The NCAA tournament is arguably the most exciting segment in the entire sports calendar because everyone has the ability to fill out a bracket and participate. And no matter how much or how little you follow college basketball, you have as good of a chance as anyone to correctly pick that 12-versus-5-seed matchup, and even the national champion.
Indeed, everyone can agree that luck plays a huge role in the success of one’s bracket. And while the same can’t necessarily be said for SEO, which requires a wealth of knowledge, experience, strategy and research, there are still some interesting similarities shared between the NCAA Tournament and search engine optimization.
The urge to constantly check results
People like seeing results, especially positive ones. Whether it’s your NCAA bracket or your weekly SEO report, the excitement of scrolling through and seeing lots of green and not much red is always exciting.
But it’s also important to remember not to obsess over the results.
One outlying week of more red than green doesn’t always indicate a flawed strategy – it may just require patience to let your SEO efforts continue to settle in Google’s algorithm.
An element of unpredictability
SEO is a series of guidelines and strategies that more often than not produce positive results. But like the NCAA tournament, SEO always has an element of unpredictability – nothing is ever guaranteed.
Domain age, page authority, backlinks, click through rate, quality of content, load speed, competing websites and hundreds more factors all play a role in the success of a website’s and webpage’s organic rankings. A professional SEO specialist will always follow best practices, but he or she can never promise to a client that X changes will produce Y traffic or keyword ranking improvements.
It’s this factor of unpredictability that separates the good SEO specialists from the great ones, as they are able to recognize, react and readjust quickly to any new information. That’s why we here at The frank Agency, just like any successful basketball program, work diligently to be as proactive as possible by researching new strategies and trends, identifying issues before they produce negative results, and more.
Every game plan requires some conservatism
Any college basketball team that dribbles down the court and immediately shoots a contested three-point shot is destined to fail. While three-pointers are a part of every basketball team’s game plan, it’s important to also emphasize those more conservative stats like turnovers, offensive rebounds and points in the paint. Each of these statistics are just as important to not lose the game as it is to win the game.
And here’s our SEO comparison: It’s important for SEO strategists to not start a campaign by launching three-pointers. Of course it’s important to take that occasional three, but it’s even more important to not lose the game, or in this case traffic and keyword rankings, by incorporating a conservative SEO strategy.
Root for the little guys
Almost everyone’s favorite part about March Madness is watching a lower seed try to take down a much higher seed. It’s in our nature to root for the underdog.
Similarly, that offbeat blog post you wrote that slowly begins gaining traction on social media and begins to pull rank on your website can produce those same feelings of watching a mid-major take down a college basketball powerhouse.
The same can be said for a smaller website that begins to take traffic from much bigger more established websites due to a successful SEO strategy.
Blue Bloods usually reach the Final Four
While the Cinderella stories are fun in the NCAA tournament, and a blog post may unexpectedly begin ranking well for some long-tail keywords you perhaps hadn’t considered, the Blue Bloods of the NCAA Tournament and the major articles of your website will usually produce the best results.
The Kansas’, Duke’s, Kentucky’s and North Carolina’s of the world always have the best facilities, coaches and players, and generally have the best game plans. Similarly, a website’s premier articles with the best content, most optimization, most backlinks, and best strategy will almost always be the champions of your website. Sorry Cinderella!
One final similarity between the NCAA Tournament and SEO is that both can be viewed as games, albeit important ones. There are players, scores, competition, winners, and high stakes.
As the coach of a basketball team, and as the coach of one’s SEO campaign, it’s his or her job to guide the strategy that will lead the team to newfound heights.