Even with the best SEO tools at our finger tips, our sites cannot perform well if we don’t optimize our sites to perform within specific online markets. We talk much about how SEO is a process, and it is, the steps are the same for every site, but what we focus on within the SEO process can be quite different. So which keywords are targeted, how much new content we need to write, and how many quality links we need to secure, etc. are dependent on a site’s competitive situation.
The process of SEO is much like driving a car as far as processes go. We all know we need to start the car, put it in gear, give it some gas, turn left, turn right, stop, etc. to operate a car. However, although we are all doing the same processes in our cars, we all end up at different places, and so it is with SEO. However, usually (hopefully) when we get in our car we know where we are going, and we then go through specific processes in proper sequence to get us to where we need to be. With our sites it is no different. To be most effective in our SEO efforts we need to understand where we want to go. This can only be done with a good comprehensive review of who our online competitors are, and the online situation they have either created, or are competing within. What keywords they are using? How many links do they have, and from whom? And how much content do they have, is the content all product specific, or does it address the history of the market, or is is about the company’s vision? All this information needs to be gathered, analyzed and then we can script out our specific SEO strategy to either out perform these sites in these competitive areas, or stay out of the area completely and try to find a new niche we can position our site within, or maybe we decide a little of both. Whatever we decide, we then need to work within this SEO strategy for maximum results.
We should have long-term and short-term mindsets. Obviously to enter or better compete in an online marketplace where we are late entrants, with strong competitors, we might need a bit of time to get our site built up to a point where we could expect to compete with the leaders. But with time and persistence we can slowly make progress. In established markets we also might consider a well conceived PPC campaign, just get us some exposure on the SERPs first page, where we wouldn’t normally expect to rank organically for quite some time. Obviously there are costs to PPC campaigns, and PPC opportunities need to be managed with some ROI oversight to insure we are getting what our company needs from these ads. We may just be happy with the exposure or perhaps we feel we need to generate enough revenue to justify the expense.
In the short-term, we should be looking for competitive niches where our competitors aren’t as prominent, or even non-existent. We know there is a trend in search where a great percentage of searches (up to 25%) each day are brand new, we need to capitalize here if we can. Additionally, no one should know our business better than we do, and we should be up on the new trends and terminology used within our industry. If we are quick to include new trendy keywords by predicting which keywords potential clients might start using to search for us, then we can quickly rank well for those keywords, especially if our site has been sufficiently optimized and proven to be of good quality and relevant by the search engines.
One thing is for sure, if we are not doing something to improve our site through SEO, then we are choosing to allow our competitors to gain on or lap us online, and we are missing out on obtaining new, relatively inexpensive, online clients. This is without question. So whether it is learning more about a site’s online competitive environment, or about general SEO concepts, or just trying some new SEO tools, gathering keywords, writing content, or pursuing some good links, we should all be doing something, at least weekly, if we are serious about increasing our online potential, and online stature for the future. Yes, there will be some online markets where extreme SEO efforts will not be enough to improve our ranking and we will need to do more, and others where minimal SEO work will be plenty to keep our sites on top. This is one of the amazing things about search marketing, it is heavily based on the online competitive environment, and one size does not fit all in SEO. Which size do you need to be? Start today by clicking here to analyze your online environment.