When Is the Super Bowl Start Time? The NFL Finally Gets It Right

Super Bowl 46 kicks off on February 5, 2012 at 6:30pm EST on NBC. Amazingly enough, I found this information by searching on Google and clicking on the second result: nfl.com.

Amazing because every year, football fans flock to search engines searching for the start time, and until now, organizations like the NFL, the playing teams, and the broadcasting station didn’t show up at all in search results because none of their sites answered the question. Seem crazy?

  • 2009  Results: In 2009, start-time related searches were among the most popular the morning of the game, but neither the NFL nor NBC were anywhere to be found.
  • 2010 Results: In 2010, both nfl.com and cbs.com had significant technical infrastructure issues that kept search engines from crawling and indexing the content. Again, the search results were sad and this time, full of spammers trying to capitalize on the search volume.
  • 2011 Results: In 2011, problems continued. But news organizations jumped in, and the Huffington Post in particular ranked well for its article that simply listed all of the various ways people were searching for the Super Bowl start time. (That article was later “edited for clarity”).

This year, things are finally getting better. Even the Huffington Post, while still getting every variation of spelling and tagging in the article for maximum search coverage (“For starters, it’s two words, not one. “Superbowl” is an incorrect spelling.”), has filled out their article a bit with actual information.

The results could still be better. While [Super Bowl start time] has overall higher search volume than [Super Bowl kick off time], the latter is the top search this morning, and NFL.com only ranks for the former (HuffPo does quite well with the latter). Superbowl.com, which redirects to the NFL site, ranks, but as I mentioned in earlier years, this domain 302 redirects to nfl.com. A 301 instead would consolidate the domains (including value signals such as links), which might cause the target URL to do better overall in relevant searches. But still, compared to earlier years, I’d call these results a win for the NFL.

Sadly, NBC, the Giants, and the Patriots, and TV Guide all fail to appear in results once again. Even though both Google Insights for Search and my articles over the years should have prepared them for this year’s search interest.

Why should these sites care about showing up for these searches? They’ve invested substantially in site content and those seeking out the game start time are a perfect audience for that content. Searchers would click for the start time and stay for the fan jam videos and view the ads.

Of  course, Super Bowl viewers will see lots of ads anyway today. But that’s a topic for the next article.

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Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Features: Analysis | Search & Society | Search Marketing: Search Term Research

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. She built Google Webmaster Central and went on to found software and consulting company Nine By Blue and create Blueprint Search Analytics< which she later sold. Her book, Marketing in the Age of Google, (updated edition, May 2012) provides a foundation for incorporating search strategy into organizations of all levels. Follow her on Twitter at @vanessafox.

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  • http://lahosken.san-francisco.ca.us/ lahosken

    If I leave the “time” off of that query, above my search results I see a blob of text telling me

    “Super Bowl XLVI (Giants vs Patriots) is on Sunday, February 5, 2012, at 3:30pm PT.”

    Too bad that text doesn’t show up if “time” is in my query.

  • http://www.papathanassiou.de Evangelos

    i searched for “superbowl kick off time” and this article was my first result. given that i am in germany, i would need a time converter, too. anyway, with world cup or similar events, google always offered a lot of interesting services in SERP. i dont get why this does not work with SB46

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