Sep 18, 2012 • 8:30 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News

BBC SEOBBC's Duncan Bloor, a producer in the User Building team at the BBC, wrote a blog post on the BBC blog named A Journey through Search Engine Optimisation.

In that blog post, he made a comment that got the WebmasterWorld forums talking. Duncan wrote:

What makes SEO unique at the BBC is the editorial slant content producers have to take on it. For example, search engines tend to trust BBC content (because of the number of inbound links to the site and its stability over time) and rank it highly so when BBC staff choose keywords, we need to be as honest as possible. This is so that we don’t inadvertently outperform other content on the web which may be more deserving of that top spot in Google. (This is almost “reverse SEO” if you like!)

Duncan is saying the BBC is unique in that when the BBC choses keywords they are honest about it.

Really, BBC is the only place that is honest about keyword selection?

If they were not honest about it, would it lead to a good user experience? Would it lead to reader retention? Would it lead to more views in the long run?

Tedster wrote:

Why would any site want to rank for a keyword that wasn't really relevant for the content anyway? That kind of traffic has almost no value unless you are getting paid for ad impressions. And even then, ad impressions that don't send clicks have no value for the advertiser so that also becomes problematic pretty fast.

I often try to eliminate poorly targeted traffic, and I don't do it for ethical reasons. I do it purely aout of self-interest. I think this comment from the BBC is a bit of spin. Nicely done spin, however - but it's still spin.

Maybe we are being a bit defensive on this story or maybe not?

Note: This story was scheduled to be posted on this day, but was written earlier.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Paul Martin

09/18/2012 12:39 pm

I bet their SEO campaigns differ by country though, as I believe ad revenue is the main driver for foreign BBC sites and content!

Nick Stamoulis

09/18/2012 01:27 pm

Maybe the BBC is trying to say they don't want to outrank another, better site for a more broader search just because their site might be more trusted. For instance, If they published one article about blue widgets should that one page do better than most other sites that are completely dedicated to blue widgets? They are trying to play fair and not abuse their online authority.

Tyson Stevens

09/18/2012 03:59 pm

Man. You gotta be legit to have to work on not ranking for keywords. That's a whole new ball game.

Webstats Art

09/18/2012 06:22 pm

Wonder who knows how to buy links from the BBC.

Jaan Kanellis

09/18/2012 08:09 pm

I thought they stopped doing that?

Joe Youngblood

09/18/2012 10:33 pm

I agree with this. I took the same thing away. It would be easy for them to toss in a block of text to get a long tail query they may not be the best for. Of course they don't want that, but I've never seen an organization committed to actively thinking about this while producing content.


09/19/2012 08:25 am

Yes Guest posts are the dirty underbelly of the white hat seo world. I know people who have strived to become journalists for some of these sites just to sell guest posts to the highest bidder. One day Google will realise that there is no natural backlinks anymore. All journalists are now SEO's. They understand the value of a backlink and will not link to you with a relevant backlink unless paid. Similar things happen on this very blog and on searchengine land. How often do you see a post from one of the blogs with keywords to sites like "article' or "post" to the actual article that gave them the info, yet will post to some sites with very relevant anchor text like "seo india" (only an example) or whatever knowing full well that is a much better link by far. Now not all this is directly paid for. However in the washup all links are paid for in oe way or another. I asked Matt Cutts to clarify this point. He is yet to approve the comment after nearly 3 weeks. Yet he has approved others that came later. He knows its bad but when his mates like Danny Sullivan are doing this it is hard to come down hard on it.

Tim Collins

09/20/2012 02:30 am

i think you ad your responders are missing the point. What the BBC spokesman is saying is that they could be the 400 Kg at the party every time, but consciously choose to edit their articles so as not to have an unfair advantage over other sites. As for keywords directing traffic I think Tedster is way off beam. As a broadcaster with lots of genuinely interesting content, someone who gets the accidentally is far more likely to stay the a site that say, sells running shoes..

Webstats Art

09/20/2012 05:40 pm

There is a multi-billion dollar underground link industry that google has been responsible for creating. My friend sell links cloaked as advertising and you can't tell the difference. One client is paying in USD25,000 a year for the links - others around 5K.

Jake Webster

09/25/2012 02:50 am

Hadn't even thought about it that way, but yep that is what they say they are doing

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