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If you listen to many social media experts, you might walk away with the conclusion that it’s close to impossible to land on the front page of Google Search results, and that the best you can hope for is getting a front-page listing for very specific (but obscure) long tail keywords. But that doesn’t have to be the case – in fact, it’s still possible to show up on the front page of Google Search for a fairly generic keyword combination like “social media and sports” or “sports and social media.” I’ll document this by showcasing a recent SMHQ post (“How Social Media’s Impact on Sports Will Continue to Grow”) that’s now on the front page of Google Search for anyone looking for more information about the impact of social media on the world of sports.
1 – Choose a topic that nobody else is covering in depth
While both “sports” and “social media” are very generic keywords, the combination of them both turned out to be golden (at least, from Google’s perspective). That’s because a majority of social media posts focus on “advertising” or “marketing” or some related field. By way of comparison, there’s not a lot of people writing about and documenting the impact of social media and sports. And, yet, sports is one of those fields where social media is fundamentally changing the rules of the game.
The SMHQ post, for example, showcased the impact of personal brands on fan loyalty, analyzed the role of athletes as influencers and examined digital marketing innovation as an area where social media is having the greatest impact. Bottom line here – you don’t need to choose an obscure long tail keyword to succeed here, you just need to think of a popular topic that nobody is covering in-depth right now.
2 – Don’t ignore the value of evergreen content
These days, social media is full of “hot takes” and 24-hour viral sensations. But there is still a real need for “evergreen content” that has a long shelf life. To get big on Google, try to think of big picture blog posts that will continue to get views, clicks and links for years to come. Over time, this will help to boost all the factors – such as backlinks and domain authority – that the Google Search algorithm takes into account when ranking posts.
In the case of the SMHQ post, just take a look at the title – it’s clearly designed to appeal to the curious social media reader in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, well, you get the idea. You could easily consume this piece of content almost anytime in the future, and it would still be relevant. That constant stream of traffic and clicks is going to do wonders for all of your metrics for years to come.
3 – Don’t try to game the system
This might sound counter-intuitive, since most “how to appear on the front page of Google Search results” articles often indulge in a bit of insider SEO advice about how to game the system. However, in the case of the SMHQ article, there was absolutely no intent to “trick” the Google search engine or (more importantly) the reader. The title of the article is matter-of-fact, explaining exactly what to expect, without over-promising too much. Moreover, check out the first paragraph of the article – the word “sports” is mentioned a whopping total of two times, so this was not some sort of keyword-stuffing exercise. In fact, the article sub-headings did not mention the word “sports” even once.
4 – Leverage your passion, knowledge or expertise to engage readers
The more that you know about a particular topic, the more likely that you will be able to write clear, compelling content without relying on a lot of external sources. Google loves fresh, original content, and not just a regurgitation of the same examples, ideas or concepts from somewhere else on the web. For example, while a lot of social media commentators have weighed in on polarizing sports figures like LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick or Baker Mayfield (all referenced in the SMHQ article), the real value-added here was showcasing them as examples of important trends in the worlds of both social media AND sports. So pick a topic where you can use your own IRL “domain authority” to come up with fresh, engaging content.
Admittedly, it’s hard to predict which piece of social media content will be picked up by the Google Search algorithm, and even harder to predict which piece of content will go viral on social media. Alas, there are no ironclad rules that always work. But by following these basic guidelines, you can dramatically improve the odds of your next article or blog post appearing on the front page of Google.