The only difference between and market-dominant authority site (replete with SEO), a keyword-sniping niche site, a vast shopping cart filled with thousands products or a blog is scope, scale, resource and intent.
In a world of consumers, those who scale and profit can afford to thrive, achieve ROI and survive. Those who fail to scale, through either lack of resource, know-how or intent are eclipsed by those who do.
Fact: Everything Starts Somewhere
Consider Amazon.com, this company emerged from the brilliant mind of Jeff Bezos in 1994 and evolved from a humble, yet painstaking launch into the largest online store ever devised.
Regardless of the company’s slow start, Amazon contained within itself a seed which housed a vast vision for expansion and the ability to scale on demand to accommodate vast arrays of data, products and eventually market share.
Fast-forward 17 years and now it may as well be grandfathered into the very link graph (the fabric or the web) for its server-taxing record traffic it receives daily from consumers buying everything from books, electronics, music and more.
While this represents a massive undertaking, the premise of its evolution is based on two primary metrics, aside from relevance, site architecture and automation. Those two metrics are specificity and scale (which they have done well) as any competitor trying to wrestle a ranking from them will confirm.
Another website fitting of such a colossal accolade is Wikipedia (which aside from being user generated and self moderating) also has the distinct characteristic of devouring and ranking for every keyword contained within its pages.
While Amazon.com and Wikipedia.org both websites from vastly different relevance spectrum’s (educational and commercial) the fact is, they both share the beauty of dynamically generated parameters to embrace SEO basics such as title tags and meta data, slugs, H1 and internal links on auto pilot; coupled with immense arrays of data make sites with this profile ranking juggernauts (that are virtually unstoppable in search engines) once they cross an algorithmic tipping point which can equate to an unfair advantage.
The definition of scope, according to dictionary.com is:
1. extent or range of view, outlook, application, operation, effectiveness, etc.: an investigation of wide scope.
2. space for movement or activity; opportunity for operation: to give one’s fancy full scope.
The first option in this context summarizes the flavor intended. While scope is often viewed objectively, it is based on a subjective skill set and operational effectiveness can often mean automation online.
While the devil may be in the details, the system by design for search engines and information retrieval is interpreted through algorithmic relevance (a sub set of semantic connectivity) fused with information architecture as the underlying predecessor (the tracks that search engines run on) when grading and ranking websites.
Since search engines are based upon rules (and contextual language), those who exhibit those rules and exhibit an abundance of thematically relevant content (supported by internal citation, i.e. links or inbound links from others) gain the spoils of visibility via high rankings for thousands of keywords.
While search engines are powerful, they are also dependent upon having something to sort and organize. This is the symbiotic relationship between data, purpose and delivery, and that is often where scope is a definitive competitive advantage (which is also based on budgetary or time constraints).
Not every business has 200K to invest in creating a dominant online presence. Those that do either (a) understand the value of traffic and have resources or (b) see it as a necessary layer to their businesses success and leverage capital or integrate the costs of SEO, online advertising or exposure as a prerequisite for reciprocity from consumers.
Shopping carts for example which are often replete with duplicate content, rarely acquire links as someone buying a sweater does not necessarily link to it. Yet, unless that website is able to distinguish itself by (a) creating a body of unique content (b) acquiring inbound links (c) ensuring there is enough content to break the site away from the template and create a definitive ranking signal and (d) gain enough indexation to be considered an authority site – then a competitor who excels in any of those metrics more than they do, will find themselves on page one.
The point being, relevance is relative and while machine learning does its best, competitive, thriving markets are often ruthless when it comes to rankings and scaling past competitors is not easy (unless you have a vision, patience and a budget to foster growth).
Scale is where most simply fail, they either fail to understand the thresholds required to offset the barrier to entry, or underestimate the “other guys greed” when it comes to taking the top 3 positions in “the traffic band” in search engines.
To capture a competitive keyword requires years of hard work and while reaching the plateau of the top 10, each position can take 1 to 2 month per spot to rise above the existing competitor’s relevance score and authority.
While it may be wishful thinking to even consider trying to rank a 10 page website held together with bubble gum, duct tape, a paper clip and a prayer for a competitive keyword; in reality often thousands of pages of content, a well-planned site architecture that corresponds to the various semantic tiers required and thousands of hours of fine-tuning, tweaks and the like need to occur, before your website can climb over competitors and reach the #1 position.
Obviously this is dependent on the keyword or keywords targeted, however, the point I am making is about the ability to scale your website deep enough or wide enough (depending on how you build your site architecture and sculpt your content, internal and inbound links) still requires skill and time to reach fruition.
The principle governing law of resource denotes that (a) effort requires time (b) you need to understand what you are up against or (c) hire someone who does in order to reach your ranking and/or ROI objective.
Traffic is the result of SEO, PPC, paid ads, social media, affiliate relationships, inbound links from popular websites or offline promotion. Regardless of how you generate it there is a price. While that may not reflect what happens after critical mass is reached and your website can attract its own audience, getting it there can be a harrowing endeavor.
The adage of never biting off more than you can chew comes to mind, but in SEO terminology, stick to the low hanging fruit to cut your teeth, and once your website gains a top 10 position, leverage that position through internal links to create 10 more.
Eventually, over time, as your website matures, it will gain momentum and rank for more competitive keywords. This is controlled primarily by what content you house and between your internal synonmic set and the feedback mechanism (citation) from the web in the form of links, votes, shares or views from other users or websites.
This sends a definitive ranking signal to search engines (regarding your website) indicating that it is an asset worthy of elevating into authority status which in turn, ranks your website for swarms of additional keywords.
The only consideration is (1) can you afford to compete or (2) are you competing for the wrong keywords? This leads to my next point.
This segment needs no definition, other than those who have it, have it, and those who don’t are on page 10 in search engines.
Another adage comes to mind, “where there is a will, there is a way” and once you understand scope, scale, resource and intent you can determine your place in the global, national, regional or local online space and whether or not you go big or go home when it comes to making a dent in a market.
If you choose to “go big”, then read our FREE ebook amply named “SEO for large websites” first, to save you the hassle of making unnecessary mistakes along the way.