This Is The End, Sharkblog, The End (Kind Of)


Earlier this year I announced that would be dedicated primarily to Sharkblog.

I was wrong.

I wasn’t wrong at the time. I really meant it. But through the course of events in the largest break between blog posts in’s history, the only real objective Sharkblog ever had was achieved. I have started a career as in the glorious field of search engine optimization. That was what Sharkblog really was. The fun surface skin of shark hybrid monster studies was, as I mentioned repeatedly, nothing more than a veiled attempt at self-education. I simply chose shark monsters as a subject for consistency and control for the course of various experiments in monitoring traffic, garnering traffic from strangers across the web, putting things I read into practice, and so on.

And now here’s the thing. I have the job I wanted Sharkblog to get me. The job I have is like a crash course in hands-on optimization tools and techniques. I already know more in just a few months than I was able to teach myself in over a year on my own, because I’m using real tools to help real businesses. I also have actual humans teaching me things. It’s like grad school, where the things you publish get seen by real people who matter. Except they’re paying me, not the other way around.

And there is SO much I want to use for that I had to make some tough decisions about Sharkblog. I really did enjoy it, and I am still planning to write those Orsonsharktopus screenplays at some point. But I am revoking all urgency and importance of Sharkblog as far as is concerned. This doesn’t mean it’s going away entirely, it just means I won’t really be pretending to be shark-focused anymore, and any time I blog about SEO, it won’t necessarily involve shark hybrids.

I had wanted to give one final post about exactly what I’d learned from Sharkblog, but I’ve actually been away from it for so long and I’ve learned so much SINCE the last Sharkblog post that I don’t remember where the self-education ends and where the professional education begins.

However, I’d definitely like to thank each and every reader who followed Sharkblog with even the smallest interest. One thing I know that Sharkblog taught me was optimization, shmoptimization – if you don’t write posts that people enjoy reading, you’re wasting everyone’s time. So, thanks, all of you. This is the end. I’m breaking up with Sharkblog.

We’ll still be friends.

…Here’s the good news: the Hideous Hybrid Menagerie is officially up and running. This is a lovely little part of where I send visitors far, far away. It’s not good business, but hey, I’m just some guy, not a business, so it’s okay. The Menagerie is a benevolent hub of links where you can read much, much more about your favorite shark monsters. And it will remain open for ever and ever. I can add to it over time as I receive information and requests for information. I am not anticipating many requests, so I don’t think this will be a great time hinderance.

Check it out!

Sharkblog’s The Hideous Hybrid Menagerie

At some point, I may add more images to really spruce the Menagerie up, but currently, I’m sans-Photoshop, so it’s pretty much all text. This may or may not be a temporary situation. Whatever.

Hopefully this music video will help us all move past this difficult grieving phase:

Once again, thanks for reading. Please enjoy the rest of, and come back often!

New Gig: SEO Specialist (For Realsies)

Extremely good news, ladies and gentlemen!

I have landed a part-time gig as a Search Engine Optimization Specialist.  The words are capitalized because that’s the official title.  I’ll give plenty of detail, I’m sure, on the company itself and all the amazing goings on that occur on a daily basis just as soon as full-time work is written in stone with these folks.  We’re expecting sometime in the spring.  But for now, I’ll just let the world know I’ve got  up to eight hours a week of SEO work, and that is what I’ve been after.

To become really good at something (such as SEO), one needs not only theory but also practice and mentorship.  With Sharkblog, I’ve been giving myself a very small amount of practice, and there has been no mentorship.  This SEO gig should cover all three areas, and I aim to improve my skills dramatically in a short time.  The more SEO work I produce, the more powerful I shall become.

It’ll be rough until I can do it full-time.  In the meantime, I’ll still be working at in Santa Monica, a 50-mile commute each way from my place in Oxnard.  So this new work will be on top of that.

But it will be worth it, because if I can prove I don’t suck at life and actually get hired on with this company, I will transition from working 50 miles away to working at home.  My commute will be upstairs.

Even better than the non-commute, however, will be the work itself.  I’ve got no particular complaints with being an account manager for an automotive advertising & lead company, but account-managing has never been a passion of mine.  And the life-after-account-management career path is both vague and uninteresting.  The places I can go after being an SEO peon are way more attractive to a personality like mine.

What’s more, there’ll be more time at home to spend with my super-awesome baby girl Aliena.  I can’t even describe what a relief that is for the Parenting Department.  I can’t.  Even.  Describe.  (See: Harry Chapin – Cat’s in the Cradle)

I’m also anticipating a slight increase in productivity as far as personal writing projects goes.  In my current situation, I have very little time and even less energy to devote to the pile of StuffIAmWorkingOn.  By telecommuting, I open up about three hours each day.  And by not wearing myself down with driving those three hours, my brain, I expect, will be more useful.  So maybe I can finally complete 1) the adaptation of a play I’ve written into a screenplay, 2) a short story I started that gets longer and longer the more I write it, 3) a refresh of the novel I completed a draft for last year, 4) that book of poetry with those sketches I’ve been drawing, and 5) everything else that I’ve been planning to start but haven’t because of the previous four.

And the wonderful thing here, the truly wonderful thing here, is that I’ll be happy with my day job.  It won’t be just a day job.  It’ll be a day career.  It’ll actually be an inspiration to the personal projects instead of a hindrance.  I’ll be happy to do the work, I’ll aspire to go further, I’ll be proud to describe what I do.  More on this topic later.  As I write this, I’m actually at the office in Santa Monica.  I should get back to work.

Have a lovely long weekend!

Yours truly,

SEO Specialist

P.S. Awesome.

SHARKBLOG: MSNBC – Fishermen reel in shark the size of a school bus

PhotoBlog – Fishermen reel in shark the size of a school bus.A whale shark corpse, if reanimated, means a huge zombie shark problem for Pakistan. - Sharkblog

Here we have the makings of a fine zombie-shark tale: a dead body mysteriously found at sea. No immediate cause of death detected.

And they say it was sold after hoisted onto the dock.

But sold to whom? A mad scientist on a mission to raise the dead, perhaps? What happens when he succeeds?

Whale shark body + reanimation = zombie shark the size of a school bus. Pakistan is doomed.

SHARKBLOG: Image SEO – A Control Group At Last

Over the weekend I bummed around the back side of the San Gabriel Mountains with my parents. I explored Devil’s Punchbowl, which you can read about here. I got up close and personal with some yucca plants, which you can read about here (presuming Wikipedia isn’t still blacked out to protest SOPA & PIPA).

By the way, if you were ever confused about the relationship between Joshua trees and the other yuccas you see in the high desert, it’s this: Yucca is the genus, not the species. So Joshua trees are yuccas. I FUCKING KNEW IT.

Anyway, I took my camera around with me this weekend and had a good old-fashioned photo exploration tour. I hadn’t done that in a while. So when I wasn’t hanging with my folks, adapting a stageplay into a screenplay, or enjoying the midday one-man karaoke show at the combo espresso shop/wine tasting cellar in downtown Wrightwood, I was busy editing photos.

And because the Facebook photo uploader blows, the majority of the good stuff is here at instead of Facebook.


While uploading, I remembered that I’ve been totally ignoring the ALT attribute. My photo uploader has a convenient ALT attribute field I can fill in. I recall long ago reading why the ALT attribute matters for Image SEO purposes — something for search engine spiders to crawl, because they are blind — but at the time it seemed like a lot of bother, and anyway my main concern was just getting up and running.

But now I’m up and running, and Sharkblog is my ongoing SEO experiment. Things are at a point now where there’s plenty of Sharkblog imagery and plenty more non-Sharkblog imagery.

And Sharkblog is an experiment, right? And any good experiment needs a good control group. So, in the interest of not creating more work for myself, I hereby declare all non-Sharkblog images the control group, and I will continue to NOT add any ALT attributes. For Sharkblog’s images, moving forward, I will try to add some ALTs. That’s a minimal investment of time, and now that I have the ability to track incoming visitors by search engine type, I can see how many suckers were brought here by an image search.

This’ll be good. I’m pretty sure it will.

Here are photos from this weekend, and also from even further back in time.  Find them in the album called “Places & Things, Places & Things,” or peruse the other albums at your leisure.

SHARKBLOG: An Early Introduction To The Hideous Hybrid Menagerie

Finding myself alone for ten days while my wife & our baby spend some time out of state visiting relatives, I figure this would be the ideal time to catch up on my shark monster movies. Alas, my spare mailbox key does not work, so the Netflix queue I so carefully put together will have to wait until Devon gets home with our real key so I can get the DVDs. And then I have to wait until she leaves again, because for some reason, she doesn’t want to watch “Dinoshark.”

Whatever. No biggie, I can still start building the next important part of Sharkblog: the Hideous Hybrid Menagerie. It’ll be a place where I can run the following scientific experiment:

HYPOTHESIS: An online reference library of monstrous hybrids of fiction both realized and not-yet-realized will be a source of greater organic search traffic. Based on the experience of the past, and the continually revised algorithms powering search results, I expect to see an increase in visitors to this well-organized and keyword-rich hub of hybrid monster information.

EXECUTION AND MEASUREMENT: I shall build one page with a list of the names of each beast, and, where possible, reference links to more detailed websites for each. For each as-yet-unrealized beast that I invent (e.g. Barry Manilodon) I will create a more detailed page, hosted on this website, with links back to the main list and any blog posts that reference the beast in question. I shall measure the increase from all dates prior to the publication of the very first page, and segment the growth between publications of each new page. This experiment will be ongoing, but expect a report on findings sometime in Q2 of this year.

ANALYSIS: I will utilize Google Analytics & their new visitor flow chart to determine if organic search results lead more directly to Sharkblog-related pages and posts. I will keep track of time spent on the site, amount of visitors each day, bounce rate/drop-off rate, and number of pages viewed per visit.

The idea for the Hideous Hybrid Menagerie stems from the fact that a post from last March is still the #1 page viewed by organic search traffic. (Eagle Vs. Shark Vs. EagleShark, if you’re curious.) I realize there’s lots of information about hybrid monsters out there, and people need a central location where they can easily find resources to research these creatures. It’s library science…sort of.

This experiment is part of a new content marketing strategy I’m devising. It’s “marketing” in the sense that I want to attract an audience and see if they are able to guide themselves around the website, which will indicate interest, which in the real world would mean a sales lead. I have nothing to sell, but if were a brick-and-mortar store, I’d want people browsing the Sharkblog aisle. If I can demonstrate an ability to guide users to a certain section of a website and stay interested, well…bingo, that makes me a marketer. And I’d rather be a marketer than an account manager.

Account management bores me.


Just in time for the Detroit Auto Show, I am ready to unveil the all-new 2012 – now with more Sharkblog!

Sharkblog is not only here permanently, but is now a much bigger priority, largely thanks to my friendly wife who occasionally reminds me that I lack focus and really shouldn’t bounce from project to project when I haven’t fully exhausted the potential of the first one I started.

Hence: rather than start a new project involving all the things I left out of Sharkblog last year, I’ll instead keep on Sharkblogging and go ahead & implement the things. All the things. And I’ll track it all using both Google Analytics and the new site stats that come with installing Jetpack for WordPress. (Tracking things is very important.)

The very nature of Sharkblog displays my natural tendency to split focus. It’s a two-fold project: blog about shark monsters, mainly shark hybrid beasts, and also blog about the SEO results of the blog about shark hybrids and monsters. It’s like having a two-person play where the other person is the actor’s reflection in a mirror.

So my New Year’s resolution this year is not a list of benchmarks to check off. It is one word: focus.

And I’ve decided that Sharkblog is worth my time and energy, so is now more devoted to high-quality shark monster hybrid content than ever before. The site has been redesigned to be more Sharkblog-centric.

On a related note, I’m also more devoted to getting a better day career than “account manager,” so I’m going to really boost the efforts to bring in more high-quality traffic with Sharkblog. I’m going to do one thing at a time, and do it well, and make sure I can show measurable improvements. I’m going to establish a definable Sharkblog universe. I’m going to track the progress and analyze every single little move. I’m going to focus the hell out of this portion of the website.

And I’ll still post about other random shit from time to time. Don’t you worry about that, no sir.

And luckily for everyone out there, I’ve made the switch from creating a new blog post from every tweet to simply having a Twitter sidebar widget (to your left), so you can subscribe by email & your inbox won’t get blasted with constant nonsense. You’ll just get the solid and the polished.

To sum up: a brand new direction for, and a bigger and brighter future for Sharkblog. More focus. More sharks. More better.


SHARKBLOG: The Existential Quandary

It’s the end of the year, which means it’s time to jerk my head out of the sand and face the analytics.

Thanks to Sharkblog’s SEO experiments, I’m much more experienced than I was at the beginning of the year. And my site has much better search placement than it would have had without the Sharkblogging experiment. Unfortunately, good search placement on certain random keywords doesn’t guarantee lots of high-quality traffic. My site traffic is pretty pathetic, and looking at the entire existence of the website from early February to late December, it’s obvious that there has been very little growth when it comes to visitors.

And I have to let that be okay. I have had no tangible goals, and so any growth in traffic would be a victory for vanity only. I have no product to sell, and thus no immediate need for growth. I have future plans to leverage site traffic, but “future plans to leverage site traffic” is no kind of reason to visit a website. It’s literally been SEO for SEO’s sake.

Also, I’ve spent all year NOT doing very specific things that I know I would have to do in order to produce an increase in quality traffic. I specifically didn’t create a Facebook page for Sharkblog (or any other part of my website), nor for Google+ or any other social outlet. I have not actively encouraged sharing links to my website, I have not incentivized sharing links or participating in any way, I have not reached out to the online community directly, and I have not engaged in dialogue with total strangers. All these things can help grow traffic, and I have been hesitating for many reasons, but mostly the time committment.

Furthermore: content is king, and let’s face it, my content could be better. It could always be better.

To be fair, I’ve had a hell of a year OUTSIDE of Sharkblog, so I’ll cut myself some slack.

And frankly, some of my numbers are, in fact, pretty darn good. Look at that graphic. It’s not all sour grapes. New visitors to returning visitors is nearly 60/40, which is great.


Right. You bet.

But now, on the verge of 2012, I find myself at a tipping point. Do I relaunch Sharkblog with a renewed vigor, or do I retire Sharkblog in favor of a newer, bolder endeavor? Do I leave Sharkblog behind and take with me the knowledge gained from the experiment, creating something even more personal and more focused on the content itself than on the analytics? I’ll admit, there is something I’ve been meaning to get to for longer than this website has been around. And honestly, the only point in continuing Sharkblog would be to test out in 2012 the things I never tested out in 2011.

That’s not to say I don’t love Sharkblog. It’s been kind of a blast. But moving forward, it’s either pointless or else it’s a bigger time investment. Can’t have both, can’t have neither.

It’s a pretty tough decision. I can’t make that call right now, but I ought to make the call before January 1st.

Check back in the new year, I’ll have an answer for us all by then.

Final message for this, the final post of 2011:

Thank you all. If you’re reading this, thank you, thank you, thank you. You are the high-quality traffic. You’re part of the grand experiment, and you’re more valuable to me than you’ll ever know. Thank you times infinity.

SHARKBLOG: Orsonsharktopus In Love

Dunkleosteus was the largest fish the world had ever known. And she was beautiful.

I read about this giant thing from the early days of the world courtesy of the Discovery Channel and suddenly it dawned on me how to make the original tale of Orsonsharktopus make sense. I hadn’t nailed down the first of four films, I had only described it as “general mayhem.” But now all the exposition fits right into place.

Dunkleosteus was the love interest for Orsonsharktopus once upon a time, see, but Dunkleosteus was a beast of the planet Earth, whereas Orsonsharktopus is immortal.

They were lovers in the Devonian Period, and when Dunkleosteus went extinct along with the rest of her species, Orsonsharktopus lost the greatest love he would ever know. His heart was broken beyond repair. Over the eons, he grew bitter and cynical, but maintained a low profile so he could stew in his misery for all time without being bothered.

Skip ahead to present day. The Santa Bertha Aquarium (yes, our fictional town is called Santa Bertha, and it is located on the southern-central coast of California) has received some fossils to display as a new attraction: Dunkleosteus…

I can totally see this working. The first portion of the first Orsonsharktopus film can be like the first part of “Up,” where we feel all sad for Orsonsharktopus after Dunkleosteus goes extinct, and we sort of sympathize as he roams the oceans for eons, getting progressively lonelier and meaner.

And then he sees the advertisements for the Dunkleosteus fossils at the Santa Bertha Aquarium, and goes to find her. And when he finds out the love of his life has NOT returned to him, but in fact is being used as some cheap tourism gimmick, he is even more pissed off than ever.

I’m sure you can guess what comes next. General mayhem. Only now it’s personal, and much more passionate. It all turns into a monster action flick, with screaming crowds and mindlessly large quantities of human deaths. And in the end, our scientist heroes save the town and freeze him in carbonite.

And there, frozen in carbonite, and placed alongside his eternal love inside the aquarium, is our final image of Orsonsharktopus.

…Until the sequel.



SHARKBLOG: Stephen King Nearly Eaten

‘I went cartwheeling through the air’: surfer’s lucky escape as shark takes chunk out of board.

Please note: this article is not about horror fiction writer Stephen King, who lives in Maine, USA, but rather some surfer from Australia who is (coincidentally) also named Stephen King.

Nevertheless, a compelling story – some great white shark took a Hollywood-style bite out of his surfboard, and King dramatically made it back to shore to warn the others.

Now, the event itself and the real-life news story is not entirely unique; on the contrary, anyone who watches Shark Week knows that this sort of thing happens with some regularity.

But given that the surfer’s name in this case is the same as our most popular horror writer, the question now arises: why hasn’t Stephen King, the horror writer, ever written any stories involving sharks? They are fearsome brutes with zillions of super-sharp teeth in their heads. Scary, right?

Just because there aren’t a lot of surfers in the northeastern state of Maine doesn’t mean you can’t create a shark tale up there. I for one would read a book about a massive shark that attacked lobster boats.lobstershark

OR, better yet, I would read a book about a monster that was part shark, part lobster. Like, a huge great white shark with massive lobster claws instead of pectoral fins.

You can have that one, Stephen King, I will ask only for a measly 2% in royalties for coming up with the idea. You’re welcome.

SHARKBLOG: 100 Facts About Sharks (A Book!)

100 Facts About Sharks | 100 Facts About Sharks.

Finally. A useful book on sharks.

Check this site often. Apparently, there is a promotional video in the works!

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated since October.

It’s a strange thing to contemplate – how do you continually produce fresh and relevant content for a printed book of facts, without giving away the product? And if you can’t do that, how do you market it in non-traditional ways?

And when you think about the product you’re selling…do you even need non-traditional marketing? Is a blog-style website design not even useful?

Hmm… Blog Blog.

Are you excited?  I am excited.  The Blog is here.

This excites me because I’ve been waiting for this site to really get going.  Even as I type, their library of infographics is becoming larger and stronger.  The addition of the blog will surely pull in more creative types who will use (and/or contribute to) the library.

I encourage folks to use this site as much as possible.  More than anything, I want this site to succeed because I want their “labs” to come online for me.  I expect a powerful graphic-creation tool.  I want it now.  I drool for this tool.  I dream about it.  I CAN. NOT. WAIT.

In the meantime, I will continue to quietly gather data on sharks and shark hybrid monstrosities as they relate to my own web traffic.  It’s all in the interest of learning, I swear.  It’s only partly about the fame.  Don’t want to get stuck in my current job forever, you know, gotta learn my own ropes before I manage someone else’s.

Created by Shark Lovers at

In other news, I heard StumbleUpon got a nifty new redesign.  I haven’t looked at it. I’m not a Stumbler myself, but I’ve heard good things, so I decided to help myself and StumbleUpon at the same time.  Now you have an icon down below.  Share away.

I also added Tumblr, because it rhymes with stumbler.

SHARKBLOG: Sharkdroid Is Nigh

How Sharks Go Fast – ScienceNOW.

Do yourself a favor and read this article.  It’s completely bad-ass.  Some biomechanical researcher has been studying sharks’ tails and how they operate.

What’s so bad-ass about some nature scientist’s findings, you say?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Firstly: rainbow water swirls. Secondly: when you study the biomechanics of biological sharks, this leads directly to mechanical sharks.  In otherwords, sharkdroids.  It’s a shark.  It’s a droid.  It’s a robotic goddamn shark.

And I was searching for the perfect epic foe to battle Orsonsharktopus for one final sequel in Japan.  It’s so obvious to me now.  A GIANT ROBOTIC SHARK WITH THE HEAD AND MIND OF BRENT SPINER.  Orsonsharktopus vs. Sharkdroid.  It’s perfect.

Sharkblog: A Missing Piece

Sharkstache or MustasharkMovember has been a strange experience; I’m not learning as much as I would have liked about men’s health issues, but I am learning a few disturbing things about myself.  More on that later.  What’s on my mind right now is a gaping hole in all our lives, and it affects both men and women.

Mustachioed sharks, it occurs to me, are sorely lacking in our culture’s literary & cinematic cannon.

In previous posts I have described my intention to write a series of screenplays involving a monster that’s part shark, part octopus, and part Orson Welles.  If we go with the Orson Welles from “The Stranger” we get the mustache.  This solves the problem of having NO mustachioed sharks, but it doesn’t make mustachioed sharks a widely-accepted and normal phenomenon.  We must go further.

Therefore, in light of this gaping inadequacy, I hereby declare on behalf of all Americans a desire — nay, a need — for a remake of the classic movie “Jaws” but with a mustache on the shark this time around.

The ball’s in your court, Stephen Spielberg.

SHARKBLOG: Halloween

Late posting, but I believe it bears mentioning.

Yes, it’s true. We dressed our daughter up as Jaws for Halloween. I was Robert Shaw and my wife was Richard Dreyfuss.

And oh, how the candy did flow.

Not gonna lie, it felt good to dress up in costume again.  I haven’t been a proper actor in about a year.  I do miss it sometimes…

And I have to say: I think I expected more of a rewarding feeling from dressing Aliena up as a ferocious shark.  What I failed to take into account is that she’s too young to understand the pleasures of wearing silly costumes.  She wears several silly costumes each day, so really, to her, the shark outfit was little more than a cumbersome sleeper with a toothy bonnet, all in a boring gray.

We dressed her up for our own sakes, not for hers.  I realize this now.

But just you wait till next year.  Next year she’ll be on board. Next year we’re gonna blow everyone’s minds.  Nothing’s written in stone yet, and I know Devon will take some persuading, but I’m thinking of a Space Adventurer theme.  Stay tuned. – Infographics & Data Visualizations

Infographics & Data Visualizations –

I hope you cats are ready for the next level of Sharkblog, ’cause I just discovered this website where soon I will literally be able to CREATE MY OWN INFOGRAPHICS.

Oh, this excites me in all the wrong ways.  Oh, yes.

Their generator tool is not yet available, but I’ve signed up to be among the first to know when it launches.  In the meantime, I went ahead and tried out their me-on-Twitter tool.

As I suspected, I am completely pathetic on Twitter:

This is actually really embarrassing, since I talk up Twitter to people in real life all the time. But I’m not going to go out of my way to build a list of followers on Twitter that don’t mean anything. I’m not one of those marketing people who follows five thousand users in hopes they’ll automatically follow me back. Similarly, I don’t automatically follow every marketer and spammer that follows me.

I insist on high quality Twitter followers. Only the best.

Cyclops Shark & Other Cryptic Creatures Make October Creepy – Yahoo! News

Cyclops Shark & Other Cryptic Creatures Make October Creepy – Yahoo! News.

Yahoo! News is occasionally good for something, and it’s stuff like this.

Read the article and you’ll probably be saddened to learn that the albino cyclops shark they found was found already dead.  They also state it would be unlikely for this shark to survive at all outside the womb.

But thanks to movies, we can have a humongous, glowing Albino Cyclops shark monster eating up some unsuspecting harbor town with five-foot-long, diamond-studded teeth and laser bolts from its eye.  I’ll work it in somewhere if I can into my lineup of projects, but if there are any full-time screenwriters out there who can make this happen, I guarantee there is an audience for this.

Sharkblog: Analytics Check-In, Keyword Analysis, October 18, 2011

Keywords are a pretty major part of my SEO “strategy,” so I figured I’d take a look at keyword performance. I’d never actually looked at that little section of Google Analytics before. I don’t know why. I think my thinking was that I’d just ramble for several months about anything and everything as opportunity saw fit, and then I’d do some retrospective analysis. By a strange coincidence, that is exactly what I’ve done.

To start, I assumed that only the most recent month was relevant. This assumption is not based on anything factual at all, I just didn’t want to go back any further. Call it laziness, call it what you will, but I’ll put all the effort I need to into backing this assumption as valid, so let’s just move on.

I’ve classified the various keywords I found into seven different categories: Shark hybrid-related searches, Shark non-hybrid-related searches, searches for me or some variant of my name, searches for up-and-coming artists I know in Chicago, searches for actual celebrities, car-related searches, and other miscellaneous random crap.

Since my site is not about celebrities per se, that category doesn’t count. Those make up about 12% of the total searches that led surfers to my site. So that’s 12% of my organic traffic that doesn’t count.

My site is, in part, dedicated half-assedly to miscellaneous crap, but since the keyword results that fall under that category all have a 100% bounce rate, that category also doesn’t count. I can justify this because keyword searches in this category are all pretty specific and somewhat long-tail, so I can safely assume these folks were looking for something specific that they didn’t find on my site. Searches included “content strategist title crap,” “narcissism experiment,” “anthropomorphization focus group,” and “god has a me-complex.” Obviously they were looking for something else. Anyway, that’s another 34.5% of my organic traffic that doesn’t count.

Up-and-coming Chicago artists aren’t the focus of my website, but since I know a few, I’m more than happy to drop their names left and right. They comprise a friendly 7% or so of the organic traffic. “Mishelle Apalategui” has brought in more traffic than “Bil Gaines” has, and my name is on every single page of this website. This means she’s already more famous than I am. The takeaway: I should talk about these people more.

Mishelle Apalategui Randall Colburn Jeremy Menekseoglu Chelsea Marcantel Nathan Robbel Ronan Marra Erin Orr Lance Hall Trevor Watkin Cupcakes. There, that should help.

What interests me most is that while is not wholly about Sharkblog, shark-related searches make up the majority of my organic searches. The non-hybrid-related searches are over 8.5% and the hybrid-related searches are nearly 26%. Together, that’s about 34.5%. The miscellaneous searches match that, and they don’t count. Everything else is thin slices. Also, the shark searches tend to get the highest average time on the site and the lowest bounceback rate. Takeaway: Sharkblog is the strongest driver of organic search to this site. This is pretty awesome, since I initially declared that Sharkblog is an experiment in SEO.

Bil: one; Universe: zero.

Of course, there’s room for improvement. Lots of room. Quantity matters (as I’ve recently discovered) and I have been slacking pretty hard in the Sharkblog department since Aliena was born.

Not to worry: Halloween is coming up soon enough, and yes, I bought that baby shark costume from Amazon. I can’t believe what an easy target I am sometimes.

Next up: Cyclops Albino Shark!

Sharkblog: Analytics check-in, October 12, 2011

Self-analysis is a very important aspect of Sharkblog, and I have been, shall we say, less than prolific with this experiment.  (I have a brand-new baby.  Life is really goddamn tough.  Cut me some slack.)

When it comes to SEO — not just with Sharkblog, but with the entire website — my first lesson has been has been that consistent, frequent updates are the key.  I’ve been told many times by many smartypants experts that content is king, and let’s face it: a king without a kingdom is not a very good king.  I looked at the ol’ Google Analytics the week after I posted a six-article miniseries (the process of the completion of Operation: Move to California as Soon as Possible) at the rate of one article per day, and that week was my highest-traffic week EVER.  I classified it in my mind as “showing excellent growth.”  I had little to post after that, though, and accordingly, my traffic was back to “pretty shitty.”

BUT…traffic is better than the week before that miniseries, so it looks like some of it stuck.  This is happy news.

So now I’m thinking that in addition to quality, for which I’m still hammering out a Sharkblog keyword strategy, I’ll need to post literally as often as possible.

And I know that not every post needs to be long.  In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that short-to-mid-length posts will strengthen Sharkblog, if anything.  The shorter the post, the easier it is to read.  And I’d like whole posts to get read.  I have a pretty terrible fucking bounce rate right now (72.06%, you bunch of dickheads!) and I think with shorter posts, I’ll be able to reduce that.  We’ll see.

Shorter posts should also be (in theory) quicker to compose, so this whole new-baby business should be less of a roadblock and more of a source of inspiration.

Also, moving forward, I’ll be leaving teasers for the next article whenever possible.

Next up: let’s talk chat babble articulate speculate conversate ventriloquize yak about keyword strategy.

The Orsonsharktopus Tetralogy, Complete With A Fight Against Barry Manilodon

OHMYGOD you guys I’ve done it.  I’ve created the general plotlines for four, count ‘em, four sci-fi monster movies.  I learned a new word, tetralogy, which is like trilogy, except there are four parts.  Intentionally.  Not like a trilogy plus one, like four parts that make the entire arc.  AND NOW I MUST CREATE ONE.  I will use the vehicle of Orsonsharktopus for this endeavor.

I’ve already described the first sequel, Orsonsharktopus vs. Hydraheston, but the original will be just Orsonsharktopus.  It’ll be your general mayhem-type movie where scientists try to get the local government NOT to use nuclear weapons to fight a massive monster that’s terrorizing the town, which makes them unpopular with the townsfolk, but they devise a way to trap the monster in carbonite (like Han Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back).  It’ll be very pro-scientist, pro-environment, and pro-underdog.  And we will introduce Orsonsharktopus to the world.

The first sequel, Orsonsharktopus vs. Hydraheston, gets into issues of freedom of speech and press, and again carries a pro-environment slant.  The end scene, the big fight between the two monsters, takes place partly on a giant mass of floating garbage with some seriously explosive toxic waste.  What I didn’t mention before is that the giant explosion that kills Hydraheston also deafens our plucky reporter.

The third installment, Orsonsharktopus vs. Barry Manilodon, again features the now-deaf reporter.    He sings entire neighborhoods to sleep, and then eats them, whole buildings at a time.  It is not long after he shows up that the entire town falls asleep and becomes little more than snacks for Barry Manilodon waiting to be eaten.

The reporter, because she is now deaf, is still wide awake.  But she cannot wake anybody up, the giant shark’s spell is too powerful.  She spends a few scenes alone, trying to survive in a nearly-surreal environment in the middle of the night.

Eventually she meets up with the scientists, one of which is sleepwalking and the other is awake because he is an unfeeling android and therefore cannot be lulled to sleep by adult contemporary music.  They figure out how to communicate with the sleepwalking scientist and together get the answers they need.  They hatch a plan to set a massive underwater “broadcast” of Barry Manilodon’s song, and then use themselves as human bait to get him to sing out again.  With his music being sent to all corners of the ocean, it takes very little time for Orsonsharktopus to arrive.  Orsonsharktopus hates Barry Manilodon, and immediately they have a giant fight.  Despite Barry Manilodon’s superior size, Orsonsharktopus prevails by pulling off his feathered mullet, thus allowing his brains to leak out and eventually die.  As Orsonsharktopus prepares to take over the town again, the scientists send off a small rocket playing adult contemporary music into the Pacific Ocean, and Orsonsharktopus gives chase, never to return.  The town and its people are safe.

This movie gets less into socio-political issues, but maintains a strong theme of deaf feminine heroism, which totally gets the pro-underdog vote.

The fourth and final film will take place mostly in Japan, when Orsonsharktopus shows up in Tokyo and has to fight…I dunno.  Another monster.  It’ll work like this: Japanese scientists note a disturbance in ocean activity, but Japanese government officials pay no heed (typical).  They reach out to the scientists from Santa Bertha, who travel to Japan to help investigate.  While there, Orosonsharktopus attacks Tokyo and causes a breach in their hydrogen-energy plant, immediately polluting ocean with sci-fi goodness.  This causes Orsonsharktopus to grow in size, strength, and meanness, and also awakens something else…they fight, and as they fight, the Japanese & American scientists work with the Japanese Coast Guard to destroy both by using, ironically, a nuclear missile.

I think I’ll ask around on Facebook for suggestions here on what kind of monster to create.  I’m thinking something blowfish-esque, but am wide open to all ideas…

Sharkblog: Shark Week Afterglow

Another Discovery Channel Shark Week has come and gone, same as every year: highly anticipated and never lasting long enough, but satisfying nonetheless.

And just like every year, there were some repeats (the best of the best) and some new adventures.

Things I learned this year:
– Moray eels have two sets of jaws, sort of like James Cameron’s aliens.
– If you lose a thumb (say, to a moray eel, for example), you can replace it with your big toe.
– If you tag a shark, you get to name it.
– If you want to kiss a shark, you better not screw up.

Things I already knew but got a fun reminder of:
– Great white sharks can launch themselves all the way out of the water.
– Great white sharks launching themselves all the way out of the water is one of the coolest things in the world.

The one thing I would have wanted more from Shark Week is some equal-opportunity programming about shark/monster hybrids.  But it’s the Discovery Channel, and they have to wait for things to be discovered first, so I can let it slide.

Only 51 weeks till the next Shark Week.  Mark your calendars.