Telegraph Digital Chief Admits Deliberately Trashing Brand

The video above shows Telegraph digital guru and “SEO consultant” Malcolm Coles speaking at the Brighton Search Engine Optimisation Conference last week. Coles admits – even boasts – that he has deliberately diminished the Telegraph’s brand in the pursuit of clicks from Google searches. It is what Telegraph readers and writers have long suspected, but it’s quite something for the loathed Coles to say it on camera:

Coles: “Click through rate is another important thing, so what we have to think about is a good headline.”

[The headline “Bow down to Kate Middleton’s new baby” comes up on the screen]

Coles: “This is a terrible headline for the Daily Telegraph, which is a quality news organisation. But it was amazing! It shot to the top of Google! And stayed there for ages… It’s not great from a brand point of view, but from a click though rate… getting these slightly quirky headlines in the news box means they tend to stay there for quite a long time”

Coles goes on to explain that the Telegraph has published a staggering 13,000 of those annoying “What time is?” articles, another trick to boost your Google juice. A newsroom veteran who watched Coles’ speech tells Guido:

“We’d always assumed Coles and [editor, Chris] Evans were blind to the damage they were our doing our newspaper in the desperate pursuit of numbers. Now we know it was a deliberate strategy.”

The video has gone down like a cup of cold sick in the newsroom…


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