With season 5 of “Game of Thrones” coming to an end soon, it brought to mind how analogous it is to SEO.
A Game of Optimization
In the early stages of SEO, people would trick search engines using techniques like spam and content farming so their websites would rank higher. Then Google came along, reexamined its own search engine process, and began to penalize those who were trying to scheme the system.
Thus began the game. Each new algorithm Google would change the way the rankings were organized. And with each new update, there were winners and losers— just like in George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. (Except when you play the game of optimization and lose, you do not die, you simply go to page 2 of Google, which is a website’s death.)
Here are the four reasons winning the “Game of Thrones” is like the advice Google recommends for optimizing your website.
Wise Small Council
The small council in “Game of Thrones” is the group of people who give the king sensible advice on how to deal with certain situations. They are not some peasant on the street who knows nothing. They are qualified, thoughtful people who can provide comprehensive counsel. This is no different than what Google claims is the most important factor for SEO: in-depth content. Focus on creating smart content. In our world “Content is King” as long as the small council is knowledgeable.
Building alliances is key to obtaining power. But as we have seen in “Game of Thrones,” only the trustworthy alliances have any use. (*cough cough, Red Wedding*). For Google, alliances are links and having as many reliable links from other websites to your page can give you a powerful ranking. A bonus Google has regarding links: the stronger the house aligning with your house (bigger the brand of the source linking to your page), the more power (higher ranking) you will have.
A Leader for the People
A ruler only exists if there are people to rule over. You can’t just go around calling yourself a leader if there is no one behind you. You have to give people a reason to follow you. The best way to do that is by providing something (food, money, intellect, protection from dragons). Be the person other people come to for answers. That is basically what Google says too. A good way to appear on search engines is by providing a service that people want. Help your customers find the information they need.
Long Family Line
Family lines that die out become irrelevant because there is no one to carry on the family name. If only the last remaining descendent had had a child, then more people would be talking about them. This is not something I am saying, it is what Google is saying. Don’t let your content become old and outdated. Give birth to new content every week so readers will continue to be engaged. This will help your ranking.
Just because you are ranking well on Google right now does not mean you will be there tomorrow because when you play the Game of Optimization, you win or you lose.