My Most Popular Post

One of my most popular posts of all time has nothing to do with marketing or blogging or anything connected to any of my interests. I was probably lurking Metafilter and saw a thread about Crest Pro Mouthwash turning people’s teeth brown. I blogged it as an example of a large consumer products company most likely rushing a product through or not caring about side effects or burying testing data and realizing a backlash on sites like and assorted health forums.
My post was titled: Crest Pro Health Mouthwash Turning Customers Teeth Brown
A few weeks later I started to get lots of comments on that particular post. People needed help!
I am another victim from this product. I bought Crest Pro-Health about 2 weeks ago and my first symptom after the 3rd day of use was salivary gland infection, which I thought had nothing to do with this product but I believe it does now. Now the bottom of my teeth as well as the top are brown.
And so on and so forth for 146 comments. The deluge of comments pointed me to the fact that I was the top non-Crest result for crest prohealth mouthwash and the #1 result for the search crest mouthwash brown teeth.
I think this is a great example of the power of blogging, search engine optimization and how businesses can maximize it.

  • Blog about an urgent problem. My teeth are brown!
  • Use language people actually might type into a search box. Not discolored or dentrifice but brown teeth! Call it what it is.
  • Use an obvious post title.

The search request matches the search result which matches the post title:

Sure there’s lots of nuances in SEO and positioning and all that other madness – but this is a 15 second case study. Go to your blog’s stats. What similar searches are you capturing?






9 responses to “My Most Popular Post”

  1. anon Avatar

    andy, i would like to thank you for posting this information about the Crest rinse on your blog. you have helped a great many people discover the source of their brown teeth, mouth sores, loss of taste, and other mysterious and serious side affects.
    however, i’m just curious — if you knew about all the problems reported with this product (thanks to the many replies to your first post), why did you buy it and use it anyway?! Haven’t you heard of the saying “caveat emptor”? ;>

  2. Patsi Krakoff, The B Avatar

    Andy, you know we still love you, but sometime you of the male persuasion miss the point…
    Yes, that post is fascinating. Great you got good search results. But can I ask one tiny question?
    How does this bring in results for a business blog? It’s nice and so what?
    Enlighten me. Besides the glory, and struttin’, what can a business professional do if they don’t want to write about brown teeth or other things that get high traffic but have little or nothing to do with their market?

  3. Dan Avatar

    I posted some senior portraits I took of a girl with her saxophone under the heading Sax Girl. Surprising how many searches there are for “sax girl” and my site comes up top 10. I have to wonder if the foreign ones are just bad spellers.

  4. Andy Wibbels Avatar

    That was the footnote I should have added – this actual case study is much better suited to a dentist than me. But the bullet points about writing urgent, useful, obvious content still apply.

  5. Steph Stanton Avatar
    Steph Stanton

    Also, blog or not,
    has a huge database of websites and the ranking data on major search engines. You can edit your web page based on how yours compares to the highest- and lowest-ranked sites out there. I think the Crest story serves as a great example about how a little SEO can take you to the top!

  6. Pete Moring Avatar

    As a father of EIGHT and Grandfather to TWELVE, I’ve found this post a whole lot MORE interesting than I thought I would.
    I don’t think I’ll be recommending that particular toothpaste to any of them.
    Great that you got so many visitors from such a random post though. The same happened to me when I mentioned the phrase ‘Jackboot Warriors’ in a post I had written about traffic-wardens.
    I suddenly kept seeing the post on the first page of totally irrelevant searches. I guess we just DO NOT KNOW how these things really do work. Maybe one of the senior engineers at Google got it right, she said; “It’s just Magic. We cast spells at Google and Magic happens”

  7. anon Avatar

    I just wanted to say that I’m REALLY appreciative to Andy Wibbels for helping get the word out regarding the problems with this product. IMO, his site was the reason that a LOT of people finally figured out why their teeth were turning brown.
    There was an article on Associated Content a while back that was critical of the Crest rinse and all of its unintended side effects. For a short while, it was one of the top links from a google search of “Crest Pro-Health Rinse”. However, it quickly fell way down the list, and was replaced by links that were favorable to the product. Here is an article about the google “mystery”:
    Anyway, for some unknown reason, Andy’s article was on the first page of the “Crest Pro-Health Rinse” search for months. Evidently, P&G (the makers of Crest rinse) wasn’t able to bribe google enough to knock Andy off the first page. I’m not sure how that happened.
    Anyway, I noticed here in the last week or so that Andy’s article on the staining from the Crest rinse is no longer near the front from the “Crest Pro-Health Rinse” google search. It’s back to only “glowing” links for the product (with the exception of the link to the Amazon consumer page — however, it’s hard to tell from the results of the search that the Amazon consumer page is full of complaints, so many people won’t click on it).
    As such, I would guess that the number of replies on Andy’s “most popular article” will soon die down, but it did a great job in its day of getting the word out.

  8. anon Avatar

    you know what … i just googled “crest pro-health rinse” and Andy is right back on the first page. maybe i just imagined that it had fallen off.
    so i guess forget about that stuff i just said in my last post!

  9. anon Avatar

    hey one little post-script to this topic: on the big story that showed on the NBC Today Show yesterday regarding the staining problem (and other problems) associated with the Crest rinse, they actually showed this VERY WEBSITE for about two seconds when they said (“pages and pages of internet complaints about the product”).
    Nice job helping spread the word, Andy. Looks like you got the attention of someone at NBC. (I believe the story is out there on the Today Show website if you want to see it)

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