Learning SEO From Lady GaGa

Dear God, forgive me my sins, for I must speak the name of the Unholy One.  I mean Lady GaGa.  Let me be very clear on this point: prior to a couple months ago, aside from hearing some passing references to the name, I really had no clue who she was.  Frankly… I’m still not entirely sure.  But, she does happen to be one of the most unintentionally successful SEO examples in recent memory.

Tuesday morning on the Today show, Marissa Mayer of Google shared the top searches of 2009.  Well, more accurately, she shared the top rising searches.  Topping the list of rising image searches: Lady GaGa.  Now, maybe she’s actually brilliant (or more likely largely messed up in the head), because even though her music is basically crap (don’t argue with me), she’s built an awesome vehicle for herself in her madness.  While we can’t go off the deep end in ways that would impress the Lady, we can take away a few things.

“People are always wondering what she looks like. She looks different all the time,” Mayer said.

She has done a number of things very well.  First, buzz generation.  It doesn’t matter if people care about what she’s doing, they just want to know, because they are pretty sure it will be strange (hint: it usually is).  She’s no Madonna, but what Madonna did fifteen years ago, she’s stepping up to now.  Don’t worry whether or not people will care, because odds are they won’t anyway.  The trick is to simply make them want to know, make them want to not feel left out if they weren’t aware.  Wacky hijinks generate buzz and traffic, and students are an endless supply.  Not to mention that if prospective students are your target market, they will be substantially more drawn to the site if it has flavor.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t celebrate successes, like awards departments win and whatnot, just be aware that information like that is generally very dry, and very dull (though you could and should always try dressing it up), and you won’t hook fish with it.  Don’t be afraid to celebrate the occasionally strange and random happenstances on campus; it’s what gives you character!

Be visually compelling!  Stand out from the crowd.  See the Mayer quote above.  This isn’t news to any of us, but it always helps to be refreshed on it, and I’m humiliated that Lady GaGa is so good at it.  If you are visually compelling, people will want to see what you are doing, and will return just because of their own curiosity.  Examples (all eduStyle award winners, either judged or people’s choice): Boston University - Bostonia, University of Texas - Medical School at Houston: Office of Communications, Humboldt State University- Sustainability in Mind, and the College of William and Mary.  The more a user, any user, is at your site, the more chance you have for donations, enrollment, etc.

It’s all about finding a way to stand apart and stand out.  Lady GaGa’s music does not make her special.  I will line up female singers a mile long that are better.  But she took Britney Spears’ crazy factor, mixed in a little Lindsay Lohan, and refined it in to something that was marketable and put her on the map.  This is all old hat, but it shows just how effective the right buzz and image can be for a brand, and it shows how high maintenance the process is.  If Lady GaGa suddenly started dressing normally and acting like your mom on a day to day basis, she’d lose all her appeal; you must be creative AND maintain!

cc Learning SEO From Lady GaGa photo credit: ★ BART

17 Responses to “Learning SEO From Lady GaGa”

  1. Says:

    Funny Michael. Who else would have thought of Lady Gaga as a symbol of SEO.

  2. Says:

    I think this is one of your best posts ever :-)

  3. Says:

    Nice post Michael. Thanks for sharing as well.

  4. Says:

    lady gaga is certainly an interesting case of marketing and branding in the pop market, she’s offering something a bit different and out there. this is why she’s doing so well in the search engines.
    she’s so hot right now. good post.

  5. Says:

    Lol. Funny article but excellent point, ‘you must be creative AND maintain!’.

  6. Says:

    humorous post, but I think if you are involved in the marketing industry on any level, this should be a no brainer. I call it the “Howard Stern” strategy. Make people say, “What will he do next?”.

    With that in mind however, what needs to be also taken into consideration is the ‘real’ factor. People can be outrageous, controversial and opinionated, but if it is not coming from a real place it will not last. Modonna has lasted for as long as she has, because she never took her outrageousness beyond what was real.

    In business you need to stand apart and create a real and unique voice and not be afraid of being different, but by going too far your target audience may peg you as fake, regardless of the quality of your product.

  7. Says:

    Madonna never took it past what was real? SERIOUSLY? There is a “real” look for most women? https://www.lesliestar.ca/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/madonna-cones.jpg

    And are we honestly insinuating that Britney and Madonna were lovers in real life? https://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/famecrawler/2008/07/01-07/madonna-britney-740830.jpg

    She was/is known for the same reasons that Lady Gaga is…and it has nothing to do with being real.

  8. Says:

    lol, your right Head of Marketing ! Bad example!

    I will stick to my guns and say that there is a level of “extreme” that can be construed has so over the top that it is rejected.

  9. Says:

    LOL.. I like the article and it got me thinking… there are a ton of examples we can use like this and then hopefully think of new strategies to help our seo.

  10. Says:

    Never thought I’d read a post with *that* name in it…but you got me! Excellent post.

  11. Says:

    I’m convinced she and Kanye West are doing the same thing - getting themselves in the news as often as possible, which gets their name out there.

    Check out her Wikipedia article sometime, and watch this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idk1fwlFZg4 - you won’t find me proclaiming that we should “Just Dance!” but she’s figured out that a learned, intelligent woman playing piano like above and writing songs doesn’t bring in nearly the money that her Lady Gaga brand does, and I respect her for that.

  12. Says:

    Good article. Thanks for sharing with us michael.

  13. Says:

    I’d learn SEO from lady GaGa! good post, keep ‘em coming.

  14. Says:

    Thanks for putting the thought in and writing it

  15. Says:

    Great comments, and makes me wonder how to emulate it in some small way! I also read today that she is the new creative director for polariod cameras - and odd combination and a company that I personally think is very well known but out of touch, BUT the point is that she is keeping her name in the headlines in very unusual ways!

  16. Says:

    Nice post…very interesting… The last time i’ve read about a celebrity being a top keyword was i think a month ago…and it’s manny pacquiao… now is it lady gaga??? boy she’s just so talented that’s why people really love her..

  17. Says:

    this article has added more valuable info about my quest on SEO. Being unique from the rest will make you BIG like what Lady Gaga has been designed by her own self or by her manager.