How to build an SEO strategy to dominate your market
Want to build an SEO strategy that can withstand algorithm updates, growing competitors and industry fluctuations? Columnist Jeremy Knauff explains how to do this by rethinking your approach.
Do you want an SEO strategy that goes beyond incremental growth? One that is defensible by being inherently more difficult for your competitors to replicate? And one that sets you apart from your competitors? Then you’re in the right place, because that’s exactly what we’re going to outline here today.
First and foremost, you need to understand the difference between a strategy and a tactic. Don’t feel bad if you’re unsure of the difference, because I frequently hear smart people use both words interchangeably despite the fact that they have completely different meanings.
Here’s an easy way to remember: a strategy is a plan to achieve a specific competitive advantage, while a tactic is a method used to achieve it.
If that’s still a little confusing, let’s use Google as an example. Their strategy was to become synonymous with search in order to dominate the market, and today, it’s clearly evident that they’ve been successful. Some of the tactics they used to achieve that included:
- developing a more effective link-based algorithm that, at the time, was less susceptible to manipulation than simple algorithms based on content alone.
- funding their growth via AdWords, which simultaneously put their brand in front of more eyeballs and got more people (especially website owners) involved with their products.
- releasing Gmail as a free service to compete with Microsoft’s Hotmail, which put their brand in front of more eyeballs and got more people involved with their products.
- acquiring Urchin and renaming it Google Analytics, which gave them significantly more data points to refine their algorithm. It also put their brand in front of more eyeballs (website owners again) and got more people involved with their products.
Are you seeing a pattern here yet? Every major business decision (tactic) made by Google played a direct role in achieving their goal (strategy). As a result, it’s been years since any other search engine has even put a dent in Google’s market share of search.
Now that we’re clear on the difference between a strategy and a tactic, we’re going to explore three strategies you can use to dominate your market, along with the tactics necessary to do so.
1. Banish conventional thinking on keyword research and content development
It’s easy to think, “I sell widgets, so I want to rank for ‘widgets.'” But it’s also lazy to stop there. Sure, if you sell widgets, you absolutely should work to rank for the term “widgets,” as well as variations of the term, such as:
- [color] + widgets
- [brand] + widgets
- [size] + widgets
But no matter how many variations you include, you’ll only scratch the surface of potential topics to drive organic search traffic. That’s why it’s essential to go beyond conventional thinking and identity a greater number of lucrative, relevant topics — many of which will deliver organic traffic faster, with less effort, than the obvious keywords that everyone else is competing for.
Here are a few unconventional tactics to diversify your keyword research and content development.
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