Three secrets of SEO for Broadway Producers. Part II.
As I blogged about yesterday, SEO may be one of the most important tools you can use to help make you money (appearing higher on the organic rankings should get you more clicks) AND simultaneously save you money (the higher you appear organically, the less you have to spend on Adwords, etc.).[A conspiracy theory side note – Goog benefits when businesses don’t appear at the top of rankings – because then those companies have to buy more advertising from Google itself. Seems a bit unfair, IMHO. All that Google has to do is change its algorithm and poof – more advertising dollars come their way. Are you listening, Congress?]
Since we can’t wait for legislation to deal with the above issue, we have to learn how to play within the Google search rules. How do you keep your show high on Google’s love list? Here are
three four secrets (which I call “The Three Rs” and one bonus) I’ve discovered as I’ve watched my show’s rankings rise and fall over the years.
The Three Rs of SEO for Broadway Producers
To be qualified as a quality website by the Google spiders (the electronic insects that crawl the web examining the strengths and weaknesses of websites), you’ve got to earn Google’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T. There are two ways to do that.
The first is simple, but requires some time. You’ve got to “age” your site. Google examines websites like a sommelier examines wine. The older the better. If you’ve been around for awhile, Google gives you credit. It’s like your local restaurant that has been “serving since 1957.” This is why I advise everyone who has even an idea for a show to get the domain name lickity split . . . and then to put up a starter site immediately thereafter. Even if the show is four years away! Those four years of Google knowing you are around will help (Need an example? Check out what I did for A Few Good Men. Simple but helpful.)
The second way to get respect is to have other websites link to you. This is an old school SEO trick, but from what I see, Google hasn’t changed this part of its algorithm and still rewards sites with lots of links. What they have gotten better about is figuring out fraudulent links. It used to be that you could hire a company overseas to plant links in message boards and in comment sections all over the web, and poof, your rankings rose. You could order up links by the 1000s. Google wised up, and actually started to penalize companies for this kind of link abuse. (I wish some of the link-spammers that still hit my site daily would realize they are doing more harm than good nowadays). So what can you do? Go back to link sharing the good old fashioned way. Produce good content that people want to link to organically, or ask for link shares from sites that are similar to yours (getting a link to your Broadway related site from a mattress salesman doesn’t mean as much as it does coming from another Broadway related site).
Just remember that the SEO world is like the mob. Respect can’t be bought. It has to be earned.
This one is pretty simple, but it’s something I have to remember constantly when composing content for any of my sites. If you want people to find you when they search for “Early Hungarian Cabinetmaking” then you better have a lot of content on the site that discusses “Early Hungarian Cabinetmaking.” Those terms better appear often on multiple pages of your website. Now, I know what you’re thinking . . . “I’ll just repeat those words over and over again in various places on my site and presto! Instant organic search traffic!” Google is on to that game too. It used to be you could toss terms on your home page . . sometimes hidden so the viewer couldn’t even see them . . . to trick the Google spiders into thinking you talked about whatever term it was more often than you did. Those days are long gone. And once again, you’ll get penalized if you try and fake out the spiders. Best approach is to just have real, true-to-life content that uses those words organically . . . and often (see below).
Producing a few pieces of content with relevant keywords isn’t enough to satisfy those spiders for very long. If you want real, honest, free organic traffic, then you have to produce regular content. Google wants to see that this is a subject you care so much about that you write about it often. For example, I’m writing one article about SEO. Should I come up high in the rankings for SEO? Nope. But if I was blogging about it every single day? Well, I’d earn a shot at being considered, and I’d deserve it, don’t you think?
Now, it used to be that if you faithfully followed the above “3 Rs” you’d score some decent organic rankings for your site (as long as the competition wasn’t too great). But I just discovered another important “R” that I’m incorporating into my strategy as well. And this one seems to be one of the most important.
Here’s where the most “recent” shift in Google’s mysterious ways seems to have occurred. It used to be that an article or a page or a couple of pages about “Early Hungarian Cabinet Making” would score you good search results about that phrase. Now Google doesn’t seem to care as much about IF you wrote about the search term . . . they are starting to care more about WHEN you wrote about the search term. Yes, they want content from a respected site . . . but they also want to make sure that comment is the freshest content on the web. This is why it seems to me that more and more news sites are getting search traffic. The more recent the content, the more organically rewarded you are. And this is exactly how Google penalized us on The Awesome 80s Prom. Our pages on bachelorette parties were aged, linked to, and all that stuff . . . but they were written a couple years ago, and weren’t updated. Why not? They didn’t need to be. But the fascist Google spiders didn’t care. They dropped our rankings like a stone for not being “Recent.” The days of “set it and forget it” in website building are long gone. The more recent the content, the better. So make sure if you’re not generating new stuff on your subject, you’re freshening up your older content to make it seem new. (To use my “since 1957” restaurant analogy – they need to make sure they add new stuff to the menu every so often, right?)
So there you have it, my three secrets and one super important bonus for quality SEO for your Broadway show or Off Broadway show. . . or restaurant, product, etc. These secrets work for anything you’ve got online.
And if you re-read these tips (and I recommend you do, every time you’re building a site, or every 30 days of maintaining a site), you’ll see that my approach is very simple and not so secrety at all. As hallmark as they may sound, my strategy is like my approach to anything in life, actually. Do good work, and keep doing good work, for a good chunk of time, and you’ll see rewards before you know it.
And may your site be in the #1 ranking in no time!
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