Ask a few remote workers what they struggle with while working from home, and you’ll probably hear similar answers. Not having colleagues around, perhaps, or dodgy wifi connections.
Not Boris Johnson, though. His biggest WFH gripe is being distracted by coffee and cheese.
Or so he says.
But is there more to his answer than meets the eye? Is the prime minister just a bit eccentric – or is he deliberately using certain words, combined with clever search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics, to try and bury certain news stories?
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Say, one about a party, with lots of wine and cheese. Held in Downing Street during a global pandemic, perhaps, amid a national lockdown.
The prime minister’s ratings took a beating after partygate. It had a major impact on his future viability as the Conservative leader and even contributed to a confidence vote, so it’s understandable that he wants this story forgotten.
Had you Googled ‘Boris Johnson cheese’ a few weeks ago, you’d have been met with results on partygate, from every major news source. Repeat the search now, and you’ll find a page made up almost entirely of stories to do with these new working from home comments.
If Johnson planned this, then it’s working well.
Model bus vs Brexit bus
Two years ago, rumours started appearing in the SEO world about how Boris might be trying to manipulate Google rankings for his own good.
A few people within the digital marketing community started asking if the bizarre answers he was giving in interviews were actually cleverly calculated messages – ones that can change the online narrative and alter the results that future search engine users see when researching him.
When he talked to an interviewer about painting wine boxes to look like model buses, most people laughed or rolled their eyes. But in just this one interview he pushed many old news stories down the search engine results. Stories about the £350m-for-the-NHS Brexit bus, and his fight with Carrie that resulted in a wine-soaked sofa, as well as ones about his affair with a former model all became less prominent.
When he brought up his vision for an Irish Sea Bridge, which many people claimed was fantastical from the start, was he actually using these words to help clean up older articles about his failed £53m London Garden Bridge project?