Blogger has an analytics section that tracks how people find this particular blog. As a numbers/factoid geek, I like to keep an eye on these statistics. Most of what I see is not surprising – most of the hits from this website are coming from ex-Mormon community forums.
Other people find this blog through web-engine search queries. The top search term that brings people to this blog is the search phrase “ex Mormons speak out”, followed by “feminist Mormon housewives”, and, more recently, the search term “ex Mormon blogs”.
A couple months ago, I noticed that I was getting a lot of hits from a particular website called semrush.com As far as I can tell, this is a site that runs analytics on websites, positioning themselves as a way to keep track of the competition. If you type in the address of a specific blog/website, you can access data on the search engine queries that bring in traffic.
Being the inquisitive person that I am, I typed in my domain – postmormongirl.blogspot.com The results were both a surprise and not a surprise. The top search queries that bring people to my blog are terms like “ex Mormon blogs”, “ex Mormons speak out”, “feminist Mormon housewives”, and “post Mormon”. No surprise there. According to this website, last month there were 206 entry points into this blog from search engine queries alone.
But the surprising – and perhaps not so surprising – result was the amount of money spent on advertising for these search queries. Every time you type a search query into Google, at the very top of the page is a yellow box with links inside. These are the paid advertisements. Depending on the specific search term, companies can either pay a little or a lot of money to have their links appear in that little yellow box.
If I were to pay advertising fees in order to get those 206 entry points from search engine queries, the price-tag for that was quoted as $658. That is a lot of money.
At first, that number shocked me. Then I thought about it and I realized that the top search queries that bring people to this blog are search terms like “ex Mormons speak out” and “ex Mormon blogs”. Those are pretty loaded search queries. There is also a very well-financed organization that really doesn’t want people thinking along those lines and is willing to pay a lot of money in order to put up competing links.
What is the specific price of these advertisements? The price for advertising on google through the search query “feminist Mormon housewives” is actually pretty low – only $0.10 per click. On the other hand, the price-per-click for “ex Mormons speak out” – which is the number one search query that brings people to this blog – is quoted as $9.39. The advertising rate for “ex Mormon blogs” is a staggering $11.44 per click, while “post Mormon” is a more modest $8.56 per click.
I guess I was both surprised and not surprised by these results. On some level, I knew that advertising, especially advertising for ex-Mormon related search queries, was probably coming at a stiff price. I just never realized how stiff of a price it is.
Looking at these results – at the sheer amount of money that is spent on pulling people away from my blog – I can’t help but think about the strange symbiosis that is going on here. Friends and family members that I grew up with are paying tithing money into a system that is then turning around and running a heavily-financed advertising campaign that is, in part, paying a lot of money in order to cover up the results of search queries such as “ex Mormons speak out”, “post Mormon”, and “ex Mormon blogs”. It's enough to make my head explode.
Are my stories really that worrisome?