Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France Win – and what it means for SEO
Summer 2012 is shaping up to be an exciting time for British sport. The London Olympics are tantalisingly close, and let’s not forget Andy Murray’s emotional Wimbledon final – leading him to become the first Briton to reach the men’s singles finals in 74 years. This weekend also saw the conclusion of the 2012 Tour de France, with Bradley Wiggins winning the highly coveted yellow jersey – the first ever Briton to do so in the tournament’s 99 year history.
But what does this record-breaking sporting trivia have to do with SEO? More than you might think! After Wiggins’ Tour de France triumph, the BBC published the article “Bradley Wiggins: 10 Reasons for his Tour de France Win”, which breaks down the factors that contributed to his victory. After reading this, we were astonished at how these same elements could be applied to the nature of SEO.
They say that no man is an island, and Team Sky is no exception. Everyone involved worked together to create the best team – the riders, the trainers, the scientists, the designers, the investors, the guys fetching the drinks…the list goes on. The same goes for SEO. For a truly successful marketing strategy, all departments of an organisation need to work together towards the unique business goal. Online, marketing, design, finance, front of house and even the runners need to be aware of what everyone else is up to in order to create a well-rounded, knowledgeable synergy – with everyone on the same page.
By delving into the stats, Team Sky’s sport scientist identified the three challenges British cyclists struggled most with. Armed with this knowledge, the team trained hard in those three conditions to overcome their battles. This is a beautiful analogy for the way we do SEO at Red or Blue. We start by identifying the main problems a site is facing, and preparing a strategy to tackle these efficiently, focusing our efforts on what really needs to get done.
2010 was a big year for Team Sky – the year they were aiming to get their first British Tour de France winner. Having finishing in fourth place in 2009, and the millions of pounds that were being pumped into team, Bradley Wiggins was a favourite to win. Unfortunately he flopped, unable to cope with the immense pressure to win. But during the two years since then, Wiggins was trained to focus on the process rather than the outcome. This psychology is congruent with the idea that SEO is a systematic process, and each component of a website should be handled with care. Yes, rankings are important and should be kept in mind, but the steps to get there are what you should be thinking about.
4. The route
Unlike previous years, the 2012 Tour de France route included lengthy time trials – Wiggins’ speciality since childhood – and an extremely important contributing factor to his win. SEO should help reinforce what you’re best at. Strengths should never be wasted, and always used to your advantage. If you’re doing something better than your competitors, then make sure Google knows about it.
BskyB came up with some serious cash to fund their cycling team, enabling them to buy out their main man Wiggins out of his previous contract. Like with most things in life, you have to spend money to make money. You don’t have to spend millions on your SEO, but a little investment gives you access to the best people and the best tools for the job.
6. Chris Froome
Some might argue that Chris Froome should have won the Tour de France this year but one thing’s for sure – Team Sky were lucky to have him on the team. This goes back to point 1 – working together for the good of the team. SEO should encompass various departments, with everyone supporting each other, with the shared business goal in mind.
7. Leading from the front
Although leading too early can sometimes be a disadvantage, in this case, Team Sky routinely set the pace. In the SEO world, if you want to achieve great rankings for the right keywords, it’s important to stay ahead of the game and always keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. When you do get to where you want to be, don’t take your eye off the prize. SEO is an on-going process and shouldn’t be neglected just because you’ve reached your goal.
8. A cleaner sport
This is our favourite analogy of the lot, we, as an agency, are passionate about being transparent and open about what exactly you’re paying us to do. Like road cycling, SEO is (perhaps unfairly) plagued with a dodgy reputation, with many SEOs being pretty secretive about how they’re getting such good rankings. Now, we’re not necessarily talking about SEO geeks taking drugs to enhance performance (although we’re not ruling it out!), but there are plenty of “black hat” SEO antics going on out there. Like doping, black hat SEO refers to cutting corners to get better results, faster, which the authorities (in this case, Google) would disapprove of. If and when these sites are caught out, penalties such as Panda or Penguin can be crippling.
9. Marginal gains
It’s important to remember that good SEO is all about small, incremental changes. Team Sky had their own special yellow jersey made for the leader, which might seem insignificant, but may have contributed to the win – who knows? What we do know is that small changes can – and do – make big differences later. The British Tour de France win was aimed to happen in 2010, so don’t get disheartened if you don’t see instant results. As long as you’re working towards smaller, more manageable goals and dealing with the challenges along the way, you’ll get there in the end.
10. Strong legs
At the end of the day, if Bradley Wiggins weren’t a world-class athlete, with the drive and determination he possesses, he wouldn’t have won the Tour de France. With any successful site, there has to be some potential or something sustainable to work with, be it an awesome product, a loyal following, brilliant creativity or just enthusiasm.