Rome was not built in a day, nor was a dominant search engine ranking for a competitive keyword either. Feats of valor and substance require the proper tact and follow through, which lead to the next point.
In order to conquer competitors and reach the top 10 results, you need to understand the 3 P’s of SEO conquest and live by their credo.
The 3P’s of SEO are:
As rudimentary as these 3 words appear, once you understand that everything can be reduced to its essence, and the essence of a strong SEO campaign is founded upon these three principles.
Planning – No battle (at least any significant one) was ever one from a bunch of warriors just showing up, after picking a random direction, with no battle plan – against a significant adversary.
Any worthwhile endeavor is born from planning. In this instance you need to survey the reach and exposure of your competitors (content, links, advertising budget, whether or not they are using affiliates, etc.) in order to surmise their strengths and weaknesses.
Based on your discovery, you look for chinks in the armor to determine whether or not their weakness will serve your advance.
For example, if your competitor is relying solely on one type of promotion too heavily, that would provide you with an opportunity to leverage a medium they may be ignoring (like Press releases, editorial content swapping on powerful websites, powerhouse aged directories or even selective article marketing – to get tons of long tail inbound links to your landing pages).
Study their rankings, see where they are visible and start with a solid plan that you can (a) roll out as aggressively as your budget permits but (b) is founded in a timeline with KPI’s (key performance indicators) as a sounding board for advancement and ROI (return on investment).
Be aware it may take 6-9 months to get a foothold for competitive verticals, but the traffic is your reward (if you cultivate positioning on the appropriate keyword/fronts).
Persistence – Are you the kind of guy (or girl) that picks a fight with an 800 pound gorilla, then once you get hit in the face throw in the towel and give up? If so, then SEO is not for you (you are better off paying for every click with PPC or media buys).
Persistence is one of your most notable allies in the battles that erupt with the other 990 contenders on your ascent to the top 10. If you crumble easily or get flustered if you rise 5 pages for a few weeks, then fall back 2 pages, then reconsider your resolve.
Search engine result pages (SERPs) are volatile, as there are hundreds of known factors and thousands of variables which contribute to a website remaining buoyant amidst the chaos of recency and relevance in addition to competitors all aiming to take your spot.
You have to stay active in order to impress search engine algorithms, and that means using diversity (in keywords, internal links, the content you publish on site and how you reinforce that content through syndication or off page ranking factors).
The key is to keep things moving and to scale on page SEO equally while focusing on promotion and off page (links and syndication). We never advise any type of SEO campaign without recommending the addition of fresh, topical content being dripped daily to the web from the property you are trying to establish.
On page content sends a clear signal that your effort is genuine and each new page gives you an opportunity to reinforce another shingle (group of words) that are pieces in the puzzle (parts of the semantic hierarchy) that you are attempting to establish a foothold in.
The more keywords your website spans, the more relevant your website becomes. The more relevant your website becomes, the more search engines will funnel traffic to your pages. The more traffic and exposure you receive, the more you can leverage those ranked pages to rank 10 more in kind and in essence develop a ranking juggernaut.
This is a worthy strategy for conquest, building an authority site to weather SERP fluctuations and lazy competitors. All the while, this is only part one of the equation. When you couple this with progressive off page inbound links (over time) all keywords are attainable (if you cross the tipping point).
The question is, do you have the commitment, persistence, drive, budget or time to do so. If you are up against a competitor who has been dominant for 5 years uncontested by a challenger, then be prepared to engage the battle (when they see you picking off keywords and taking their spots).
This is why the next virtue is of extreme importance… that virtue is patience.
Patience is not a naturally occurring trait for most; it must be developed over time. SEO requires time and much like a great battle or game of chess getting to the end game with an advantage all depends on what moves you made in the beginning or previous moves leading up to it.
While there are various strategies and tactics, they are mere pieces on the board. What matters is how they are used (leverage), when you use them (timing) and why you would elect to use them in the first place (circumstance). To sift through the archives of our strategies, you need look no further than our sitemap for gems. But no strategy or tactic will help you if you don’t have the patience to let it play out.
So, before you pick your next battle or your next keyword, know what you are up against and plan accordingly. Remember, Rome was not built in a day and neither is a lucrative ranking either – so, bring your best arsenal (site architecture, content creation, internal links and syndication and backlinks) or you are already defeated before even stepping on the battlefield from some competitor who already has.