Organic Search Terms

EPF’s organic search traffic has really spiked up in the past couple weeks – well, at least in comparison with what it used to be!  Just last week I started looking at the search terms leading people to EPF (people, not bots).  Today I’d like to take a look at a few of the search phrases.



Post with the Most


By far my most popular post in terms of being found by the wider internet is the one I did for the Roth IRA movement on the definition of earned income and whether or not graduate students can contribute to IRAs.  Apparently people really want to know this information!


Some of the search terms that were used to find that post and others like it were:

  • taxable fellowship income qualified for roth ira
  • scholarship and fellowship payroll payments and ira
  • how phd students save for retirement
  • roth and graduate student
  • if you got 1099 misc which ira should you contribute to
  • how to invest money while in grad school
  • grad school stipend considered earned income for roth ira
  • postdoctoral roth ira
  • can i invest in a roth ira if my income is from a 1099-misc
  • can money earned on 1099 go to roth ira
  • roth ira fellowship income
  • contributions must be earned income
  • roth ira fellowship earned income


To review, if you receive only 1099-MISC income from a fellowship through the course of a year, you can’t contribute to an IRA in that year.  It’s not earned income.  For motivation to save for retirement while in grad school or young/low income, see my posts on compound interest and miscellaneous softer arguments.  If you’re stuck with a 1099-MISC, there are a few other strategies you could use if you are determined to save.





I’m not a financial planner or anything, so I’m not qualified to answer these questions – but I will try anyway!


“should i save for retirement at age 27” – Almost certainly yes.  If you work for a reasonable amount of money, I think you should save for the future.  I don’t think there’s a certain age at which you have to add in saving for retirement to everything else you’re doing.  If you’re working and living independent from your parents and not going into debt, save for retirement with every paycheck.


“how save half income 2012” – I have no idea how to do this but apparently this lady does!


“what’s it like to go down to a one car family” – It is awesome.  Sharing a car has enhanced our marriage more than I ever could have anticipated.  Not only are we spending additional time together in the commute itself, but it’s totally synched up our schedules and improved our communication.  Also, we’re saving a little money.  But mostly it’s the marriage stuff.  I wish we’d done it sooner!


“where should you be living during school” – Near the school, I hope.  As far as living on vs. off campus, it definitely depends on the area and what other students are doing.  I know there are some schools where student housing is subsidized by the university and is far cheaper than the going rate for off-campus housing.  But I think in most cities it’s cheaper to live off campus.  Let the popularity of the choices at your university guide you.  If everyone avoids student housing, there is probably a good reason.


“should i save for retirement while in medical school” – If you’re taking out loans for school, no.  Just take out fewer loans.  You probably don’t have earned income anyway so you won’t have access to a tax-advantaged retirement account.  If you have some kind of great fellowship and you get a stipend, then yes, if you can live on much less than you earn (assuming “earned” income).  If you’re doing an MD/PhD, maybe consider real estate – you’re going to be there a while!


“2012 emory global health case competition winner” – It was Emory.  For the fourth year running.  They totally deserved it, though.



Pointing Directly to Posts


Some of the search terms clearly hit on a singular post of ours.  Here are some that went directly to my favorites!


“lifestyle creep” – One of the main objectives of this blog is to hold us accountable in fighting lifestyle creep as our income increases and life situation changes over the next few years.


“targeted savings” – You know I love to talk about our targeted savings accounts!  I wrote a detailed guest post at Life and My Finances about our accounts and I listed our balances a few months ago.


“bp redeem at pump or statement credit” – Kyle has had one post on the blog so far, and he wrote it about BP/Chase downgrading our rewards while telling us it was an exciting opportunity.  We were not pleased.


“what does frugal means” – I not only tell you how my definition of frugal differs from Kyle’s, but there are lots more opinions in the comments!


“financial benefits being in school” – There are lots!  But sometimes it sucks.



Bot Searches


I just had to add in some bot search terms as well.  They are so weird.  🙂

  • #6 #3 clippers haircut
  • chinese birthday cakes
  • dave ramsey unrealistic
  • grinnell, how they count older child in grad school
  • het ontstaan van schoolangst
  • how much is 7 ounces of mayonnaise
  • npr planet money marriage costs
  • wanna take baby footprint
  • why do we follow rules in basketball


Have you found any surprising or funny search terms leading people to your blog?  Is your most popular post a different one than you had expected?


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13 Responses to "Organic Search Terms"

  1. WorkSaveLive says:

    How can you tell the difference between bot searches and searches by real people?

    One of the very first google organic searches I had was “jason arrested 2011.” lol. Considering I have never been arrested I found that to be extremely funny.
    WorkSaveLive recently posted..Our Journey – The Disaster That Was March 2012

    1. Emily says:

      I have tons of pageviews that result in 0.00 s being spent on a page, and they only view that one page. I figure that can’t be a person. So anything that results in time being spent on a page I consider to be from a human.

  2. Leigh says:

    Haha, thanks Emily 🙂 The key for me to saving half of my monthly salary is having a high salary in a high cost of living area, but not spending like crazy. Even when I take out a mortgage, my housing costs will still be under 25% of my gross monthly income. Continuing to keep costs low even as your income expands and not spending your raises really helps too. Just because I got a (more than cost-of-living) raise doesn’t mean I will go looking at more expensive apartments or condos to buy – I still want to keep my fixed costs low.
    Leigh recently posted..How to Evaluate a Job Offer

    1. Emily says:

      Simple in theory, a lifelong challenge in practice! Great job and keep it up! I hope we can do the same when we get out of school.

  3. How are you tracking this?!?!
    Frugal Portland recently posted..My Contributions to Charity

    1. Emily says:

      Google Analytics, totally basic version.

  4. Love the search terms – especially the bot ones. I think it’s great you try to respond to the incoming search traffic in a post, and help them find other posts that might relate to their questions.
    Young Professional Finances recently posted..What’s In A Name?

  5. Agreed with Young Professional Finances! I’m about to check out the financial benefits of being in school…I know a couple but I’m interested in what you have to say about them. The most recent search that’s got me scratching my head is “lavish dog houses.” I don’t think I’ve ever even mentioned a dog in any of my posts….weird! There was another super creepy one involving knives, but I don’t remember the specifics.
    femmefrugality recently posted..Frugal Cooking 203

    1. Emily says:

      That is creepy! I just had that one unintelligible search term. For the other strange ones I know why they found my blog, but they definitely wouldn’t find the post helpful – usually picture captions/tags.

  6. Michelle says:

    What a great idea to answer the search questions! And the bot searches are always weird, and funny.
    Michelle recently posted..Spending, Life, Income and Food Updates… 4/16/2012

  7. I agree with @Michelle – good call on answering the search questions! You’ve not motivated some of us to pay a bit more attention to our Google Analytics results! Great post – thanks!
    Thriftability recently posted..How Will You Spend Your Tax Refund?

  8. Good for you! How did you find out all this? I don’t think I’m using Google Analytics to its fullest extent.
    MyMoneyDesign recently posted..Book Review: “Unfair Advantage” by Robert Kiyosaki

    1. Emily says:

      Under Traffic Sources->Sources->Search->Organic. I just looked at all the terms that resulted in time spent on the site.

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