How PornHub is baiting media to increase website SEO ranking

11 years ago, when i started in the web development domain, i found myself in need of optimizing the websites for better ranking in search results.
Back then, the rules were simple and clear, if you followed the rules, you can count on having your website ranking high, for a specific keyword.
Since then, rules have been added, and some have been changed, and there have been a continual increase in complexity on what make websites rank higher.
These changes come because search engines no longer want the average Joe to know how to make his website rank high, instead they want him to buy ads that display “the website” on top of results, simply because it is the ads that make money for these huge search engines/corporations ….

Back then, there was a rule that every webmaster knew by heart, the rule was: avoid linking to  “porn” or “gambling” sites. Since then, this rule have never changed, and every responsible webmaster made sure he/she never linked to these categories, unless the site happen to be in these categories.
The reason behind this rule, is basically the same as any general public entertainment medium, where you are warned about adult content and in some cases the adult content have it’s own section isolated from the rest.
Same logic apply, when you link to adult or gambling content, it means -for the search engines- that you are willingly endorsing them, and that you are telling the visitor to go to these not so “ethical” websites, thus you should also be treated with cautious.
The “treated with cautious” mean that your page rank, aka “PR” will drop, the drop might not be visible at first, but you can bet that your general site ranking is taking a hit.

When the online media bloomed, especially with the advent of web2.0, the majority of the content was no longer created or crafted by the webmasters, but by the contributors and the journalists, which both have zero knowledge of SEO.
Then, the rise of the social media -Facebook & co. – sealed the deal, any attention to “SEO“,  journalists & wannabe journalist might have had, was scrapped and replaced by click-bait strategy that focused on controversial titles and on pushing readers to share the content in hope it would go viral.
In this spirit of negligence, some websites and corporation decided to take advantage of the situation, and bank on the ignorance of journalists and writers online.
One such site is PornHub, which in reality is simply just another porn video site, but with a good social media marketing team, the site, like all adult site relies mainly on SEO, to attract visitors. For porn sites, it’s not possible to advertise on search engines and they can’t count really on Facebook shares, after all who shares a porn video with his friends and family? No one!

So instead, they devised a plan to bait the media, and so far their plan have been successful, and honestly, no need to be a smart reporter to notice that they are taking advantage of you! All you have to do is take a look at their press releases to understand that “the causes” they are supporting, and their philanthropic activities are simply to create buzz, and that’s there’s no good intentions behind them!

below, I’ll show the screenshots before analyzing their campaigns ….

mediabaiting1 mediabaiting2

From the above press releases, i’ll choose a few, that show with no doubts the strategy adopted:
2016-02-05 –  Pornhub Cares Launches “Save the Whales” Fundraising Campaign in Time for World Whale Day
2016-01-20 –  Pornhub Apparel Partners With Christy Mack for Special Edition Clothing Line to Support Victims of Domestic Violence
2015-12-16 –  Pornhub Announces MaryAnn Uribe as Recipient of First-Ever $25,000 Pornhub Cares Scholarship
2015-12-02 –  Pornhub Cares’ ‘Save The Boobs’ Campaign Raises $35,000 to Support Breast Cancer Awareness
2015-10-01 –  Adult Site Announces Return of Breast Cancer Fundraising Initiative to Donate 1 Cent for Every 30 Videos Viewed
2015-09-02 –  Leading Adult Entertainment Platform to Award $25,000 Scholarship to Deserving Student Applicant

The site/ company is just gaming the media for attention and for links, for example, their above campaign of 1 cent per 30 views -on videos in big boobs and small boobs category only-, led to 104 million views for the chosen categories in that specific month. This means that they have skyrocketed their traffic, increased their SEO ranking and increased their social media followers for a mere $35k, you can’t get better than that! Furthermore, it increased their female viewers demographics.
The $25k scholarship did the same, but this time it’s improving their students demographics.
With Save the Whales campaign, they are doing the same strategy as they did with the breast cancer awareness, except, this time, they doing it site wide, thus the much lower donation per views: 1 cent for every 2000 views!!!
As for the Christy Mack collection, it is ridiculous, it’s simply a couple of sexy or naked images transferred onto standard Tshirts ….

Many big publications have fallen victim to this baiting, and that include: Thousands of respectable publications like the Washington Post, the Independent, huffingtonPost, USA today, NBC, etc etc ….

At the end of the day, the corporation that run PornHub as well as YouPorn and Redtube, is doing the best for their business, it is rather the fault of writers that aren’t.

we will soon publish : Simple SEO Steps Every Publisher Should Ask Writers to Follow