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A Major Hollywood Studio Turns to SEO to Boost Ticket Sales

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In a rare move, a Hollywood studio changes a movie title after its release date to make it more search-friendly.

This past weekend, Warner Bros. released Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The title has since been shortened, but the length was not even the main issue.

The real problem? Warner Bros’ money-making character – Harley Quinn of DC Comics fame – isn’t mentioned until the end of the extraordinarily long title.

As SEOs know, high-value keywords should appear toward the beginning of the title. Warner Bros. must have gotten the message, as the movie title has been changed to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

Now, information about the movie can be more easily found by people who don’t know the exact title. Now, when fans of Harley Quinn type her name into the search bar, they’ll see the new movie as Google’s first suggestion.

A Major Hollywood Studio Turns to SEO to Boost Ticket Sales

In a statement to The Verge, a Warner Bros. representative says the name change is part of a “search expansion for ticket sites.” In other words, the studio wants to make it easier for people to find the movie.

Ticket sales for Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey fell short of expectations on opening weekend. The film brought in $33 million at the domestic box office, though it was projected to earn $50 to $55 million.

Related: SEO for Events: 5 Tips to Increase Visibility & Boost Attendance

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One of the reasons why the movie didn’t earn as much as anticipated could be due to the name. As The Verge states in its report: “The decision to forgo using [Harley Quinn’s] name in the first place baffled industry members.”

Harley Quinn is a beloved character in the DC Comics universe, so it’s not unreasonable to expect the film to perform better than it has been. With a production budget of $80 million, it’s clear that Warner Bros. saw the character as something worth investing in.

Now, with a new SEO strategy in place, the studio hopes to turn things around and generate more ticket sales. We’ll see over the coming days and weeks what kind of impact this ends up having.

If nothing else, this move by Warner Bros. sends a strong message about the importance of knowing your audience, and making things easy for them to find. At its score that’s what SEO is all about.

Source: The Verge

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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