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The BBC and SEO

The BBC and SEO

The BBC seem to be one of the organisations leading the way in the world of SEO. At least, you may often feel that it seems that way.

If you search for just about anything that has recently made the news, then there’s a fair chance that the BBC site will appear within the first page of the search engine results. That’s an enviable position for them to have gained, but what’s the explanation behind the level of success that they’ve achieved?

I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at what they’ve been up to and the impact on search engine results.

Fresh content

One of our recent blog posts explored the subject of content, with the specific suggestion that content was critical to online success. It was also suggested, however, that the quality of the content is at least as important as the quantity of it.

The BBC provide a great example of this in action. With a massive dedicated team of journalists and writers available to them, they create new content on an hourly basis. That content is interesting, often newsworthy and well written.

This has numerous benefits, in SEO terms. That fresh content causes BBC website viewers to return to the site on a regular basis. That’s because they want to get information and news from such a trusted resource.

Those same individuals will discuss that content, both online and in the real world. This leads to yet more people visiting the site.

Although this sounds great, how is it helping their SEO efforts? The answer can be found in the fact that the main search engines monitor various metrics. They understand that the BBC website provides users with what they want and expect.

Since this is the case, Google et al know that providing BBC content within search engine results will also please their own users. As a result, the BBC has become accepted as an authority site.

Inbound links

The nature of the content and the profile of the site also means that it naturally attracts links from other websites, blogs and social media sources.

Who links to the BBC website? Well, almost anyone! Look on Twitter or Facebook on any given day and you’ll see thousands of new links pointing at the site, all from “normal” people. But journalists also choose to place links to the BBC, so you’ll see articles in the Guardian and Telegraph (for example) pointing to the site.

On-site SEO

So is it just a coincidence that the site does so well? Is it really a simple combination of good content and broad awareness of the site that allows it to obtain great positioning?

Well, those are key explanations, but the reality is that BBC employees also work hard to impress the search engines. There’s an article on the BBC blog that’s well worth reading:

As you can see, it was published in September. It explains how journalists are expected to have one eye on SEO when creating content.

When we put all of this together, we see that it’s no coincidence that all of those BBC pages get returned by the search engines. It’s all about good SEO.

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