SEO Manager Wanted. Bots Need Not Apply

If you were looking for an SEO manager, where would you advertise?

Even if you follow all the rules Lou Adler laid out, it would be hard to top what the Daily Mail in the UK did.

The newspaper embedded an ad in its robots.txt file, a place there is no reason for any human to look. This is a file strictly to be read by the crawlers from search engines. It tells them what pages to index and what not to. For normal humans, there’s nothing of interest there, as you have may already have discovered if you clicked the link.

True SEO geeks, though, check those files. Sometimes the instructions to the crawlers contain interesting tidbits, such as the location where dummy editions might be found. A blogger in 2007 posted about what he found in some UK newspaper files.

Someone else tweeted about this little bit of robots.txt humor. (Do I need to explain the joke?)

In the case of the Daily Mail, its robots.txt file contained these lines:

“# August 12th, MailOnline are looking for a talented SEO Manager so if you found this then you’re the kind of techie we need!

# Send your CV to holly dot ward at mailonline dot co dot uk”

It’s certainly an odd place to run an ad. But talk about targeting! Who but a die-hard SEO fanatic would spend the time poking about such files? At least until blogger Malcolm Coles came across the ad, it was a genius way to filter out the hoi polloi.

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But then it got picked up by Paid Content, and then by TechCrunch. And now by us.

I wish I could tell you a brilliant UK recruiter came up with the idea. Instead, it was James Bromley, who runs MailOnline.com. He claims the credit in a tweet today.

John Zappe

John Zappe is contributing editor of ERE.net, and the former editor of the now closed Fordyce Letter. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. 

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him by clicking here.