What do you know about SEO?
There may be no new episode to look forward to, the Night’s Watch may be serving no real purpose, and we may never know what is West of Westeros… but for now we’ll keep talking about Game of Thrones. We might not be able to provide answers to any of the questions the end of Season 8 left us with, but what we can do is help answer your SEO questions. For those of you who are new to SEO and love Game of Thrones, we took 6 SEO Concepts, one for each Kingdom, and explained them in terms of Game of Thrones. **WARNING** Spoilers ahead…
When a website has a link pointing to another website, that is what is known as a backlink. Backlinks work like endorsements or votes for your website to help them appear more prominently on SERP’s. The more quality endorsements you have pointing to your website, the more likely your website is to show up in Google’s search results for your desired keywords. The more relevant the linking website is to your industry the better, and the more authoritative the site the more power the endorsement is. This can be thought of as all the alliances Daenerys formed on her way to claim the Iron Throne. The more people she had on her side, the more votes she had in favor of her claiming the Iron Throne.
Not all links have equal weight. Though Daenerys had thousands of Dothraki on her side, they weren’t necessarily a more powerful ally than Tyrion was when he joined Daenerys. While Tyrion was just one person and the Dothraki, Tyrion’s strategic brain and family history made his vouch for Daenerys much more powerful than the Dothraki endorsement. Similarly, some websites that are more credible within your industry will have a more powerful link than those websites that are smaller and don’t have as much relevance within the industry. Many allies can be great, but a few strategic allies can take you even farther. So ultimately, while all endorsements can be beneficial, having stronger endorsements from more authoritative and credible websites within the industry will take you farther than lots of “votes” from players that are irrelevant.
2. Internal Links
Every successful Army in Westeros has a strong and clear structure. This is vital in order to assign authority to the different ranks within an army, and to make sure all soldiers know exactly who they are reporting to. Without structure within the army, the soldier wouldn’t know who to receive their responsibilities from, who to follow into battle, or even who they are serving in the first place. Likewise, it is just as important to have a strong internal structure on your website.
Internal Linking has a few different advantages. They can make it easier for your website visitors to find what they are looking for and easily manoeuvre through your pages. It is also a way of showing Google that a certain page is important, and helps the search engine decide which pages to rank. If a page takes numerous clicks to find, Google will see this as less important. This is where the hierarchy coming in, with one of these pages resembling a foot soldier. Show the search engine who are your generals with numerous, clear internal linkings with descriptive and relevant anchor text.
A strong internal structure makes for happy clients (and happy soldiers).
3. Be an Industry Leader
When Jon Snow goes to join the Night’s Watch, he meets Samwell, or Sam, Tarly. Compared to the other warriors, Sam is neither the bravest or the most skilled. While in the assets category Sam may fall behind, what he lacks in skill he makes up in intelligence and knowledge. In the end, it is Sam’s insightfulness that gives the Night’s Watch an edge in their battles. In that sense, just because Sam didn’t have the same level of assets that the more skilled warriors had, that didn’t mean he wasn’t able to excel from a different angle.
From an SEO perspective, regularly uploading good quality, industry relevant content is a big plus on Google’s end. The search engines value when you provide something of value to your users, and this can be done in the form of blogs, whitesheets, articles, PDFs etc. You have an an opportunity to be a leader in your industry by providing this value if you are in a position to do so. These pieces have numerous other advantages, such as driving traffic to your site or garnering leads if you a downloadable element. Utilise your knowledge and get once step ahead of your competitors!
4. Results don’t happen overnight
Arya Stark is known for her swordsmanship and dedication to the art. Throughout the series, Arya spent a lot of her time sword training. However, she didn’t master the skill automatically. She started off slowly, with Syrio having her improve her agility by chasing cats. With SEO, you will see that the results of your work will also not show immediately. The benefits of SEO cannot be seen overnight. Just because you won’t see the results of your work immediately, you shouldn’t stop. Like Arya, you must use SEO techniques to build up your ranking, and be patient while you wait for the outcome.
5. Maintain Results
Once you finally reach the top of the rankings, you may think that your website is fully optimized and you don’t need to focus on SEO anymore. However, if you do this, you risk losing your ranking over time. In order to stay at that top ranking, you must continue working and adapting to industry updates to maintain the level that your website is at. As the Google algorithm changes, you must continue to upskill and adapt accordingly. For this point, Arya once again proves to be a perfect example. From season one when Arya trained with Syrio Forel, up until the moment when she killed the Night King in season eight, Arya never stopped upskilling and practicing. If Arya had stopped training, she wouldn’t have been able to maintain the level of skill she had achieved. With SEO, you should implement the same mentality. Never rest on your laurels, as with SEO, there is ALWAYS work to do!
6. The Importance of Tracking
Somebody once said “use statistics as a drunk man uses lamp-posts — for support rather than for illumination.”. For SEO, there are few different elements you can track on Google Analytics; organic traffic, sales from organic visitors, improve the ranking of particular keywords etc. These metrics all depend on what your objectives are. Assign desired results and use Google Analytics to measure your performance every two weeks, monthly or quarterly; depending on the objective. These can help keep you on track and fully aware of where you are and what needs to be done. If Daenerys didn’t have a council of people close to her, who were always brutally honest, she would have also been lost. Analytics do not lie, but as soon as Daenerys started ignoring the advice of her council, she started derailing and making questionable decisions. If you were to ignore what your analytics were telling you, then you could end up spiralling down the wrong path. With SEO, remember: Do not be like Daenerys — Listen to your advisors (or web analytics).
7 (Bonus Kingdom) . 404 Pages and Redirects
Seen as The North is now an Independent Kingdom, lets take a look at one extra concept and relate it to the Starks. Think back to when Robb Stark entrusted Theon Greyjoy to go back to the Iron Islands. Remember when Theon decided to go attack Winterfell instead? Well the feeling of betrayal that Robb Stark felt is what your customers feel when they land on a broken link. While attacking Winterfell and betraying those close to you is not exactly the same as landing on a 404 page, neither is a desirable outcome for your customer. When removing a page on your website, or indeed undergoing a site merger, you must be wary of the URLs that will be considered obsolete. These URLs may exist through external linking, on social media, be bookmarked or even part of the internal linking structure. Users do not like landing on a broken page, and when something is not user friendly, Google will penalise you. This is why it is vital to set up 301 redirects, or even have a helpful 404 page.
Even though Theon initially betrayed the Starks, he later returned to redeem himself by providing them with the help that they needed. In this way, Theon resembles a redirected page. If your customer happens to click on a link that lands them on a page that no longer exists, having a redirect will guide that person to the correct page that they are looking for. Whilst having too many redirects is not ideal as they can slow down your site, in many situations they are a necessary evil to your SEO strategy.
We know we weren’t able to provide you with the Season 8 answers that we were all looking for, but hopefully some of your SEO questions have been answered. We hope you use this information to claim your right to
the Iron Throne top position on Google’s search results!