The Internet is Weird and Google Analytics

The internet is one weird place.

Some months ago I read about Google Analytics. If on the odd chance you’ve never heard of it, Google Analytics keeps track of what’s happening on one’s website. It tracks such things as number of visitors, percentage of those that are new visitors, where they come from, what pages they visit, how long they stay on a page, etc. It really is pretty cool.

Of course I have no idea how to get Google Analytics up and running, but fortunately the firm that takes care of hosting my two websites has people much smarter than I. So for most of the last year I’ve used Google Analytics.

I have two web sites — the one you’re reading at PlaceEconomics which is geared to my US practice andHeritage Strategies International which is the firm name of my international practice. And every few days I will take a quick check on the Google Analytics numbers for both of them.

Now my websites don’t exactly draw thousands of people a day, but it is interesting where people are coming from, how they got there, and if they found the sites through some search engine, what was the keyword they used to get there.

The visitors to my site on average stay 2 or 3 minutes, which I guess is pretty good. But a couple of months ago on the HS-Intl site I noticed that there was a visitor who was there for 14 minutes. Well, that intrigued me, so I “drilled down” to find more about that visitor, and the first thing I looked for was where did he/she come from. The answer? Iran. Hmmm…that’s interesting. How did they find me? Well, Google Analytics said they got there through a search engine. OK. So what was the keyword that was used? When somebody comes to one of my sites using a key word it is most often either my name, one of my firm names, or something like “economics and historic preservation”. So how did my Iranian visitor get to me site? By typing in “Donovan Rypkema, CIA”.

That was weird enough, but then this morning when I scanned the keywords that people used to find me yesterday, this one stood out. “Wayward girls in Seattle”.

So just in case either of you come back….I do not now nor have I ever worked for the CIA…and if there are any wayward girls in Seattle I don’t have the phone numbers of any of them.

The internet is a weird place.