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Google Ranking Anomaly or Guerilla SEO from Banksy?

Tara West

by Tara West on 3rd March 2011

Banksy – British Street Artist, Political Activist, and SEO Mystery?

Banksy, is most renowned as a controversial British Street Artist, whose work has boundary-pushing social and political themes. This post discusses how his website, may be just as controversial as his art, from an SEO perspective.

The official Banksy website has ranked in the top two positions within Google.co.uk, for the term ‘Website’, for over a year now. Bansky was number one for the term in January 2010, but has now been kicked off the number one spot by Wikipedia’s page.

The controversial mystery here though, is how Banksy manages to rank for the term ‘Website’ at all.

Banksy ranks number 2 for 'Website' in Google.co.uk

Banksy ranks number 2 for ‘Website’ in Google.co.uk

The most obvious reason that may spring to mind to explain how he ranks for this term is that there must be a high level of Anchor text used in backlinks to the site, which contain the term ‘Website’, right?
Wrong. The link profile of www.bansky.co.uk has a total of 871,047 backlinks. Of these, only an estimated 0.69% contain anchor text which includes the term ‘Website’.*

Exploring the site’s link profile further, it is evident that the links which do use the term ‘website’ within their anchor text, are not particularly well known or authoritive domains, which suggests that the link profile for the site is not responsible for the high rankings for this particular term.

With the exception of Wikipedia’s ‘Website’ page, Banksy appears to beat many other sites which you might expect to rank above him for this term.

www.website.com, which has a much more relevant domain name, also fails to beat Banksy’s ranking for the term ‘Website’, and currently ranks third. This is in spite of the fact that Website.com’s domain is four years older than Banksy’s*.  Website.com does however, have fewer backlinks than Banksy’s website.*

Your next thought may be that on-page elements could be responsible, however it appears that they are not.

The site is highly image-intensive, mostly built in Java Script, which is problematic for search engines at best:

Banksy Home Page - Page Source View

Banksy Home Page – Page Source View

None of the images on the site have Alt tags, and all have relatively random file names, such as ‘crayon-boy-5-2’ :

Banksy Image File Name Example -‘crayon-boy-5-2’

Banksy Image File Name Example -‘crayon-boy-5-2’

There is very little text on the site, made up of only one small paragraph on one page:

Text on Banksy Website

Text on Banksy Website

As you can see, the content of the text does not include the term ‘Website’, and only comes close when it says ‘this site’.

In addition to this, the page titles of the site are not related to the term ‘website’ at all, using standard terms related to the Artist’s name:

Banksy Page Titles

Banksy Page Titles

All of the above factors suggest that the site has not been optimised for the term ‘Website’ in any way at all. To further emphasise the lack of optimisation on the site, there is no Meta, no sitemap of any kind, no robots.txt file, and there are even canonical issues (with http://banksy.co.uk/ and http://www.banksy.co.uk/).

So, the reason behind Banksy’s top ranking for the term ‘Website’ remains a mystery for now. Is this an example of how Google’s system sometimes creates anomalies? Or could its high ranking for this seemingly random term be a political statement in itself? Maybe this is Banksy bring guerilla art to the virtual walls of Google?

If you have any ideas about what could be putting Banksy on the number two spot in Google.co.uk for the term ‘Website’, please leave your comments below.

To keep up to date with my latest posts, follow me on Twitter at @Impact_Tara

Tara West

Tara West

Tara West is an experienced SEO and PPC specialist at Koozai, with particular expertise within AdWords PPC and Remarketing. She has worked on a wide variety of verticals, from plumbing and travel to fashion and beauty.

2 Comments

  • Daniel Kilburn 3rd March 2011

    Is it possible that the site may be using a few 301 redirects that have keyword-rich anchor text links that your link analysis program hasn’t picked up?

    Which link analysis tool have you used?

    Reply to this comment

  • Tara West

    Tara West 4th March 2011

    It is possible that there are 301′s in existence which Majestic may not have picked up.
    It appears that the general feeling it is definitely to do with his link profile. From looking into it in more detail, I think it is likely to be the strength of the domains from which he has links using the term ‘website. There are a two from the BBC, which include the term ‘website’ amongst other words. It just goes to show how much one or two links from reputable domains can influence rankings even though there are many more links with anchor text that doesn’t mention ‘website’ from other domains. Also shows that diluting your anchor text with other terms might not actually have that much of a negative effect, especially if the domains are reputable. Thanks for the feedback and comments.

    Reply to this comment

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