SEO silliness for fun and profit

This post doesn’t have anything at all to do with hot chocolate recipes. Nor does it cover Quickbooks tax secrets or Hulk Hogan’s sex tape. However, at some point in time, some person who has searched for one of those things is going be reading this and wondering how they got here.

It’s a remarkable fact that while Google’s algorithms are smart enough to determine relevancy, and skew the odds against cheating, they still don’t have Turing like contextual awareness, and because of this, your content can end up linked in some surprising searches, simply because of a one off line or creative metaphor. While the odds of this being quality traffic that leads to a sale is pretty low, there’s a long tail effect to getting a greater amount of traffic just for traffic’s sake, because it ups the odds that one of those folks will be an interested party.

I learned about this unexpected effect when I was running a web magazine a couple years back. I had included a quote in a parody article from a made up Finnish ambassador, and closed out his quote by noting a Finnish dish: “…and try our delicious Kaalikääryleet!” Within a couple of days, I had a spike in traffic from Scandinavia, as people who were searching for recipes found the humorous post, and many of them commented or Liked it.

I started playing with including strange or unique phrases that didn’t seem to have a whole lot of search results, just to see if I could divert some traffic, and sure enough, it worked. Who knew that so many folks actually searched for “french fried pickle jam”?

That’s not to suggest that one should go about filling up a post with hackneyed phrases in bold; Google’s Penguin is getting pretty darn smart about what over optimization looks like, and, your readers will have a near zero percent conversion rate on pages that are so SEO stoked that it affects usability. It IS to suggest that your ongoing content should include liberal use of literary devices (what’s a metaphor for, anyways?), and if you have the ability to include a reference (even off-handed) to a current topical event, then do so. It’s a fun exercise, it brightens up your post, and it might just have a huge effect on your overall traffic.