In the course of poking around to see who is referring to my blog posts, downloading stuff from my web page, and the like, I've encountered a couple of puzzles, and it occurred to me that some of my readers may know much more about the subject than I do.
The first came when I followed the link at the bottom of my web page to usage statistics provided by my ISP. One of them is "Top 100 of 4635 Total Referrers." Reading down them, I noticed a lot of what looked like pornographic URL's, mixed in with less exotic and more obviously relevant ones:
Naturally, I clicked on some of them. And ended up looking not at pictures of hot naked girlfriends but at a respectable, innocuous, indeed dull page
offering information on online education. I tried clicking on some more and ended up, each time, in the same place. It doesn't work if I click on a URL that looks as though it might actually belong there—only the pornographic ones.
My only guess so far at what is going on is that traffic is being steered to the respectable page by the use of what look like unrespectable URL's, somehow forwarded to the respectable URL when you click on them. But surely there must be a more plausible explanation.
My second puzzle is less exotic. I did a Google search for the title of our POD cookbook and got a surprisingly large number of hits. But when I clicked on one and searched the page for a word from the title, it was not there—there was no reference at all to the book. That was not the case for all of the hits, but it was for a surprisingly large number.
The pattern was not random. The pages I was finding were not pages likely to talk about a medieval & renaissance cookbook. But they were pages likely to link to my blog—largely libertarian or libertarian related pages. In some cases, the date of the page predated the cookbook by several years.
My current guess is that those pages had links to something that had once appeared on my blog. Somehow, when I started posting to the blog about the cookbook, something changed, sending Google a (mistaken) signal that the links were going to those posts.
Can anyone offer a clearer or more plausible explanation of what I'm seeing? Is there a good webbed discussion of this stuff somewhere?
Labels: links URLs puzzles web