The Daily Mail was recently announced as the most popular news website in the world. Considering its output has in the past been questioned by commentators, this news has had some SEO marketers wondering whether being accurate with their content is really necessary.
To put this into perspective, the Daily Mail was awarded a prize from Oxford University this year, in recognition that an article it published had the most factual errors. The award – given to the national newspaper most misrepresenting of a scientific paper – was won by the paper’s article:
“Just ONE cannabis joint ‘can bring on schizophrenia’ as well as damaging memory”.
The awarding professor, Dorothy Bishop, said the article had scored a record breaking 23 points for its inaccuracy, stating,
“the academic paper is not about cannabis, smoking or schizophrenia”.
It is not the only instance that appears to show the paper has failed its readership through misleading content, with further articles about the dangers of cannabis and carcinogenic activities deemed incorrect.
It is best practice SEO in many ways too, with the title being king for articles and blogs alike. However, being accurate in the text of the body should be a prerequisite. The Daily Mail often delivers on this score, but only later on in the article.
With most internet readers rarely making it past the fifth or sixth paragraph, the newspaper can say what it wants to say and get the desired effect, yet still conform to regulations in place. It could be said to be a clever move, but one which many people working in website optimisation may disagree with for their own websites.