Does is take 5 pages of content to rank for keywords with 50K competing pages, 25 pages if content and 15 strong inbound links for keywords with 500k competing pages, 100 pages of content, time, age and links for 1MM competing pages?
This is primarily impacted by 3 things:
- The vertical market
- The age and SEO Prowess of the competition
- The degree of relevance, trust and content your website has
Aside from these preliminary metrics, it is merely a matter of identifying where your website algorithmically fits in (in the top 1000 results) for the given keyword in search engines.
The Vertical Market
Some markets only have a few major players; others have hundreds competing for each vital online keyword. You also have to consider the grandfather effect whereby sites that existed pre-Google or are 10 years or older often have the depth or trust from some of the most trusted structural links on the web.
The Age / Grandfather Effect
There were not always millions of new websites being added daily, and older sites often enjoy the benefits on ranking higher with less on page optimization.
Although this type of insulation exists, it can still be overcome through applying SEO holistically across a plethora of critical metrics (internal links, themed content, deep links and trusted editorial links from other relevant or authoritative sites).
Content Trust and Relevance Thresholds
After building a solid platform for your website, the more content and or relevant links your pages acquire, the more trust it can acquire.
Trust is the ultimate objective of SEO, a site with trust can rank from a mere mention of a keyword or merely tack on a sub domain or sub folder and literally dominate a market (even through the topic may be an auxiliary topic) as a result of the domain’s authority.
So, if you have a new website, a moderate amount of pages, no significant inbound links, poor site architecture or strong competitors in your market, here are some solid SEO tactics.
As a preface competitive keywords or the definition of competitive starts at 2 million competing pages (just type the “keyword” in quotes in a Google search query).
A keyword less than 2,000,000 competing pages can be acquired as a result of ambient on page factors such as domain trust, topical content, internal or external links; however for pages that encroach on definitive markets, the barrier to entry can be fierce.
Blending Content, Site Architecture and Links
Build your most competitive root phrases into the site architecture, navigation and contextual internal links.
Don’t try to make generic pages or an overabundance of similar pages based on the exact same keywords, use modifiers and stem rankings (like a branch of a tree connected to the trunk) to populate a variety of landing pages tailored to each specific modifier and variation (affordable “keyword”, leading “keyword” services, “keyword” company, best deals on “keyword”, etc.).
Chose a champion page for each respective keyword, then link to it contextually from other occurrences of that keyword in other documents (as applicable).
There is no need to overdo it (like Wikipedia) but, if you can find relevant pages to provide internal links to the pages designed to rank for those keywords, then it is merely a matter of time and / or relevance before your pages become more buoyant.
Keep in mind that rankings take time and sometimes recede or get stuck due to fluctuations in crawl data, shifts in algorithms and other external factors such as competition.
You have to establish authority by chipping away at the more competitive keywords, while ensuring that you refine the relevance on a page by page basis (while eliminating duplicity in your site, theme or template).
Know When to Adapt
If a keyword has more than 500,000 competing pages fighting for the top 10 results, then consider adding a sub folder and adding at least 30 related posts which you can string together as respective branches on the topic. This way, you blanket the market and rank for the whole cluster.
For 750,000 competing pages add 20-30 overlapping pages based on a relevant keyword cluster or synonym, for 100,000,000 competing pages 50-70 pages of themed content.
When the site grows to a point where you have reached the top 20 results for ambient rankings for multiple top tier keywords, then you have to eliminate penalties and confusion about which page should rank for what variation of the keyword or key phrase.
Mapping out a sufficient array of deep links to reinforce the topicality of each page is the next respective metric for improvement. Click here for more about the site: command to theme your pages, content and / or links.
And last but not least, using sufficient navigation or internal links to feed a site as it grows is even more important.
Make sure you don’t neglect or orphan site segments or exclude pages with potential. Periodically go back and sift through pages with trust (9 months or older) to see which changes can create a positive outcome and work as a dynamo to fuel other areas of the site.
When a page reaches a particular ranking threshold, it can then pass along that excess (like a cascading glass of champagne glasses spilling over) to create a distinct type of “ranking credit”.
Where you spend that credit and ranking factor is entirely up to you; however sites with magnitude also understand the importance of expanding their base.
Which is why it is important to have a firm understanding of which type of site architecture works well for your business model; flat site architecture for e-commerce, tiered or themed and siloed site architecture for companies with various topics or market channels, or sub domains for those with vast arrays of segments within the channel they operate within.
Letting Go of Flawed Pages
There are two schools of thought with SEO, the first is “build it right the first time” add content and links, or the second is based on “going back to fix a leaky bucket” and trying to get another 3 years of those dated pages.
You have to know which pages are worthy of consolidation, which pages need flattened (in the root folder), or which websites could function better themed.
Sometimes starting fresh or adding new segments to a website are the best solution to augment existing rankings from legacy components (such as a dated CMS).
You can benefit from a hybrid strategy of salvaging pages with the highest degree of relevance and strength, as well as create new fully optimized sub folders or sub domains to stem rankings.
This SEO Behind the Scenes Video – How to Discover Competitors SEO Strategies teaches you how to unravel your competitors SEO tactics and surpass them.