Has Boris Been Gaming Google?

There is an interesting read in Wired today on a topic that I've had several conversations with SEO execs about recently. Is Boris trying to game Google?

It's not as silly a subject as it might at first appear to be. Remember, the Conservative party has hired a young team of social media executives to follow them around, filming them without ties as they are taught how to reach the Instagram nation. So it's not unthinkable that Boris would try to influence search regarding some of the controversial stories that are following him around.

If we go back a few months, there was that very strange interview where he talked about his passion for arranging cardboard boxes and then painting them red so they take on the form of a London bus. The accusation here was, of course, that he was trying to divert Google away from the story of him in front of 'that' red bus used in the Leave campaign. 

On the face of it, it's a smart move, even though it did raise suspicions among London's digital marketing scene that some trickery was being used to manipulate Google. The irony was it did have an impact for a little while and the curious interview did rate well. However, as any SEO exec will know, you cannot legislate for event beyond your control. Boris bus searches now come up with the maker of 'that' particular model of red bus going into liquidation. 

It was a nice try but it backfired both because it made people think he was up to something and then the phrase ultimately come back to haunt him when the bus maker went bust.

There was also that waving a kipper around on stage speech, talking about EU rules. If the intention was to divert attention away from linking Boris with UKIP supporters, known as 'kippers', it appears to have worked because a search brings up Boris staring at a dead fish on stage, rather than mention of UKIP.

Perhaps this is what encouraged him to refer to his language as being the "model of restraint" in recent interviews. The charge here is obvious. Boris would rather have his name ranking against 'model' as it pertains to this common phrase rather than a former model for whom he is accused of fixing grants and business trips as he ducks questions over how close the pair had become. 

This one's a real mixed bag because when the PM is accused of impropriety with a former model, that is a pretty hard stain to shift from the top of Google's results. However, the results do feature his rebuttal of using inflammatory language, even if they are outnumbered by salacious references to his friendship with Jennifer Arcuri and hte GBP126,000 of public money her company received plus access to high level business trips. 

So, in the end you can make up your own mind over whether Boris is trying to game Google. My feeling is he most definitely is and the proof is the decision to suddenly start telling stories about painting cardboard boxes in red so they look like buses. It's just such an odd recollection to suddenly come up with, one has to assume it was delivered with the hope of steering Google searchers towards a humorous tale rather than a potential political lie.

As he has found out, though, and as any SEO exec has discovered, you might get an early gain by trying to game Google, but you only get so far. 

In the end, Google always wins.

1 comment about "Has Boris Been Gaming Google?".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, October 2, 2019 at 4:01 p.m.

    Sean, Your last line says it all. Google always wins. I was ranked number one in the world for a number of years for the vanity keyword "Sweepstakes". This was when the page count was over 100 million.  Quite an honor and more so because I played by the Google rules. I simply worked my tail off, read much about what work and what didn't, then acted accordingly. 

    Then in 2011 Google not just started to change the rules, many new rules were being created. Especially the rules about the vanity keywords that are very common in nearly all searches. Control the keywords flow though Search and you control online advertising, picking winners and losers to much more.  Then tie this with Advertising and then their ability to block the so called, websites who directly work with advertisers and have the perfect storm to control the internet.

    Why do I say this? The publishers, big or small, just want a fair and level field to play in.

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