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Harry Potter and the Top of Page One: An SEO Journey

By Snap Agency April 22, 2016

Chapter One: The Business Owner

The quest begins here. The decision-maker of a mid-sized business in a healthy market has decided to embark on an adventure to the top of page one. He knows that only through SEO can he complete the long and arduous battle, trouncing all competitors and defeating the darkest of the black hats. He’ll have some assistance along the way from his trusted SEO agency, and maybe a few well-selected partners, but ultimately the route to success lies within his heart and his business model. Let’s meet the key players.

Chapter Two: The Mysterious Equation

No matter the industry or the level of competition, every player is vying for the same thing. A stamp of approval from Father Google’s mysterious algorithm to success.

The Google Algorithm

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Whether these businesses know it or not, they’re all being manipulated by this equation. Google insists on holding the route to victory close to its chest, all while only revealing the essential information businesses absolutely need to know.

This algorithm is complex and an enigma at best. While new and useful information gets released year after year, it can come in many forms in varying complexities.

Google’s algorithm is a well-oiled machine. It consists of general best practices or specific suggestions.

Trust the process.


While it’s unclear how they contribute to your end goal, these suggestions should be taken at their word. In short, don’t question their loyalty.

Chapter Three: The Heroes

So how do we defeat Black Hat SEOs, rise above spam and outrank all competitors? To accomplish this great feat, three heroes must be present and working together.

Long-form Content

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There’s no shortage of reasons why informational content must be present on our business owner’s website. His customers, and potential customers, need to know that he is the most knowledgeable business in his industry. This content Informs users of all the information they’ll ever need to know about the business, its history, and its core beliefs. This content is logical, honest and true. It doesn’t hide behind false promises and empty meaning.

Technical SEO

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Often the first friend of a good website design, Technical SEO is an essential component of the magical SEO dream team. It oftentimes means well, but when poorly informed, decisions made in the name of good site architecture (ahem, meta keywords) can backfire. Technical is married to content and gives backlinking the support it needs, even if it’s just a good laugh in the meta description. When it becomes a part of the Golden Trio of SEO strategy, big things change.

But there’s one hero we haven’t mentioned yet—the hero that can make all the difference.


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At first you may not be sure why it’s so successful, you just know it’s working.

Link Acquisition can be a moody and finicky process, but do it right and you’ll see results, fast. For this reason, it’s likely more powerful than it understands. It’s possible that backlinks have been prophesied to defeat Black Hats from the beginning of time, but the general public may never really know for sure. Regardless, backlinking, without a doubt, has the most followers. A link from one credible source can often have a snowball effect, and before you know it everyone is on the bandwagon.

Chapter Four: The Dark Side

Forces outside of the business’ control threaten success. If everyone played by the rules, he’d be top of the page every time. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the same guidelines.


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Spam is loyal to no one in particular but certainly no picnic to see in your analytics metrics. While it doesn’t necessarily hurt our business owner’s website, it certainly doesn’t make anything look or feel very good. These bots make reporting cloudy and often accompany depressingly high bounce rates. Filling your conversion metrics with false hope and leaving an empty hole in your reports.

Black Hat SEOs

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Of course, there are always Black Hat SEOs threatening to disturb the peace. They twist and bend the laws of the internet to conform to their own selfish needs. No matter how many seemingly successful defeats are attempted on behalf of the business owner, they always find their way back to page one in one form or another. Black Hat SEOs always have tricks up their sleeve, but their ultimate demise is inevitable when Google catches up with them again.

Chapter Five: The Final Battle

Powerful links alone might be able to scrape you out of a tough spot. Our business owner might witness his organic traffic soaring higher than ever before, but this is an illusion. Only when the heroes work together will true, long-term results be realized.

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Harmony and consistency from all three heroes is they key to defeating Black Hat tactics. They may break some rules along the way, perhaps a misunderstood sitemap or an ignored page speed improvement, but they always act with the best intentions. Each character they encounter along the way contributes, large or small, to the end result.

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The road may be long and rocky, but the page one results are worth it.