The Nintendo 64 Mario Kart Guide to SEO
It’s waaay too easy to waste away hours playing Mario Kart…amirite? Admit it—you’ve sat down with the kids, intending to race only one time and the next thing you know, an hour has gone by! This is especially true of Nintendo 64. Wii Mario Kart just isn’t the same. Sorry, I digress—sort of. Funnily enough, there are a number of similarities between SEO and the ever-fun game of Mario Kart.
How SEO & Mario Kart Are Similar
Believe it or not, there are some lessons that can be learned from N64 Mario Kart.
The same strategy won’t work for everyone.
Mario Kart: Toad is light and fast, Bowser is heavier and slower. There are different advantages of and strategies for each Mario Kart character, and while anyone can tell you the one you’re not using is the better one, there are always ways to win.
SEO: The same implementation plan is not going to work for every single client. An HVAC company needs different types of content and SEO work than a high-end custom home builder. Informational blog posts, a gallery of high-quality photos, and offsite work on social media sites like Houzz and Pinterest are examples of things you would do for the latter, while for the HVAC company, you’d want to focus on “salesy” content, eye-catching homepage buttons, and the right specials/coupons.
Higher capacity makes a significant difference.
Mario Kart: The star is probably one of the best items to get when you’re racing. It gives you a huge advantage. You’re able to cover more ground extremely quickly, giving you an edge over the other racers (and let’s be honest, blowing up those d*** snowmen in Frappe Snowland was so fun).
SEO: Investing in more SEO also gives you a huge advantage over your competitors. With a bigger budget, you have more opportunities to do the basics—like add more specific services pages to your website and crank out more blog posts—and then some (use Houzz, promote your company on Facebook, work on local SEO, and do other things to help you gain exposure to your target audience). By spending more on SEO, you can see more website traffic and more qualified leads more quickly!
Dishonesty won’t get you far in the long run.
Mario Kart: Come on, admit it, you’ve tried to cheat—using the ramp to jump through the waterfall and get ahead using the shortcut through the cave in Koopa Troopa Beach. Trying to use the shortcuts leaves a bigger chance for failure. It’s all too easy to fall short on that jump or mess up another way, and that puts you farther behind the other racers.
SEO: The same can be said of SEO. Black hat SEO may get you ahead of some of your competitors for a little while, but ultimately, Google will penalize you—don’t think it won’t! Partaking in unethical SEO practices (spammy link building, content spinning, and the like) will catch up with you in the end and put you behind your competitors. Plus, just like in Mario Kart, it’s not as rewarding when you “win” if you’re cheating.
Giving up isn’t a good option.
Mario Kart: It’s the most annoying thing when another player shrinks you with their lightning bolt and then runs you over, or when you get sidetracked in another way. It might put you pretty far behind, which can make winning seem all but impossible, but giving up won’t get you anywhere. You have a better chance of winning if you keep going even when you’re behind.
SEO: It’s tempting to give up when you first start SEO services and don’t see the results you were expecting in month two. You have to keep in mind that SEO isn’t immediate the way PPC is, but if you just give it a little time and keep with it, you’ll reap the benefits! Maybe you’ve been paying for SEO services and you’ve received the dreaded Google penalty. Knowing that your pages have been de-indexed and that you’ve lost your rankings can feel hopeless. But there are ways to “get back in the game.” Submit a reconsideration request. Hire another (better) SEO company. Stop building bad links. Even though the penalty will put you “behind,” it doesn’t mean you’re out for good. It’s just an obstacle to overcome!
Mixing it up can help.
Mario Kart: Racing in just one course won’t make you better—you’ll improve more quickly by mastering the quick fast pace and sharp turns of Bowser’s Castle and weaving through traffic on Toad’s Turnpike (probably everyone’s least favorite race course).
SEO: Whether building links or writing content, a variety is always better. You want a diverse link portfolio (100 links from one website—especially a low-quality one—is likely to be flagged). You also want different types of content—not just basic services pages. In addition to top-level landing pages (“furnaces,” “air conditioners,” etc.), you can rank better by writing things that target more specific, long-tail keywords:
- Geo-targeted pages (“air conditioner replacement in Bethesda, MD”)
- Blog posts (“importance of air conditioner maintenance”)
- FAQ pages (“why is my air conditioner blowing hot air”)
Some things are just out of your control.
Mario Kart: In the game, there are things that are simply beyond your control. Sometimes you’ll get hit by the blue spiny shell. Sometimes you’ll get hindered by other player’s items (shells, lightning bolts, etc.) and the game’s obstacles (that annoying train in Kalimari Desert, anyone?). You have to accept that you can’t control everything—you just have to keep going if you want to win.
SEO: For content marketers, sometimes a competitor will steal away one of your clients, and the best thing you can do is watch them crash and burn. It’s disappointing knowing you could have maybe gotten them better results, but there’s nothing you can do but keep going and help another company. For companies using SEO services, sometimes your competitors will rank ahead of you (especially if they’re investing more heavily in SEO). The best you can do is increase your own budget and keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll see results eventually—it just takes some patience and acceptance that which pages the search engines rank is beyond your control.
See? Mario Kart and SEO are more similar than you may have thought! Not so crazy, right? I have written about the similarities between Game of Thrones and SEO, after all.
Anyway, even if you aren’t that impressed by the “SEO lessons” from N64 Mario Kart, taking into consideration the above points can improve your SEO game. And the Blue Corona team can help you win—we’ve helped other companies like yours and want to help you too!
About The Author: Alanna is the Quality Assurance Manager in Blue Corona's Maryland office. When she's not triple-checking websites and content for errors and consistency, you can find her at the gym with her twin sister or urban exploring with her husband.
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