The SEO landscape is too heavy set with competition. There’s just too few important search engine slots for everyone to compete for– 10 on the first page to be exact. People have been doing optimization work since the time immemorial. This means there is far less keyword real estate for us to play with, especially for newer people in the business.
There are a few ways, however, that you can do to bridge the gap between fighting it out with the ones that came before and carving a path for your business. Here’s how you make do:
Make Your Own Niche and Stand Out
Creating your own niche market should always be a target even above and beyond SEO. Your product will always have somebody who needs it; it’s just a matter of positioning yourself properly for it. Distinguishing what makes your business different – what makes you better than everyone else. This is called Unique Selling Proposition or USP.
Once you find your niche, keep pounding on it and never stop. Even if your niche is smaller but you dominate that specific audience, you get a stronger base with more loyal following and consistent clients.
Go Local with Your SEO
We’ve been proponents of local SEO since we have started. We reiterate each time that SERPs love business localisation and if anything, you should be doing your best to rank locally. There’s many benefits to going local that we go through every time.
For one, the shift to local optimization is needed because you need to find ways to compete with the big guns when it comes to keywords, and whilst all the bigger sites can push you around on a global or national level search results, working with keywords with a local flavour targeted on a locale helps you rank in areas faster, rather than all at once with a singular prime keyword.
In addition, it’s well documented that Google loves its local businesses and SEO related to them due to its Local 3-Pack, Google My Business and location-services based searches taking priority in its pages.
Play for the Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywording has always been a supplementary job for any search engine optimization expert. The point of playing for long-tails is to rank for these low tier, low competition phrases whilst you try to (slowly) fight for those premium keywords.
Primary keywords, typically called head keywords, are words that make up one to three words and have high competition. Whilst it sounds defeatist to say that you have to settle for more long-tails, this is the bitter truth: if you want a faster return on your campaign, getting to use lower tier long-tails is much better than being on rank 2000 of a high competition keyword.
Pick off many long-tail keywords with a search volume in them by using tools like Moz Keyword Explorer or SemRush and thrive to go for a stronger rank with them. You will eventually get a strong enough set that can compensate for the search volume of primary keywords. It’s more work but it’s a more definite approach.
Settle For Less Than Number One
The strategy of going number one on all search engines requires you to have unbelievably great copy with a good, deep pocket. This is nice for businesses in the Fortune 500 or multinational businesses that can spend as much as they can for manpower and infrastructure. Small businesses though? That’s an issue.
This is the reason settling for around 2nd to 5th place as your target position for each keyword is not a bad place to be in, especially if your page is extremely helpful. Shift targets to gradually inch your way towards the front page. Strive for top 100 at first, then go 50, 25 and eventually top 5.
Focus on Other Aspects of Your Campaign
The focus on SERPs has blurred a bit more the past 5 years or so with the advent of social media. Whilst some businesses may tank in the SEO battle, it’s only one part of the fight. Things like strong social media presence, customer engagement, content marketing and the like can compensate for your lack of SEO prowess.
Depending on where you are and the target audience that you have, it may be wiser to focus on these secondary visibility options rather than fight for the front page of Google. Social media and content marketing, with the right cues, can build you a strong user base with a loyal following.