Every once in a while we get a press release from a brand trying to get some coverage by being newsworthy and this morning such a release landed in our inbox.
“Elden Ring named the most confusing video game of 2022” screamed the subject line at us and we’ll admit, it was enough to grab our attention.
From Software’s runaway success is tough as nails, but we wouldn’t say it’s baffling. The premise is pretty simple, follow Grace to the foot of the Erdtree and become Elden Lord. Rather straightforward. Of course, travel is a bit more involved than that and it’s okay to have a Google page open to search for weapon locations etc.
Curious how this brand came to the conclusion that Elden Ring was the most confusing game of the year that we read.
“Analyzing Google search data for 150 of this year’s most popular video games, broadband experts looked at search volumes for: [game] + explained, [game] + tips, [game] + walkthrough, how to play + [game] to find out which video games have caused the most confusion since their release,” a statement shared with GameRant.
So Google, the analysis was based on Google search results. What makes this list even worse is that most of the games on the list weren’t even released this year.
According to so-called broadband experts, there were 171,840 searches for Elden Ring players “looking for tips and explanations on how to play the game”.
What this list tells us, quite explicitly, is that due to the fact that Elden Ring was released in 2022, it was by default named the most confusing game of the year.
We don’t know how the experts sorted people looking for a guide for a single mission from those unfamiliar with the tutorial cave, but given the depth of data shared with us, we doubt any sort of data cleaning has been done here.
So why are we highlighting this story? Because while it may seem harmless and safe, SEO bait like this is all too common.
The brand that brought us this search is Uswitch and the Broadband section of the website is a lesson in SEO spam. The page contains a literal wall of text with internal links directing you to another area of the Uswitch website.
Things got alarming when clicking on a link to a deal from Sky redirected us to a page that asked for our email and in return we were given a gift card before being redirected to Sky’s website Sky Broadband. There’s no way to skip that and get the internet plan and it all sounds like something to avoid. It is for this reason that we will not link the website here.
The shallow nature of the search would likely entice more curious users to click Uswitch’s link. What could be difficult about giving your email address to Uswitch? It is worth remembering that with your email address, cybercriminals can launch incredibly complicated and convincing phishing attacks. Even worse, some clickbait SEO websites can host malware and even if you’re just spammed, it’s not a good experience.
The above is frankly just terrible research dressed up in a clickbait title directing users to a website that thrives on generating meaningless internet traffic and potentially leading users down a dangerous path. It’s a shame that website operators always feel the need to entice people to visit their website rather than creating something people want to visit.
As far as searches coming from the analysis of a single search engine using broad terms, Uswitch should have done better as we highly doubt that Elden Ring is the most confusing game of the year. Complex, perhaps, but confusing – based on Google searches – is a step too far.