“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” – Sun Tzu
Whenever jumping into any online industry you must first know the position of your top competition. If you are going the search engine route, the people in the top 30 positions are all considered to be your competition for your most generic word down to your long-tailed keyword.
Extensive keywords research, I mean EXTENSIVE, can take from 5 to 10 days minimum. This ensures that you have a deep rich repository of keywords and angles to “surround” the competition.
The best tactic is to fly under the radar for as long as possible until they look up and you’ve completely surrounded them. How is this don’t online though? It’s fairly simply, easy, but requires alot of hard work depending on your competition’s activity level.
First I gather information from WordTracker.com, and Google’s keyword tool to see what “long” long-tailed keywords can I rank for. These won’t have a lot of search volume, but they will be highly targeted.
Here is an example of my levels of keywords:
Level 1 – Generic keyword: shoes
Level 2 – Generic keyword: Tennis shoes
Level 3 – long-tail keyword: white tennis shoes
Level 4 – long-tail keyword: red white blue tennis shoes
Now getting the Level 4 search engine rankings is going to be a lot easier than Level 1, but very few people realize, that Level 4, and Level 3, are highly converting keywords. They may not have high amounts of traffic, but the conversions are very high. (Conversion is the percentage traffic that turns into a sale for e-commerce or lead for services oriented websites).
Think about the persons that are in the mindset of finding “white tennis shoes”, or “red white blue tennis shoes”, they are more in the buying mood versus the searchers simply looking for “shoes” or “tennis shoes”.
A rule of thumb, the more accurate and focused the search term, the higher the chance of having that traffic convert into leads.
So the trick here is through the 100K+ keywords you’ve found through your extensive research is to start ranking for the Level 4 keywords. This should be relatively quickly since most of the competition is simply going to be going after the level 1 and 2 keywords. The process can be as simple as writing an article on your site and getting it indexed. That should start sending traffic for the level 4 keywords (it won’t be a lot of traffic though). If necessary, start generating backlinks us the the Level 4 keyword as your anchor text (honestly if you don’t know what an anchor text is you’re in the wrong place, sorry this isn’t for beginners).
Next step, continue writing your articles with the level 4 keywords, but start placing anchor text with the level 3 keywords.
What do I mean?
Let say you write an article “How to find the perfect red white and blue tennis shoes”, and use the keywords throughout your article, without keyword stuffing. Instead of using the article title as the anchor text at this level, simply use the level 3 version of the keyword as the anchor text, which would be in this example “white tennis shoes”.
What you are going to start seeing as you write articles on a frequent basis, I recommend no less than 5 a week (Remember you are trying to destroy the competition), you will notice that your will start to rank for level 2 version of the keyword. Make sure you are using a good analytics software like Awstats or Google Analytics to see what keywords are being used to get to your site.
Next step is to start using the level 2 and level 3 keywords as anchor text, on and off style. Change between them randomly.
To truly do this covertly you should only continously use the level 3 and 4 keywords as anchor until you’ve got yourself a great flow of daily traffic, because now you are about to show up on the radar. Once you start seeing the Level 2 keywords in your stats, I guarantee it, the competition now knows you are there.
Now that you are on the radar, continue using the anchor text from level 2, 3, and 4 and continue building the backlinks. Remember, the more backlinks you have over the competition, the higher the search engines will value your website (PageRank).
Don’t waste time trying to rank for Level 1 keywords, because the amount of energy and backlinks you need to get them is not worth it. The reason being is yes they are high targeted traffic, but not converting traffic. If you want to waste your time and for the bragging rights then start backlinking level 1 keywords, but I don’t recommend it. If your competition is good, they are most likely researching your website with customized tools to see what search terms you are ranking for, and where are you weak at, so you don’t have want to waste a lot of resources to rank cause you are now one of the big dogs.
The Top 30 positions is a racing, and anyone standing still will be eaten alive.
Me, I prefer to concentrate all my efforts on Level 3 and 4 keywords, so I’m completely under the radar for as long as possible, AND at the same time I am getting quality traffic that converts into leads and sales. I’ve got a couple of website that are doing daily Sunday through Saturday, between 12% to 20% conversions for the total traffic to the website! There are sometimes days as high at 50% conversion, I A/B Split test the hell out of each site to maximize conversion though.
Unfortunately you can’t stay completely under the radar, once the major search engines start seeing you are for example ranking for 20 to 500 keywords that all involve “tennis shoes”, they start ranking you for that word as well. Eventually if you are really good, you’ll become a god and start ranking for the generic version, “shoes”, which put you on the radar of all your competition! When you are #1, there is only one way left to go, I prefer to be the #3, and #4 positions, and let everyone else target that #1 and #2 positions, which I take over levels 3 and 4. LOL. I gotta get some sleep. Leave a comment if you have an questions.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” – Sun Tzu