The latest movie in the “Fast & Furious” franchise is coming, Fast & Furious 6. It’s getting a lot of attention because of its Super Bowl ad on Sunday and the debut of its extended trailer today. But, if you’re trying to find the official website, Fast & Furious will send you on a chase that leaves the search marketing basics behind and exposes some Google & Bing failures, as well.
Missing: The Official Site
The official site is nowhere to be found in Google’s search results, as this screenshot I took yesterday shows:
Of course, there are several ways you could search for the film, such as “fast and the furious” or “fast & furious 6.” I focused on ”fast and furious 6,” as shown above, because that’s currently the top way that Google prompts people to finish searching, when they type in “fast,” as you can see below:
However, even when I searched using some of the alternative terms, those didn’t bring up the official site.
First To Blame: Google & Bing
Most of the blame for this, I place on Google. It’s not uncommon for movie websites to think little about search engine optimization basics. But people will be seeking them, and Google’s job is to make up for the deficiencies. I found it incredibly surprising, actually, that Google failed to list the site — and that Bing had the same problem.
HTML Title Tag: Good!
Fast & Furious 6 Movie | Official Site for the Fast & Furious 6 Film | In Theaters May 24, 2013
That has all the key details, and it’s hard to find any fault.
Failing At Content 101
Now, for the bad news. The site itself doesn’t really have much content about the movie. The home page, which is pretty much the only page in the site, relies on pulling in content shared by the film’s social media accounts, as well as from social media accounts by others, such as actors and fans. So, when you see this:
Google’s actually seeing this:
That’s relatively minimal content, much of it pulled in from fan tweets and Facebook posts. Would it really have been that hard for Universal Pictures to have made a page for each actor, each character, a synopsis of what the film is about, a recap of the previous films in the series? That’s just Content 101, and having a site with compelling content is another key factor to winning with search rankings.
Another key thing that’s recommended is making sure that a site is tied into Google+, since Google+ information gets integrated into Google’s search results in various ways.
The good news here is that Fast & Furious has its own Google+ page, one that’s even been verified as real by Google. That’s getting the Google+ page into Google’s top search results, even though the official site doesn’t make it. Unfortunately, Google’s implementation of this is pretty bad:
See that “Recent Posts” section? That’s Google putting posts from the official page within the Knowledge Graph box of information it has about the film. Really, Google? You can’t list the official site, and the official Google+ page gets sandwiched between all that Knowledge Graph stuff? How about perhaps showing the name of the account and the number of followers, like you do with other searches such as for Top Gear:
That would make the page far more prominent.
From Google+ To Facebook?
Back to ways that Fast & Furious doesn’t help itself. Let’s look at its Google+ page:
See the arrow? It’s pointing to the URL that Fast & Furious has listed for its website. That URL points to Facebook.
Here’s a little advice. The people who use Google+, and there are plenty, are often there because they don’t like Facebook. They can get downright hostile about Facebook. Many love Google and Google+. So, if you’re trying to promote yourself on Google+, it’s pretty dumb to be making people jump from Google+ to Facebook.
In addition, Google+ is expressly a way for publishers to tell Google what their websites are. So, when Fast & Furious does this on its About page:
It’s not only failing to give Google the address of its real website in the designated “website” area, but it’s also failing to give Google any link to the website at all in the “Links” areas. “All roads lead to this,” is the movie’s tag line, but no roads lead to its official site.
Facebook Is Not Your Website
Facebook isn’t your website. It’s not. It’s a place to promote your website, sure. But I believe every major company should have their own website in addition to their social media profiles. At the very least, it ensures that if a social media site decides it wants to change terms of service, or charge you to be more visibile or goes belly-up, your own site remains.
Having said that, let’s now follow the link from the Fast & Furious page at Google+ over to its Facebook page:
See the arrow? It’s pointing to a URL that Fast & Furious is making visible which jumps people from Facebook to to its Instagram account. Not to the film’s official site, where there might be more information, but to Instagram.
Now, I can see some sense in this. With over 24 million Facebook fans, why not get some of them to also follow you in the hot, happening place that is Instagram? And to Fast & Furious’s credit, the website does get listed in the actual website area at Facebook, when you drill down:
Still, maybe pointing to the actual website from the Facebook page, rather than to Instagram, might help with visibility in search engines.
It won’t directly, because that link is tagged as “nofollow,” which means Facebook is using a mechanism to prevent the link from influencing Google and Bing’s results (most likely for spam protection reasons, which is why nofollow exists). But the visibility to humans might get more of them linking to the official site, which in turn might help with the search results.
All Roads Lead To Facebook
Meanwhile, the use of Facebook as a substitute website madness continues. Over at Instagram, Fast & Furious doesn’t point at its website, but instead back to Facebook:
At Twitter, it’s the same thing:
The website URL does at least get shown as an image in the top left corner, but it’s the Facebook URL that’s used as a clickable link.
The good news is that Twitter users don’t seem to be as rabid Facebook haters as Google+ users. But personally, I find it annoying to be bounced from one social media site to the other, especially if I’m trying to find more general information about a movie, product or service. Meanwhile, the issue that Fast & Furious isn’t making it easy to get to the official site might again go to people failing to link there — which may hurt its search visibility.
Getting It Right At YouTube
One place Fast & Furious gets it right is with YouTube. That’s good, because its trailer on YouTube does make the top Google results:
If you go to view that trailer, the official site URL is prominently listed:
Fast’s main YouTube page also lists the official site clearly:
Why Not Have The Best Of Both Worlds?
It’s always difficult doing this type of review from afar, because things that may seem like dumb moves or oversights might be done purposely for a good reason. For instance, perhaps the movie promoters feel that pushing much of the attention to the Facebook page is a good strategy. Maybe that’s working.
But, from my perspective, it feels like if Fast & Furious spent a little more time pointing to its official site, that might help the site rise more in Google and Bing, along with perhaps one or more of its social media accounts. Consider this for Man Of Steel:
Both that film’s official site and its Facebook page are listed. Shouldn’t that be the goal — to have the best of both worlds? Or three worlds, if you get your YouTube page ranking well. Or four worlds if your Twitter account makes it?
I will add that after reviewing a number of movie searches on Google, it’s unusual for a film to take more than two of the listings. IMDB, Wikipedia and Apple trailers all sometimes feel mandatory. But the official sites almost always do make it into the top results, and I think that’s a good thing — and a goal to aim for.
For those who don’t run film sites, the big takeaway remains this. Social media is a great way to extend your brand’s website. But, don’t forget your brand website as part of that.
Now, go enjoy the Fast & Furious 6 trailer:
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