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My attempt at content-farm and Huffpo-style SEO: Carling Cup Final time

February 28, 2011 One Comment

The Huffington Post recently wrote the most over-SEOed article ever called "What time does the Super Bowl start?". It was embarrassing. Meanwhile Google is about to roll outs its anti-content-farm algorithm in the UK.

Which led me to wonder: How many millions of site visitors could I get if I just copied the HuffPo article, and swapped Super Bowl terms for Carling cup ones? You can see my post here.

My result in Google

What time the Carling Cup final starts - with apologies to HuffPo

The answer is 554, which totally isn't worth it. It took me about half an hour. And not a single person clicked on the adverts I shoved in the middle.

If you're ever tempted to follow suit, here's what I did:

  • I published a post called "What time does the Carling Cup Final start?" at 10.50pm on Saturday night. Within a few minutes, it ranked number 4 for a search on those words, a position it kept for the next 24 hours.
  • That wasn't that great, in fact, as it was pretty far down the page due to the Google news box. Still, it was the only page trying to answer that question, so I had reasonable hopes.
  • I quickly decided that I should change the headline to "What time the Carling Cup final 2011 starts" as that would be more likely to get clicked on. However, Google didn't pick up that change until after the final. (I suspect proper planning is important in chasing topical search terms ...)
  • On Sunday afternoon, I noticed that most of the traffic was coming for the search term "Carling Cup final time". So I published another post called that. This was just the original post translated around half a dozen or so languages and back to English. Google ignored it until after the final kicked off.
  • There was a brief period when both posts appeared for a search on the term "Carling Cup final time". But this was too late to matter.

The upshot was that that the first one got 554 views and the second one 10. Here are the top search terms sending traffic yesterday.

Search terms and traffic

There were lots of others too ...

It's hard to know what the search volumes for these terms were - I'll check in a few days when Webmaster Tools will no doubt tell me. And the Carling Cup is hardly the SuperBowl.

But with volumes like this (even if I tried it with search terms where the Google news results didn't push everything down the page), I don't think I'll be trying to set up a rival to mahalo.com any time soon (especially as malhalo.com is taken).

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One Comment »

  • Rob Cornish says:

    Hi Malcolm, great experiment and really interesting to see the results!

    I have noticed that event type SEO strategies have become more popular over the last 6 months. Temporary windows of low competition that can be easily exploited I guess!

    It'll be interesting to see how things progress as they become more popular in 2011 and (presumably) Google clamps down on the more exploitative efforts by site owners.

    Cheers, Rob.

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