Grand Theft Auto IV was released recently and, predictably, there has been a spike in the number of searches related to the game.

Jason Calacanis' human edited search engine Mahalo is ranking well on Google for a number of terms related to the GTA IV, having designed a comprehensive guide to the game. It proves that a curated approach to the web can pay dividends, in Google terms...

According to Hitwise's Robin Goad, there has been a spike in the number of UK searches for the terms 'gta4' and 'gta4 cheats', with the latter peaking a week after the game's release:

Hitwise chart - searches for gta 4

The main sites to benefit from search traffic for these GTA IV terms were the official Rockstar Games site, Wikipedia, YouTube, and sites like Gamespot and various GTA IV cheats sites.

Interestingly though, Mahalo has been ranking well in Google for a number of GTA IV related terms. It is second for the term 'gta 4 cheats', and first for 'gta 4 walkthrough', which was the third most popular related search term up to 17 May.

Mahalo is also ranking highly in Google for a number of terms related to the game's missions and characters.

It's not hard to see why. Searches for games cheats and tips often return a number of results for low quality websites full of splash ads, screensaver popups, and a lot of black backgrounds.

However, in the case of Mahalo, you get an excellent all round guide to the game:

Mahalo - GTA 4 results

For those who are stuck on certain levels of the game, Mahalo's team of editors have created a detailed walkthrough guide, complete with videos of each mission:

Mahalo GTA IV walkthrough

We have questioned Mahalo's business model in the past, and its whopping $175m valuation, but it can certainly deliver quality search results for the terms it has been concentrating on.

The Grand Theft Auto pages are an excellent example of this, as are other human edited pages for searches like 'London hotels'.

Whether it can make enough money from this strategy to justify its valuation is still unclear, but creating pages full of quality content for search terms like 'gta 4 cheats' has enabled it to rank highly on Google and presumably generate plenty of traffic.

Related stories:
Calacanis launches human-powered search engine
Mahalo to pay for search results 

Graham Charlton

Published 2 June, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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