Apollo 11 Moon Landing a Hoax? (No, but don’t tell Google Trends!)

Appologies for taking so long in between posts these days – things have been crazy, between interviews, SEO work I’m doing for friends, and other writing committments. But when I saw that today the #1 search on Google Trends was “Apollo 11 Hoax,” I had to look into it.

You see, today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. While I personally would have thought that would have resulted in a number of searches for “Moon landing,” “Neil Armstrong,” or “Space Exploration,” the majority have to do with conspiracy theories about the landing.

The reason for this is simple: This is what people are interested in. If you had asked me yesterday what I thought the greatest number of searches on Google would be for given today’s anniversary, the famous lunar hoax would not have been on the top of my list. This is the reason I always beg others not to guess as to what the most important keyword is for their SEO campaign is, but to look at the traffic data for their site.

Assuming you’ve been keeping track of who visits your site and why – and if you haven’t, shame on you! – then you can easily look back at who is finding your site, using which keyword phrase, and when. Simply assuming you got a large bump in traffic because you had a sale or a commercial that went live really teaches you nothing. The keywords people used to get to you, however, show what the majority of people had on their minds. If there’s a cycle, then you know what to expect the next time. In this case, I’m confident that one year from now Google Trends will show the same kinds of interest in the hoax. After all, a good conspiracy theory is a lot more entertaining than watching NASA footage of mankind’s glorious acomplishments in space. Apparently.

Let me finish by saying that whether I believe the Apollo 11 landing happened or not is not important – that is because it actually happened. Independant of whether or not I have a weird conspiracy theory gene or not, we went to the moon, Neil Armstrong was first, and that’s all. When someone has better proof than pouring over the photographs of the landing with a magnifying glass, I’ll listen. But there won’t be, because it isn’t true. Ta da!

SEMs and conspiracy theorists alike always need to look to the data rather than simply wish for what they hope is true.

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