The Ten Commandments; why god was rubbish at Internet Marketing

I’m sure you’ve heard of the ten commandments (I actually had to look them up for this, but there you go). They’re the supposed rules handed down by some bloke with a beard, to another bloke with a beard who looked remarkably like Charlton Heston.

Anyway, the ten commandments aren’t particularly well optimised for SEO. You’d think a list of items made by god would be great link bait, but sadly god didn’t really put much effort into the whole thing, he didn’t read and didn’t take any advice from John Chow or Shoemoney, otherwise he’d have created a wicked piece of link bait.

For example, writing the ten commandments on stone tablets and smashing them? Not particularly indexable. Google struggles with querystrings and session IDs, it’s not going to manage to index something scrawled on stone. Then, much like creating a splash page with no text, he shoves them in the ark of the covenant and shuts the lid.

Googlebot won’t get past that in a hurry.

Then of course there’s the total number of commandments, ten. Not the ideal number for a list is it? We all know the best number is seven items. Ten is too many, people get bored. Who’s going to stumble a list of ten and read them all? Nobody, that’s who. They’ll get down as far ‘no committing adultery’ and then move on, probably to a site with a funny video of a old woman falling off the roof of her house. Much more entertaining.

Also the content is a bit, well, tame. When you create a list (of 7 items, not 10), you want the content to be controversial, entertaining and funny. Honour they father and mother? Pretty forgettable stuff.

Let’s look at the original list as created by Charlton Heston.

  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol
  3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
  5. Honor your father and mother
  6. You shall not murder
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house / You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife

Nothing there that would make me want to link it or Digg it.

Interestingly, the not committing adultery is a funny one. It classes adultery as a sexual act between a man and a woman who is married to another man. So… if the woman isn’t married, a married man can have an affair with her, in the eyes of the Christians.

Guess they were a little bit sexist back then.

Anyhow, back to the seven commandments. Let’s have a go at optimising that list for SEO purposes, and see if we can’t make it better link bait.

  1. You shall have no other gods before me, unless they’re really cool, like Eric Cantona or Paul Gascoigne – they’re OK
  2. You shall vote for your favourite idol so long as you disagree with Simon Cowell
  3. Sunday’s are for shopping in Tesco, there’s less religious tossers on a Sunday
  4. Wrongfully using the name of your god is funny, especially when swearing at ethnic minorities – but as we all know god doesn’t exist, so what the hell!
  5. Murder who you like, religion is the cause of all wars anyway so just blame god, everyone else does
  6. Adultery is fun
  7. Shag your neigbour’s wife, she’s probably gagging for it anyway. While you’re there nick the fucker’s lawnmower too, he ain’t using it

There, that’s better. An optimised list of the Seven Commandments. If only god had thought about how he’d rank in Google when he came up with the original ones.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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2 thoughts on “The Ten Commandments; why god was rubbish at Internet Marketing”

  1. WJ2 here. Seeing as the 10 commandments are in the Old Testament… then so is the part about the married man having sex with an unmarried woman a Jewish thing not a Christian thing, technically. But its all from the same book, blah.

    But that’s a nit pick and I get what you are saying.

    You’re seven ‘commandments’ are efficient, streamlined, and a lot more fun. Also blasphemous but who’s watching? God? ha ha ha ha ha ha!

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