Astrobiology General Music

Travel Around the World

If you haven’t figured it out, I don’t post information about the back end or business stuff on my main site because I don’t want to bore readers with the details of running a website. I’d rather bore them with the details of traveling.

This is where I bitch about my website.

For the last six months, I’ve been trying to play the Google game and get my site ranked high for the term “Travel Blog”. At one point in June I was ranked #5 and currently I am on the front page. There are over 400,000,000 pages ranked for that term, so hooray for me.

Something didn’t seem quite right. Even when I peaked at #5, I got a whopping 26 visits to my website from Google. Just because the keyword has a lot of sites doesn’t mean a lot of people search for it. As I noted in my previous article on traffic, spending time and effort in ranking for something hyper competitive with little traffic is a suckers game. Getting beyond #5 also seems really difficult as the sites above that are Lonely Planet and

So if not “travel blog” what else?

A recent thread on Griz’s Make Money Online blog (one of the only ones in that genre I enjoy. Most are garbage) got me thinking about what keywords I’m targeting. Ranking high for a crappy keyword is like not ranking at all.

I have an account on where they all sorts of tools you can use to check keywords and other metrics. One item they link to is free keyword tracker, which tells you how many searches are done per day on various keywords. In the last 24 hours, here are some of the stats: (The difference between specific and general is specific is the literal string, and general is any keyword search with those words included)

Keyword Specific Searches General Searches Different Search Strings Number of Sites
Travel Blog 34 270 54 56,700,000
Travel Around the World 206 263 11 25,800,000
Travel Website 25 1,868 76 43,800,000
Travel Photography 68 87 8 14,800,000
Travel Writing 21 69 17 18,500,000

If you actually looked at the Google results in addition to this, the answer is pretty freaking obvious what I should be working on: Travel Around the World.

I’m not going to undo what has been done. Much of it is out of my control at this point, but there are many advantages to this approach.

1) Less conflict with other travel bloggers. That isn’t necessarily their niche. None of the bloggers I know are ranked high, and I’m not sure that they even would want to target that keyword.
2) Should be possible to reach #1. I don’t think it would be possible given my current efforts and budget ($0) with “travel blog” and who the competition is.
3) More traffic. More targeted traffic. My best readers are those who want to go on a similar trip or dream of doing so.

So, if you are reading this and have a link to my site, please change the anchor text to “travel around the world” 🙂

My rank for “travel around the world” was #151 before I did anything. After writing this article I changed the title of my site and rearranged some words so the keyword fit on the description paragraph on my site, and then put the keywords in bold. This morning, about 12 hours later, I am ranked #38. I have also changed the text linking to my site on this page and another blog I run, but those haven’t been indexed by Google yet.

Astrobiology General

Weekly Traffic Since Feb 2007


Here are my weekly traffic numbers since Feb. 2007.


Its the sample size stupid

Mass extinction comes every 62 million years, UC physicists discover

I think this is BS. It strikes me as being very similar to the Elliott Wave and Kondratieff Waves in economics.

In the case of economic waves, the wave theorists basically mapped the ups and downs of the economy going back hundres of years and from that deduced laws of nature that said the economy will go up and down in regular interverals. The problem is that so much changes in every cycle that it becomes meaningless trying to find a pattern. Remember that thing about how the Democrats would win if the Redskins won their home game before the presidential election? The Redskins did it 12 times in a row so there must be something to it right? Well the Redskins won and John Kerry isn’t president. In 2008 they will find a new fun fact about something which has held true for 100 years (like, in years where the olympics are held in a non European country, the Republicans win if the Americans win both women’s basketball and men’s shot put).

Back to economic waves….trying to pick out a grand pattern over 400 years is a joke. The economy isn’t anything like it was 40 years ago, let alone 400. Everything is different: technology, demographics, culture, religions, transportation. Everything.

The same strikes me as true with this extinction study. Multicellular life really hit its stride about 500m years ago with the Cambrian explosion. If the scientists are right, that only makes for 10 major extinction events since the Cambrian. Of the major extinction events, we have a good idea about some (KT) and not so good idea about others (PT).

10 is way too small a number to pry any sort of trend out of. The best you can say is that it happened multiple times, not that it happens like clockwork. Each event could be different and the factors which caused past events might not exist anymore. Example: asteroid collissions are much more rare now than in the early days of the solar system, and we can detect them before hand now. Volcanism has probably died down considerably over the last 500ma. Increased diversity has made life more stable and less vulnerable to crashes by key groups.

Maybe the key to the cycle is looking at odd numbered eons with significant polar glaciation, without asteroid impacts in the previous 10ma, before the Redskins win a home field game.



Yet another report of finding life where it has no business being.