Dec 31 2016

The Stuff You Actually Wanted to Know, 2016 Edition

All year long, I keep a list of the search terms that bring people to my site because I find it wildly fascinating. When I did this in 2015, my blog was just a tiny fledgling, so there weren’t a whole lot of them — most traffic came from friends and family who intentionally bookmarked the homepage and occasionally checked back for updates.

This year, “organic” traffic has surged by comparison, so this list is much more expansive. It’s always a trip to see exactly how people wind up here, especially when it’s fairly obvious they were looking for something else. While some of these search terms make a whole lot more sense than last year’s, I’m often still baffled by (and grateful for) Google’s algorithm (thanks for sending me some peeps, Google!).

Here are the top 10 searches that brought you to MichiforniaGirl in 2016, copied exactly the way they were typed into Google search.

1. “$50 Giveaway”: I’m semi-surprised my site showed up in this search. Every now and then I do run a giveaway, though not nearly as often as a lot of blogs. That’s because mine aren’t generally sponsored — I just pay for them myself, and as much as I wish I were drowning in gift cards, I unfortunately am not (yet?). But I appreciate you immensely, so I do love to ship you fun things from time to time. The most recent giveaway took place last month on my Facebook page, and if you participated, I thank you! Reading about your traditions was a legitimate joy.

2. “gender reveal box”: The post about Baby B’s gender reveal was pretty brief and one of the very first things I published on this site, but somehow it’s gotten a ton of traction this year. It’s one of the top five posts almost every week.

3. “smell addiction of shampoo during pregnancy”: See! It wasn’t just me! Someone else was actually searching for this (and totally wound up here, I’m sure). I appreciate any proof that might convince me I’m semi-normal.

4. “looking at photos to remind yourself that you are still here?”: I have no idea why Google directed this one to my site, but it hurts my heart a little to think that people feel disconnected enough to need this kind of reminder. Although, I have to say, sometimes this whole California thing feels so lonely that I actually sort of get it — so, Google searchers, if you wind up here again, I hope you read this and know that you are okay, and that we can all be semi-normal together.

5. “feeling of pregnancy is incredible”: It is! It IS incredible! And also weird!

6. “why you should go to the San Francisco writers conference”: That conference, which I detailed in this post, was for sure one of the coolest things I did in 2016 — and also one of the most stressful.

7. “newborn must haves”: I actually wrote something with this exact title! Well, almost. SEO game improving.

8. “blog”: Just…blog.

9. Things About Teaching: There were so many teaching-related searches this year that I have to group them. Here are just a few: “I can’t teach anymore,” “knowing teaching isn’t for you anymore,” “teaching wasn’t the right choice,” “done teaching AP English,” and “I don’t want to teach anymore.” That last one still shows up over and over and over, and I saw it so often that it served as the inspiration for this article.

10. Things About Marriage: Because of this viral post, I have started to get a TON of traffic relating to marital stuff. It’s been fascinating to see these searches in particular — it feels like a peek into other relationships, which also feels kind of voyeuristic, which ALSO feels a tiny bit uncomfortable. This is just a small sampling:

“when couples sleep alone”
“could marriage work with only one in love”
“never know when I can’t joke with my husband”
“amidst wedding ceremony we two were busy taking selfie”
“when you’re pretty sure your spouse isn’t good for you”
“statistics on people in love with their friend’s spouse”

I mean, maybe these searchers were just trying to find song lyrics or something. Maybe it has nothing to do with their actual situation. But I was riveted…by all of the above, and also by the very idea that Google sends anyone to my tiny corner of the Internet at all.

No matter how you wound up here, thank you for sticking around! I am so grateful for your readership, and I’ve loved hearing from so many of you this year.

Happy 2017!

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
-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.

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