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22nd October 2010 |  Written by Justin Butcher

5 Things SEOs Can Learn From Star Wars

Like many people of a certain age, I’m a massive Star Wars fan. That much of a fan in fact that I even tend to live my life according to the valuable lessons learned from the original Star Wars trilogy. Star Wars teaches us things which can be applied in every area of life and the same principals can be applied to your SEO work. To show you what I mean I have compiled 5 lessons that SEOs can learn from Star Wars:

Black hats can be defeated

Black Hat SEO

Let’s face it, he may be bad but Darth Vader is very cool. A little bit of us sometimes wants to be as bad as Darth. In the same way, you sometimes come across some black hat SEO techniques which are really, really clever and just ocasionally you can be tempted to be bad too.

However, we are dealing with people’s livelihoods here. Black hat SEO techniques or any techniques which break Google’s terms and conditions can work very well in the short term. However, they can also get your site penalised by search engines. Non black hat SEO may occasionally take longer to work, but you can get the same results as the black hats minus the risks – you just have to keep plugging away. After all, it took them 3 whole films to defeat Darth but they got there in the end.

Use Jedi mind tricks to get links

Once the on-site optimisation of your website has been completed, the next stage in terms of SEO is to build as many high quality links from other websites back to your site as you can. This is a tricky process and usually requires a lot of hard graft and a lot of emails and phone calls. When making link requests, especially if it is a high quality link, you have to remember that the recipient of your email or phone call asking for a link to your site has received a million and one such requests before. If you don’t think carefully about how you are going to go about getting each link, 99% of the time your link request will be ignored.

The Jedi mind trick you have to pull off is to convince the recipient that YOU are doing THEM a favour by letting them know about your site. This is often easier said than done but the ‘what’s in it for me?’ factor is extremely important in link building. Think about the unique selling points of your business and try and get inside the head of the person receiving your request, just like Obi Wan does above. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself: “would I give the link if it was me?”

Learn from the masters

SEO masters

There are hundreds and hundreds of SEO blogs out there written by people claiming to be experts, and a worryingly large percentage of these are not only badly written but also spout complete drivel. There are however a few real life SEO Yodas about. If like me you are still learning the SEO trade, take some time to sort the wheat from the chaff and find the blogs which give intelligent, insightful advice and can back up what they are saying with actual evidence. Some of our favourites (apart from this one of course):

SEO Book
Hobo
SEOptimise
Ross Hudgens
Sebastian’s Pamphlets

Communicate better than Chewbacca

Chewie is a tenacious character and loyal to the death but his communication skills are frankly extremely poor. Despite all his good qualities he would make a terrible SEO, bless him. Good communication skills are essential for SEO, especially when it comes to link building. Poorly written link requests will end up in ‘deleted items’ and poor telephone manner like Chewbacca’s will also go down very badly. If you want to acquire more links, your communication skills must be up to scratch.

Use the force but don’t turn to the dark side

Be a force for good on the internet, don’t turn to the dark side and produce spammy, keyword stuffed content. This will help you for two reasons. Firstly, people are more likely to link to content that is well written and informative. Secondly, your site is less likely to convert to sales if it is full of spammy content.

When asked if the dark side of the force is stronger, Yoda tells us: ”No, No, No. Quicker, easier, more seductive.” It is far easier to write bad SEO copy than content which useful and informative to your users while still being SEO friendly. However, it does pay off to write stuff which is aimed at your users rather than Googlebot. In the long run it will not only help you get more links but also get more people buying your products or services.

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