What People Are Searching For On The Internet: Real Life Examples


Every writer and every advertiser wants to know what people are searching for on the Internet. “Ordinary” keyword research helps, but real life examples cannot be fully tracked and explained by even the most sophisticated set of Google Analytics. Each website is different, a fact too often ignored by those of little faith and less expertise peddling supposed SEO “expertise”.

A few nights ago, I came across a purported website analysis report on my own site, Ghost32writer.com. The site doing the “analyzing” was Chlooe.com. According to those folks, I’ve been doing everything about 80% Wrong with a capital “W”.

Their opinion of this site’s failings didn’t carry much weight, though. Alexa.com, which measures the rankings of websites around the globe, recently reported that Ghost32writer.com had jumped more than 13,000,000 (thirteen million) places. Three months ago, there were more than 23,000,000 (twenty-three million) sites receiving more traffic than we were. As of last night, there were “only” 9,5000,000 sites ahead of us.

Chlooe.com? Alexa.com is not even aware of its existence.

So much for the self appointed experts. The best judge of how well your site is doing is…you.

The best software tool I’ve found for keeping an eye on those real life keywords (meaning the terms people actually typed into search boxes that led them to this site) is a Word Press plugin called Slim Stat. Among many other features, Slim Stat provides a listing of “recent keywords” searchers used to find us.

Slim Stat is hardly all encompassing in this matter. For example, it’s never once shown a keyword search for the site’s #1 and hottest post, Why I quit Stealing Stuff (etc.), and that piece is currently pulling in more than 1,000 views per day.

What Slim Stat does do, however, is provide some real dandies you just don’t find elsewhere, such as:

1. what does a propane orphus look like

The propane “orphus” inspired this article. The moment I saw the orphus, I busted out laughing so hard…well, it’s a good thing Pam wasn’t sleeping, and the only reason I didn’t fall out of my chair was the arms on the side that wouldn’t let me go.

Obviously, the seeker had purchased a gas dryer–quite possibly from Sears–and needed to know how to change out the natural gas orifice to the propane version. There’s a post on this site (in the How To Index) detailing the process. Sears refuses to change the orifice for their customers, and it’s easy to see why; it’s a rather major operation. It shouldn’t be, but the manufacturers are being really stupid in their engineering these days.

Of course, as you can see from the header photo, the propane orphus is a truly interesting creature, but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined someone in real life typing “orphus” into a search box.

2. photos of ripped out toenails

No, really. I do have a post detailing that process, too–how to rip out your own toenails when, as an aging male, the nails on both big toes start trying to curl all the way around the bone. In my opinion, it beats going to a podiatrist by a country mile. I’ve been handling my own toenail removal work for the past 21 years.

But my post does not provide photos of the ripped-out nails. Those are just too ugly and gross and entirely unnecessary; the reader can understand the procedure without viewing the bloody remains.

Still, the search engines got that one to me, based on the title, How To Rip Out Your Own Toenails for Fun and Profit, Leaving the Podiatrist in the Dust.

Go figure. Their must not be that many Google results out there with “ripped out toenails” in the title….

3. semi smoking brakes

This one is pretty straightforward, tying in with a post about smoking the brakes during my truck driving days, circa 2001. It made the list, though, because of the way it’s phrased. To the casual eye, it looks like those brakes are “half smoking”.

4. my jaw is swollen from everclear

I’m not even certain which post pulled this one in, but…is the searcher absolutely positive it was the everclear that caused his jaw to swell up? Everclear is 190 proof grain alcohol. Back in the day, I consumed a bit of the stuff–and I can state with authority that a bit is quite enough to accomplish a number of things.

One of those things could have been, oh, for example, insulting boxer Mike Tyson while in an alcoholic blackout, resulting in a sore jaw….

5. mojahve green

There are several posts about our area’s abundant Mojave green rattlesnakes on this site. Some places on the Internet spell it “Mohave”. Perhaps the searcher simply got confused. Use the “j”? Use the “h”? Ah, heck, use both, and don’t worry too much about placement, either.

6. why do kangaroo rats come out at night for food

This searcher is apparently not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Naturally, kangaroo rats come out at night for food because if they came out during the day, they would be food. Alternatively, why do kangaroo rats come out at night? For food! Duh!

7. gabapentin grandure

Pam and I both found this one interesting. Gabapentin, the generic name for the powerful prescription drug, Neurontin, is a medication my wife has tried in the past. One of the ultra dangerous side effects she experienced was a view of her powers she described as “delusions of grandeur” (not grandure). But we did not know others had come up with that same description, albeit not quite the same spelling.

8. morning dove on ground

Well…we have seen these mourning doves in the morning. That’s true. But we’ve also observed them when the were noon doves, afternoon doves, and early evening doves as well.

9. portable busteri starteri

Say what? This might have reached one of the posts on portable generators, but how? Googling that exact wording produced more than a million results which included portable booster/starter packs, but where it was able to tie in with something I’ve written, who knows?

10. worm needed in the Bakken

This one is really quite effective. Googling it pulls one of the site’s job hunting posts (for the Bakken oil field in North Dakota) right up.

A worm in oil patch terminology, in case you didn’t know, is simply a rookie roughneck, an entry level oil rig worker.

11. human taxidermy funeral (and also) stuffed humans

These two are great. I only include them because when I wrote my post on human taxidermy, I had trouble understanding why anyone would want to have their dearly departed stuffed and propped in a corner at his own celebration of life party. Somebody must find it fascinating, though.

12. is dr perricone neck crasm safe

Neck crasm? Perricone’s product is, in our opinion, a total scam–but it took me a while to realize the searcher meant to ask about neck cream, not crasm. I’m not sure what a crasm might be. Sounds related to a spasm, or maybe a chasm. Can’t rule out protoplasm, either.


That’s a dozen; we’ll stop there for now, contemplating the vibrant image of a stuffed human searching for the elusive propane orphus, using perricone neck crasm as bait.

These real life examples of what people are searching for on the Internet have been brought to you by Ghost32, the author who figured he’d lose his notes on these interesting keywords if he didn’t get them published immediately.




6 thoughts on “What People Are Searching For On The Internet: Real Life Examples

  1. Some of those are quite comical. I did get some enlightenment though. I now take neurontin, but had no idea of that. I am taking it for my ulner nerve damage and only knew it by the generic name. Dennis also just started taking it and only knew it by the generic name. Someone told him he needed to get on neurontin for his PTSD and it was on his list to ask his Dr. about. I guess we can cross that one off the list.

  2. Not everyone reacts negatively to Neurontin. Pam’s ex, for example, uses it now for major back pain, has for several months, and not one side effect has turned up. On the other hand, that’s the same drug that blinded Pam so fast in 14 days of use the second time she tried it (which was recently) that she literally couldn’t tell a snake from a stick on the paths outside. She hates not being to use it, because it’s the ONLY thing she’s ever tried that pretty much wiped her head to toe pain right flat out. Unfortunately, being pain free but blind and delusional didn’t seem like a particularly excellent tradeoff to her, so….

  3. This is interesting, Ghost. Obviously, those who can’t spell don’t click on Google’s “did you mean…..” link. Funny how those searches worked anyway. My site doesn’t offer the cool plug-ins WordPress does, so I don’t really have a way of seeing what terms people are using to find my site. Do you know of another way I can check that?

  4. I don’t, Sha. I suppose you might try “Googling around”, using search terms like “stand alone stats for website” or some such. You never know; you might get lucky.

    One of many things I found impressive about your site: Alexa.com shows it ranked at 1,340,981 globally with a jump over the last 3 months of 11,668,814. That’s huge. One would think with that sort of “elevation”, you’d be literally swamped with profitable work. 🙂

    Of course, you’ve also got 24 sites linking in to you, with some of those being professional writing places. You might be getting a lot of comparison shoppers who don’t necessarily get down to the point of asking you to write something for them (or trying to scam you, for that matter). But still, that ranking is awesome.

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