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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Coffee break pottering and the compelling world of incoming traffic search results

So what do you do when you take a coffee break? Surfing the net and checking email aside (because that's just a normal part of our work day, right?), do you check Facebook, send a tweet on Twitter, or download an application to your iPhone? How differently we live our lives now. In the 'old days' I would have pottered around the apartment, tidied the coffee table, thrown out old newspapers, stacked magazines, or even called a friend... Now? Well, I know I have better things to do with my time but one of things I love to do is check out my incoming site traffic stats on Feedburner. It's not only about seeing which places people are coming from and how they're finding me, but as a travel writer, it's some of the best research you can get. About a third of my readers on average are coming from internet searches and I find those search results fascinating. The keywords and phrases reveal so much about travel trends, how people are travelling, where they want to go, their travel dreams and aspirations. Dubai comes up daily, Australia appears often, and Syria is increasingly popping up. And occasionally I'll get weird things and wonder how they got people here, but I'm pleased it got them here all the same. Just for fun, here are some of the results from searches undertaken one day last week that brought people to Cool Travel Guide:
cool travel

cool travel blogs
cool travel destinations
cool island to travel to
budget travel in dubai
dubai special things to buy

desert island job

best time to visit Australia

best time visit summer great barrier reef
boutique hotels damascus
indian pacific platinum class
things to buy in UAE
villa luxe Calabria

thorntree Northern Cyprus

travel costs in Calabria
travel chairs (!)
't' (hmmm...)
luxury rail journeys
fodors top ten destinations
guardian travel writing pieces

experiential travel lisbon
stanley cook dubai (?!)

I have no idea who Stanley Cook is or why someone thought they might find him here, but I find the results fascinating all the same. I'm keen to hear how much attention other travel bloggers pay to their incoming traffic search results... especially those bloggers who are also professional travel writers. Anyone out there got any interesting lists or insights?


previously.bitten said...

I find myself spending by break time obsessing over travel, and researching different places to go. Lately, I've decided to embark upon a mission to hunt down all the space invaders i can come across.

Though, I'll need to do more research to discover their locations.

I've also been seeking out street art both local and foreign.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lara,
As a travel writer with a travel blog I am always fascinated to see where people who read my blog come from, too. I check my stats on and feedburner, and have noticed that a lot of people from Europe find me as well as India and the USA. I'm starting to see more people from Australia and Africa now, too.

I agree with you about the search results being helpful and sometimes strange and interesting! Oddly, one of my most popular posts is about Hamish the Highland Cow - and I always like to see what people typed in to find that one!

Lara Dunston said...

Hi previously.bitten

Space Invaders, hey?! Once upon a time I would obsess over travel too, but it's funny, when you're a full-time travel writer, you want a break from travel in your breaks.

Are you finding the street art on the web are you? One of the things I love to do when I travel to cities is take photos of the street art/graffiti. It says so much about a place. I love the more sophisticated stuff - a lot of what you find in the Baltic countries for instance is very political.

Hi Melody - I'm glad to hear you do the same thing! I was starting to think I was the only one! Oh yeah, the bizarre ones really crack me up. Makes you wonder...

Thanks for stopping by, you two! :)

Anonymous said...

We have lots of space invaders in my neighborhood! I've got to go take photos of them!