The Royal Family is a lot like SEO in 2020.
Sounds crazy, right?
You might not realise it yet, but they share more similarities than you think.
Now is the perfect time to get royally schooled on Search Engine Optimisation, with a little regal history thrown in too.
Let’s put on our SEO crowns, hail a horse drawn carriage and get straight into the 5 ways that the Royal Family and SEO in 2020 are actually the same.
#1. They Both Do The Bulk Of Their Work Behind The Scenes
The Royal Family, just like SEO in 2020, does the bulk of their work behind the scenes.
While life as a royal may look like one long game of polo punctuated by chances to attend various sporting and cultural events around the world, there’s actually much more going on behind closed doors than you may realise.
Take Queen Elizabeth for example. Back in 2015 she carried out 341 ‘engagements’ throughout the year. These ‘engagements’ are a catch-all term for a wide variety of royal activities that included hosting various heads of state, taking diplomatic trips throughout the world, opening sessions of British Parliament and presenting citizens with awards, to name just a few of the varied responsibilities of Her Majesty.
Pretty impressive for a 92 year old!
Not that she’s alone in helping things run smoothly behind the scenes either.
She can’t be in two places at once, so the rest of the Royal Family pitches in and helps out by attending ‘engagements’ of their own on a regular basis.
When all the member of the Royal Family are combined they rack up some serious behind the scenes numbers.
Collectively, the Royal Family has around 2000 engagements every year, across which they entertain around 70,000 guests and answer 100,000 letters!
Who knew people still sent letters, let alone that staggering amount.
The role of the Royal Family working behind the scenes goes beyond kissing a few babies and shaking a few hands though. It extends to the military too. Queen Elizabeth herself served time in the military, having joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service as a mechanic and military truck driver during the Second World War (and in doing so becoming the only serving Head of State to have served during World War Two). This practice of service continued as the Royal Family served their country through all three of her sons – Prince Charles, Prince Edward and Prince Andrews, as well as Prince William and Prince Harry too
Doing its heavy lifting behind closed doors, Search Engine Optimisation in 2020 is no different, working out of the public eye to ensure things run smoothly.
Consider the following list of important technical SEO tweaks that are just part of the requirements to help a website rank on the first page of Google.
- Install Google Analytics to track and utilise website visitor data
- Add your website to Google Search Console
- Check your site page speed at Google PageSpeed Insights
- Ensure your CMS is equipped with SEO plugins
- Make your site responsive
- Check your broken links
- Validate your HTML and CSS
- Create and upload a sitemap.xml
- Create an upload a robots.txt file
- Run a comprehensive SEO check
- Find and fix 301 and 302 redirects
- Check your server
- Test your website load
- Install an SSL Certificate
- Claim your business url on all social networks and directories
That’s not even an exhaustive list, just a selection of some of the most important SEO steps required to give a website a technical chance of ranking on the first page of Google.
Pretty confronting list, right?
But despite garnering only a fraction of the attention that more common SEO tactics gain – tactics like keyword usage, backlinks and quality content – these lesser known but vital SEO strategies work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that things run as they should for people using search engines each day.
After all, if it wasn’t for the behind the scenes SEO work, there’d be no way for Google to know which websites are best placed to rank on its first page. SEO in 2020 also encompasses the process of getting websites optimised for mobile content, and with over 50% of current google searches occurring on mobile phones, it’s vital in establishing which websites are able to be viewed on mobile devices and which are not.
Imagine pulling out your smartphone to see if there’d been any updates on Meghan Markle’s wedding dress only to find the top results on the first page of Google won’t load, or don’t fit your mobile browser!
SEO works behind the scenes, much like the Queen’s butler, to make sure the process of searching for, and finding websites, is seamless.
Just like the Royal Family, SEO puts in the hard yards without the attention and praise, knowing that it serves a greater purpose, contributing to things running smoothly on a much wider scale, and ensuring search engine users have access to the most relevant and useful information and products the moment they desire them.
#2. They’re Both Social Animals
They may have ties stretching back literally hundreds of years, but the royals are firmly in the 21st century with social media profiles that capture and share the most noteworthy moments of their lives.
And while soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle was obligated to cleanse her personal social media profiles, as well as delete her successful lifestyle blog ‘The Tig’, in preparation for her upcoming wedding to Prince Harry, the Royal Family she is set to join remains vibrant and engaged across all forms of social media.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth herself has a Twitter account!
Well, in name at least.
The Royal Family account includes all the latest goings on from Buckingham Palace and the wider Royal Family in general, and even if it’s hard to imagine Her Majesty sitting down to Tweet her thoughts on the latest episode of MasterChef, the fact remains, social media and the Royal Family go hand in hand.
For those who want to dive deeper into the social lives of the British Monarchy, there’s even more chances to see how the royal half live with public accounts for Prince William, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Eugenie to name just a few.
To really sum up how social the Royal Family are in 2020, they even put out a recent advertisement seeking an official ‘social media manager’ to work on behalf of the Royal Family. This advertised for a position that listed various responsibilities including, “you’ll assist senior colleagues with both proactive and reactive communications” and “you’ll also play a role in producing content for a variety of platforms, from press announcements and media briefing notes, to social media updates and feature articles; you’ll develop your skills as you take on each new challenge.”
We’re not entirely sure what that jargon means on a day to day basis, but if it’s a chance to get inside Buckingham Palace then it’s worth applying for!
“Make sure you tag me! #theQueen”
While social media will never be the most important aspect of the Royal Family, it remains a powerful way to connect their lives with those of their subjects. Humanising the royals while ensuring they remain accessible and normal in constantly changing times is made possible through social media and the unique window it provides into their royal lives.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimisation in 2020, the similarities are once again obvious.
It’s worth noting at this point that social media is not currently an SEO ranking factor according to Google, with a 2014 video released by Google’s former head of webspam, Matt Cutts, explaining that Google cannot rely on social media as a reliable ranking signal as it is in too great a state of flux.
Google doesn’t take into account the number of social media shares or followers primarily because it would be too easy for someone to abuse this system and gain an undeserving ranking position as a result.
More than this, with social media engagement happening around the clock, it would be too difficult for Google to index and crawl social media metrics 24/7.
As a result, since 2014, Google has publicly denied that social media has any direct effect on rankings.
But, much like the Royal Family, social media plays an important role that’s not always acknowledged.
More than a way to share your latest thoughts or your opinion on Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and her wedding dress (I think we can all agree it was stunning), Search Engine Optimisation is a social animal at heart, and for SEO in 2020 that is truer than ever.
Here’s 3 broad ways social media and SEO go hand in hand.
- Social media helps to get context indexed
The best rule for content is to publish it on a regular basis. And the best type of content gets shared on a regular basis. If your blog posts, or social media output, gets a lot of attention across Facebook and Twitter, it will end up being crawled and indexed quicker. Search engines strive to provide the most relevant and accurate websites for search engine users. If your content is widely shared, it’s easy for Google’s crawlers to find and reflects the reliability of your website – both of which are great for SEO in 2020.
- Social media helps to build authority
Search engines use the authority of a website as a contributing factor in assigning it a position on search engine result pages. The authority of a website grows over time, with backlinks – the number of other websites that link back to your site, the main method of growing your authority. At least that was traditionally the case. With the rise of social media, there is the potential to have your content shared by huge audiences. With a huge and engaged social media following, your content has more places to be seen and shared, and the more shares you receive, the more backlinks you’ll get.
Consider this simple flow chart as to what you can expect with increased social media sharing.
- Social media involves real people
SEO in 2020 is a highly technical process, much like the changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace. And while the ranking algorithm and websites that work together are the brain of SEO, the heart of SEO is the human user. Google and it’s algorithms are constantly searching for ways to rank websites based on their ability to connect with user demands and provide real, tangible assistance when people are searching for information or products. If you want to rank in 2020, you have to connect with this user experience and go beyond the technical side of SEO. With social media an extension of real people, it’s only natural that the line between social media and SEO is becoming more and more blurred. When you connect with people on social media, you’re using the same skills that will allow you to connect with people across your website or blog, and with Google prioritising the human experience, that connection is SEO gold.
At the end of the day, social media will never be the most important aspect of SEO, just as it will never be the most important tool for the Royal Family.
But in both cases they play the part of a small cog working towards a greater goal.
For the Royal Family it’s ensuring a wider audience can gain a valuable insight into royal lives and feel connected even in a modern setting, and for SEO in 2020 it’s ensuring a wider audience has access to, and the ability to share, optimised content that’s designed to help a website rank on the first page of Google.
#3. They’re Both Looked Up To As Sources Of Trusted Information
When you think of the Royal Family, what comes to mind?
Is it the selfless charity work undertaken by Princess Diana? Or maybe Prince Harry following in his famous mother’s footsteps throughout Africa? No matter what way you look at it, the Royal Family have done their part to educate and inspire throughout the years. Though it may be a lesser known aspect of their royal role, the Royal Family supports 2,415 charities in Britain alone. To put that charitable contribution towards a dollar amount, recent figures suggest the Queen has helped raised $2.2 billion for the various charities to which she is a patron.
That’s an extremely impressive figure.
Sure, the Royal Family has had their fair share of scandals.
Like when Prince Harry was photographed at a costume party dressed inappropriately.
Or when Prince Harry was photographed naked in Las Vegas playing strip billiards.
Or when Prince Harry went to the South Pole and was busted telling filthy jokes and photographed drinking champagne from someone’s prosthetic leg.
– Thumbs up if you’ve been in the news –
Ok, let’s just say Prince Harry has had his fair share of moments in the headlines, but for the most part, the Royal Family are a trusted source of information with a rock solid reputation.
The same goes for SEO in 2020.
It’s been a bumpy ride over the years, with marketers looking to take advantage of the flaws within Google’s ever-changing ranking algorithm.
And sure, there are those who would happily proclaim the imminent death of Search Engine Optimisation – all of whom do so from websites and blogs that remain optimised to ensure their own SEO success, ironically.
You can Google ‘Is SEO dead’ and there’ll be more than a few articles and forums with which to focus your time and energy on.
But the truth is, just like the Royal Family, SEO was never dead, it’s just evolving.
There’s a general consensus that the latest generation of Royals have restored confidence in the Monarchy after a shaky period following the death of Princess Diana.
Now days, you can’t see a picture of Prince William and his adorable family without thinking positive thoughts, gazing into the distance, and wondering what it would take to be adopted into their family too.
SEO has undergone a similar makeover across the years.
Prior to 2012, a key indicator of a website’s ability to rank was to possess a large number of backlinks, with Google’s algorithm at the time considering this a metric of relevance. However, it became apparent that websites were amassing backlinks in massive numbers, many of which were spammy and irrelevant, but which still contributed to Google’s ranking algorithm at the time.
Google’s ‘Panda’ update, launched February 24th 2011; ‘Penguin’ update, launched April 24th 2012; and ‘Hummingbird’ update, launched August 22nd 2013, put a stop to previously common black hat SEO tactics by penalising keyword stuffing, low quality content, and spammy links.
From there SEO has never looked back.
While unscrupulous marketers will always try to find shortcuts and loopholes in Google’s quality control measures, SEO in 2020 is widely seen as a way to promote the most trusted and relevant content for search engine users to find and enjoy.
Think about it, if you wanted to buy Royal Wedding memorabilia, all you have to do is punch ‘Royal Wedding Memorabilia’ into Google and you can trust the first page of results to reflect the most highly rated and valued websites to facilitate your love of quirky Royal Wedding plates and T-shirts.
You’ll feel confident that your credit card details won’t be abused if you choose to shop at harpersbazaar.com.uk just as you can trust royalcollectionshop.co.uk to provide official merchandise that won’t fall apart the minute it’s in your hands.
SEO places the most valuable and useful websites in front of you when you need them, ensuring the information you’re after is accurate, relevant and fresh, and, just like the Royal Family, that’s exactly why it’s looked up to and trusted.
To place a figure on that trust, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. That’s an overwhelming majority.
The figures don’t lie, people turn to search engines because they trust the information they’ll have access to. And how does that information get there in the first place? That’s all because of SEO in 2020.
It’s been through a lot, but it’s overwhelmingly trusted when people want the best.
#4. They’re Both Here To Stay For The Long Run
There’s many things that fall into the category of ‘passing fad’. Mood Rings, Sea Monkeys and the song ‘Gangnam Style’ all come to mind.
The Royal Family does not fall into this category.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth, who was coronated on June 2nd, 1953 and has been ruling for 65 years, can trace her lineage back to King Alfred, who ruled 1140 years ago!
And while the sounds of Gangnam Style will no doubt still be haunting people a thousand years from now, it’s clear that the Royal Family is here to stay. With Prince Charles the first in line to the throne, Prince William the second in line to the throne and the outrageously cute Prince George in line at number three, there’s a succession plan in place that shows no sign of stopping.
In fact, with roughly 57 heirs to the British crown already mapped out, there’s no doubting that the Royal Family will be around well into the future.
“Guess who’s got 5 fingers and gets to be King one day?!”
The same goes for SEO in 2020.
While certain aspects of Search Engine Optimisation are in flux as technology changes, the fundamentals of SEO are so broad and represent the basic desires of all search engine users so perfectly, that SEO in some form is here to stay.
Google’s ranking algorithm is modelled on an academia-inspired model used to collect categorisations and citations. This algorithm uses keywords as a way to identify the topic of any given page, and uses links from other websites – known as backlinks, to determine the authority of a website.
While the methods of obtaining this information have become more nuanced over time, the basic principles have always remained the same.
It comes down to finding answers for four questions.
- Can the search engine find your content – this is known as ‘crawlability’.
- How will the search engine organise and prioritise your content – this is determined by your site structure.
- What is your content about? – this is determined by the keywords you use.
- How does the search engine know that your content provides relevant and useful information? – this is demonstrated through backlinks.
If your website is set up to make it easy for Google to answer these four questions, you’ll find success moving up through the search engine listing positions.
These are the fundamentals of SEO and as long as people use search engines to search for accurate and up-to-date information, they’ll remain the cornerstone of success for an online business.
Which means, just like the Royal Family, SEO will be around for a long time to come.
#5. They’re Both Constantly Growing And Changing
The Royal Family is always growing.
These days you can’t pick up a magazine without a sensational headline giving you all the juicy information on who’s pregnant, who’s not, and who’s flaunting their baby bump at the latest social event.
With the recent additions to Prince William’s family, and to recap that’s Prince George arriving in 2013, Princess Charlotte in 2015, and Prince Louis in 2018, the branches of the royal family tree continue to spread.
Here’s a snapshot of the Royal Family as it stands. It only takes one look at all those young faces and it’s pretty clear the Royal Family continues to grow and is in safe hands going forward.
SEO in 2020 is no different.
To put the growth of Search Engine Optimisation in perspective, the world’s first website was launched on August 6th, 1991.
Over the following years the fledgling internet exploded, with websites filling the new online space. Search engines grew out of the need to categorise and organise these masses of websites to ensure users found the most relevant and useful information that they were searching for.
With Google bursting onto the scene in 1997 the stage was set for SEO to take its place, albeit in a crude form compared to 2020 standards.
In these early days, it was possible to spam websites with excessive keywords and tagging, as well as worthless backlinks to manipulate the early ranking algorithms.
The ability of early marketers to leverage results through black-hat SEO tactics kick-started Google’s drive to streamline the process of searching for, and finding, information using search engines, and the rest is history!
To put the robust health of SEO in perspective, it is estimated that the SEO industry will be worth $72 billion in 2020.
That’s some investment.
To put this value into a real world example, 61% of marketers in a recent survey said improving SEO and growing their organic presence was their top inbound marketing priority. While 82% of those same marketers said that the effectiveness of SEO was on the rise.
Those figures make pretty clear that SEO in 2020 isn’t seen as some sort of internet black magic. On the contrary, it’s a vital and central part of any successful digital marketing strategy.
Search engine traffic is inherently sustainable and long-term as users continually, and increasingly, use search engines to define their quests for products and information.
And that only adds up to one concrete conclusion.
Just like the Royal Family, SEO is growing and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
But we can’t continue this SEO and Royal Family lesson any further.
We’ve only just touched on SEO in 2020 and how important it is for an online business.