Online Marketing 101: Betcha Won't Eat This Bluebonnet*

Gratuitous use of bluebonnets via Source
(*Disclaimer:  MsCaroline is not a specialist in either marketing or search engine optimization (SEO) and in fact knows very little about either.  I can tell you, however, that there are a lot of people out there Googling the terms 'bluebonnet' and 'p*nis fish,' and have chosen to draw my own conclusions.)

A few days ago, I read this wonderful post over at Circles in the Sand, one of my favorite expat blogs.  Circles was talking about how much fun it can be for bloggers to look at their statistics:  how many people read your blog, where they come from (there's even a map), how many people are reading your posts, and - this is the most fun - the sorts of Google searches they do that lead them to your blog.  Some of these searches are quite predictable:  people Google things like, "blogs about living in Seoul" and  - sometimes - they end up here.

That, I expected.

What I did not anticipate, though, was the popularity of some of the posts (and phrases contained therein) that would prevail, week in and week out, month after month.

Just as an example, one post I wrote last summer, The Kimchi Fridge, has been a constant source of traffic ever since I wrote it.  I had no idea that so many people out there in the world were interested in kimchi fridges.  I can only imagine how disappointed they are when they arrive at my blog in search of useful kimchi- fridge-related information and discover a post about how I find mine useful for storing wine.

I know from the years I freelanced for an internet development company (or, what Son#1 long ago referred to as, the "internet-makers") that online marketing is all about getting people to visit your website.  There are even internet-makers whose job it is to analyze exactly what sorts of words and phrases you should use when naming your blog, your product, or your business, in order to lure the bazillions of eager Googlers out there onto your site, where they will then buy your products and make you a millionaire.

The internet-makers use complex statistics, logarithms and graphs to figure out that, for example, if you are an auto repair business, you are more likely to get internet customers to land on your site if you have a name like "Al's Auto Repair" than "Al's Place."  This is based on the fact that customers who need auto repair are more likely to Google "Auto repair" than "Al's Place." (According to the information that I am about to reveal, however, Al would be most successful if he were to name his business, 'Al's Bluebonnet Auto Repair.')

The reason I mention all this is because a cursory glance over my statistics in the past month has revealed powerful marketing information that - should the internet-makers out there choose to leverage it - could potentially lead to a virtual tsunami of internet traffic, and I am now prepared to share this information with You, dear reader! (Since MsCaroline blogs for the pure joy of the act  and has no intention of using this information in a business of her own, she shares this information freely, and hopes that it prove to be of use to someone, since there is really no reasonable way she can exploit use this information herself.)

My daily hits had started doubling shortly after I posted this piece about how much I missed the bluebonnets in Texas.   A quick glance revealed that the phrases that people were Googling to land on my blog almost all contained the word "bluebonnet."  

Are you listening, internet-makers?  The key to successful search engine optimization is the word "bluebonnet!"  Should you doubt me, you have only to observe the following Google searches that have led to the hundreds - nay, thousands!*- of hits on my blog:

'bluebonnet flower'
'bluebonnet Texas'
'bluebonnet photos'

and so on.

Granted, since the people who land here via the search term 'bluebonnet' are interested in bluebonnets and not the self-absorbed navel-gazing of an expat in Seoul, they all leave my site almost immediately and go to Linda Cox' etsy site to gaze adoringly at her fabulous shot of a Texas Longhorn in a field of bluebonnets, but I am not complaining.  It's just nice to know they stopped by.  And that Longhorn is really tremendous, isn't he?

TX Longhorn in Bluebonnets by Linda Cox, this and her other brilliant work available at her Etsy page  

It's true the term 'bluebonnet' is not really doing anything for me (although I hope Linda's making tons of sales) but the point is, if I were selling something, the word 'bluebonnet' could be the key to getting people here to buy it.

That leads us to the second most popular set of search terms bringing people to my blog, one written (naturally) by MrLogical back in the early days of this blog when he was still pretending it was a joint effort.  This search term is "p*nis fish," closely followed by its cousin, "betcha won't eat this"  (the asterisk is necessary in order for me to avoid not only the creepy internet pervs but also pernicious  spambots that like to fill my comment boxes with Russian internet porn.)  For my newer readers, the post, entitled, "Betcha Won't Eat This," was written by MrLogical after a visit to the Noryangjin Fish Market, where he took a number of photos of a popular - technically known as the 'fat innkeeper worm' but referred to in a much cruder manner by most of the people who see it:

The Fat Innkeeper Worm aka 'The Korean Penis Fish.'

I will spare you the details of the types of phrases that people enter in order to arrive at this post, but suffice it to say that the old adage 'sex sells' appears to be quite accurate.  There also appears to be a subculture of people who enjoy pushing the envelope in the style of Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern, which is where the phrase, 'Betcha won't eat this" comes in.

Since I am on a constant quest for knowledge, and since it has been these two posts that have consistently drawn the most hits, I have -  in a simple experiment to see if my theories are correct - taken their two titles and combined them to create what should prove to be the ultimate title for a blog post.  The possibility does exist that I may attract such a dissolute subculture of individuals to my blog that I will forever regret this action.  On the other hand,  I may just have stumbled across the biggest thing that the search engine optimization community has ever seen.  Only time will tell.

I'll report back later and let you know what happens.  So stay tuned, all you internet-makers.

*This is self-deprecating sarcasm.  What the experts are looking for are hits in the millions.  Or bazillions.  Anyway, more than thousands.


Trish said…
Oops! I've written the word p*nis in my post this morning, plus the word 'balls'. Bring on the spam!
MsCaroline said…
Ah, my friend, you *have* set yourself up for some spam - but I bet it was well worth it! On my way over to read it now!
Karen said…
Happy Easter, Carolyne! That's all-think I'm speechless. LMAO, though!

MsCaroline said…
Karen, you would be even more speechless (well, insofar as that would be measurable) if you could see the types of search phrases that people type in to get here... Happy Easter to you, Neil, and the *three* teenagers!
So you are telling me that varieties of apple which keep in Wales aren't going to cut it for me?
MsCaroline said…
Elizabeth - Oh, not at all. You might just want to include a shot of some of those apples lying in a field of bluebonnets...; )
Hello! I'm just catching up with my comments! I read this before leaving, loved it and didn't get a mo to comment. So here I am again, laughing away again! Thank you for the very kind mention! :-)
Michelle Bryan said…
Marketing is an essential component for product proliferation and adoption across the targeted audience. Conventional marketing strategies have always been associated with a hefty budget and market research requirements.

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