Search Engine Optimization: A Double Edged Sword

In this week’s blog, I plan on focusing on how search engine optimization (SEO), while often crucial, can be occasionally detrimental to a company. As of 2011, 59% of all adult internet users were utilizing search engines, and the number was growing on a daily basis. In 2014, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to the internet savvy and even to the occasional user that the answer for most of our online questions are found within Google or our search engines of choice. So, for companies to be attempting to optimize their advertising opportunities where their demographics are looking is only logical. However, sometimes no matter how well thought out an online strategy may be, it can occasionally be hijacked. Earlier this year, I was introduced to the story of how Walmart had a recent marketing campaign, which attempted to boost their Facebook presence, go hysterically array. In short, Walmart held a contest for American cities which had a Walmart, and the winning city was to win an exclusive concert with Pitbull as the musical guest. However, two influential internet users decided that this was an opportunity to send Pitbull to the smallest Walmart, located in Kodiak, Alaska, and started the hashtag #exilePitbull. The campaign hijack was successful, and Pitbull performed in Kodiak. To see just how shutdown Walmart’s campaign efforts were, I typed “Walmart Pitbull” into Google and looked at the results. As you can see in the screenshot I included, 4 out of the 5 first results which show up relate to the prank, and not the contest directly.  As the SEO guide I referred to earlier stated, results appearing in 5th order and below receive only 2% of all click through traffic. As a result, the Walmart campaign featuring Pitbull is an example of a company that, in this instance at least, would not benefit from a keyword search. Image

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One thought on “Search Engine Optimization: A Double Edged Sword

  1. Great point on how even SEO can be “hijacked”. I guess that is the advantage of a digital marketing team who is organized and savvy – they can use a competitors keywords to drive traffic to their own site 🙂

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