Have you ever wondered exactly what needs to be done in order to get your website to appear on the first page of Google? As there’s an election coming up in America early next month, I thought it might be fun to demonstrate, using the principles of an election, more or less how getting your site to the top of Google is like becoming the president of the USA!

Getting the campaign ready
It is important to start your campaign off on the right foot. This is done by making sure your website is ready and optimized for the keywords you want to target. Just like before an election, you need to get your manifesto in order so that you know exactly what issues you’re going to tackle and how you’re going to approach the task.

Barack ObamaWinning Votes
Wining votes requires a lot of hard work. You need to know where to look and you also need to be aware of what will appeal to certain types of voters. Link building is exactly the same. There are lots of different types of links; some links will suit your website, others won’t. If you live in Arizona you can’t vote in Colorado. Politicians have to pitch for votes in Arizona differently to how they would in Colorado. Similarly, links to your site have to be relevant to the niche that your website is targeting.

What happens when politicians are caught buying votes?
When it comes to political campaigns and winning votes, candidates are expected to stick to the rules. This is similar to link building; you have to abide by the rules set by search engines in order to be indexed by them. Like the political arena there are many grey areas – some of which can be quite lucrative. If however you are caught there are penalties. Some are minor, while others can lead to your site being de-indexed from Google (just like getting kicked out of an election).

Getting votes in bad neighbourhoods
The type of company politicians choose to keep can also affect their career. If a politician is photographed coming out of a strip club in the early hours of the morning, this will undoubtedly damage their chances of being elected. This also applies to the sites you get back links from – porn sites and sites that spam containing links to your website can negatively affect your rankings.

How the end result comes about
Winning the elections is not as simple as who gets the most votes. You basically have to win the most states to win the presidential election. As the weight of each state is different, the process is complicated and the end result depends on many factors. It’s the same with Google. No two links hold the same weight and no two sites are the same. Google must take on all of this information and pull it through its algorithm to see who comes out on the first page and who comes out in the coveted top position.

Keeping yourself at the top
This is where both processes differ. The American elections are held once every four years. With Google the election is continuous; all day and all night this process is happening across the internet. You need to be constantly on the lookout for new links to make sure that your site remains on top – if you don’t it will begin to slide down. Google is also constantly changing its algorithm, and what works today may not work tomorrow. Those of us who work in SEO have to constantly work to make sure that your site gets to the top and stays there. We also have to make sure that the methods we use won’t get your site into trouble, not only today but in the future.