In the spirit of football season and the coming Super Bowl here in Indianapolis (woot woot!), we started a company-wide "fantasy SEO league" at PolicyStat. It’s like fantasy football, except this game is based on how well your team’s keyword does in the search engines – not how well your player performs on the field. Instead of keeping track of yards, we track how many website hits/leads each team’s chosen keyword generates for the website. We thought it would be a fun game to get all employees involved in SEO (search engine optimization), whether they choose to participate a lot or a little.
Goals of the game:
- Improve rankings for our company’s newly targeted keywords.
- Increase our website’s domain authority.
- Help people understand the SEO/backlink process and why it’s a company-wide mission.
- Create a fun – not forceful – game that also helps the company.
Incentives to play:
- A $5 Starbucks gift card for each successful backlink acquired, which will in turn help your team’s keyword performance
- A traveling trophy with the winning team’s name engraved
Ready to start a league at your company? Here’s how!
- Choose the keywords you want to use in the game. These will be the keywords which are already on-page optimized on your website. On-page optimization is a pre-requisite to the game, because you can’t rank for keywords if Google doesn’t know which keywords you are targeting.
- Start tracking your keyword rankings in AuthorityLabs. This is optional for the game – rankings don’t matter for scoring, but it’s a good way to gauge why you are or are not getting many clicks with certain keywords.
- Set up a custom report to track keyword clicks and goals in Google Analytics. You’ll want click on "New Custom Report" in the "Custom Reporting" tab. Use "Unique Visitors" as the metric and "Keyword" and/or your goal completion as the dimension(s). Add the necessary filters, then "Add to Dashboard" so you can easily see the report each time you log in. This will make it easy to count number of visitors coming in on each keyword.
- Create weekly match-ups using the round-robin system. First assign each team (we did teams of two) a number and then use algorithm to build a schedule for as many weeks as you’d like to play.
- Lay out the rules to your employees and get started!
I’ve posted the complete set of rules so feel free to link to them. You might have modifications yourself, as these "rules" contain lots of explanations for non-SEO people. It would be exciting to try this with an actual SEO company and see what participation it brings for people who have even more motivation.
A few fun modifications to consider:
- Try different incentives and prizes – let weekly winners wear their favorite jerseys on Monday. Make the big prize a Snuggie with their logo of choice (I was told by a man that this was not a real incentive because "men are always hot.") Make the boss get a tattoo for reaching a certain goal. Be creative!
- Give higher incentives for do-follow links – we didn’t introduce the idea to people because they were just learning what anchor text was, and there are only be a few people in the company who would even use blog commenting as a tactic.
- Reward people for social media participation – this one’s tricky and we didn’t come up with a way to measure it just yet. But in the first week of the draft, one of our employees had our website tweeted out by a friend with 28,000+ followers. That should count for something, right?
- Hold the competition every "season" – We’re planning on doing this ourselves. Ideally, employees will have a better understanding of how backlinks help their keyword’s performance, which makes the game better and more fun to play each season. You can also use this opportunity to target new keywords should they change.
Good luck to everyone who plans on trying this, and do comment on this post to let me know how/if it works out for you and any modifications you tried. Please link back to this post if you like it… after all, that is the goal of our game. Also, I would get lots of free coffee ;)
Lastly, being a Ball State grad writing a sports-centric post, I feel obligated to conclude with "AND BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!"