game of SEO
all sites must rank!
Whether you watch it or not, you’d have to have been living in a cave (maybe with a dragon) not to know about Game of Thrones.
It’s the fantasy series that’s currently taking the world by storm, with fans loving the show’s mixture of violence, nudity and plot-twisting deaths. So much so that someone has even created a parody that combines it with the animated “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign. But behind all the gore, politics and back stabbing there’s a simple premise… being the best and being the boss.
Not dissimilar to what we do for our SEO clients.
It got us thinking, what can Game of Thrones teach us about winning the Game of SEO?
Know your enemy (Keyword Research)
In Game of Thrones, a vital element of being the best is knowing your enemy and staying one step ahead of them. Tyrion Lanister, a dwarf who is the youngest son of Lord Tywin Lanister, is well known for using his wit and intellect to gather the information that will help him defeat his enemies.
Gathering knowledge is equally vital when it comes to SEO. Keyword research is all about finding the best words to describe your company and the terms that people are entering into search engines when they are looking for the product or service your business offers. This will also show you where your competitors are currently ranking for those search terms, giving you a focus and strategy for your own SEO activity.
Ranks and titles (On-page Optimisation)
Game of Thrones characters tend to have extremely long titles that summarise everything they have ever done, they may be a bit of a mouthful but you can’t ignore that some of them are pretty awesome:
Daenerys Targaryn – Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the first of her name. Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andels, the Rhoynar and the First Men. Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Stormborn, Dany, The Unburnt, Mhysa, The Queen Across the Sea, The Silver Queen.
Similar to Game of Thrones, SEO requires you to give each page on your site a title that’s all about who you are and what the particular page is about. Page titles are one aspect of on-page optimisation, along with meta-descriptions and alt tags. You begin this process after completing keyword research. On-page optimisation informs Google which page should be ranking for which keyword, allowing it to give the most relevant page in search results for that phrase.
An SEO title should be relevant, short, concise and under 140 characters. Sadly, this means we can’t use our full Game of Thrones style title:
Uprise Marketing – Uprise of the House Marketing, the first of his name. King of Upper Boat, Protector of Glamorgan and Lord of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Climber of Rankings, Brander of Businesses, Prince of Code, Father of the Uprising.
Winter is coming! (Google updates)
Image Courtesy of Moddb – moddb.com
The Starks are Lords of the North, everything they do revolves around the fact that they have to be ready for when the harsh winter hits their lands. Since it can last for years, they need to change everything about their lives to accommodate it.
In SEO, everything you do should revolve around preparing for the latest Google update and the penalties attached to it. They’re harsh, strong and permanent. Old link building techniques won’t work the way they used to and could in fact be considered black hat tactics, resulting in penalties. The Starks live by the motto “winter is coming”. Anyone devising an SEO strategy should live by the motto “Google is coming”.
Pay your debts! (Paid Links)
The motto for the House of Lannister is, “a Lannister always pays his debts”.
Within SEO paying your debts means something a little different. If you paid for a link to appear on another site, especially one not relevant to your particular industry, it would be seen as a black hat tactic and penalised by Google.
An effective SEO strategy will always use white hat tactics and, rather than paying your debts with cash, you’d return the favour with mutual links and guest content on each other’s websites. So long as the topics for the blog articles are relevant for both parties.
Take the throne! (Content and link building)
The houses among Game of Thrones compete against each other for the privileged Iron Throne, giving them dominion over the Seven Kingdoms. The best house and the one that’s willing to work hardest will take the throne.
Image courtesy of Disqus – disqus.com
In SEO, link building is a similar process. It involves acquiring links to your website from other sites and sources that are relevant to your industry, allowing you to gain authority and increase your Google rankings. If you can provide good quality, relevant content to another site, your authority in the eyes of Google will increase, taking you closer to the regal seat of number one in the organic search results.
People Power (Social Media)
Image Courtesy of Tumblrofthrones -tumblrofthrones.tumblr.com/
It’s now time to take a leaf out of Daenerys Targaryen’s book. The only surviving child of King Aerys II Targaryen, she was ousted from the Iron Throne and knows more than anyone about how to command people, increase her following and take her rightful place in the number one position.
This is exactly the same for any SEO campaign. Once you’ve put your strategy in place, you’ll need to use social media platforms to support it. Social media is now a well-accepted ranking factor within SEO, with Google now indexing individual tweets. Sharing your own original content is also a great way to grow your followers and get your name in front of as many potential clients as possible.
Climb the wall! (Follow the rules)
In Game of Thrones, the Free Folk, aka Wildlings, are constantly trying to climb the Wall beyond the Northern border of the Seven Kingdoms. If they don’t follow the rules, the Watch imprison wayward Wildlings in Castle Black.
The similarities to SEO are pretty self-explanatory. Your Wildling website is attempting to climb to the top of Google without being knocked off. But, without a well-structured plan, you’ll find yourself plummeting down the rankings. It’s also important to stick to the rules, because Google take prisoners too. Any attempt at using black hat tactics will result in being dropped to the bottom of the search results
If you feel that your website isn’t in a fit state to compete in the Game of SEO, join the House of Uprise. We can help you to devise a well-planned SEO campaign using white hat tactics, sharing good quality, relevant content through social media, taking you to the top of the Wall.
Written by Claire Fisher – Claire of the House Uprise, Queen of SEO, Executive and Ruler of Accounts, Duchess of Rhondda, Protector of Rankings.