A year back I made an experiment to test if I could compete with the biggest news sites in Sweden in terms of SEO and rank my article on the first page of Google for just one day with one big scope. Here is the result.
I’m running a satire news site (Akademikern – The Academic) in Sweden and the articles is mostly targeting people studying at Lund university in Lund but sometimes I want to test the big crowd and make stories to national news.
For several years a big grocery company named “ICA” have been running a big and successful TV commercial. The concept is all about story telling and in every new commercial which are released every month you follow a group of employees in the company. Each commercial is constructed as an approximately 45 second sketch, set in a ICA store where you with different tricks show up the week’s cheap goods. The big star in the commercial is Stig, also known as ICA-Stig.
In early january 2015 ICA company announced that the original ICA-Stig Hans Mosesson was going to do his last episode after 13 years. ICA also made it clear that they were casting a new actor for the roll of ICA-Stig.
For several months ICA had a campaign to engage the swedish people in the casting and many news papers speculated in who was going to be the next ICA-Stig. The release date of the new character was at the February 1st at 21.01 on TV4 as a brand new commercial.
Akademikern had by this time a big audience mostly based in Lund and in student communities and every time we made a new post the likes from Facebook always launched as a rocket because the audience like this kind of humor. At this moment I knew that a big part of the population would use Google as a news source during the day.
I made an article with the headline Per Eriksson blir nya ICA-Stig (Per Eriksson is the new ICA-Stig). The content was to make people think that the former Vice-Chancellor of Lund university was going to be the new ICA-Stig. I published the post at 11.00 same day and started a widespread Facebook campaign to reach the big audience I knew was interested in the ICA announcement.
The article had over 26k views in the afternoon and was at this point reaching high on the organic search results. So high it was in the top 3 when searching for “ICA Stig” or “nya ICA-Stig” (new ICA-Stig).
After the commercial release my article was still in the top 3 results and even started to get better position.
Well… this was just happening during a few minutes and then drop down – but still, I was competing! A small satiric website competing with the big dogs. I was glad to get the article at the first page of the search results during the day and that’s the main reason for the article to stay on that sweet spot even minutes after the traditional media published their articles. This is really a good example of 15 minutes of fame.
- One reason my article was so popular and had many more clicks was the simple thing such as the name of the new ICA-Stig already was in the headline. The traditional media such as Aftonbladet, Expressen, VK and other news sites are selling news with click bait and are forcing the reader to click on the article to get the answer. Even if I put a fake answer in the headline almost everyone clicked the link and a shit load thought it was true.
- If you don’t notice the satire in the article you are very likely to think it’s true that the Vice-Chancellor of Lund university is suitable for the character of ICA-Stig and therefore you are most certainly going to share the article. And if a lot of people are reading and sharing the article Google will see it as a fresh and new article about a popular story.
- A lot of traffic to the website during the day. This was a crucial key in order to rank high with the article.
So next time you want to write content – think about the headline. Is it just for click bait or do you want to say something else to the reader? What does your competitors do? It is equally important with a good headline as with the content.