By UCLA X425 Student John Cottle
Disclaimer: This post is influenced by George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series “Game of Thrones.” If you are not familiar with the books or HBO show, understand that it is an epic drama where vying factions strategize and compete to own the top spot that is the Iron Throne, or in our case, the top Google search result.
On May 6th, the knowledgeable Tony Adam, founder and CEO of VisibleFactors, visited UCLA X425 to speak to our class of usurpers in training on how to get that top seat. In Marketing/Publicity terms: Search Engine Optimization. He broke down the strategies, both underhanded and honest, on how to get there. Some play dirty and some play clean. As with most games, one needs to understand the playing field in order to implement techniques that get to the top, such as creating a relatable and relevant site and forming allies.
When creating a website it is imperative to make sure to include carefully chosen key words on your Index page in order to endow your site with relevance. Algorithms (or your people for the sake of the analogy) must be able to identify with the website that is being promoted. The Google algorithm can be swayed easily by seeing certain key terms on the page — very much in the same way the Tea Party goes crazy over terms like “government reform” or “foreign policy.” The people, like the algorithm, should be able to lock on such terms without thinking.
The Internet is inherently a community, but people from all walks of life use it for different purposes. Some may want to promote “devious” acts, while others are intent on promoting their scholarly pursuits. Those who have more Internet authority, such as sites with .edu and .gov domains, will boost your reputation and your chance of achieving the throne. By cultivating links from their sites (and vice versa), your allies help build your reputation and get you closer to the top. But beware of “black hats” who may try to undermine your efforts by requesting disreputable sites to link to your page. They will only ruin your chances of being number one.
When making your way to the optimal seat, know your audience and how they identify with you. Make sure your message is clear (through your index page) and that you link to allies who support you and contribute to your authority. Before you know it, you could be sitting comfortably.