Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, appeared before Congress and was asked why President Donald Trump’s image would appear in search results whenever someone would Google the word “idiot”. While Pichai had to educate Congress about how Google works, here is the answer in a nutshell – search engine optimization.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of optimizing a piece of content to show as high up in the rankings of search engines as possible for a chosen keyword. Businesses will often look to undertake SEO to get more traffic to their site by ranking higher in search engines for keywords that are relevant to their product or service.
While SEO can be a legitimate practice for increasing traffic to a website, it can also be used for nefarious purposes. In the case of President Trump, activists have used a technique known as ‘Googlebombing’ to move photos of President Trump up the rankings for searches relating to the keyword ‘idiot’.
Numerous Reddit posts featuring President Trump’s name, photo, and the word ‘idiot’ received tens of thousands of upvotes. This received attention from credible media sources who published articles about the activity on Reddit. When these factors were combined – massive engagement on Reddit plus established new outlets reporting on the matter – the link between President Trump and the keyword ‘idiot’ was strengthened, propelling the association up the Google rankings.
Can Google’s Ranking Be Manipulated?
Over the years, there has been many techniques that have been used in an attempt to influence search engine rankings. These techniques have had mixed results. Google insists that their algorithm can’t be manipulated and in the past they have been quick to react through algorithm updates when a manipulation attempt is discovered.
If you’re looking to use SEO for business purposes, then I always suggest that you stick to the fundamental principles that have been shown to be ‘Google Friendly’. I’ll publish a post on the fundamental SEO principles on this blog in the near future.
How Does SEO Fit In With Marketing Automation?
SEO is a big part of any robust marketing strategy and, if executed correctly, will also complement the use of marketing automation. Content that adheres to SEO principles is more likely to be found by people on search engines which results in traffic to your site. If someone lands on your site, likes your content and is compelled to leave their details in exchange for a lead magnet, then the importance of combining marketing automation and SEO becomes apparent.
SEO gets eyeballs on your content…
Marketing automation automates the marketing funnel process once they have engaged with your content…
For example, in the above situation a new lead has filed in a form to receive one of your lead magnets, which can be delivered using marketing automation. Now that you have that prospect’s details and an indication of what they are interested in, you can warm them up using a nurture sequence. This informs them about your business and the problems you solve. Marketing automation can also help you retarget anyone who lands on your content by placing relevant ads across platforms (e.g. Facebook and Google).
Use SEO For Good…
While President Trump has fallen victim to activists using ‘Googlebombing’ to associate his image with the word ‘idiot’ it doesn’t necessarily mean that SEO is a strategy used purely for bad. When combined with marketing automation, SEO can be a powerful strategy in your marketing efforts. Just make sure that you use Google-friendly SEO techniques… and try not to target Presidents… ?