I Sing the Toothbrush Electric

Jared Kelleher   April 13, 2009
niemann-toothbrush1It’s not electric, but it’ll do. (image via the brilliant Christoph Niemann)

“But we don’t call it that,” he said.

“You don’t call it an electric toothbrush?”

“No,” he said. “It’s a power toothbrush and we can’t say electric toothbrush on the site.”

I felt old; we grew up calling them electric toothbrushes.

What to do. According to the keyword research of the day, it turned out that just as many folks searched for powered toothbrushes using the word electric, as did not.

Plus, anyone willing to shell out nearly $200 bucks for a toothbrush had to be a little older; from the days when they were called electric toothbrushes.

So while we couldn’t mention “electric toothbrush” in the copy, nobody had provided such explicit direction for not using the word in the secret little metadata behind every well optimized site.

We added electric toothbrush to the mix in every acceptable and relevant page title, content description and keyword. And slowly, we began to quietly creep to the top of the electric toothbrush search results page.

I took a peek to see where they’re at these days with their electric efforts.

I Googled “electric toothbrush” and they were nowhere to be found. I went to their site and saw that while they do use the word once, in customer-facing copy, they no longer use the word in their keywords or content descriptions.

Then something caught my eye—their competitor’s site—right there in the two spot.

I took a look at their keywords and content descriptions, and there, amidst dozens of the expected keywords, was that one little word I remember noodling with for hours—electric.

While it no longer seems to be part of my former client’s search repertoire, it’s good to see somebody’s still getting some mileage out of electric toothbrushes.

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