Here at the Gecko’s Bark World Headquarters, we’ve been pondering, or at least paying attention to, SEO and the internal workings of the Internet lately. For much of its history, this blog has been nothing more than a some-time amusement for its author; there was never any attempt to make it into anything more. It was of no concern if anyone else read it; unlike in my professional life I wasn’t writing for anyone else’s edification other than my own – compulsive mental onanism, as it were.
However, as the evolution from print journalist to online journalist to some sort of bastard hybrid of journalist/web developer progressed, I naturally began to absorb more and more data about search engine optimization (SEO), search terms and the corresponding use of tools like Google Analytics. But now that the blog that has become the Gecko’s Bark has blossomed – well, that’s not really an apt metaphor.
It’s more like it replicated itself via binary fission, like some sort of digital amoeba, only the rate of mutation is much higher than one would find in nature (at least until humans began helping). And with that, we have the Gecko’s Bark, Jeff Chappell (dot com) and Barking Book Reviews, with Deathless Prosaic and Throw Horns in the embryonic, developmental wings (for indeterminate lengths of time, at the moment).
So what was once a some time hobby seems to be accruing into an attempted vocation (although it’s clear that it will be a long time before any significant income is generated, if ever – but it beats working for a living). And I find myself frequently thinking about and pursuing SEO. Which brings us to sexi mondo and under construction gifs.
I’ve had this blog since late 2006. Since then there have been 180 posts and 8 pages comprising some 19 categories and 165 tags. Now only in recent months have I bothered trying to optimize posts in terms of SEO, and I haven’t yet bothered to go back and perform retro SEO. Still, you’d think all of that content, where I ponder such varied topics as death, politics, cycling and what it’s like to be an expat in Southeast Asia, that there would be wealth of different things driving traffic to http://geckosbark.com.
You would be wrong.
This is not the case. In the two months since I’ve been keeping Google tabs, so to speak, on Gecko’s Bark traffic, the terms that drive search engine traffic here are searches for, in order:
- seximondo 21.24%
- www.seximondo.com 19.03%
- under construction gif 14.60%
- seximondo.com 9.73%
- under construction gifs 2.21%
Back in October of last year, when I was migrating this blog from its old URL, jeffchappell.com, to its new geckosbark.com home, I of course put up the standard under construction post explaining what was happening, and used some of the typical under construction gifs that one finds all over the net. It seems that many people are searching for these same gifs at any given time; this under construction post is one of top landing pages on the Geckos Bark.
An interesting thing to note here though, is that this page actually doesn’t even show up in the first 100 Google rankings for the terms under construction gif. Nor does it show up in the first few pages if you do a Google image search for the same terms. Nevertheless on the initial results page, after the first two results, are related image search results for the same terms, and here is the ridiculously sexy and sexist under construction gif that brings you to the particular post on the Gecko’s Bark.
Lesson learned: don’t ignore your image tags, SEO kids.
Landing on Planet Sexi Mondo
Another top landing page is an entry regarding one of my favorite pieces of spam. I like to peruse my spam filter – Akismet for the win – on occasion before deleting the inevitably ginormous pile there, and sometimes I’ll post the more interesting or bizarre efforts of spammers. In this case, this list of keywords cum search terms reads like some sort of postmodern existentialist poem, one perhaps created by some lonely artificial intelligence born of interconnectivity in the vast sea of information that it is the Internet (yes, I’m a fan of Masamune Shirow and Ghost in the Shell).
Here’s an interesting stanza by way of example:
behan chudai sex stories
sexi japaniese girl
lrg dead serious skeleton
And it ends with this plaintive cry:
phone sex gratis di indonesia
autopsia de valentin elizalde
blue deep something
Is that not the cry of a plaintive lost soul, crying out for meaning even as it drowns in a meaningless existence, sinking beneath the fleshy oil slick of naked skin that drifts on an ocean of Internet porn?
Okay, perhaps not.
But either way, it amused me, this spam cum poetry. So I posted it, and just banged out a headline off the top of my head: Porn spam no. 2: sexi mondo spammo! (blue deep something). This actually wasn’t the first time I had posted poetic porn spam, you see. The first one, Thai sex bra, can be found here.
And while the foreign language that comprises some of the initial stanzas of this pr0n poem seems more likely to be an attempt at Portuguese (I’m guessing), for whatever reason my headline leans more toward Italian. Why, I can’t say – I was just wingin’ that mother. I might have just as randomly titled it Large Dead Serious Skeleton, were I to travel back in time and relive this moment.
This was way back in 2007. And here we are, four years later, and if you search for seximondo (as one word) in Google, that old post is at the top of the list. Granted, there are only 42 entries listed for this term – if you make it two words, as in sexi mondo, you get 16,500,000 entries, and my sexi mondo spammo entry falls to No. 7 in the Google rankings. Still, this is a coveted top-10 position, all thanks to inadvertent key word SEO — luck.
Now my site doesn’t generate oodles of traffic; my monthly visits from search engine traffic can be measured in the hundreds, as opposed to thousands. But there are apparently a lot of people searching for sexi mondo at any given moment, and many are clicking through to the Gecko’s Bark (only to be disappointed at the misanthropic ravings they had hoped would be porn).
So naturally, after noticing that this is a consistent draw to my website from Teh Google, I became curious: what the hell are all these people looking for? Indeed, what is, sexi mondo? Is this some sort of porn phenomenon I didn’t know about? If so, I wanted to rectify the situation, if for no other reason than curiosity – certainly I never, ever look at pr0n for purposes of titillation. Heh, I said titillation.
Well it seems that mondo, Italian for world, is actually a film genre – thank you Wikipedia. If I may quote same:
A mondo film (from the Italian word for ‘world’) is an exploitation documentary film, sometimes resembling a pseudo-documentary, usually depicting sensational topics, scenes, and situations. Common traits of mondo films include emphasis on taboo subjects such as death and sex, portrayals of foreign cultures that have received accusations of racism and staged sequences presented as genuine documentary footage. Over time, the films placed more and more emphasis on footage of the dead and dying, both real and fake. The term “shockumentary” has also been used to describe the genre.
History of the genre
Although there had been earlier films such as European Nights (1959) and World by Night (1960) that could arguably be pointed to as examples of the genre, the origins of the mondo documentary are generally traced to the Italian film Mondo Cane (A Dog’s World, a mild Italian profanity) that was made in 1962 by Paolo Cavara, Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi and proved a commercial success.
Documentary films imitating the approach of Mondo Cane in the sixties often included the term “mondo” in their titles, even if they were in English; some examples include Mondo Bizarro, Mondo Daytona, Mondo Mod, Mondo Infame and Mondo Hollywood. Even films from outside the genre followed suit: Mondo Trasho, Mondo Weirdo: A Trip to Paranoia Paradise, Mondo Keyhole and Mondo Brutale (actually a German release of Wes Craven’s film The Last House on the Left) all bill themselves as “mondo”, although none are true mondo documentaries. Towards the seventies this naming convention began to fall out of favour and fewer mondo films identified themselves as such in their titles.
Ah, so now we have some clarification perhaps. Are these what the sexi mondo seekers are looking for, vintage pr0n in the form of fake sex documentaries? If so, they must be even more disappointed by Google results one through six, particularly No. 4:
And No. 6.
Sorry. What has been seen, can’t be unseen, I know. One would have to travel to say, Pluto, to get farther away from the sexy world. The Internet is a damn strange place. And fortunately or unfortunately, SEO sometimes involves getting down in the muck and exposing oneself to the unseemly sexi mondo that is its underbelly.
On the other hand, as the black hat SEO people have known for years, this can be molded to the webmaster’s advantage, too.
Postscript: It just now occurred to me to mention that of course people searching for sexi mondo or seximondo.com might actually be looking for sexy mondo or some derivative. Learn to spell.
As for sexymondo.com, it is an active site and is just what you would expect, a porn site — well, an Italian site that sells porn, sex toys, lingerie, etc. It’s not safe for work so consider yourself warned. 😉