)
  7. Generally Regarded as Safe dyes- list (2 times)
  8. importance of egovernment (2 times)

In the train of the directionless.gov goat, I often wonder (a) what people are really searching for and (b) how they got to me.   And then I find out why

  • (1) DLVA is a typo in a post from January 2003.  It's the number one instance of that particular typo it seems (nice to be first in google for something). Of course, google does suggest that you might really want "DVLA", but either 15 people are as confused as I was that time back in 2003 or the same person is very confused
  • (2) And (3) I'm also the top answer for dubai.gov.ae - this search has been used a few dozen times in the last month (I can see that now I have lijit - in fact, I could see it before in the site stats, but they weren't mailed to me in this simple format).  I really should write some more about Dubai's e-government in case it's a real person looking.
  • (4) A topic on which I'd hardly expect to be deemed an expert by google - I have the 6th ranked site even though my post is nothing to do with what's being looked for
  • (5) 4th ranked topic and probably a bit relevant to what was being asked
  • (6) Carly goose, again 4th ranked, although I was talking about Carly Fiorina and wild goose chases.   No better than the top ranked article which is about Mother Goose and, separately (I hope), Carly Simon
  • (7) A post titled "Generally Regarded As Safe" with no mention of "dyes" that I can find
  • (8) 1st ranked.  Who'd have thunk? If you want to know how important egovernment is, come to this site.  Delighted I am. Sure it won't last also.

Great to have good data.  The challenge of course, is to do something about it so that people have a shot at finding what they might need, when the search is relevant.  But also shows how bizarre the search algorithms can be at determining "importance".

A guy standing next to me by the office lifts today started to tell me about how complex "lift algorithms" are - and how specialised and highly paid a career it is.  I've often pondered whether there are such things as lift algorithms given how long I spend waiting for lifts; apparently there are.  There may be a lucrative career awaiting for failed search engine algorithm workers.  Or vice versa.  Or even for me.

2 comments:

  1. Alan - thanks for the great summary of how you are using Lijit. Glad you found this via my blog- holler anytime you have ideas / suggestions for these guys.

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  2. Alan, thanks for the Lijit post. We're glad that you've found our stats useful and have been able to get a better sense of your readers from them. Enhancing the stats we offer is a priority so if you have any other ideas for stats you'd like to see, please send them our way.

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