It is perhaps a sad sign of our times that we rarely hear good news through mainstream media. If you open a newspaper or watch the television news, you hear of yet another tragedy of war, a horrific accident or a financial struggle. Most of us feel helpless sitting in our homes and seeing the tragedies unfolding before our eyes. It is understandable then that good news stories of kindness, overcoming adversity and helping others that are shared online will often go viral. You have probably seen stories on social media that have been shared millions of times. They are often stories of regular people performing regular acts of kindness. We tend to cling on to these to restore our faith in humanity.
Heroes in the news
The most recent example was uncovered by the BBC about a Birmingham bar worker who dresses up as Spiderman to help the homeless. It says something about our craving for good news that a buying people sandwiches can make national news, even if the good Samaritan is dressed as a superhero.
The kindness phenomenon has moved to online promotion for companies. When you’re aiming for great Search Engine Optimisation, there’s nothing better than hundreds of genuine link backs to your website from people who just love what you’re doing. A great example is the use of the principle by KLM. You may have heard about the KLM acts of kindness, most of us have. And crucially, a quick Google for “KLM acts of kindness” brings up various websites, none of which is the KLM website.
Whilst this may seem like terrible SEO, it has brought the company to prominence and their website has achieved natural linkbacks from internationally renowned and highly ranked sites all over the world. And every time reporters want to write about random acts of kindness, the KLM story gets rehashed, as the Econsultancy website demonstrates perfectly.
Can the kindness phenomenon be replicated?
As an SME, you are probably wondering how you can replicate the KLM phenomenon and generate buzz around your own brand. As SEO companies such as elevateuk.com will tell you, it needs to be carefully planned and thought out. Jumping on the bandwagon could even be seen as an attempt to cheat the rankings system, ending with a search engine penalty rather than an exponential jump up the rankings.
Search Engine Optimisation these days is a very technical skill. It combines the use of both internal and external links with keyword optimisation and even social media. If you have little or no knowledge of the way that SEO works, trying to optimise your website yourself could have disastrous effects. Sadly there is no known real life SEO superhero who can swoop in and instantly have search engine penalties removed. Coming back from a penalty is a long and laborious process, which is why it is so important to get it right in the first place. Random acts of kindness and other publicity stunts should be used sparingly and only in the right hands.