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.

General Music

Why data mining can’t fight crime

If you want a real life example of how you can get the wrong impression of someone from data mining, take a look at my Audioscrobbler data.

It shows Damien Rice as being my second most played artist. I own TWO songs from Damien Rice. What happened is that got the songs from iTunes, had those two on repeat, and then let it run while I was gone for the day and then over night.

Same with Liz Phair, Larry the Cable Guy, Sister Hazel and Outkast. The comedy stuff is really unrepresentative because the tracks are so short, whereas some Philip Glass tracks are an hour long.

Instead of music, imagine if it was credit card data. It isn’t too hard to come up with scenario of how your credit card might have unrepresentative purchases on it for a short period of time.


If they were smart….

For those of you who don’t live in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Public Radio recently purchased 89.3 WCAL, an independent classical music station, and converted its format to a highly eclectic mix of indie music, country, lounge, and local music. While I wasn’t a big fan of losing WCAL, the new station has its pluses.

As a public radio station, they don’t run ads of course, and this week they did their first fund drive which seemed much more low key than they usually do on their other stations. If they really want to take advantage of their format, they should become an iTunes affiliate and try to push music sales through their website.

Their format is uniquely set up to do this. Most radio stations just play the same crap over and over and over, and what they do play is easy to find in stores. 89.3 is very contrarian in their playlist, and as a result introduce people to a lot of stuff they haven’t heard before. I’ve personally purchased 2 songs off iTunes based on what I heard listening in the car. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has purchased music based what I’ve heard.

If they are going to be eclectic, then they should go whole hog and make it a business model. Introduce people to new music, then show them where they can buy it. It could be Amazon, or iTunes or whatever. They get their 5-15% cut and its that much less they have to beg for money.

Milk the long tail.

MPR likes to say they work for tips. There’s my tip.


Now listening to….

Citizen Cope

I heard “Bullet and a Target” on 89.3 and got the single off of iTunes about 5 minutes after my car pulled into the garage. They should really post their play list with a link to iTunes through their affiliate program if they want to generate extra cash.