Wordtracker Experiment | Finding Out What People Search For

Wordtracker Labs Logo

People are searching for things all the time on the web. If you’re a blogger looking to write good content, it is a good idea to get out there on the net to find what people are searching for. There are a few tools for doing this, but I wanted to isolate one of them and play with it for a minute.

@marknunney posted a link on Twitter about a “new tool from Wordtracker for content ideas”, so I clicked over to the site and read the following:

“People often type complete questions into search engines: if you find these questions and answer them, you could get some great search traffic”.

Below it was a box for entering in a word, so I tried a few words out. The results were amusing enough for me to want to share them. Further analysis follows.

Find Questions People are Asking

Results for Life

I found the results for the word ‘life’ to be what one might expect. Right now, people are wondering about life insurance. However, the ‘color of life in ancient egypt’ is something that is phrased in such as strange way that it could warrant further research — especially since it was looked up 156 times. At #6, ‘what is the meaning of life’ is asked. I guess life insurance and ‘how time of my life was chosen for american idol’ were more important.

Life Wordtracker Results

My personal favorite is #13 — ‘how to summon a real life dragon’. I bet if someone were to write a post on that, they’d get lots of hits. Maybe lots of Diggs too. I’m not sure how I’d go about researching that one. It’s probably better than trying to write a post on #8 — ‘how to ruin someone’s life’.

Results for E-mail

How does E-mail work? Apparently people are asking this question. But there is an important trend happening elsewhere in these question results. That would be the address of one (or rather two) ‘cole sprouse’. They happen to be identical twins, and are, according to the Cole Sprouse Wikipedia article, “known for their roles in the film Big Daddy…and for portraying the title characters on Disney Channel sitcoms”. Good luck finding their E-mail address, as well as the address of Prince Harry, Zac Efron and Jamie Spears.

E-mail Wordtracker Results

But you can write about how to E-mail pictures, or #9’s ‘who invented E-mail’. That one actually seems particulary interesting. The narrative histories of everyday things are always a joy to read about.

Results for Business

‘How to write a business plan?’ Can’t one just download a template from Microsoft Word or something? That question is really a broad one. It depends on what kind of business one wishes to start. #3’s ‘how to start a cell phone business’ is pretty good. #10’s ‘what is the best business opportunity’ is a really intense question that cannot totally be answered. #11’s ‘how to start a web design business’ is actually very answerable by a variety of sources such as Design Float and Smashing Magazine.

Business Wordtracker Results

#8’s ‘how to start a business with no money’ is interesting. I think it’s never been easier — and more difficult. It’s probably time that’s the big issue. Taking a lot of time really works. A cell phone business might manifest as an online reseller of cell phone accessories.

Results for Google

I was confused by these search results. I didn’t think they’d be this broad, or this ill-informed. Are Google founders Larry and Sergey that obscure? I wonder what sources Wordtracker is using for its search queries.

Google Wordtracker Results

It might also be interesting to create a post on the founders of Google just to see what happened to it. I’m sure Wikipedia and Google have this question answered already.

Results for Yahoo

I queried Yahoo! just to see what would happen. Very similar to Google’s results, except there was a question of what Yahoo stood for. I’m actually wondering that myself right now (goes off to find the answer).

Yahoo Wordtracker Results

The answer as to what Yahoo! stands for comes from About.com’s ‘Internet for Beginners’. The answer is that “Yahoo! (spelled with an exclamation mark) is short for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”. Apparently, “The original name: “David’s and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web”, was appropriate, but not exactly catchy“. You can read the rest of Paul Gil’s Yahoo! article for the whole story.

Results for Money

The search results for money really surprised me. I had no idea that so many people wanted to know about ‘what presidents are on money’. I wonder what demographic asks this question the most. Is it youth? Is it due to a bet? Is it a homework assignment? Perhaps it is to clarify the use of slang words.

#2 and #3’s ‘how much money does it cost to open a bar’, and ‘how can kids make money’ are interesting. I’m wondering if more kids than parents searched for that phrase and if there a way to tell. As for #2, a lot of people seem to dream of owning and running their own bars.

Money Wordtracker Results

I thought that #7’s ‘how to make money’ would be higher up on the results than that, but apparently the presidents on money trumps that. It’s also a much easier niche to write for than the seedy ‘how to make money’ post. #8 and #9’s ‘millionaires who give money to help’, and ‘millionaires who give free money’ make a lot of sense. Those questions make me wonder how many millionaires out there actually give money out to strangers who ask for it over the Internet. Generally, processes and charities are involved. Darn! Perhaps Google or a blogger will write about another way?

Results for Puppy

Puppies. They’re somewhat irresistible. So irresistible that a lot of people question just how large they’re going to get, apparently. It would be useful to make a site that gave information on how large any breed of puppy was going to grow. It would be complete with a puppy weight calculator, to answer question #3 as well. One would simply have to enter in the breed and the age of the puppy and the Internet robots would do the rest. Hooray for calculators.

Puppy Wordtracker Results

I wonder how many new pet owners typed in #7 after watching their new puppy pee on their freshly installed carpet? Is there any way to tell? Perhaps they should’ve just stuck to drawing a puppy instead of owning one, like those who searched for #4’s ‘how to draw a puppy’.

Results for Read

This was wild. I did not expect to get results on horoscopes, tarot cards or reading palms. I’m not sure what I expected originally, but it wasn’t this. I thought people liked books more than daily horoscopes. My college experience has given me some explaination for these results. Everyone in my dorm was obsessed with reading their horoscopes to each other. Some of them even printed out astrological charts. I didn’t participate.

Read Wordtracker Results

But result #6 makes a lot of sense in this respect. Aside from horoscopes, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is one of those books that’s assigned to the majority of school districts across the United States. I’m assuming a lot of kids didn’t want to purchase the book, lent it to someone else, forgot it at home or at school, or were looking for a quick way to read a chapter before an annoying quiz after lunch or homeroom period.

Results for RSS

What *is* RSS? Oh man. It is probably the greatest thing since the last iteration of really cool stuff that people enjoyed. It allows the quick and easy access of content without having to browse for it. I recommend watching RSS in Plain English instead of searching for RSS in Google. It’s an extremely short video by the Common Craft show. Totally sweetopian.

RSS Wordtracker Results

Hmm…#13’s ‘how do i find my twitter rss fed url’ is curious. Not only is fed spelled incorrectly, it is searched for 7 times. I’m sure there’s a great tutorial on this out there somewhere. …Or is there? I suppose that’ for random people to find out.

Results for SEO

These were not surprising. ‘What does seo stand for?’ Search engine optimization, of course. How does one ‘become a certified seo?’ Well gee whiz, that’s a hard one. Probably from showing it on your own site, and the sites of your clients. And by not selling links from bad sites. Also, by educating people thoughly about your techniques.

SEO Wordtracker Results

‘How to set up seo?’ Go through a standard checklist on your website, checking for alt tags, title tags, a sitemap, ect. I like the free Website Grader from HubSpot for a really quick website check and grade.

Results for Six

I wondered about numbers next, so I checked out an the number six. Purely arbitrary (by arbichance? arbitration?). I was amused to find such a long phrase at the top of the question results. ‘The six basic fears and how to eliminate them’. That is totally a book by Sharry Harris. #2’s ‘what are the six terms of geography’ totally sounds like a query taken directly from a homework assignment.

Six Wordtracker Results

#3’s ‘what are the six parts in a business letter’ has reminded me to re-examine my business letters for the correct number of parts. Perhaps I can do that while developing a six pack while using Six Sigma techniques.

Results for Twitter

‘What is Twitter?’ Ahh…if only there were an easy way to explain that. ‘How to use twitter’ is even more complicated. See, it is the emptiness of a vessel that gives it use-value, and Twitter is an empty vessel. The question of ‘What are you doing’ is never fully answered. Thus, how to use Twitter is like telling someone how to use a vase. The emptiness gives it many uses, whereas a tutorial can only give a finite amount of use-cases.

Twitter Wordtracker Results

Finding the Twitter RSS feed URL is another matter. Simply scroll down to the bottom left corner of your Twitter page and click on RSS. Or you can right click to ‘copy the address’ to place it elsewhere with ease.

Results for Unicorn

So Unicorns are very important to the state of the world. They give us a fantastic antithesis with which to view things. I assumed that I would get different results because of this mindset, but I did not. The number one search for unicorn relates to finding free Unicorn pictures to color. That is a total let-down.

Unicorn Wordtracker Results

I guess people are interested in drawing Unicorns, though. Perhaps they’ll make some awesome viral Unicorn videos when they get older. Like Charlie the Unicorn.

Final Verdict

WordTracker’s new tool is pretty fun, but I’m not sure how terribly useful it really is. I think you’re the judge for that.

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Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and Internet Marketing Consultant from Portland, Oregon. You can follow her online @caseorganic.

The SEO Quake Addon for Firefox | Page Rank, Inlinks, and Sitemaps

Seo Addons, Extensions for FirefoxI was talking with Julian Chadwick of PDXPipeline this Monday about the tools he uses for search engine optimization. We recorded a podcast that will be posted Monday night on Hazelnut Tech Talk. However I wanted to pass on some of the information he gave me regarding the SEO plugins he uses for Firefox. I’d like to review the SEO Quake, as it has been very useful to me.

Basic Information

There are a few baseline pieces of baseline information that any SEO beginner. One of these is Page Rank, or Google’s consideration of what a given page is worth. Page rank varies from site to site, and there are a number of factors that contribute to pagerank. One of them is the amount of websites linking to a given website. This is called ‘inlinks’. One can find out this information by going to Google and entering the string “link:http://www.yoursite.com”.

The amount of links from a site to you website show up differently in Yahoo! Search vs. Google search vs. MSN. Obtaining this data takes a while without a good tool to help you find it. There are additional metrics one can find about a site, such as the page rank, sitemap, alexa rank, and whether the site has been indexed in search engines or not. Site indexing is different from checking inlinks.

If the pages of your site are not indexed by search engines, it is difficult for searchers to find them. Making sure your website has a sitemap and submitting it to Google Webmaster tools is an essential baseline step in the SEO process. You can generate an .xml sitemap for free by using the free tool provided at XML-Sitemaps.com.

SEO Quake for Firefox

SEO Quake is a plugin that adds another layer of information on top of your brower’s basic information. Instead of having to search for inlinks, the inlinks are displayed right on top of the site for you. You can also choose what information you want displayed about the site. There are plenty of options (accessible from preferences) that allow you to view any information you want about the page you’re on. There are Yahoo! inlinks, links to domain, Alexa rank, Page Rank, inlinks from MSN, compete rank, sitemap, and the robots.txt file, just to name a few.

SEO Quake Addon for Firefox - Preferences

Using SEO Quake rocks. It’s super-customizable and generates a ton of rich information without the need to click. Plus, you can click on the information and download into a spreadsheet or text document for later use or data analysis. Highly recommended.

Download

This is a link to the download site for SEO Quake. Again, it is only available for Firefox browsers, so if you aren’t using Firefox (which you most undoubtedly should), then you’ll be missing out.

Resources

Thanks to Julian Chadwick for mentioning this plugin. You can check out Julian’s site at PDXPipeline or follow him on Twitter @pdxpipeline.

For more information on SEO, Julian and I both recommend SEOMoz.org, a Seattle-based company providing an extremely comprehensive database of resources and tools for beginner, intermediate, and advanced SEO specialists. Try the free Trifecta tool on your site for starters.

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Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist from Portland, Oregon. You can follow her online @caseorganic.

Hazelnut Tech Talk Episode 10 | A Dinner Discussion With Reid Beels And Chris Pitzer

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Hazelnut Tech Talk is a collaboration between Amber Case and Bram Pitoyo

This episode features Reid Beels and Chris Pitzer, wherein we talked about abandonware, search engines with unique algorithms, Cyber Surfari-adorned T-shirt, getting free meals for reading books, and a potential CyborgCamp session composed of scientifically extrapolating claims in science fiction stories of the past to predict the future.

And if you listen to the end of the podcast, Reid’s and Chris’ Twitter username is @reidab and @chrispitzer, respectively.

Hazelnut Tech Talk

Productivity Tip: Using RSS as a Search Engine

newsfire-logo

If you currently use them, RSS feeds are a great way to accumulate timely information from reliable and influential sources. RSS feeds are one of the best ways to keep up on social trends, new tech gagets, people, and business ideas. If you don’t know what an RSS feed is, there’s a 3.75 minute Commoncraft Video called RSS Feeds in Plain English.
Newsfire Categories

One of the most useful ways I’ve been able to use RSS feeds has been through the use of an RSS aggregator as a search engine. My favorite platform to use is NewsFire (click to download) for Mac, but other RSS readers exist for Windows, Linux and Gmail.

The best part about Newsfire is that it has a search feature at the bottom right corner of the screen. The search tool allows many blog posts to be searched through at the same time.

This search feature can be used to search through all aggregated RSS feeds.

Categorizing Data:

Newsfire makes it easy to categorize data into groups. I chose Lifehacking-type blogs, Tech News, Design News, SEO, Marketing, Business Development, Usability/Architecture, Local Portland Groups, and Mail/Personal. I grabbed mail my mail from Gmail and my @caseorganic Twitter ID from Summize.

The only limitation is that you cannot rearrange the categories. This will hopefully probably be fixed with NewsFire’s next release.
Newsfire Never Delete Items
The key to using RSS as a Search Engine is going out on the web and finding the best sources that aggregate the best data, and then storing it all in your NewsFire feedcapture device. Then, wait for the data to accumulate. Go to NewsFire –> Preferences –> Feeds, and set “Delete items” to “Never”. If you use Spotlight, you can enable indexing of content so that you can use Spotlight to search your feeds as well.
Newsfire search local SEO

With this structure in place, I can search my RSS reader for “local SEO”, to check news related to these terms. Another option for maxxing out your RSS reader is to subscribe to Twitter topic feeds via Summize. That way, you not only get the topics that are being blogged about, but what everyone in the world is saying about those topics.

Lesson 2 – 7 ways to expand your online presence through sharing conference proceedings.

Peter Morville is the master of establishing his link estate on the Google search for his name. If your online presnece is not as robust as his when you search your own name in Google, you might want to work on your Flickr account, Linkedin profile, Digg profile, Stumbleupon profile, person and work blogs, and conference proceedings.

Case in point:

Strategy:

Assure you’re going to conference A, next week. You’re really excited becuase you have some great material (or not), and you’d like to use the mateiral to it’s full advantage.

Web 2.0 can help you. Instead of a document that exists as a pressentation at only one location in space and time, you can let your information out to many differnet outlets by blogging, Twittering, sending guest posts, and uploading your Powerpoint slides to slideshare and telling your Twitter community about it (something Peter Morville does excellently).

I. You’re going to the conference A in a week. Post on your (professional blog)(personal blog) ” I am going to be presenting next week at PLACE.TIME (LINK TO CONFERENCE) — I will be talking about (TALK ABOUT IT).

II. When you’re at conference A. Post on your (professional blog)(personal blog) “Hello from PLACE – these people are here (LINK TO THESE PEOPLE), and how SWEET they are because they’re presenting (talk about what they’re presenting).

II.5 On Twitter, while at conference A, write “I am at (LOCATION) about to present at (link to conference)”.

II.75 Use Mac’s Address Book to immediately enter in business card information, Twitter names, ect during the table breaks. Also write how/where you met them in the comments section (put their history, what they spoke about, and how their expersite can benefit your future self).

III. After conference A, post on your (professional blog)(personal blog), the conference proceedings (photos (use Flickr), briefs of (also link to this from Twitter (use tinyurl.com to make the url length shorter).

IV. If conference has site, try to post on their site with a copy of your speech/lecture/presenation/powerpoint, or your profile. Also comment on the conference on the conference website (if possible) to network with other conference visitors.

V. Post on socially conscious websites who are repositories of information on micromanaging…ect.

End goal:
Emulate Peter Morville’s online presence.
Over time, colonize as much of the google page about your name as possible.