The Shortcomings of Super Bowl SEO

Feb 3, 2020

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), the more the better, right? Not so fast.

A recent article posted to sports blog SB Nation pointed out how some SEO efforts can lead writers, marketers and brands astray. The post titled “What time is the Super Bowl and how can I watch it?” spells out exactly where and when viewers could watch Super Bowl LIV. But after reading the words closely, something seems a little off: 

Super Bowl LIV will be played on Feb. 2, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. The game, which will be contested by the AFC’s Kansas City Chiefs and the NFC’s San Francisco 49ers, will kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. CT; 3:30 p.m. PT). In the United States, you can watch on Fox. The “Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show” will be co-headlined by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.”

SB Nation Editor-In-Chief Graham MacAree goes onto reveal that the above paragraph was written solely with the intention of boosting the webpage’s position on Google’s search rankings. It’s easy to tell the author was attempting to cram in as many keywords, links and factoids as possible in service of the all-powerful Google algorithm.

SEO as Part of a Larger Content Marketing Strategy

From an SEO perspective, it’s useful information that answers a googler’s question. But it’s a clunky lead, devoid of creative integrity and good storytelling. It’s not a fun paragraph to read — or write. While it may have helped lift the content’s SEO, it came at the cost of the article’s value to readers. What’s more, literally thousands of other websites with little or no connection to the big game published nearly identical articles.

Consumers are catching on to brands’ attempts to win favor with Google’s search rankings by writing this way.

Google is catching on as well. It has altered its algorithm over the years to reward content that is structured in an appealing, digestible manner and keeps readers on the page longer. It also favors sites that users are linking to on their own websites.

SEO remains a critical component of any well-rounded content marketing campaign. But there’s a right way – and a wrong way – to go about it. Brands must still focus on effective storytelling, useful insights and engaging content that appeals to human beings, then use SEO to make that content easy to find.

Long story short: SEO will remain a valuable tool to attract an audience. But effectively promoting content takes a multi-faceted approach that values story-driven and insightful content just as much as keywords and title tags.

Forward this optimized story.

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