The 2013 NFL season is in full swing, which means two things for sports enthusiasts across the nation: (1) we finally have something to do on Sundays and (2) fantasy football is back.

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when conflicting fantasy lineups jeopardize fandom, friends find themselves pitted against each other week after week and our pride hinges on our ability to play armchair quarterback. Oh, what a time of year it is!

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While fantasy football seems to turn us all into walking encyclopedias of the thousands of players across the 32 NFL teams, the game can also teach us a few other things — like search engine optimization (SEO), for example.

Keywords and keyword density

In standard fantasy football leagues, the format for play each week goes a little something like this: QB, WR, WR, RB, RB, TE, FLEX, K, DEF. To even stand a chance against your opponent, you’re going to need to set up a team that can fill all of those slots, week after week. So what does this teach us about keywords and keyword density?

First, let’s compare players to keywords. Your high-scoring fantasy players are usually your quarterback and running backs — they tend to go quickly in the draft and you rely on them to bring in the big points. In essence, these are your primary keywords. You need them to make an impact because without them, you’re not going to stand a chance in the rankings. Keep in mind that these guys are in high demand, so take what you can get and make sure they’re worth the roster spot. If they start to fall from grace and underperform consistently (cough, Eli Manning), then it’s time to find a new focus.

Your other players are still relevant assets to your team, much like secondary keywords, because let’s face it, without their added efforts you still wouldn’t have a chance. It’s important to stock up on these utility players, as there’s no telling which ones will break out and which will fall flat when the year is half over. This brings us to an interesting comparison: your fantasy football roster versus keyword density.

If you pack your fantasy football roster with all wide receivers, expect trouble when something goes awry with your running backs. The same holds true for keywords. Diversity is key, and you should have a balanced attack and a backup plan in the event of any unexpected issues. Stuffing your bench with too many players of the same position is like stuffing your website and blog content with iterations of the same core keyword. Google is going to slam you for keyword stuffing like that 300 lb. lineman.

Linking and backlinks

Links and backlinks are some of the most important components to a balanced SEO strategy — much like trades are vital in fantasy football. With links to and from other reputable sites, Google is likely to reward your site with a better ranking. Think of it this way: if you cannot put together a trade to another fantasy football team in your league, you’ll be left high and dry when it comes to acquiring the players you need to boost your roster.

Although links and backlinks are important, it’s important to remember that the wrong links for the wrong sites can have SEO penalties attached to them. If you’re buying links or placing them through a two-bit referral service, you’re going to suffer because of it. It’s like colluding with another player before making a trade. If you’re being malicious with your trades in the world of fantasy football, someone is bound to find out, and when they do, don’t expect an invite when the league meets up again next year.

Content and authority

It’s Sunday morning and you’re still not sure if your star WR is playing in his game in a couple hours. His questionable status has been up in the air all week, and you haven’t been able to make heads or tails of the situation before game time. Where do you turn for a definitive decision?

Every fantasy football player has a go-to source for information, and in the world of SEO, being that credible source means garnering the attention of the masses. If thousands of people are tuning into you for content, consider yourself an authority and live up to that title. The more relevant content you can post, the more it’s going to boost your search rankings and the more traffic you’ll attract when people come looking for answers.

It’s not just a game

The next time you’re looking at your site and trying to understand why your keyword targeting campaign is a mess or your content isn’t bringing in the views like it should, approach it from a fantasy football perspective. Who knows, you may make a risky keyword pickup off of the wire that turns out to be your breakout player moving forward!

Kyle Danowski is a senior editor with ProPRcopy, a leading copywriting service that helps companies engage in effective content marketing strategies.