Muppets, Google, and Me
I love the Muppets. I write about them on this website all the time. That’s why I have a Google alert set up for the words “Muppets” and “Muppet.” Every day, I get e-mails with links to various posts around the internet that include those words. Those words, again, are “Muppets” and “Muppet.”
Sometimes I completely understand why certain posts end up in my Google alerts for the words “Muppets” and “Muppet.” Like when Muppets Now premiered. I got Google alerts bringing my attention to interviews that outlets like Entertainment Weekly and The AV Club did with the characters. Those are high-profile websites writing about high-profile Muppet projects, so it’s only natural that they’d make their way to my Google alerts.
But sometimes I open those alerts and I raise an eyebrow. Like, I’ll get a news article from Manchester, England about a local politician calling his opponent a “muppet.” Did Google really deem that important enough to e-mail me about?
I’ve also noticed that this website doesn’t show up in my Google alerts very often, despite the fact that we only write about Muppets. I mean, other than Danny Horn’s classic piece “Save My Baby!” from 2002, which is about the motion picture Spider-Man, I can’t think of any Tough Pigs articles that aren’t about Muppet-related topics. And heck, we even interviewed Gonzo and Pepe when Muppets Now premiered. But I never saw our post in my Google alerts! Why, it’s frustrating enough to make me shake my fist in the general direction of my laptop.
I figure a lot of this has to do with SEO. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stand for “Sausage Egg Omelet,” but rather “Search Engine Optimization.” These days, when you write articles on the internet, it doesn’t matter whether they’re actually good or not. What really matters is how well you can trick the search engines (you know, like Bing, AltaVista, and Lycos) into noticing you.
Here on the website, we have a little plugin that tells us how SEO-friendly our articles are. It gives us red frowny faces when we’re not SEOing very well, and green smiley faces when we’re SEOing better. I don’t usually focus on it very much, but I’ve decided that I really want this article to make it into my Google alerts for either the word “Muppets” or the word “Muppet.” Or both! So I’m going to try everything I can to please the SEO gods.
So, one thing the plugin suggests is using plenty of subheadings. I’ve been doing that. In fact, it’s time for another one. Here it comes…
This Section Is Not About Mr. Poodlepants
What else? The plugin says more things. One is to use short sentences. I can do that. I’m doing it now. And now, still. And again. Short sentences. That’s what. I’m doing. So are these? Short enough?
I should also use the “keyphrase” frequently. In this case, “Muppets.” Why do I love those lovable puppets? Because! They’ve been on so many great TV shows. Like Muppets Tonight. And Muppets Now. Also great movies. Like The Muppets Take Manhattan. And Muppets From Space. The Muppets. And Muppets Most Wanted. And they had a TV show called The Muppets!
Uh-oh. Apparently I also shouldn’t use the keyphrase too frequently. And I’ve already used it too frequently. I can’t use it anymore! So in this paragraph I won’t use the M-word. I’ll just say this: Don’t you love Jim Henson’s puppets? Don’t you love Kermit the Frog? And Fozzie Bear? Also Miss Piggy? And the Swedish Chef? (Did I mention the plugin also recommends starting sentences with transition words like “and?” And other words?)
Hmm… I wonder if it would help if I talked about the Moopets. Is that word close enough to my keyphrase, but dissimilar enough, to improve my SEO? Just to be safe, I’ll mention the Moopets a little bit. Like Miss Poogy. And Kermoot. But I won’t talk about them too much. Because they were rude to Walter.
Sorry, the plugin is talking to me again. And it says I should use my keyphrase in my subheadings. Whoops, I haven’t done that yet!
Look, This Subheading Has Muppets In It
Well, that’s done. And yet, the plugin is still telling me I have problems. Tell me something I don’t know, plugin! One suggestion is that I should link to other articles on this website, but not if they use my keyphrase a lot. How am I supposed to do that?! I guess I’ll just remind everyone that we have a lot of articles about Dark Crystal stuff, and Labyrinth stuff, and even a little bit of Sid the Science Kid stuff.
Oh hey, the plugin is giving me green smiley faces now. So I guess the SEO on this article is pretty good. I cannot imagine worrying about this nonsense every time I want to write an article about Cookie Monster. But if this works, and this article appears in my Google alerts, it will all have been worth it. Who knows? Maybe it will appear in the inbox of somebody else who has a Google alert set for this keyphrase. And they’ll discover Tough Pigs for the first time, and they’ll become a life-long reader, and they’ll e-mail to tell me how much they liked my article. And that person will be… Abraham Lincoln!
I’ll let you know if that happens.
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by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com