Success is all about fundamentals and preparation.
This spring (and every spring), each NFL team will dedicate hundreds and hundreds of hours to the pursuit of the perfect draft. Further, opinionators, columnists, and experts will dedicate hundreds and hundreds of webpages to the pursuit of the perfect mock draft.
The NFL has grown to become a black hole of media coverage. In the constant fight for attention, the perfect mock draft is judged more by page views than accuracy. This is because cottage industries have sprung up just tangential of the football games themselves. Websites dedicated to mock drafts, player contracts, controversies (both real and manufactured), and fantasy football leagues, all garner millions of visitors a year. Talking about how we talk about football is one of the most profitable businesses in America.
While I’ll keep my thoughts on these topics to myself for now, the mechanics of football adjacent industries continue to intrigue me.
These are very competitive fields. They exist entirely online, so breaking into them requires a well-built strategy. If you want a piece of the fantasy football or mock draft pie, you can’t simply throw up a website (or webpage) and expect to be king of the hill.
Fortunately, this isn’t another article set to break down the positional needs of each NFL team. It’s not an article speculating about whether Jameis Winston is mature enough to become a success NFL quarterback. This is an article about how a comparatively unknown website is able to rank first for one of the most valuable keywords in football (over 100,000 monthly queries and rising) and how they’re set up to succeed next year.
We’re still months away from the 2015 NFL Draft (84 days from the time I’m writing this), and fans are bracing themselves to endure an onslaught of 2015 NFL mock draft speculation from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, and hundreds of other website in an attempt to know the unknowable. The seemingly countless possibilities of the draft present constant debate. In my mind, it’s much like the much maligned TV show Lost – the thing itself never lives up to the endless speculation.
Yet, despite constant mock draft iterations from some of the largest sports websites in the country, none of them rank first for one critical keyword: 2015 NFL Mock Draft.
That honor goes to http://walterfootball.com. What is Walter Football? A website dedicated to NFL mock drafts, player rankings, and home to one of the largest mock draft databases you’ll find anywhere. Basically, it’s a site that cares only about mock drafts.
This narrow focus means that it ranks significantly lower in traditional web metrics than other sites competing for the same traffic. But the fact that it has a lower domain authority, fewer backlinks, and less content doesn’t prevent it from dominating high value keywords.
So how does Walter Football do it?
Well it starts with some basic search engine optimization (SEO) fundamentals:
- Centralized page – Walterfootball.com/draft2015.php is the home of all 2015 mock draft content for the site. Any time a new mock draft is completed, this page is updated. All related links are unceremoniously pinned to the top of the page. Maybe not the best design, but it’s simple, direct, and it works. All inbound links can be confidently sent to this one page without fear of becoming outdated.
- Meta Data – It is evident that this page was created with SEO in mind. The target keyword is used throughout the page and reiterates the connection to the topic.
- Title: 2015 NFL Mock Draft – WalterFootball.com
- Description: NFL Draft: NFL Mock Drafts, Player Prospect Rankings, One of the Largest Mock Draft Databases on the Web, Power Rankings and Much More for the NFL and Other Sports.
- Keyword Density: 2015 NFL Mock Draft – 12 uses on page.
- Relevance – Possibly the most important bullet here, this page is relevant. If you’re a user seeking information about a 2015 mock draft, the odds are you’re going to find that here. This is a trusted source and a good tool. Those cannot be overstated.
Excuse the cliché, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are mock drafts. As I stated earlier, NFL tangential industries have radically increased over the past 10 years. The internet has given users unfettered access to scouting reports, player tapes, fantasy football statistics, contract details, and nearly unlimited information on any football niche that interests you.
As website vie for limited space on search engine result pages (SERPs), it becomes harder and harder to throw your hat in the ring. However, websites like Walterfootball.com can win keywords from much larger websites by developing a long-term game plan. That’s why, despite being 15 months away, Walter Football already has a page up for the 2016 NFL Mock Draft: http://walterfootball.com/draft2016.php.
Right now, only the most engaged (read: obsessed) fans of the NFL are thinking about the 2016 draft. I, myself, spend countless hours thinking and writing about the New Orleans Saints on the internet and I couldn’t care less about this page.
Okay, fine, you caught me. Since I was here, I did scroll down and see who the Saints would hypothetically pick next May and yes I would like to see cornerback Jalen Ramsey in a Saints uniform, but this is all beside the point.
The point is this page is already established as a resource for an event well over 400 days away. This Google Trends chart shows the nation’s attention is set to a trickle about a year ahead of time.
With larger sites like ESPN focused on a much broader focus (all sports), it doesn’t yet have the resources to look ahead to 2016. Walter Football breathes the NFL draft, that is its raison d’être. Leveraging this tight focus, Walter Football is able to step on the shoulders of giants and achieve SEO success.
So with others content to play the game in front of them, one site is gearing up for the next match. If history is any indication, http//www.walterfootball.com/ will continue to create the perfect mock draft.
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