Surely you did not land on this article by searching for the kickoff time for Sunday’s Super Bowl. This isn’t 2012, after all. No, if anything, you perhaps found us looking for information on how to watch the Super Bowl online. We will provide you with answers to both later. First, however, we’ll tell you why one search term is falling out of favor with publishers for the other.
For starters, a history lesson: The Internet can blame the Huffington Post for the item that launched a thousand SEO monkeyshines. In 2011, a dutiful “Trends and Traffic Editor” noticed people were searching the Super Bowl start time without getting an easy answer. Trending terms included “what time is the Super Bowl 2011” and “superbowl kickoff time 2011.” And so, like Prometheus giving fire to the mortals, the Huffington Post gave the world the answer it was looking for.
The resulting post was so well optimized — loaded up with keywords, essentially — that it resulted in a windfall of traffic for the publisher. It also left a lasting legacy: an annual tradition of traffic-thirsty copycats trying to cadge some search traffic. Google says the big game is one its most searched items ever each year, making it attractive for publishers to game the algorithm and try to have it results float to the top.
“The year we did that at the Huffington Post, it was actually useful,” said former Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry, who now runs RebelMouse. “Now there are still hundreds of questions in people’s minds that Google won’t just automatically answer.”
Indeed, the trend appears to be dying, killed off by Google itself. Searching the question, which nets 158 million results, now displays the answer top-and-center so there’s no reason to click on anything anymore — and no incentive for publishers to gin up a shady post. (The Huffington Post doesn’t even appear on the first page of results any more.)
Just like AOL, however, the phenomenon is not completely dead. The Big Lead, the International Business Times, CBS Sports, and even the UK’s The Telegraph, where it’s admittedly a harder question to answer because of time zones, all appear on the first page of search results. Ka-ching.
Another tactic of capitalizing on the trend has been the reverse SEO troll — in which publishers can have their traffic cake and eat it too by mocking “what time does the Super Bowl start” gimmicks while reaping its benefits as well. See: Gawker, CNN Money and GQ, but certainly not Digiday.
But with cord-cutting growing in popularity, people are now searching for how to watch the game online, officially making that question the easy SEO-trick du jour. It’s also a easier way to get shares for a publisher, which is the new search. “How to watch the Super Bowl online” garners Forbes, CBS Sports and the Washington Post landing on the front page.
For the record: the Super Bowl starts at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 7. It can be watched on television for free with a cheap antenna or it’s streaming free on CBSSports.com.
The Athletic’s Sebastian Tomich is looking beyond ads and subscriptions to reach profitability
The Athletic's path to profitability is set for 2025, and to achieve this goal, chief commercial officer Sebastian Tomich is focused on more than just selling ads directly to prospective advertisers.
How newsroom unions intervene when members get laid off
Amid the recent wave of media layoffs, here are some of the ways newsroom unions are intervening.
Despite Q1’s slow start, publishers are bullish about events revenue for 2023
Publishers like BDG and Apartment Therapy are banking on events revenue to give them a leg up in 2023.
SponsoredAdvertising predictions that will shake up the media industry in 2023
Chris Kelly, CEO, Upwave Like many people, marketers and advertisers were ready to see 2022 come to a close. A year that started off promising was assailed by inflation, layoffs and the disastrous effects of RSV, the flu and additional COVID strains. Still, despite an uncertain outlook for 2023, there are plenty of reasons for […]
Media Briefing: The case for and against monthly and annual subscriptions in the battle for retention
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for improving retention in a subscriptions business. While annual subscribers might stick around longer for some, other publishers will have better luck with monthly plans.
Digiday+ Research: The economy will hit the media and marketing industries this year, but differently
The economy will plague both the media and marketing industries in 2023, but the hit will be uneven between publishers and agencies.