A recent Massively OP post started a discussion about whether Google search rankings relate to or indicate a given game (or MMORPGs) popularity. The comments developed into a bit of a splitting hairs debate about what type of Google search should be used and what the stats mean (like anyone other than Google’s engineers really know that).
Other bloggers have posted their decade of blogging posts, this blog is almost nine years old so not quite ready for that particular nostalgic look back yet. I did take a look at the basic stats WordPress.com offers for sites hosted here and was slightly surprised at the list of ‘top posts of all time’. I’ve always thought that a lot of my ‘visits’ come from random Google searches for particular keywords – not all of which have anything to do with the game I’m writing about. This came up in the discussion on the Massively post, ‘WoW’ is a very common abbreviation for World of Warcraft, but it also has other uses as a standalone word and an abbreviation. Even this blog’s rarely used full title, Gaming Sans Frontières, when abbreviated could easily be confused for some San Franciscan tabletop fraternity or similar.
Ignoring the top line, I was rather surprised by which games appeared in this list. Nine of twenty posts are Cryptic’s Neverwinter. Yes, I’ve played the game on an and off quite a lot and it is the subject of a surprising (to me) number of posts: roughly one tenth at 185 of 1844 total. Otherwise there’s not much commonality to judge this list on. Rift also does pretty well as a game I’ve played much less in recent years, yet at 241 posts it represents an even higher 13% of all posts. In tune with the discussion on the Massively post, there’s no apparent link between amount of content (number of posts) and popularity as I have a lot more Neverwinter entries in the top twenty yet posted more about Rift.
There are a smattering of other posts in this top twenty representing the games I’ve played the most: Lord of the Rings Online (16% of posts) and Everquest 2 (21% of posts overall). World of Warcraft, easily the MMO I’ve played the most of and the game that I’ve written the most about on this blog in nine years (the subject of 26% of posts), only features as the topic of one post in this list. Finally we have the outliers in games that I’ve played much less, yet a post squeaks in the list regardless: see the Tera, STO, Eden Eternal and Dragon’s Dogma posts. The ironies here are multiple. Firstly I’ve never, ever played Dragon’s Dogma and only watched it played once, yet a very simple and early post is up there in the top ten. My third most popular post of all time is about Eden Eternal, a game that I played briefly yet intensely way back in 2012. I find it quite random that the only SWTOR post that features is one about the Cathar, I don’t even have that race unlocked!
So I guess the conclusion here is that viewer figures for blogs are highly random, and definitely not something to base your choices about what to cover or how often. Like many bloggers I write about what I play more than anything, so this list may be of passing interest but it isn’t a guide to future topic priorities.