Statistically 91% of all searches in search engines abort in the first page, meaning if your website is not listed in the top 10 results, then your chance of your pages being found from a prospect using a search engine decreases exponentially.
The top 10 results in search engines represent a commodity that is limited in scope and sought by millions from every online market imaginable.
While there is nothing I enjoy more than passing along SEO techniques or what we have discovered about SEO to others. The only downside is once you share a technique or tactic; this only breeds additional competitors (if they are active in your market).
Talking about SEO and executing it better than 99% of the other websites online in a given market are two different things. This either means (a) the market is flimsy or (b) you really know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and (c) how long it will take depending on the variables and resources present. Each campaign inevitably presents its own unique challenges, rewards and monetary and time commitments.
I can honestly state that our firm SEO Design Solutions executes campaigns on this level and our clients can attest to the fact (despite their desire to remain silent) that when conquering the most competitive, lucrative traffic-bearing keywords in a market, you have to know what to apply and when to apply it to get past seasoned competitors.
Two things to consider about SEO are (1) the better you are at it, the less clients assume they need you after scaling past competitors and acquiring page one results in a competitive vertical and (2) you are only successful if it works.
The need to assess, measure and pull the roots up from time to time to see if the plant is growing is an impulse that must be checked in lieu of tangible, stable rankings which must settle over time as a byproduct of relevance, trust and citation.
The 3 Stages of SEO Dominance
You need three things to succeed in a ranking war or battle for market share amongst various keyword clusters. Those three things are:
1. Content (relevance and volume).
2. Proper site architecture (CMS, Static and Internal Linking) and…
3. The proper volume and layers of deep links from other websites (to gain peer review).
Not putting the cart before the horse means you have to assess where you are at within this framework, or if your website has the equity it needs and merely lacks the structure or is it lacks the on page or off page resources. Being honest about if your site is merely grasping at straws randomly in its current embodiment and what you are going to do about it is paramount for creating progress.
In either situation, you still have to embrace and approach the market holistically and look beyond the keywords to see which competitors are dominant (across a cluster of keywords) to determine which methods they are using – so you can surpass them.
Under the first assumption of content, how many times do you have to see a Wikipedia listing in Google’s #1 position for virtually any keyword before you acknowledge that content relevance and volume are a large part of the algorithm and how it assumes trust (which is a precursor to rankings).
Links can come and go or gain or lose favor, but trusted websites which house authoritative content are the most difficult to usurp and surpass in search engines organically.
Case in point; if you have a 100 page website and your competitors have 10,000 pages (in addition to deep links as well), forget about just using links to surpass them; it’s time to hire an SEO copywriter to create something for search engines to sink their teeth into.
The sheer volume of collective content (published over time) allows those collective internal pages to pass authority from relevant page to relevant page and ball-roll trust and link equity into a powerhouse authority site (which requires less direct citation to any specific landing page to gain prominence).
In other words, if you are looking at the page from a fragmented personification (blindly assuming that links alone pushed it there) then you are missing the boat entirely. Domain authority is the ultimate SEO objective (which means volumes of relevant pages with a clear focus on which page is the champion for a given search phrase or keyword), which leads to our next point.
The Price of Relevance
There really are only four nodes of this assessment that correspond to the three metrics above:
1. You need more / relevant content.
2. You need more internal links and on site coherence to create the relevance signal and sculpt link equity.
3. You need more citation (en mass) from other sites or more relevant / trusted links or
4. All of the above.
If your pages lack any of those four ingredients above, then you are at the mercy of your competitor’s momentum and previous investment of time, content, links or SEO strategy.
That could mean they have the jump on you from layering page after page ahead of you to amass a higher relevance score than your website. Or, if you are challenging them to an off-page popularity contest with links to see who gains more trust, then you need to ensure you have a diverse, yet trusted link profile to stave their advance.
Getting to page 1 is worth it for competitive, market-defining keywords that wield massive traffic or can establish your website as a definitive brand leader. You just have to ask yourself, are you willing to invest the time, SEO costs to compete and have the patience to let the organic SEO kick in to see the fruits of your labor (ROI).
If not, then better leave it to the early adopters with vision, a stable budget and a grip of scale who understand what it takes from the standpoint of on page SEO, site architecture and off page optimization to arrive at page 1.