Keyword SpyI stumbled across a site called Keyword Spy, which purports to give ranking data about the keywords that are being used in searches that lead people to your site.
Rather than telling you what keywords most people are using to get to your site--something you can get from your web log reports--it tells you what keywords are associated with your site in a stacked ranking against all other sites on the Internet.
Confused? Here's a sample report from my own site, www.immortalgame.com:
You'll see that I have the number 1 position for the first three keywords on the list: "empire troubadour," "sylvia lennox" and "891 post street." That means that if someone types in one of those three keywords in a search engine, they are most likely to end up on my site amongst all the sites on the Internet.
But it doesn't mean that those keywords bring the most people to my site because they are not necessarily popular keywords for searches. In fact, search for the keyword "immortal game" brings the most people to my site because, in addition to being the title of my first novel, it is also the name of a famous game in chess history. However, there are more popular destination sites than mine for "immortal game" searches which explains why it doesn't appear in the top ten list on Keyword Spy.
I think the keywords that I "own" in the number one spot are sort of a interesting grab bag. The Empire Troubadour, for example, is a (now antique) high end turntable that my private eye protagonist August Riordan has in his apartment. It's described on the Stereo Equipment page of the August's World section of my site.
Sylvia Lennox is a character from Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye, a novel that I discuss in an essay called "Writing the Long Goodbye."
891 Post Street is the address for the apartment that Dashiell Hammett lived in when he wrote The Maltese Falcon. On my website, I provide a sort of guided tour for the apartment from the time when it was dedicated as a literary landmark.
It's also interesting that the one keyword that I might expect my site to be the premiere destination for--Mark Coggins--has actually been usurped by another website. Check out this chart of the "competitors" for the Mark Coggins keyword:
Yep, it's the book scanning site of Google. I've always been very ambivalent about Google's book scanning project and this only drives home the point. They are, in effect, driving traffic and generating ad revenue as a result of posting content created by me without my permission. Furthermore, since they control the order of search results they serve up (on their search engine at least), they can and do give the Google Books results a primo spot.
I guess it's a good thing they recently settled a class-action lawsuit with the Author's Guild. I'm still grumpy about it, though.