The Tiger King Used Shady SEO Methods To Attract Carole Baskins’ Website Traffic

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, the name “Joe Exotic” will definitely ring a bell for you. Netflix knocked it out of the ballpark with their newest sensation, The Tiger King, and it seems like the whole world is talking about it.

The District Maven team is no exception. We devoured this content readily, as finding content that is equally engaging as it is a glorious trainwreck is particularly rare. The fact that this show features three competing businesses in the same industry is intriguing in itself -- their sheer mutual hatred of one another is just the cherry on top.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, the name “Joe Exotic” will definitely ring a bell for you. Netflix knocked it out of the ballpark with their newest sensation, The Tiger King, and it seems like the whole world is talking about it.

The District Maven team is no exception. We devoured this content readily, as finding content that is equally engaging as it is a glorious trainwreck is particularly rare. The fact that this show features three competing businesses in the same industry is intriguing in itself -- their sheer mutual hatred of one another is just the cherry on top.

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[Photo credit via]

But since our team is made up of nerds, we couldn't help but also pay attention to the marketing choices each respective business makes throughout the documentary. Carole Baskin's brand utilizes the power of social media and catchy taglines to hook her audience and rally them behind her cause. By contrast, Joe Exotic is painted as the less intelligent counterpart with little sense of organization, strategy, or direction when it comes to the G.W. Zoo.

We are here to argue that perhaps, the Tiger King isn't so dumb after all. Despite his redneck persona and questionable fashion choices, it is clear that he also understands the fundamentals of digital marketing. Each episode in the series depicts the bitter rivalry between Joe and Carole. Episode four opens talking about the extreme lengths and blackhat techniques Exotic used in his efforts to steal SEO traffic and customers from Baskins. Joe started realizing that if he made his name close to hers, when they Google it, it might pull him up first.
[Photo credit via]

But since our team is made up of nerds, we couldn't help but also pay attention to the marketing choices each respective business makes throughout the documentary. Carole Baskin's brand utilizes the power of social media and catchy taglines to hook her audience and rally them behind her cause. By contrast, Joe Exotic is painted as the less intelligent counterpart with little sense of organization, strategy, or direction when it comes to the G.W. Zoo.

We are here to argue that perhaps, the Tiger King isn't so dumb after all. Despite his redneck persona and questionable fashion choices, it is clear that he also understands the fundamentals of digital marketing. Each episode in the series depicts the bitter rivalry between Joe and Carole. Episode four opens talking about the extreme lengths and blackhat techniques Exotic used in his efforts to steal SEO traffic and customers from Baskins. Joe started realizing that if he made his name close to hers, when they Google it, it might pull him up first.

Joe started realizing that if he made his name close to Big Cat Rescue, when they Google it, it might pull him up first.
John Reinke, Former Manager of G.W. Zoo

She’s the first choice every time - supersedes all the zoos; she’s the top of all search.

The Tiger King decided on rebranding as "Big Cat Rescue Entertainment." It is worth noting that Carole's business is called Big Cat Rescue. Without question, this move was as pathetic as it is bold, even for a desperate business owner. However, his attempts to manipulate the search engines and mislead users by directing them to his website instead of Baskin's were successful to some degree. During the interviews, Carole admitted that she frequently received phone calls from potential customers assuming that she was involved with Joe's Big Cat Rescue Entertainment.
The Tiger King decided on rebranding as "Big Cat Rescue Entertainment." It is worth noting that Carole's business is called Big Cat Rescue. Without question, this move was as pathetic as it is bold, even for a desperate business owner. However, his attempts to manipulate the search engines and mislead users by directing them to his website instead of Baskin's were successful to some degree. During the interviews, Carole admitted that she frequently received phone calls from potential customers assuming that she was involved with Joe's Big Cat Rescue Entertainment.

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[Photo via Netflix]
[Photo via Netflix]

What does it have to do with marketing?

Even if there is a little momentum to be gained by using blackhat techniques to push your marketing forward, it will never outweigh the SEO consequences that will come if caught by the search engines. The penalties for businesses are severe, in more ways than one. In terms of digital branding, a dramatic decrease in organic visibility is likely, and being blacklisted from the results pages is possible (especially if whitehat methods aren't adopted immediately). There are also real-world repercussions, whether it be financially or legally.

Avoiding these issues isn't too difficult. For one, don't be an asshole and directly copy your fiercest competitors' name. Don't be that guy (or gal). Additionally, working with an experienced marketing team that only builds digital marketing campaigns with whitehat techniques is critical. Whether you are just launching your business website for the first time or are looking for an online rebrand, the District Maven team can help you. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary brand audit and consultation. You can also get the latest digital marketing tricks and tips by following us on Facebook and Instagram.
Even if there is a little momentum to be gained by using blackhat techniques to push your marketing forward, it will never outweigh the SEO consequences that will come if caught by the search engines. The penalties for businesses are severe, in more ways than one. In terms of digital branding, a dramatic decrease in organic visibility is likely, and being blacklisted from the results pages is possible (especially if whitehat methods aren't adopted immediately). There are also real-world repercussions, whether it be financially or legally.

Avoiding these issues isn't too difficult. For one, don't be an asshole and directly copy your fiercest competitors' name. Don't be that guy (or gal). Additionally, working with an experienced marketing team that only builds digital marketing campaigns with whitehat techniques is critical. Whether you are just launching your business website for the first time or are looking for an online rebrand, the District Maven team can help you. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary brand audit and consultation. You can also get the latest digital marketing tricks and tips by following us on Facebook and Instagram.




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For over a decade, District Maven has worked with businesses across the country to establish a formidable and profitable brand online. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously. Regardless of the industry or client, trust, respect and integrity are at the heart of every relationship we maintain -- and we wouldn't have it any other way.

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