I just made a new lens on a popular funny YouTube video, the “Antwerp Train Station Sound of Music” prank.
If you haven’t seen the video, you need to– it’ll make you smile. VERY effective. So far it’s gotten nearly 13 million hits, and that’s not counting all the duplicate copies floating around on YouTube plus a few million more on various European YouTube sites.
It’s a great case study in “linkbait,” content that’s so good people start linking to it. (Also known as “viral,” since linkbait this good can spread by word-of-mouth to millions of web users within days, even hours).
It also illustrates an SEO blunder.
I discovered that this video was, naturally, not a total accident, but a way to market something — an upcoming production of The Sound of Music in Antwerp.
As a promo, it succeeded brilliantly. Apparently it and the reality TV show used to choose the “new Maria” had everybody in Belgium in a frenzy to see the new show, which opened to sold out crowds just 5 months later.
One itsy bitsy problem. Google “Antwerp Sound of Music.” Say you want tickets or info about the production. You can’t find it! The viral video went global, took the blogging world by storm, and hogged the top keywords that probably should’ve gone to the musical production. I’m sure the website for the show wasn’t up yet — giving the promo months to attract thousands of SEO-boosting backlinks. So all the search results for those keywords are about the viral video.
Usually methods of self-promotion aren’t this wildly successful. However, users of lensroll.com may have noticed that posts there tend to get indexed a day or so before Squidoo itself, which may mean the lensroll.com entry about your lens gets a head start in search engine results for your keywords. I’ve had the same problem when I put a video on YouTube attached to a lens. Probably, YouTube gets crawled by search engines a few times a day.
In most cases, this is fine. Just make sure that wherever you talk about your site on the web, you leave a bright shiny link TO your site as close to the top of the webpage as possible. Be sure to use your lens’ keywords in the anchor text to help it in its quest for search engine domination. Also, be aware that if you ever stumble on the holy grail of SEO, content that goes viral, it’ll eat all the search engine results for its keywords as thousands of people blog about it.