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Guy Levine on Google, porn and engagement rings

3 Mins

Firstly, Guy, how common is the practice of inserting highly searched terms into unrelated content?

"In the good old days, you could get away with putting high traffic keywords in the ‘meta keyword tag’ of a webpage," he replies. "These are the secret bits of code used to describe the content of the page, in order to get some traffic. Google soon picked up on this and rendered the tag pretty much useless."

So you have to be clever about it these days? How is TechCrunch getting away with it?

"Now enter the new version," he says. "How many keywords can you actually stuff in the body copy of page? The answer is quite a lot! If we take the long tail model, it is possible to see what a good strategy it becomes. The long tail says that there are always a few major hits, or in this case keywords, which will drive a lot of the traffic. However, there are thousands of not-so-good keywords which, when all combined, will drive more traffic than the big-hitters. TechCrunch will target their stories to the most important keywords and content but can still include some which are off topic or ‘subtly injected’! The reason why they can do this is because they are such an authority online."

But is it cheating, Guy?

"This is just leveraging the asset of the company," he argues. "It just happens to be in the public eye. In fact if most companies look through their website analytics, they would see they rank for all kinds of things. As an internet marketing company, we managed to rank for engagement rings when I wrote a post about asking my girlfriend to marry me (she said yes!)"

So why doesn’t everyone do this? "The only downside for the advertiser is that the browsers these search terms attract may not be as targeted as they would like," he says. "But maybe porn and gadgets go well with each other!"

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