Monday, 4 January 2010 - 'Ugly' press release triumphs over SEO

SEO Manchester - online dating rankings'Tis the time for online love. As you'd expect from the season – the ink still wet on the list of resolutions – queries for the term 'online dating' enjoy a viagra-esque rise as one year rolls into the next. Presumably, many wish to be rid of their singleton tag before New Year's Eve comes around again.

This Google Trends chart demonstrates the seasonal peaks experienced by the term over the past few years.

It's a busy time for those in the online dating industry and I'd imagine that competition to hook in new subscribers is fierce.

This is aptly demonstrated by the deluge of print and media campaigns currently pulling on heartstrings across the UK. A television series is doing the rounds and I'm sure the company is reaping the rewards for their hard work.

Still, if you haven't got the offline promotions to bolster traffic, one suspects you may have to find more nefarious ways to drive traffic during peak season sign ups.

Online dating website caused a bit of a stir today after it revealed 5,000 users had been thrown off the vanity service for putting on the pounds over the festive season. For reference, the USP of this particular website promises 'beautiful' dates for beautiful people. founder Robert Hintze described the decision so:

"Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which was founded."

Whatever your opinion of Hintze, the announcement was a clever one. At least, it is when you're in an SEO position like

In SEO terms, is in the doldrums. Online dating is a competitive market and battling for hearts and minds against the dating monsters –,, – for organic SEO rankings looks like a losing campaign. Particularly in peak season.

A quick flick through Google Adwords' keyword tool brings up a host of popular terms relating to online lurve.

online dating
online date
best online dating
dating sites
internet dating

Just for fun, compare the organic ratings between and on these queries.

The two are in very different leagues. That is to say, has ugly rankings.

Still, this episode highlights the benefits of juicy linkbait. The online media has snapped at the story and currently, Google lists 64 articles in its news feed which relate to the press release. I'm presuming that the print outlets will pick up the baton tomorrow.

Whether or not this tactic reaps new subscribers is another debate entirely. Of course, no shock press release will triumph, at least in the long-term, over honest SEO rankings. Still, getting users to a site is half the battle. Whether any of them will be beautiful enough to subscribe is another matter.

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