Properly assessing the competitive landscape from competitive blind spots (prior to entering an online market) can save you months of frustration. You should select keywords within your reach and create accommodating search engine optimization strategies based on relevance, scalability, feedback and ultimately ROI.
I have noticed an SEO trend since the Google mayday update which favors exact-match landing pages, titles and relevance correlations. In other words, creating a keyword-specific landing page and building deep links to that page are more effective than ever.
Search engines rank pages not websites, but the stronger all the pages in a website are, the more internal link flow you can structure within the site internally to carve out the perfect funnels for keyword and key phrase queries.
SEO is like chess in many ways, depending on your opening move you will be able to successfully develop other pieces and work in tandem for a collective goal. If you think short sighted and try to rely on one piece more than collectively using multiple pieces for strategic reinforcement, spearheading an attack or defending your position, you may find yourself at a disadvantage if your competitors are thinking 4 moves deeper than your shallow strategy.
Competitive keywords take time, and the wrong way to attack them is with a battering ram approach. You will need to have a threshold of on page relevance (as search engines assess a corpus of documents through a vector) suggesting that the more occurrences that are present of related keywords and clusters based from the same semantic thread, the more relevance the site is viewed from the standpoint of authority.
Authority is the primary objective for a website, landing page prominence is the objective of a page. By simultaneously creating relevant content (as a thread that runs throughout the websites theme) the easier it is to use internal links to consolidate that “ranking credit” towards tangible ROI through increasing a pages buoyancy in search engines.
One example is deliberately creating 20 landing pages (with each targeting a specific semantic variation of a root keyword). By assigning each of those pages with a means to shine, you can implement the use of popular keyword modifiers and mid-tail variations, map out their deep link requirements (through implementing a sweep of the market and competitors) to shell out the required on page and off page tipping point.
Understanding metrics such as:
- How robust and the authoritative the top 10 sites are who rank for the keyword
- How many deep links they have pointing to the preferred landing page
- How many internal links are concentrated on the preferred landing page and
- How many silos (articles, posts or pages) are being daisy chained with the primary keyword
With market intelligence as your map, you can create a strategy to scale one keyword or multiple keywords simultaneously as part of a collective synchronized strategy (going back to the chess analogy from before) using asynchronous mediums (one way links, social media, RSS and deep link directories, press releases, internal links, etc).
Moving on many fronts may seem like a challenge vs. using one catch-all page and ranking it with the wildcard method. However, consider your visitor and implementing your SEO strategy emulate the behavior of PPC with the ability to have specific pages rank for specific keyword queries.
The fastest way to shorten the time to the top 10 is to create a collective layers of attack (or rather a collective push for relevance) by using exact match “spell-out-the-keyword.html” landing pages in tandem with nested content (such as a blog and internal links) as your first wave of attack.
Don’t expect leaps and bounds for every keyword (some rise faster than the others), but do not stop feeding each page until it has arrived at the threshold of the top 20 results. From there, refinements in on page market focus and finesse can push you past lackluster competitors.
Often, just letting the pages age and focusing on a higher caliber or trusted links (not volume) is the way to rise to the top once you breach the top 20. The notion is not to overwhelm search engines, spam them or push too hard, yet carve out your keyword and ranking objectives, then put your time in till each page scales in relevance, authority and on page prominence to capture the flag and enter the top 10 results.
It’s not rocket science, but when you execute this tactic flawlessly (over time) your competition will never know what hit them.