I recently signed up for Google sitemaps, which allows you, among other things, to get a listing of the top 15 search phrases for your domain and your sites's average ranking in Google's index for those phrases. Here are the results for andersonfam.org (as of March 2nd, 2006):

    Search Phrase          Average Ranking
    ---------------------------------------- 
 1. erik anderson          5
 2. drive 105              10
 3. gmail domains          3
 4. top40 music            6
 5. hefewiesen             2
 6. "erik anderson"        5
 7. celsius llc            9
 8. comnet mkt             1
 9. scandanavian names     5
10. nickelback two songs   9
11. brian benson           23
12. erik s anderson        8
13. norther brewer         9
14. bethany lefse griddle  8
15. maria gibbons          14

Most of these results didn't surprise me...except for numbers 3 and 5. First - when you search for gmail domains, not only does my blog show up in number 2 or 3 spot in the search results, but it shows up *above* Google's own page for their beta of gmail domain hosting. Crazy! I guess that can put to rest the accusation that Google might possibly be artifically inflating their own pages in their search index. Now...onto the search for hefewiesen. In my testing, my page sits solidly in the number two position. Okay - I know that despite popular opinion, Google's search spider doesn't have too discerning a taste for beer, but honestly! There are *so* many other homebrewers and commercial microbreweries around the world that not only produce _more_ hefeweisen than I have (a measly 5 gallons), but produce a much better product as well.

Now - I'm not saying that I mind being this high in these search results - it just reveals some interesting "features" (shortcomings perhaps?) of their current ranking algorithm.

Edit...becuase Murphy's Law states that as soon as I make the above points, Google will update its index and mess up my rankings, I've taken a screenshot to record this moment in history.