inserting keywords to drive traffic?

Simon Collister has blogged about’s rising web traffic making it into this month’s Private Eye.

The Eye apparently writes:

“[Telegraph] news hacks are sent a memo three or four times a day from the website boffins listing the top subjects being searched in the last few hours on Google. They are then expected to write stories accordingly and/or get as many of those key words into the first par of their story.”

(Shades of the England football team inserting song lyrics into post-match interviews under Glen Hoddle…)

As this appears in Private Eye the usual caveats apply, but similar practices at the Telegraph have been suggested by the Observer’s media diary:

“The Daily Telegraph has been accused of inserting keywords into copy to ensure its website gets the maximum number of hits, so it was interesting to see the following comment on, posted in response to a rather dry piece about civil liberties penned by advertising guru Maurice Saatchi. ‘Dear Mr Saatchi,’ it began. ‘Your sister-in-law [ie Nigella Lawson] is second only to Holly Willoughby in my affections.’ You may wonder what the photogenic TV star has to do with 42-day detention periods, but it can’t harm the traffic figures.”

Is the Eye onto something or is this just another Guardian-Telegraph conspiracy theory?

2 thoughts on “ inserting keywords to drive traffic?

  1. Pingback: "Redaktionen skriver utifrån populäraste sökorden" | Bloggtidningen

  2. Laura Oliver Post author

    As an update – Shane Richmond, communities editor of, has eloquently explained the site’s SEO policy.

    Any keywords are relevant keywords, he explains, and not exaggerated inserts as suggested – tongue-in-cheekily- by Private Eye.

    But where has the Observer’s evidence of accusations come from or is taking PE too seriously?

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