Small Business SEO: A Winning Playbook Inspired by Football

You’re the Coach! Get Wins with Small Business SEO

Up your game with this post on Small Business SEO: A Winning Playbook Inspired by Football. American football, that is.

You’ll find SEO strategy, famous NFL player and coach quotes, and a quick read with ideas to implement right away.

And of course, if you need an expert on your team, please contact me. I love the game and all the opportunities that can bring a small business digital success!

Small business seo: a winning playbook inspired by football

I love football and am always really excited when Sunday rolls around so I can watch the NFL games. I don’t watch pre-season games, though. It doesn’t really count and I want to watch players who are 100% into the game and are working hard to win.

Imagine your small business as a pro football team, and your website as the playing field. Just like in football, success in the digital world requires practice, strategy, teamwork, a little luck, and a winning playbook (or a laminated page you hold in front of your face).

The Game Plan: Strategy Matters

In football, every game starts with a well-thought-out game plan. The same goes for Small Business SEO. You need to set clear goals, identify your target audience, and develop a strategy that will help you move down the field (or up in search engine results) effectively. The level of work you put into strategy and implementing it determines your overall success.

“If you do the bare minimum, expect bare minimum results. You want to be great, work to be great.” – J.J. Watt

Quarterback of Keywords

Think of keywords as your playbook’s individual plays. Just as a quarterback calls the right play at the right time, you must choose the right keywords to optimize your content for in the right location at the right time.

The 4-3 Defense (or Google’s Algorithm)

Search engine algorithms are like opposing defenses. They have their tactics, and you have yours. Your SEO strategy should adapt, just as the coach tweaks the game plan based on the defense they face, or the weather, or who’s currently in at QB.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Football is the ultimate team sport, and so is SEO. It takes a cohesive, hard-working team effort to succeed. Each player has his own skills and the coach puts him in certain positions to make the best of those skills. You’ve got your web designer, your content writer, your ad PPC guy, your social expert, and your analyst. It is rare to find one person who can handle all these strategic tasks, so a team is your best bet.

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” –Vince Lombardi

Offensive Line – On-Page SEO

Your website’s structure, meta tags, and content are like the offensive line protecting your quarterback (your website’s home page). Keep them strong, strategic, and relevant, and your site will make 1st down gains with ease. Research is required to determine the right strategy here. Don’t just throw a hail Mary and hope for the best. Research the keywords you want to rank for and make sure you can rank for them. The keyword should be relevant, have a high monthly search number, and a low competition number. It takes a little time and research in several places to do this correctly.

Pro tip: Use Answer the Public to see what questions people are asking about your particular business or subject, then do some keyword research using SEM Rush or Moz to find the right keywords for your content. Or, you can let me do it for you.

Wide Receivers – Content Marketing

Just as wide receivers create opportunities for touchdowns, quality content engages your audience and drives traffic to your website or landing page. Make sure your content is fresh, valuable and helpful. Again, keywords matter here so do the work. Content is not limited to text; video, graphics, and audio are all used and are distributed via blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, and podcasts.

Pro tip: Short videos, 10 seconds to 2 minutes max, are good for people’s short attention spans. No judgment here, it’s just how it is. People are busy and you have to capture their attention if you want to be seen.

Special Teams – Link Building

Special teams in football can change the game’s momentum. Can you say “kickoff return to the end zone?” In SEO, quality backlinks from reputable (high domain authority) and relevant websites can boost your website’s authority and visibility. There is some controversy about this these days, but relevant links will absolutely improve your local SEO game!

Pro tip: Links from .gov, .edu, and .org sites have higher domain authority juice than most .com sites.

Play-by-Play Analysis

During a football game, coaches review plays constantly to improve their team’s performance. In SEO, it’s crucial to analyze your strategies and results regularly. Use those Analytics Google has so thoughtfully provided for you!

Analytics – The Scoreboard

Just as you check the scoreboard during a game, tools like Google Analytics can be used to track your website’s performance. Monitor organic and paid traffic, conversions, and bounce rates to adjust your strategy as needed.

Avoiding Penalties – Black Hat SEO

In football, penalties can set your team back 5-15 yards. In SEO, “black hat” tactics like keyword stuffing and buying links can get your website penalized by search engines. That means you won’t get found no matter how good your keywords and content are. Stick to the rulebook, and you’ll avoid costly setbacks.

The End Zone Celebration – Ranking High

Finally, reaching the end zone in football is cause for celebration, just like ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPs)! It does take time, however, unless you post something that goes viral for some reason. When your website makes it to the top (or accomplishes what it was supposed to accomplish, like conversions), it’s time for your victory dance! But not too much. Stay humble. You don’t want to get penalized.

“Stay hungry, remain humble, and get better today.” – Pete Carroll

Pro tip: It will take a minimum of 6 months to 1 year for content to rank organically. Enter the mindset that you are in this for the long game and you will succeed.

Small Business SEO is really a lot like football. It requires a solid game plan, teamwork, constant analysis, and a commitment to playing by the rules. So, get out there, huddle up with your SEO team, which I would be happy to be a part of, and use this playbook to make sure your small business scores big in the digital game!

As noted above, success in SEO doesn’t happen overnight. But with the right strategy and consistent effort, you’ll find your small business moving the chains down the field towards the end zone, and ultimately achieving SEO victory that brings you more sales or clients.

If you need help with your SEO strategy, please contact me. I love the game and all the opportunities that can bring a small business digital success!

“Do you want to know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary

I still remember those intense, intimidating Mike Singletary eyes glaring through the facemask. How about you?

Happy Sunday, happy football!


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