Day to day SEO for Content Producers: The Story of Karen Gillan’s Underwear

Day to day SEO for Content Producers: The Story of Karen Gillan’s Underwear

4th April 2011

Yes it’s time for the second instalment of my live blogging from BrightonSEO, this one features the inimitable Malcom Coles and his learning from how popular gossip site  Holy Moly uses free tools to work out what people are searching for and optimise their content for it.  This is comprised of two main areas:

1. Where can you find what people are searching for?

2. How can you use that info if you site is in Google News?

So firstly you need to know what people are searching for, this is particularly crucial first thing in the morning as the day’s latest trends are breaking.

Malcolm uses a variety of free tools on internet first thing in the morning:

1. Yahoo Buzz

Go to the bottom of page – it shows top searches at that moment

2. AOL Hot Searches
On the UK homepage – there’s AOL’s  hot searches box with theme based searches further down the page

3. Google News
This is more about what’s in the news rather than what people are searching on.
Google News UK slightly better – click on topics and see relevant themes around that topic on that day

Good further sources: Google/Google Analytics

What traffic are you getting already on search terms that you haven’t covered properly with relevant content.
Google Insights: what’s happened before?

Interesting sources (not everyday but useful):

1. Experian
2. Twitter – tools like Trendistic
3. Surchur

News organisations – another good source

1. They tend to declare what they’re interested in – e.g. What’s popular on BBC or hot topics on Telegraph.

NB. Ignore Yahoo! News What’s most emailed/shared on the site is “rubbish and generally irrelevant”

2. News Now also has a decent hot topic news aggregator.

Useful tip: Completely ignore Google trends – it’s generally irrelevant!

Next is Step 2. How to actually use this information if your site is in Google News.

1. How are people searching? Use Google Autocomplete.
You can use these in your headlines.  It naturally helps to optimise your content.

This is a very easy process that can be really useful as part of your normal day to day workflow.

2. Use Google insights to find out what has happened previously.
e.g. a few years ago – reality tv shows usually needed the year at the end of the search query in order to get correct show as a result in the SERPS – e.g. Big Brother 2010
Match your current content to previous learnings. NB. This technique is no longer true as people have caught up and almost all yearly shows now include the date as a matter of course.

Even if you’re not in Google News, you can use the learnings you have:

1. Bother to know what people are looking for anyway using your own site’s Google Analytcs – e.g. Holy Moly already had 5 visits for [Karen Gillan underwear] anyway.  They built a  photo gallery around that term and watched the visits rise.

2. Pre-empt ideas, trends building up to final event. Look back at analytics and apply what you have seen before to new stories that are coming up.
e.g. Kelly Brook in Playboy- use the build up of the gossip to create multiple news stories around the event before it happens.

So what are the lessons we’ve learned from Malcom?

  1. Think about your headline, plan ahead
  2. Answer a genuine questions people have around a topical issue
  3. You can’t compete with Google News, don’t try to compete with ‘hard news’
  4. Publish early – as soon as you can.
  5. SPend time on the headline
  6. Do it for links, not traffic
  7. Social media is important

Psst… you can cheat too.

NB. Holy Moly don’t do this – Malcolm just wanted to highlight the potential ‘grey’ areas that exist in every SEO walk of life.

  1. Make related links look like part of the main text of copy – Google can’t handle it.
  2. Publish mutiple times and redirect – rewrite then 301 to new page (repeatedly). Google won’t crawl fast enoughto notice the 301s in the period the news is search-worthy.
  3. Put your comments on a diff page so you get multiple entries in the SERPS.

Photo Credit: Holy Moly


Written By
Originally from the UK via France and Malaysia, Annabel Hodges is a digital marketer with long experience in the industry now residing in Sydney. She heads up the Digital Marketing at Next Commerce, working across an array of products, channels and brands.
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