What's Your Google Search Style?

Google. The search engine that offers us quick and easy answers for life's great questions...

Like, "What Does Manfred Mann's Blinded By the Light really mean?" (Answer: Some things in life may never be understood.)

Or: "Who was that actor in that film with that other guy in it with the car and the hair?" (Answer: Gramma, you're going to need to give me more clues if you expect me to look this up on the internet for you.)

And that got me thinking about the different ways we search for information on the internet.

So here at Of Cabbages and Kings, our fleet of SEO experts have performed an in-depth analysis of the search terms used to reach this very web site, and have examined them for common stylistic techniques.

(Translation: I spent five minutes going through my stats and made broad, subjective generalizations for humor value).

Perhaps you've seen these techniques in your own web stats. Or perhaps you get your Google on with one of these styles yourself:

The Stream-of-Consciousness Author
Personal and immediate, the Stream of Consciousness Google surfer does not just search for keywords; he searches as if writing a first person dream sequence. (Or possibly he has been hypnotized twenty years ago during psychotherapy, and mistakes Google for his lost therapist. )

Laughing in the face of the concept of "keywords," searchers with this style use lengthy descriptions of situations and memories, using full sentences.

Like the one I saw in my Statcounter stats the other day:
"program I used to watch during the 90s and as far as I can remember it contained dinosaur like creatures but they all--"

I'm not sure what '"they all" were, because the character limit ran out. But the searcher was determined to communicate with Google like an old friend.

(By the way, Searcher, if you should happen to read this-- the program you're talking about is called, obscurely-enough, "Dinosaurs.")

(You're welcome.)

Now, the Stream-of-Consciousness Writer is often paired with another Google style...

"The Google Reads My Mind" Searcher
These folks know the power of technology and realize that the moment you sit down to a computer, The Mighty Google already knows who you are and what you are thinking. So you can type in:
"Red shirt I used to have in 1989"

And it'll come back with a photo of the stylish button-up you wore over your MC Hammer pants.

You might type in:
"that weird plant in my back yard"
And you expect it to come up with horticultural information on the strange vining pod you've been trying to cut back, but which keeps singing doo-wop showtunes at you and calling you "Seymour."

The Well-Meaning Speller
This Googler needs information but may find himself narrowly missing it, because he operates on intuition and phonics, and enjoys seeing asthma with two "z's". The Well-Meaning Speller is a free-spirit not bound by the confines of things like dictionaries or self-doubt. His search interests tend to fall largely, but not exclusively, in the "erotica" category. But he is too excited to stop and look up how to spell "naked."

The Jeopardy Contestant
This user types all searches in the form of a question. Points will, apparently, be taken off for not phrasing it in that way.

"Where do I go to get my license renewed?"
"Who is Justin Bieber and why is he taking over Twitter?"

These and other queries comprise this searcher's web world. After all, Alex Trebek-Google is terribly strict.

The Girls Girls Girls Patron
Whatever this searcher is looking for, he will add the word "nude" or "naked" to it. (If combined with the well-meaning speller, it's likely to be "necked", "nood" or "wit no close".)

It doesn't matter if it's Janet Reno, Holly Hobbie or a bag of potato chips, he'll want to see it buck and beautiful.

So tell me, folks-- How do you or your visitors Google?


Jaffer said...

I do "question" Google once in a while.
These days I am looking for a new job so Google comes in very handy.

Here's a job tip for y'all - if you come across a job that perfectly matches you but you need to 'pay to view the contact information and who the company is'
- copy the part of the ad or the entire ad into Google.
The recruiter is bound to have advertised the same job on other sites where you can view the contact info - or you hit the company website itself on top of the search

Google is now bigger than Jesus - therefore searchers also pray to Google.
Search for "I want a" and see what people are asking form

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly enough, the most frequently used/clicked through landing page on my blog is for an article I wrote about the octomom last year. Google (yes, that verb now) 'octomom madtexter'. You'll find it.

And for the recent news of the smoking baby in Indonesia.

When I wrote an article about President Bush having a shoe thrown at him, I got nearly 1,000 hits in one day.

Crazy stuff.

BTW, fun blog post. I like how you view the world.

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- Very smart about the job posting tip. I wouldn't have thought of that one.

Corey- Isn't it funny what is a huge draw for people to search on and what isn't? My brain dwells on such obscure things, I don't end up benefiting from the Googleness of really pop/current event search terms like that very often. Sounds like you've become the authority in certain areas. :)

DrowseyMonkey said...

LOL ... I go between the jeopardy question one to the stream of consciousness one ... sometimes I just ramble on and put as many words in there as possible and viola - presto answer.

Daisy said...

I love reading the funny or ridiculous searches that bring people to my blog. Here are a few from this week:

wird sirch to could in
furry cowgirls
my cat saw you
the clan of the mancats online
dancing cat doing your mom (?????)

Lately I have been getting a lot of hits for "spy cats" or "secret agent cats." The most disturbing one was "my cat feels like a skeleton." I hope that cat went to the vet.

Jenn Thorson said...

Drowsey- I admire your faith in the intuitive powers of The Google. :)

Daisy- HA-- those are some great ones! Furry cowgirls? My cat saw you? (Someone may have just a touch of paranoia, hm? :) )

Unfinished Rambler said...

I hate to say it but my method is boring. Usually one or two words and that's it. I think I'm more the Ernest Hemingway Googler than the William Faulkner Googler. :)

Konway East said...

Google-searching is truly an art form. I hope one day it is taught across the world (except in China, of course.)

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

I was going to leave a witty comment about searches but then I saw Daisy's search for the clan of the mancats. Now I'm writing my next novel, which oddly enough it titled The Clan of the Mancats, and don't really have time for witty comments.

Jen said...

I am so the stream of consciousness searcher or I expect Google to know what I am searching for without typing anything in. This cracked me up.

I can't do these kinds of posts because all of my google searches come from the naked guy.

Jenn Thorson said...

Unfinished Rambler- If you were a Hemingway Googler, I guess you would make sure your few terms were so vague, Google could read into it whatever it liked-- thus making them automatically more profound. :)

Mike- We will be awaiting Clan of the Mancats in our bookstores this fall. :)

Jen- He's a busy fellow and he definitely gets around. He probably found you because he has a thing for redheads. :)

Babs-beetle said...

You may be surprised by this fact, but I'm a woman of few words. Honest I am. When searching I usually use one word, though I have been known to use more than one word on rare occasions.

Anonymous said...

Ah, that was just dynamite - I actually laughed out loud.

You know, 'The Jeopardy Contestant' may be a victim of old sci-fi movies made before most people began using computers. Every damn time you see this green-screen textual interface and the user just asks the computer questions like it's a person that can intuit the context etc; check out Alien, no less, for an example of this. Easy to forget the film was made back in 1979, until you see their idea of the computer of the future. :-)

Doug Stephens said...

Jeopardy. Most googlers who stumble on my site are asking questions. I'm a keyword guy myself, unless I am looking for a specific quote.