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Cingular and Apple Dropped the SEO Ball with iPhone



There is a reason that smaller agile companies and entrepreneurs will always have a place on the web. Big corporations just don’t get it sometimes.

Take for example Apple’s iPhone launch. Both Cingular and Apple where in the perfect position to dominate the free market for the product. After all, they are the source and in the end, it all comes from them. So how is it that when I search Google for iPhone, Cingular is not anywhere on the first page and the only place you find Apple is in the sponsored results?

In fact, let’s look at the site searches on Cingular.com and Apple.com for iPhone. There is not a single page on either site that is optimized for the iPhone.

Both websites should have setup domain.com/iphone with exclusive photos, videos, and information and promoted the hell out of it at the launch. With their domain authority, and the links those pages would have gotten at launch time, I guarantee they would rank #1 & #2 right now. Instead, both Cingular and Apple are going to end up paying advertising dollars to middle men to sell an exclusive product. I am willing to guess this oversight will cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more.

I bet if they where smart enough to include an SEO Manager as part of all product launches or just hire an Interactive Marketing Manager who had a clue about the importance of SEO, they wouldn’t have this problem.

Let’s also examine one other aspect of where they are dropping the ball. Large corporations should have an SEO team who’s only goal is to dominate the first 15 listings of search results for every major product they launch. It really isn’t that hard. They know about the products well in advance of launch date and can ramp up before then with mini sites and so on. But why you ask? What happens if a product like the iPhone has major bugs and 3 of the top 5 listings in two months talk about how much the iPhone sucks? The potential revenue loss to such an event would be in the millions. If Apple & Cingular had just taken the time to preemptively dominate the search engines, the impact on sales would be much less.

If anyone from Cingular or Apple is reading this, I’m worth my weight in gold, and I’m a big guy.

  • http://www.cameronolthuis.com Cameron Olthuis

    Jeremy, I think the reason you don’t see any of what you mentioned is that Apple tries their damnedest to keep people from knowing about products before they announce them.

    If they had ranked organically for iPhone prior to yesterday we all would’ve known exactly what to expect from the keynote and there’s no way they would’ve had the amount of hype/buzz they got yesterday.

  • http://www.jasonblogs.com Jason Schramm

    Jobs even said during his keynote that they could have let the FCC introduce the product but thought it best to do it themselves. The iPhone still needs FCC approval, and I doubt they want to start selling a product before it is a done deal. Also, if Cingular was to promote the phone heavily they would lose a lot of business until the phone comes out. And if the phone doesn’t wind up getting approved they could lose customers indefinitely from the sour experience.

  • http://www.xuru.com Jeremy Luebke

    The #1 spot on Google for iPhone is http://appleiphone.blogspot.com/

    You are telling me that neither Apple or Cingular could have simultaneously launched something on their websites about the iPhone as Jobs was making his speech? And then on the big screen Jobs showed and said check out Apple.com/iPhone for more info? That page would at this moment have thousands of links and be ranked #1.

    Both Cingular and Apple have pages up promoting the thing but they missed the boat. There is zero reason why they aren’t dominating search other than they did not plan ahead. If some blogger can rank #1, why can’t they?

  • http://www.cameronolthuis.com Cameron Olthuis

    Jeremy, I am not telling you they couldn’t have done that because they did…

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/
    http://www.cingular.com/iphone/

    The Apple page has almost 5,000 links according to Yahoo Site Explorer and ranks #1(and #2) on Google for iPhone.

    Give Google some time, you can’t expect them to rank a page within minutes of it being live. In fact I’m surprised it’s already up there after only about 27 hours or so.

    From what I got out of your post it sounds like you think they should’ve had these pages up prior to launch…

    “Both Cingular and Apple where in the perfect position to dominate the free market for the product.”

    “If Apple & Cingular had just taken the time to preemptively dominate the search engines”

    You also have to take into consideration that the iPhone doesn’t even go on sale for a good 6 months, pending FCC approval. I think you were a little quick to jump the gun on this one.

    I will agree with one thing though, the Cingular page is not very well optimized.

  • http://www.abhilash.us Abhilash

    Definitely an astute observation apart from all the rest of the iPhone noise in the blogosphere right now. But my favorite part was:

    What happens if a product like the iPhone has major bugs and 3 of the top 5 listings in two months talk about how much the iPhone sucks? The potential revenue loss to such an event would be in the millions.

    Scare tactics at the highest levels. Super enjoyable. :)

  • http://www.seoyak.com Toivo Lainevool

    Well, apple now appears to have the #1 and #2 spots on Google. AT least when I do the search.

  • http://www.xuru.com Jeremy Luebke

    Still nowhere on the top few pages for me.

  • http://www.jasonblogs.com Jason Schramm

    Give it some time to update across the Google servers. Apple and Cingular both have to have grade pageranks. I would have expected better writing from this site.

  • http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/ Matt McGee

    The official page is #1 on both G and Y at the moment. Other than that, ditto what Cameron said.

  • http://www.xuru.com Jeremy Luebke

    Cameron, somehow I missed your post before my last comment. I see what you mean for Apple. I have tried 3 different computers and 2 proxy servers and can’t get your results but I’m sure they are propagating.

    I didn’t mean to suggest Apple launch the pages before the Jobs speech, just that it all be done and ready to go at the flip of a switch. I just find it funny that a random blogspot blog (at least in my results) beat Apple to the punch.

  • http://www.cameronolthuis.com Cameron Olthuis

    Jeremy, I think they (the blogger) setup that page well in advance because of all the iPhone speculation.

  • http://www.xuru.com Jeremy Luebke

    You know, you are absolutely correct. I did some digging and turns out this guy has free stats running on his site. Check out his page views over the past 2 days

    http://my7.statcounter.com/project/standard/stats.php?account_id=394782&login_id=5&code=3a60c2f4fe17052c0b69d400ae65db7f&guest_login=1&project_id=1922682

  • http://blog.seoptimise.com Kev

    It’s interesting to see that most blog posts I’ve seen about the iPhone link to articles or pictures from non Apple or Cingular websites.

    Apple could definitely could have promoted their own webpages more heavily during the announcement to make sure they get a fairer share of the links. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes them to get the number one spot in Google.

  • mad4

    Whether they dropped the ball for 24 hours of not Apple have a site ranking 2nd for iphone within 2 days of launch AND it has good content on it.

  • Dean

    Two things:

    1. This is a special case, they didn’t need help getting word out on the iPhone. The media deluged us with information on it. You had to be dead to not see news about it. I am not saying they shouldn’t have done, just that they didn’t need to. Now if you are a lesser known company with a lesser known product that is launching then yes Andy’s comments are spot on.

    2. There is still the “little” issue with the Cisco lawsuit. It could be that the Cingular/Apple Legal teams wouldn’t allow them to say anything pending an agreement – which they still don’t have btw.

  • http://www.seoptimise.com Kev

    It looks like they missed out on at 10 million page views which went to Engadget!

  • http://www.emergence-media.com Daniel R

    Weel right now, Apple is on top with their Apple.com/iphone URL.

    It is interesting that the carrier Cingular/Att is nowhere insight, perhaps Cingular/ATT cant really promote the iPhone until its approved by the FCC?

  • http://www.matkowsky.com matkowsky.com

    It might be that they didn’t want to further invest in promoting the name until the trademark issue is settled.

  • Roger Smith

    iPhone is available with Cingular ONLY!? And what if I am stuck under contract with a carrier OTHER than Cingular but still want a iPhone?
    Well, the only solution I could fine was http://www.Cellswapper.com – they get you out of any cell phone contract!

  • http://www.seo-alligator.com seoalligator

    very interesting reflection – apple is what to think …