Looking online for a stuffed parathas recipe recently I was rewarded straight away with an excellent video that enabled me to produce a very acceptable first attempt. Searching is now big business and anyone with a website wants it to be found by as many people as possible. Web statistics enable me to sit on the other side of the counter and find out what people type into a search engine that brings them to my website.
I was initially surprised when someone found Building Beginnings by typing ‘hosue hsitroy’ into a search engine, and rushed to spell-check my copy. I’ve since learned that search engines are clever enough to unravel typos. I was also rather affronted by the frequency of phrases such as ‘free history of house’ and ‘find my house history for nothing’ until I remembered the delightful Indian lady who had given up her time to show me and the rest of the world how to make stuffed parathas just for the love of it.
Perhaps unsurprisingly I get a fair bit of traffic from people wanting to build their own house and don’t know where to start. History isn’t usually their top priority. People on the property ladder sometimes stray into my path when looking for ‘unusual buildings for sale in the West Midlands’. And it was probably a wannabe estate agent who found me by typing ‘innovative ways to market property listings’. I hope he or she was duly inspired.
Geographical limits are hard to define online as one man’s Birmingham is in the West Midlands, while another’s is in Alabama. Someone from across the Atlantic may have thought they had struck lucky when I turned up in response to ‘Historical building research in Alaska’ only to be disappointed that my geographical reach stopped several thousand miles short of their area. Another person seeking to avoid Shropshire’s infamous rural traffic queues may have been surprised to find me at the top of Google with ‘Burwarton Show congestion’ and he wasn’t the only one.
But what I really want to know is ‘Where was the house of Don Welsh’?