SEO In Translation


I imagine film posters are one of the most difficult forms of advertising. Indeed, when you consider what a movie poster needs to accomplish, it can be a daunting prospect.

A movie one-sheet needs to capture the imagination. It is a 27" x 40" piece of paper which has to grab the attention of everyone passing. It needs to convince individuals that the film it is advertising is worth two and a bit hours of their life.

There are many traditional ways to achieve this: a big name movie star in the centre of the page, an explosion in the background and some form of exciting slogan (‘This time, it’s war’ etc) being just three. Recently though, more and more film advertisements have been using SEO in an attempt to drive traffic onto their website and more film fans into the cinema.

As an SEO copywriter in Manchester, I’m always interested to see examples of the digital world flowing into the real one; the ways companies use television or print advertising to influence hits and conversions.

This bus advertisement for the upcoming Ron Howard film, Angels and Demons is a striking example of how SEO advertising can influence traffic.

What struck me is how this advertisement can obviously be broken into four key search terms.

  • Tom Hanks
  • Robert Langdon
  • Da Vinci Code
  • Angels and Demons

Predictably, any one of these search terms leads users to the Angels and Demons homepage. Just for good measure, the website is also included at the foot of the advertisement.

This poster shows a fundamental change in the way advertisers approach their audience. There’s a trend towards promotional materials stuffed with keywords – even if individuals do not remember the exact web address of the film, they are offered several memorable phrases to use as keywords when they return home to their desktop computers.

It is not just film advertising which is taking this approach to SEO advertisement - many companies are now solely advertising search terms in order to direct traffic to their websites; the Orange Wednesdays promotion and The British Army recruitment drive being just two examples.

While it is interesting to see the growing domination of natural SEO, it also gives us an indication on how users are moving away from the traditional address bar; relying on Google and their ilk to provide them with links to official sites and resources. More and more emphasis is being placed on natural SEO, both by the user and the industry.

Perhaps one day we will see a film poster with the tag line:

‘This must-see film is a great film with Tom Hanks in the latest Oscar-winning film.'

Or maybe not.

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