Dexter Dings SEO: Why Do Hollywood Writers Keep Giving Search Engine Optimization A Bad Name?

Yesterday, I saw a few tweets go by noting that the popular show Dexter on Showtime mentioned SEO and said that “Google was so 5 minutes ago” while typing in the URL:* – which supposedly “uses an algorithm to aggregate content without getting tripped up by SEO bull$h!t.”

Because Dexter shows are behind a paywall on Showtime’s website, our own Rob Snell posted a short video clip of the segment (your sound may need to be turned up) from the episode that aired Sunday, November 20th:

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It’s unfortunate that another real search engine didn’t get an opportunity for product placement in this episode.

Previously, I’d written about SEO getting a bad rap on the CBS show ”The Good Wife” — where all SEOs were equated to spammers, so this isn’t the first time Hollywood writers have twisted search engine optimization into a bad thing.

Sure, it’s a matter of sensationalizing in the name of entertainment, but clearly, the SEO industry might need to take out a full page ad in Variety and begin a PR campaign before awards season rolls around.

Submitted For Your Consideration: SEO Doesn’t Suck

Here’s Google’s recent defense of SEO:

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Here’s our recent contribution:

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Our video is part of the many resources about search engine optimization designed to educate people on our What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization? page.

Postscript: Per the comments below by regular watchers of the show Dexter, the domain noted above redirects to a Facebook game based on the shows, which is terrific example of cross-channel social media integration.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Search & Society: General


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  • RickHoward

    This is similar to how hackers were being portrayed in the 90s. While there were good and bad hackers, the good were never shown. White Hat SEOs will just have to continue to press to get their own positive publicity in the main arena that matters, the internet.

  • Clayburn Griffin

    Well, to be fair, people probably do hate getting tripped up by SEO bullshit.

  • Joe Youngblood

    SEO B.S. i agree with, i hate landing on junk pages. But good SEO, branding and content development are not B.S.

    Besides, isn’t Dexter a tv show about a serial killer? If you’re taking life advice from a TV show, especially one about a murder, I feel for you.

  • Todd Greene

    And look who’s the first result when you search “elliot search engine”:

    I wonder if Duane has a cousin on the Dexter writing staff.

  • Joe Youngblood

    Also Dexter producers missed a killer, pun intended, opportunity for continued marketing by not putting some kind of content on that domain. I like it when tv shows and movies do this things like the website from AQTH’s WWWizard episode:

  • Alex Moss

    It’s perfectly fair. This is the opinion of a games developer who will, as his character portrays, has enough knowledge of the Internet to know about what SEO is and how it can be abused. Hollywood writers don’t hate SEO’s, they’ve just witnessed it and have written that content sydication is SEO bullshit – which it is!

    The domain 302′s to Masouka’s intern app on Dexter’s official Facebook page, a great way to use social media within television. The fact that this topic exists proves the character right!

  • tamar

    I’m a huge Dexter fan and I think just by watching a snippet of a few seconds of TV, you’re missing the point. It’s not an attack on SEO at all.

    Like Alex said, this is a tech savvy game developer who does things like removes auctions from the Internet (all traces, in fact, as seen in a previous episode) and in this episode, uses his expertise to endorse new websites. In this case, they recommended, which if you actually go to the URL, is a Dexter game on Facebook. In other words, it is almost like product placement.

    Of course, they used the lack of search results (which isn’t an attack on SEO at all IMO) to lead into the story, but I think you’re missing the point if you’re focused exclusively on the SEO element of it. I didn’t think it was anything like that and thought it was a clever way to encourage people to check out Dexter content online.

  • Elisabeth Osmeloski

    Fair enough, Tamar – I don’t watch the show so admittedly, I didn’t get the context / bigger picture.

    Also, when I watched the clip, I thought it was spelled “E-L-L-I-O-T” – so that is a huge difference with respect to the Facebook integration – I’ll fix the story.

  • tamar

    Yeah, I guess you couldn’t see it since it was a video of a TV … definitely doesn’t make it easy to see!

    (Oh, and Dexter rocks, btw.)

  • Michelle Robbins

    I think the better question is why do spammers keep giving SEOs a bad name – or why do some SEOs keep giving SEOs a bad name. The search results at Google are a mess. And it’s not because of something Hollywood did.

    I’d hope the takeaway from the constant barrage of people outside the SEO fishbowl criticizing the industry would be some thoughtful consideration of how we got there – instead of just more of the same “they don’t know what they are talking about” rhetoric. They are the users, they are the ones using Google like normal people, and they are reacting to what they see out there. So as an industry, what are we doing to change that perception?

  • H.S.

    Are we running out of things to write about on SEL? Pretty trivial lately, especially when SEO is becoming more and more complex.

  • Erik

    Tamar’s last paragraph is the key. Intern’s argument would have been valid had Dexter received tons of junk results for his query, [f n galway], but he couldn’t find *anything* on it. So unless “SEO Bullsh!t” now includes obscuring results on little-known fabric & tapestry weavers, it was a weak way to insert the slam on SEO.

    And come on … “uses a targeted algorithm to aggregate content…”? What is it? Dogpile? ;-)

  • M.K.

    After working with a lot of prima donna copywriters I can tell you a couple things. All copywriters have a script in their drawers. All copywriters think of SEO as a hindrance rather than a springboard.

    I think these are both isolated incidents where some writer who used to have some sort of copywriting job at perhaps digital agency finally got their shot and leaped at the chance to take a shot at something that pissed them off in their working career.

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