Dec 31 2015

The Stuff You Actually Wanted to Know, 2015 Edition

One of my favorite things about being “behind the scenes” of a blog is that I get to see some of the search terms that bring traffic to my site. Prior to this year, I had no idea this kind of information was available — I was clueless about a lot of blog-related things, actually, and I feel like I learn something new at least once a week. But your search terms? My fave. Love them. So fascinating.

Many people who find my site were clearly looking for something else. I feel awful for having disappointed them, and does this mean I need some serious SEO help? Just checking.

Here are the top 10 searches that brought people to MichiforniaGirl this year, copied exactly the way they were typed into Google search.

1. “small spiders dust”: We did have that baby spider explosion when we first moved in, and lots of spiders in general before we had the exterior treated. So I guess that’s semi-relevant. But why are people searching for this phrase as a whole? Did they mean small spiders that resemble dust? Small spiders that live amidst the dust? I have no idea, but my moving woes were clearly not what they were trying to find. Sorry about that.

2. “US indefinite vacation”: I assume these searchers were looking for ideas about traversing the United States with no specific end date in mind. Unfortunately, this is not a travel blog, and that is not at all what this post was about. Yikes. Sorry again. But let me try to help. If you stumbled upon my site because you’re still looking for ideas, you…could…ride bikes on Mackinac Island? Hit up Disney World a couple times? Stay in San Francisco for a bit? I hear this guy is renting a tent in his backyard for the SUPER reasonable price of $899 a month. Also, I am jealous that you have the opportunity and the leisure to take an ACTUAL indefinite vacation. Oh also, you are filthy rich. You can do better than a tent in someone’s backyard, so forget that part. But do ride bikes.

3. “smelling car air conditioner is a sign of pregnancy”: Is it? I don’t know. I imagine some women were trying to figure out if they were pregnant and started searching for telltale signs and symptoms, but I’m only an expert on the sudsy scent that wafts through the vents during a car wash. That was my drug when I was pregnant with B…and I should mention that, for me, it was definitely NOT an early sign, but rather something that hit me much later on. That said, I have in fact heard that craving the smell of air conditioner is sometimes a thing during pregnancy; but, um, I would not let that be your only tell. Pick up a test. Probably much more accurate.

4. “is tea tree oil addicting?”: FINALLY, a search that might logically bring you here (see link above). In my last trimester, the answer to that question was clearly a resounding yes — but I’m happy to report that my compulsion for ALL THINGS TEA TREE dissipated almost immediately after B was born. Dear body, you are So. Weird.

5. “what is pica disorder I love smelling pine sol”: This search ALSO led people to the link in #3 (wow, that post got a ton of traffic for a minute there). Just a reminder: I did not have pica disorder. But yep, the scent of Pine Sol was like a magical version of tea tree in my last few weeks of pregnancy, so I feel you on that one. Our house had never been cleaner than it was when I was, like, 39 weeks — and that’s coming from a bona fide neat freak.

6. “caulking addiction”: Man, for a non-addict, I got a lot of addiction-related traffic this year. This one in particular is sort of a mystery to me, and I’m curious about it. Are they addicted to the smell? The appearance of neatly sealed cracks? The process of caulking itself? Not sure. But that search term probably sent them straight to the same link from #3 (again?!) — where, admittedly, there is a pretty decent photo if you’re into caulk porn.

7. “falling apart outlet in wall”: These queries are starting to make me feel like I’m accidentally running a blog about house maintenance. Is that what I’ve done here? Honestly, I barely know how to wield a hammer.

8. “why teaching is not teaching anymore”: So glad you asked. I don’t have a post about this yet. You know what I DO have about this topic? Opinions. Many, many opinions, too complicated and extensive to detail right now. But maybe someday. In a novel. Any literary agents out there? Publishers? Hook me up, please.

9. “I don’t want to be a teacher anymore”: UPDATE: Check out my 7 guesses why this is the most-searched phrase by far. These searchers, burnt out and exhausted and maybe a little bit cynical, arrived at this sentimental post — and promptly took a machete to their computer when they saw the schmaltz, I’m sure. But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand. We’ve all been there, I think. I distinctly remember one of my college professors telling us that, statistically, many teachers only “last” an average of five years before they get fed up enough to leave and pursue a different career. And that was fifteen-ish years ago, when the typical teacher’s experience was objectively better than it is now! At any rate, I’m totally fascinated that people are “searching up” (eh, kids?! EH? My high schoolers would be so proud of me) this phrase. That means there are teachers feeling trapped and looking for a way out, but have no idea what else to do with their skill set.

10. “michifornia girl”: YOU GUYS. This search term just started popping up just in the last month or so, and I can’t believe it. That means people have actually begun to search for ME, for my site, which didn’t even exist one year ago today. Obviously, these people are the only ones who actually got what they came for…and (maybe? Hopefully?) liked it enough to subscribe to my posts. (P.S. If you haven’t subscribed already, please do!)

In any case, 2015 has been the year of the crazy. What has become of my life? I still don’t know. But this writing thing has been a pretty interesting experiment — and one I’m sort of inclined to keep up, even though sometimes I’m pretty sure my only reader is my mom.

Happy 2016!

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
Neil Gaiman


About Melissa

Melissa is a SAG-AFTRA actress and former high school teacher from Michigan who (reluctantly) moved across the country when she was six months pregnant. She is the winner of the SmokeLong Quarterly Grand Micro Contest and a past winner of the Breakwater Review Fiction Prize (selected by Susanna Kaysen, author of Girl, Interrupted), the F(r)iction flash fiction competition, and The Writer's inaugural personal essay contest, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, HuffPost, Scary Mommy, and The Boston Globe Magazine, among others. She has been shortlisted for both the Bridport Prize and the Bath Flash Fiction Award and was recently selected for The Best Small Fictions and the Wigleaf Top 50. Melissa is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

3 comments on “The Stuff You Actually Wanted to Know, 2015 Edition

  1. Just found your list about teaching on Huff Post. I left teaching after 35 years but I was too young to actually retire… go figure!
    My ceramics room was my sanctuary and that of many students over the years. Teaching was the best in the beginning. Living among the changes happening in education was painful at best. They pretty much stopped teaching art in our middle schools which meant our high school students were ill prepared for high school level art classes. No one really cared about that though, at least not the people planning the curriculum.
    I have many good memories of my teaching days and I still hear from young people how my class made a difference for them or made them want to come to school during their senior year!
    My heart goes out to all the new educators and all the ten years plus veterans who continue in the profession. It is the best job on earth but it gets little respect.
    Want to know a secret? My main goal in the classroom was not to help someone make a perfect pinch pot, throw a beautiful vase or craft a creative coil sculpture…my main goal was to help students become good people. At the end of each semester they could work together, laugh at their mistakes and clean up after themselves…all great life skills!
    My time teaching was definitely Time Well Spent. Happy trails and I hope to meet you at one of our beautiful National Parks one day.
    J. Esche
    Washington State USA

    • Love your “secret.” I think so many of the best teachers have that same main goal: work to release better people into the world, rather than better students. The rest will come. Thank you for sharing your story!

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