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PostHeaderIcon Funniest SEO Keywords I’d Love to Optimize

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a lover of words.  So I take a short break from the serious work of online marketing to enjoy the beauty of our language and contemplate how single letters can not only change meaning but add humor.  After all, in SEO words are our business.

It seems The Washington Post runs a regular feature called The Style Invitational in which it invites readers to change a single letter in words to create a non-existent new word and come up with a definition for the new version.  It also has a variant of the game where the reader is asked to give a humorous definition for an existing word.  They both produce hilarious results, but I’m going to focus on the former game.  Here’s an example:

ignoranus: An individual who is both stupid and an asshole
(Pardon the offensive language. I’m quoting it.)

These will have you bending over in laughter, but since we are in the SEO game, I thought it would be fun to see the exact match volumes from Google Adwords Keyword Tool.  It turns out “surprise! surprise!” that people actually search on these new terms.  So for all of the SEO experts in the room, you now have data to justify creating pages, content and tags for these words. The words are shown in the table below. By the way, I am in stitches that ‘bozone’ and ‘karmageddon’ are the two most searched for terms. Like, wow. I mean, like really? Dude, it’s as if some karmic word God has touched all humans with the ability to recognize the truly funny. Enjoy!

Word Definition Exact Match Volume
Ignoranus (n.) An individual who is both stupid and an asshole 480
Cashtration (n.) The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time 91
Intaxication (n.) Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with 110
Reintarnation (n.) Coming back to life as a hillbilly 210
Bozone (n.) The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future 1,900
Foreploy (n.) Any misrepresentation of yourself for the purpose of getting laid 46
Giraffiti (n.) Vandalism spray painted very, very high 390
Sarchasm (n.) The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it 1,000
Inoculatte (n.) To take coffee intravenously when you are running late 36
Osteopornosis (n.) A degenerate disease 46
Karmageddon (n.) It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer 1,600
Decafalon (n.) The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you 210
Glibido (n.) All talk and no action 58
Dopeler Effect (n.) The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly 63
Arachnoleptic Fit (n.) The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web 91
Beelzebug (n.) Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bathroom at 3 in the morning and cannot be cast out 170
Caterpallor (n.) The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating 16

2 Responses to “Funniest SEO Keywords I’d Love to Optimize”

  • Guess what — The Washington Post doesn’t print “asshole” either.

    However, most of the words you got from that does do come from a Style Invitational contest from 1998. (But not all: In addition to the funny but bogus “ignoranus,” there are some that don’t even fit the contest to change an existing word by one letter. “Decafalon” isn’t a one-letter change from “decathlon,” is it? Or “caterpallor”?) And I’m sure that those SEO counts all come from this same 12-year-old list, which seems to be posted anew several times a DAY.

    Much better to see the the current Invitational — every week at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational. We’ve had more than 600 contests since the ones above! The Style Invitational is published every Saturday in The Post’s Style (features) section, and every Friday afternoon at about 3:30 Eastern time. There are neologism contests regularly (including variants on the two you mentioned), but also lots of other sources of humor as well.

    For example, here are the top winners of a recent contest, which was to make up a word that has three consecutive letters in alphabetical order (results printed Feb. 20):

    Coughin: A small enclosure designed especially for smokers. (John Glenn, Tyler, Tex.)

    Mno: The kind of response that makes you want to ask her again. (Edmund Conti, Raleigh)

    Noplow: Washington, D.C.’s, snow emergency plan. (Jack Clark, Westfield, N.J.)

    Geode-face: Someone whose beauty is “sparkling inside.” (Craig Dykstra, Centreville)

    In other forms of humor, the most recent results (March 13, 2010) are for children’s books that will never be published. Among the winners:

    ““Pippi Bongstocking” (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

    “Bat the Bunny” (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

    “You Were Adopted, but You Weren’t Our First Choice” (Beverley Sharp, Washington)

    See the rest of the winners and learn how to enter the new contest — a 10-word Wikipedia-type entry (click on Week 860) at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational. Or you can become a fan of “Washington Post Style” on Facebook (go to facebook.com/wapostyle ) and you’ll get a link to the Invitational when it’s posted. I hope you become a regular reader and maybe even a regular entrant.


    The Empress of The Style Invitational

    The Washington Post

  • I really thank you for your response. I’m honored that someone from the Washington Post cared enough to respond to this post. Let me just say a couple of things:

    1. I became aware of both these words and the game from an email (not a post) that was circulated to me and others by a friend. So, fyi, you’re getting some viral email marketing and site visits/signups (like me) from that channel with no links to Facebook. I also recommend a Twitter feed named “styleinvitational” beyond the Facebook page and tie it into Friendfeed (because it has an Windows tray popup). Give me that and I will subscribe.

    2. You are correct that given the sensitive nature of the term, ignoranus, I should not only have been more skeptical that it came from a professional publication like the Post, I should also have stated it came to me in email as “purported to be from the Post.” I apologize to you and your organization for this error in judgment. My only excuse is that I’m a blogger and not a professional journalist. I’m not trained in the kind of validation techniques (or thought processes) that a professional journalist be trained in. But this is certainly one lesson in publishing I won’t forget.

    3. The word counts were done at the time of this writing – meaning yesterday morning, Friday, March 12, 2010. I did the research myself.

    4. I did do homework on the contest before I wrote the piece. While I couldn’t find these particular words, I did verify that the Post does hold this type of event and, in particular, this particular type of game (switching letters).

    5. I was aware that The Washington Post does run this type of game on a regular basis – I searched on the site and found many (although none back to 1998). Note that I said it was a regular feature I put a link to (what I think) is the home page for The Style Invitational so that others could find the games.

    6. I didn’t imply, nor did I mean to, that these were the latest words. They just happened to be the words that came across the transom.

    7. I noticed that some words had more than one letter changes. But I thought that it was allowed when you were substituting a combo like “th” for “f”. Second, I didn’t think it mattered what the exact rule was for purposes of the post. But you make a good point, I should have researched the exact rules before posting. My apologies.

    Hope that covers everything. Feel free to comment back and put links into specific Invitational pages. Thank you for your understanding and, once again, my apologies for any misrepresentations contained in this posting.

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