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I’m a Celebrity 2009: ITV neglects its SEO

November 15, 2009 5 Comments

Search Google for I'm a Celebrity, which starts today, and ITV's site is top - as it should be. Search Google for I'm a Celebrity 2009, however, and the ITV site is only fourth - behind Digital Spy, the Metro and Free Betting Online. (Update as of monday morning: an ITV page is now 2nd - but it's the calendar page from 2 weeks ago, not the main page ... Thanks to Richard Shove for tipoff).

I'm a Celebrity 2009 results

I'm a Celebrity 2009 results

Even worse, the Free Betting site is an affiliate site with a massively optimised page designed to get I'm a Celebrity traffic - that links out to free sports (not TV-related) betting sites.

In a previous post on checking keyword volumes for topical searches, I'd pointed out how rubbish the various tools were for assessing these. Even Google Insights, seemingly the best source, has got nothing to say about I'm a celebrity at the moment.

But let's assume that, as with other reality TV shows, a lot people search for I'm a Celebrity 2009 (ie with the year at the end). Where is ITV going wrong?


Website 2009 in HTML title 2009 in URL 2009 used on page 2009 used in on-site links Did the page pre-exist?
1 Digital Spy No No Yes No Yes
2 Metro Yes Yes Yes Yes No
3 Free Betting Online Yes Yes Yes Yes No
4 ITV Yes Yes No No No

So, what's going on?

Digital Spy appears to be winnng as it's using the same URL (http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/celebrity/) as it did last year for I'm a Celebrity 2008, and hence has the benefit of existing external links to its page. This seems to trump all the other factors.

The Metro result is a well-optimised news story, so no surprise there. Free Online Betting is also a well optimised result - although it's a bit poor of google to rank so highly a page that is designed purely to attract traffic in the hope they will click its affiliate links.

And where is ITV going wrong?

ITV's page for I'm a Celebrity 2009 is on a different URL to last year's: http://celebrity.itv.com/2008/ so it's not benefitting directly from the links to that existing page. On top of that, it's not using 2009 as anchor text in its on-site links. And it's neglected to use the word 2009 anywhere on its page (duh) about I'm a Celebrity 2009.

I'm a Celebrity: ITV website

I'm a Celebrity: ITV website

The 2009 issue can easily be solved - just use it on the page, and change (some of) the on-site links.

The URL issue is a bit more complicated. I would have one 'I'm a celebrity' URL - the content can change each year, and previous years can be moved into archive folders (like /2008/ - with appropriate 301 redirects).

But the main URL should not contain the year - that way, when a new series comes along, the existing page can be updated - but will already have a large number of external links.

Postscript

SEO or no SEO: LOL

SEO or no SEO: LOL

At least the Free Betting site is upfront about what it's doing. Halfway down it says:

As ever as part of the build up to the latest series of 'I'm A Celebrity....Get Me Out Of Here' (henceforth we'll address it as simply, Im a Celebrity as we're not quite sure how many dots link the two phrases, plus we'll loose the will to live if we have to keep typing this, SEO or no SEO),

Well, at least they're honest (if poor spellers)!

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5 Comments »

  • Nina Greaves says:

    I was researching this on Friday, I just couldn't seem to find a definitive I'm A Celeb wepage at first glance, I found this article as someone tweeted it this morning, and you raise some very interesting SEO points about new URLs and how Digitalspy benefit from using the same URL. I hope someone at ITV read this post!

  • Caspar says:

    Do you think most users include the phrase '2009' in their search? I'm pretty sure most people I know wouldn't. I'd be interested in seeing the results from just "I'm a celebrity" being the phrase.

  • Caspar says:

    (Just searched and for me the ITV results come up top both with and without 2009 included)

    • ITV were top for just I'm a Celebrity - it does say that in intro ;)

      As you say, they are also now top for I'm a Celbrity 2009 - this has changed since yesterday.

      I've previously noticed in various keyword tools that people DO search for reality tv shows (plus recurring sporting events) with the year / series in.

      This is particularly an issue before the events start, when google still prefers old content with links to new content.

      Once you get into it, search volumes soar, google prefers fresh content, and the years become unnecessary.

  • Spence says:

    They've managed to get up to 1st this year, looks like they might have taken some of your advice! :)

    Best thing they've done is probably get rid of the yearly subdomain, didn't make too much sense eh!

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