May the Fourth be with you! In honor of Star Wars Day (May 4th), we’re taking a look at marketing lessons learned from this intergalactic series.
From 1977 to 2017 and beyond, the Star Wars series observed immense success, explicitly portrayed with The Last Jedi, raking in more than $900 million worldwide. Since Disney bought the series from Lucas Films in 2012 for $4 billion, the media empire has released two films, making back much more than their expenses in ticket sales alone.
Because of the fandom found within the DMS offices, we’re known to discuss metaphors between Star Wars and marketing. This week, we focused on SEO.
White Hat SEO is the Light Side
What is White Hat SEO?
White Hat SEO is the practice of tactics that align with search engine terms of service, allowing for appropriate page rankings for relevant content.
If brands create relevant, interesting content for their audiences, engagement metrics should naturally be higher. Consumers get the information they need and brands reap the rewards of traffic growth.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is the White Hat SEO of the galaxy. He is a mentor to Luke Skywalker and a master and friend to Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan Kenobi is an honest Jedi, abiding by the Light Side of the Force.
Just as White Hat SEO “follows the rules,” the Light Side of the Force does the same as the Jedis align with the rules of humanity and positive emotions like honesty, compassion and mercy.
What are White Hat SEO Tactics?
- Keyword Research: Keyword research is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of keyword stuffing (which we’ll get to in just a few minutes), keyword research involves choosing a variety of relevant keywords to target throughout a page. This way, search engines can detect the topic of your content. There are various online tools, like Moz, that help define keyword variations.
- Internal Linking: This tactic involves linking from relevant content within your site to other relevant content also within your site. For example, your blog posts, infographics and podcasts can all link back to your case study. This is another way Google can understand the topic of your content, hopefully boosting rankings.
- Structured Data: Structured data often appears as the extra information that populates next to a website and meta description in a search results page. This form of structured data is called a rich snippet. It might include the business hours, address or any other relevant data. Structured data is organized within the HTML of each page to be easily identified by the search engine.
- Link Building: This tactic involves earning links from high quality sites, which helps to build domain authority. There are many ways to earn links. Disseminating content (with links!) on social media is one method. Success can come if a blogger chooses to share that content.
Black Hat SEO is the Dark Side
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO is a practice that goes against search engine terms of service in an effort to increase rankings. Ultimately, Black Hat SEO tactics can result in a page (or entire site) being banned from relevant search engine results and related sites.
The Darkside of the Force or the Dark Jedi are the Black Hat SEO of the Star Wars universe. As Jedi Master Obba says in Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil, “A Dark Jedi, on the other hand, has much smaller ambitions. He — or she — thinks only of himself. He acts alone. The ultimate goal is not galactic conquest but personal wealth and importance.”
Black Hat SEO and the Dark Jedi are interchangeable in this quote, as Black Hat SEO serves only to boost one site’s ranking interest rather than help the search engine deliver the most relevant results.
In Star Wars, the Emperor’s corruption convinces Anakin Skywalker to transform into Darth Vader, an original antagonist of the series, leaving behind his wife and son for the Dark Side.
Like Darth Vader was originally an honest Jedi, Black Hat SEO might seem like it will help your brand. But Darth Vader ultimately caused more harm than good, just like Black Hat SEO will do to your rankings.
What are Black Hat SEO Tactics?
- Cloaking: Cloaking gives search engines one page and users another, essentially throwing a blanket or cloak over the genuine content. The technique can work in the short term because it makes search engines believe the content is relevant. But the bounce rate due to irrelevant content will ultimately show the cloak for what it is.
- Doorway Pages: Doorway pages are created to rank for a specific keyword in an effort to send visitors to a different page. Because multiple doorway pages can exist for the same content, taking up valuable real estate on the search engine results page (SERP), Google revised their algorithm in 2015 in an attempt to avoid ranking doorway pages.
- Keyword Stuffing: This technique involves using keywords repetitively and unnaturally, so keywords feel forced. Focused on achieving keyword relevance over consumer value, stuffed content can be difficult to digest. The Google Panda algorithm update addressed this tactic.
- Scraping: This involves taking content from one site and putting it on another to attract web traffic to the recycled content. The profit comes in when visitors click on the Google AdSense ad within the page with stolen content.
Take it from Yoda: “Patience you must have, my young padawan.” White Hat SEO marketing may take more time, but devoting effort to and having patience with your content will bring better, more targeted results.
From Obi-Wan Kenobi to Darth Vader, marketers can learn relevant SEO lessons from a galaxy far, far away.