Do you know what a Tnetennba is? Go ahead, cheat… do a quick google search. Still confused? That’s understandable. The first use of the word tnetennba is widely thought to be an episode of the sitcom The IT Crowd (its a cute show and I highly recommend taking a watch).
Tnetennba is in fact a completely made-up word. Yet, google lists over 38,000 results for this term. In many ways the relative popularity of something that doesn’t actually exist is a very interesting paradox. At the core of this is the question: can something be as powerful even if its fake?
Everyone understands the power that can be obtained by malicious lies, liable or simple rumors. But this made up word really isn’t any of those, it wasn’t created with the intent of harming others, it was just the byproduct of a joke. In the absence of the internet there is a very good possibility that the term would simply have vanished after the airing of the episode; however, human curiosity prompted many a viewer to search for and record the use of the word. By taking this action tnetennba has become a real thing. Its far from being a part of common speech but its difficult to deny the existence of something that has 38,000 results in google – most random collections of 9 letters only display a couple, if any, results.
The importance of tnetennba is similar to that of a misspelling. Curiosity drives people to search for the word when they hear it and so sites with this keyword will get hits. The same is principle holds true with frequently misspelled words. Sites that take note of the common misspellings will get the traffic of those who misspell the words. Potentially by creating content that is targeted at fake words which have some type of cultural relevance you could increase your search engine ranking.
The downfall of this comes with relevancy. The tnetennba can be a dangerous thing. There is a great deal of documentation about the improper use of keywords on sites in an attempt to fool search engines. Simply placing terms like tnetennba in your site can actually be a detriment to your ranking if the words aren’t used in a context that is truly relevant to readers. In the words of Peter Parker’s Uncle, “with great power comes great responsibility.” This holds true for tnetennba as well, being a forerunner in the definition and promotion of a new term can be a great and powerful thing – but taking advantage of its popularity for self promotion can result in backlash.