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02/09/2006

The Sun's celebrity search engine strategy

Are you an A-list celeb? Are you sure...

Here's  a test: is top UK tabloid The Sun paying to rank for your name on search engines like Google?

Like any brand worth its salt, publishers are investing in their search engine optimisation strategies (SEO). Now The Sun, part of the Rupert Murdoch-owned News International group,  has apparently put celebrity names at the heart of its SEO strategy.

A straw poll scan of political, sporting and musical UK celebs on the google.co.uk consistently brought up The Sun as number one or two for their name. This shows that the web specialists at The Sun (but not other Murdoch papers like The Times or News of The World) are bidding for these terms in Google's AdSense market.

Almost as interesting as who The Sun's SEO team is paying to rank for is who they aren't:

Maybe celebrities will be thinking that if The Sun isn't paying Google to rank in sponsored results they are definitely B-list... Could this be more reliable an indicator of fame than Celebdaq?

How long before pay-per-click sponsored search results are competed for by other news media? How long before they bid on issues?

It's a forward looking strategy and probably a trial on behalf of The Sun - but they are ahead of the pack here. Even globally only one other brand is bidding for "George Bush" for instance, the
Discovery Channel's Koppel show.

* The fact that The Sun isn't buying misspellings also suggests that the campaign is at an early stage. In paid search campaigns, going for misspellings of search terms is a must.

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