Halloween is a great day for a zombie apocalypse. Think about how many people they could infect before the population in general realized those weren’t really great costumes. Just sayin’ — if you’re on the streets or at a party this weekend, and you meet someone in a zombie “costume,” don’t let him touch you. You can’t be too careful. And if it turns out that this Halloween is not a great day for a zombie apocalypse, it definitely is a good day to start planning how you’re going to improve your SEO in 2015, and you may be more equipped than you think. All your apocalyptic survival training has probably been training you to survive another year of Google updates as well. Kind of like Karate Kid … but with zombies. Here are five ways that SEO is like surviving a zombie apocalypse.
You probably already have your zombie apocalypse survival kit packed and stored, and your escape plan mapped and practiced with the family. As slow as zombies sometimes are, they seem to be able to become a plague overnight, so you never know when you’ll have to hunker down. Best to be prepared. As you’re building or restructuring your site, you want to be similarly prepared with SEO survival basics. Google is always updating algorithms to improve the user experience, and rewarding good content. One of the implications is that the role of keywords is changing. Instead of just making a list of the keywords you want your site to rank for, you need to now consider user intent. How to do you pack that SEO bug-out bag? Here are the basics:
Those are your new targets. For more details on deciphering keyword + user intent, check out these three fundamentals to improve your search engine ranking.
Everybody knows that zombies can’t climb very well, and that they have no reservations about destruction of property — especially when it comes to your windows. If your home isn’t on high ground, you’re probably already making mental notes of places that are, and either way, you’ve definitely taken stock of your furniture inventory to make sure you have enough to secure all the windows and doors at ground level. Similarly, you’re working on using your content-based SEO strategy to position your brand on high ground, and establish your organization as a thought leader in your industry or niche. Build up that foundation and barricade it with with lots of resourceful, visually appealing, relevant content.
If The Night of the Living Dead taught us anything, it was to consider and reconsider every strength and weakness in your home. Do the same with your brand identity, and develop a strong SEO strategy to establish your organization as a leader in your field.
Whether your defenses eventually break away, or you run out of supplies, you will eventually have to make a break for it. Serious zombie survivalists are improving their cardio, and breaking in their footwear. There’s no way to tell how far or how fast you’ll need to run when the time comes, but as “slow zombies” are the more widely accepted reality, it’s best to prepare for a marathon. SEO is a long-game strategy, so plan accordingly. Before you jump in yourself, or hire an SEO firm, make sure you’re setting realistic goals. Remember, SEO that will withstand Google updates is content-based, and content marketing is not an overnight strategy. You will establish long-term brand authority, forge strong relationships with your audience, and build a website that is trustworthy (and share-worthy). You will not wake up to hundreds of qualified prospects the very next day. Stamina is key to surviving the zombie apocalypse, and to designing real, effective SEO.
No one survives a zombie apocalypse alone. It takes a broad set of skills, and enough sets of eyes for a few shifts of night-watch every evening. You have probably already identified a handful of strong, trustworthy, resourceful people, and established a meeting place for when the plague arrives in town. If you try to buy cheap links, Google will find out and eat your brains — er, penalize your site. SEO needs those same friends for high-quality, earned links. If you try to buy cheap links, Google will find out and eat your brains — er, penalize your site. If your site links to, or is linked from, sites that Google deems “low quality” — or your site just hosts too many links — your Google grade will suffer. How do you get good, high-quality links?
Links and zombie survival buddies need to be strong, trustworthy, and selectively chosen.
When the zombie hoard arrives — and the express exodus begins — you won’t be the one trying to fuel up as they close in or abandoning an empty tank on a deserted highway, because you’re keeping that gas tank full. As with most things zombie apocalypse, you never know when you’ll need your ride or how far you’ll need to go, but it’s probably safe to say you’ll leave at dusk and have to drive through the night. Our man Evan knows almost all of the baristas at the three Starbucks’ between his house and our office. SEO Rule #5: Stay caffeinated, my friends. You never know when Matt Cutts will show up with an announcement that keeps you up all night.
In The Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks writes, “Remember; no matter how desperate the situation seems, time spent thinking clearly is never time wasted.” Wise words. Update your keyword strategy to include user intent so when it’s time to go, you can grab some highly-targeted inspiration and create useful content. Set your brand on high ground as a thought leader, and fortify that position with heavy-duty resources. Remember that zombie-survival and SEO are both marathons, and make sure you’re already thinking about who you want on your teams. And if you ever need to find a survivor colony, there will be one here at our office. We’re on the second floor of our building and there’s a Starbucks right across the street.