How to Compete in any Niche With A New Site

On October 13, 2009, in Expert Advice, by Adelard

SEO-ninjaFiguring out whether a particular niche is prime for taking over is key for anyone trying to play the search engine optimization game. Some marketers are simply bottom-feeder, and go after all the niches no one else is targeting. Others attempt to shoot for the sky and become hyper-focused on nothing but this. What I attempt to do is a little of both.

First you have become strong, search engine ranking wise and as well as TrustRank. The stronger your ranking power and trust are, the easier it is for you to get rankings. So in the phase we will bottom-feed. There are so many factors in search engine rankings I am going to skip most of then and go for the 1, 2, punch knockout: freshness factor (content) and link factor (backlinks).

Let’s look at getting rankings for New York Event Planning for my example. Here are the top 10 competing website for New York Event Planning and New York Party Planning along with their backlinks in parentheses (as of today, Oct 13, 2009):

Backlinks for top 10 (New York event planning):

#1 www.emrgmedia.com (2,909)
#2 www.gatheringguide.com (133,728)
#3 www.bizbash.com (44,202)
#4 www.eventique.com (1,147)
#5 www.davidtutera.com (3,215)
#6 www.yelp.com (12,208,011)
#7 newyork.citysearch.com (186,451)
#8 www.eventective.com (70,081)
#9 www.newyork411.com (1,272,799)
#10 www.nyc.com (40,730)

Backlinks for top 10 (New York Party Planning):

#1 www.davidtutera.com (3,215)
#2 www.gatheringguide.com (133,728)
#3 www.emrgmedia.com (2,909)
#4 & #5 www.partypop.com (375,140)
#6 & #7 www.alltimefavorites.com (4,224) (Ridiculous design)
#8 & #9 www.mypartyplanner.com (35,317)
#10 & #11 www.newyork.citysearch.com (186,451)

What I see is the #1 spots are going to websites that are more targeted for the keywords but have generally less backlinks that the other top 10, meaning the total search results is somewhat fragile.

A person with an aggressive marketing campaign is going to be able to skyrocket through these. A key indicator is the freshness factor, most of top sites all have fresh content on the their website, which is allowing them to outrank everyone else, but they are not totally focused on “New York Party Planning” as the top #1 positions for both keywords.

In this case I would recommend posting 4 to 5 articles weekly for about 2 months straight. Do keyword research and talk about topics that involve your business and keywords. It is very very very important that you post 4 to 5 ORIGINAL articles a week consistently, that either you wrote or hired a copywriter to write. Don’t copy and paste, please. WordPress is going to be your friend in this situation. Your freshness factor will become very strong, and we give you a significantly large advantage.

    2 Key Steps to increasing your freshness factor fast:

    1. A key to posting your articles is to have a Google sitemap.xml file, make sure it is submitted to Google and the other search engines, and it is visible in your robots.txt file (So search engines you don’t know can find it as well). I use WordPress, which has an XML-Sitemap plug-in that automatically re-created the sitemap after a new article, AND submits it to the major search engines.

    2. Make sure that once you post an article, you automatically ping as many ping services as possible. Again, WordPress has an updating/pinging service included, in which I include a huge list of ping services (Click Here to get my list of ping sites).

The down side to this is the link age; the new links you will be getting from the marketing campaign are all going to be relatively new. Google and the other major search engines take age of links into account as well.

This is where social media comes in. Having a viral marketing campaign along side is critical. Using several other social media websites pushing links, distributing your content, and generally talking about your company, it allows you to also be seen by search engines as a viral website, this is you creating your own “buzz”. Since the amount of backlinks we are gather are on several different major social sites, this combats the link age down factor that a new link faces such as in this case, with authority factor.

Exactly 4 days after you post each article, you will go to all your social media profile and send a backlink to each one, and a little snippet/intro to the article won’t hurt. During this process, post your article to the major article directories, and to avoid duplicate content penalty simply backlink to your original article in the resource box. The search engines will recognize this and will make sure your article on your main site is the one that shows up before others. It many take a couple of weeks or so of processing but in the end your original article will outrank your other ones, as long as you make sure to backlink to the original article.

Simple 1, 2 punch. This approach is targeted focused backlinks, and freshness factor. With this process the freshness factor is being ramped up significantly doing with constant articles.

There are several signs that are going to start arise to show the significant increase in ranking power, the most important one I measure is the Google Alerts. I setup Google alerts for my name, Adelard Gasana, and my website AdelardGasana.com, or KarmaSnack.com before doing anything.

When I post/schedule an article, the amount of time it takes Google to send me an alert tells me how high the trust factor is. If Google is sending me an alert, that means it has visited the website, has indexed the website, and is cached in Google’s database. So when I post an article on a Wednesday for example and it takes about 2 to 3 days until a Google alert shows up, that tells me that the freshness factor is growing.

As you know, there are some sites/pages that don’t get indexed for months. But the unique way of post lots of original articles and send rankings have allowed my clients and me to see sub-24 hours of getting index, cached, and traffic. My personal Blog AdelardGasana.com has got a freshness factor under 20 minutes. So as soon as I post an article there, within 10-20 minutes I am receiving an alert that Google indexes it. The freshness and trust factor is so high I am able to rank for almost anything I want by writing an article. KarmaSnack.com is at that level too, as well as all of our other clients.

There is no magic to doing this, just getting relevant backlinks, constantly posting articles, and knowing which ping websites to ping. Once you are receiving sub-24 hour Google indexing alerts, you can shift from bottom feeding to skyrocketing into the air. By this time, you will notice in your stats that most of your traffic is indeed targeted, and very focused. It’s prime for some good old newsletter list building, marketing, and promotion additional products/services or whatever you want to talk about.

Back in February when I launched adelardgasana.com, I was posting articles about 1 to 2 a day for about 2 weeks or so. Then I slowed it down to about 1 every other day. What this did was fill up the search engines with a lot of content, then I start limiting the content, this created a situation where search engines crawling my site constantly looking for new content, so when I publish something is gets almost instantly indexed.

This is why content is a very important part of the SEO process; backlinks are the next important step. Once you have a great combination of articles and content, and individual pages are getting sub 24 hour indexing you will be in a position to take over almost any targeted keywords.

That’s an overview of my trick to getting rankings. Of course I can’t divulge all the really big techniques I use to make sure I get extra boosts in the search engines, ridiculously increasing traffic techniques, and customized programs I can, maybe another day, stay tuned.

Let me know if you have any questions, this post was written of the top of my head, and not organized and outlined like I usually do.

Targeting Your Online Brand's Audience Correctly For any web marketing and online website owner, you have to realize the reality of branding. There are going to be an audience you will not be able to gain with your specific brand. There are cases when it is necessary to create a 2nd or 3rd brand, if you have the resource, to target different segments of an audience. Fact is that some people won’t like your message one way, but offering the same product/services under a different brand and message might get them.

Getting Traffic
Getting the traffic and prospective customers is the first step. Go after everyone you possible can, and watch what type of client responds positively and what type respond negatively. You should always try to generate proactive leads in any business, reach out to prospects to get their business. You need to concentrate on proactively driving the sales on one end, and also attracting sales/leads on your website’s end. It’s a 2-pronged approach. Time is a factor in life; so knowing what to focus on in the very beginning of a new business is important.

For a NEW online website there should be a focus on increasing leads and increase sales for the first several months until you can get things off the ground and come back and fix the brand image, and refocus IF necessary. During this time you will truly begin to understand what type of audience your brand attracts and how you should focus your brand’s image going forward.

In the early stages of any business you have to be aware that you are not going to get the brand perfect the first time. If the design and layout doesn’t work after a given period of time like 3 to 6 months then change it. But that doesn’t mean just run with the layout you got, always be testing. Use a/b split testing methods; Google has a Website Optimizer program that helps to increase leads and revenue by focusing the traffic you have. Every website can use improvements, so testing should go on forever. After 3 to 6 months if review everything in the brand and refocus your message to your target audience. You might find out that the target audience might not even be the most profitable one, and can re-convey your message towards the new one.

I’ve been in the lead generating game for a long time as well; I’ve worked in boiler room situations as well. Did I do great cold calling? NO! But when the leads were warm, fresh, or even hot leads generated from an online website, they were more likely to close. That’s where I realized to really engage users I had to go back to what I new best the Internet. That’s why I’m in Internet marketing. I’ve had first hand experience in the mortgage, health care, and entertainment industry. I have noticed in all lead generating scenarios the majority of leads being generating are going to be shitty leads. That’s a fact.

It is simply human psychology that people don’t like change, they fear it. That’s why there is “tire kicking” in every lead generation niche.

Your Brand
Your brands’ website and it’s design/layout is a big part of the message conveyed to visitors. Like I said before there is always room to improve everything, that’s why I concentrate on doing split tests with all my clients’ website and my own sites. I’ve even experimented with creating dynamic SEO programs for website to “self improve” over time as new keywords are found.

In the early stage of a business I recommend not sit around talking about brand image for weeks on end, cause the business will be completely broke cause there are no sales. You don’t have time for that.

Online Branding doesn’t mean anything to a site with no traffic. AND traffic to a bland site does mean anything when your audience is not excited, attentive, or interested in your offer. You have to really understand the mentality of individuals online.

People Want Information Quickly
I will again state this because I have the number to back it up; PEOPLE DON”T READ EVERYTHING YOU WRITE ONLINE. It’s all about their experience. There are too many distractions when visitors are on their computer to read any and everything you have written. Most people are not going to get past the 4 or 5 page without being distracted with emails, instant message, and the ADHD that our society has. This scenario is only hyper inflated when it comes to online. People want you to get to the point they are here for quickly.

Different Types of People
There is a great article at WickedFire.com that everyone should read -
http://www.wickedfire.com/affiliate-marketing/35927-howto-create-ultra-targeted-ads-get-highly-converting-campaigns.html

It talks about demographics and how to create better AD for them. The demographics is divided into roughly 4 categories online:

———- Excerpt ———-
The 4 classic types of buyers’ personalities are described as:

-Methodical. Very thorough and slow-paced in researching a purchase. May be skeptical of contests, free shipping and returns – what’s the catch? Likes side-by-side product comparison to make a rational decision. They want to know: How this product/service will help them. They want accuracy, details, features, hard evidence, superior service, proof, etc.

-Spontaneous. Why should I or should I not order this now? They are spontaneous, appreciate a personal touch, and prefer quick decisions. Responds to sales, discounts, limited stock and time-limited offers. Responds to free overnight shipping (I can have it tomorrow!). Interested in “how many” reviews there are, not necessarily reading them.

-Humanistic. They are slower-paced, have no rush, and might ask, ”Who else has used this product to solve my problem?” They enjoy getting to know other users, enjoy real testimonials, shared experiences. Looks for the perfect gift, use gift finders and wish lists. Cares what others have to say. Appreciates live support and human interaction.

-Competitive. Logical, but faster-minded. Likes to be the first to own a product – responds to new items, featured or best sellers. Doesn’t want to dig for information. He or she is into facts, summaries and some detail‚ but rather not spend too much time on research.
———- Excerpt ———-

For a discount brand, it would be looking at the “Spontaneous” and “Competitive” target audience as customers.

For a high-end brand, you are most likely looking for the “Methodical” and “Humanistic” target audience.
But most people are mixed examples of the demographic. They all have a little of each in them, and depending on what their current mentality is and what they are looking searching for, they can completely switch demographic.

For example a customer might be in the “Methodical” and “Spontaneous” targeted audience, with coverage in the “Competitive” since they talked about how much money the competition is constantly doing.

The wickedfire article is a small piece of the research I have used to understand who and what I am targeting for my Karma Snack clients. This understanding of how to gauge a consumer and gain their trust to have them become a client is a part of the research I do.

This understanding goes into all of my Karma Snack client’s marketing efforts, and into my own. That’s why at times I suggest a 2nd brand to use for marketing. You can also have plans down the road to acquire/buy other brands that appeal better to a particular audience that your current brands do. In the end the only thing that matters in increasing leads and increasing sales, bottom line. That’s where the “brand value” really occurs.

Everything I try to do is extraordinary and that is why I left previous companies cause they where bland, boring, and not getting the job done even though the traffic was there. They failed because they couldn’t understand how the Internet works, even though for years I kept explaining to them that trying to please everyone in one brand was completely wrong.

Branding all comes down to an old saying:

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby

If you have any questions about anything I wrote, or comments please feel free to comment or even contact me directly. Thanks for reading my blog/rant.

Let me be blunt for a moment. The reason I succeed is because most of my competitors are simply failures. In the online search engine world, I am fighting for the top 10 positions for my keywords. My competition sucks, badly. For my clients their competition is even worst.

Seriously how weak is your marketing efforts? Are you at like less than 5% conversion rate, or even less than 1%? Hell, are you even tracking conversions? Do you know what a conversion is? (Amount of traffic that converts into a leads or sale)

Failure I believe derives from Fear. Most people are simply scared to get a website and put their hard earned money into their sites. The Internet is still to magically of a place. That’s why when a client of mine spends 30K to 60K with me a year, they not only receive great results, but get usually an 4 to 8 month return on investment. Then next year I double their budget, since by then they have more than tripled their online revenue.

There have been times, which I live for by the way, where I have gone up against, head to head, with another online marketing that knew what they were doing. They are smart enough to understand the techniques like dynamic SEO. I see their titles, header, and Meta tags changing at a rate that would make most people dizzy and throw up. Those are the rare challenges that I live for, but for the most part my daily journey through the Internet is a joke when looking at it from an online marketing perspective.

There are website still keyword stuffing, and relying on Meta keywords to increase traffic… and guess what they are getting the traffic!! Cause there is almost no competition in their industry! None!

I am going to be more brutal with the next paragraphs, so for the squeamish exit stage left.

Content
Fact is people have read everywhere in the online world, in order to success you need content. Content is King; Traffic is Supreme, as a version of the saying goes. So what do most website owners do, they put up weak duplicated content and hope for the best. They don’t take the time to work with a copywriter to create new daily or weekly content. Then they wonder why they are still not ranking high for their targeted keywords. Give me a break. When I see thing in an industry I am entering, forget about it, it’s over. 2 to 3 articles a week of writing and syndication, without doing nothing else to a client’s website results in a complete take over of the top 10 positions of the website within 3 months. But Adelard, how can you take over 6 or more positions, when the search engines allow only a max of 2 positions rankings for each site… Elementary, Syndication. I get my articles on authority websites as well as my own, AND here is tip #1, ALWAYS link back to your original article on your website. There you have it, duplicate content problem solved, and by the way, you just took over more than several top positions for targeted keywords.

A/B Split testing
People have also heard o something called TESTING… Yes that’s right, A/B Split testing, multi-variant test, test, test, and always be testing. I mean for goodness sakes, how can any web developer get it right the first time out of the gate? Impossible, even if they know that niche inside and out. Every website and domain is different. Test the colors, test the buttons, test the layout, and continue testing. Google even has a Website Optimizer that allows you to test; they make it so simply. Why aren’t you testing everything? How else are you going to increase your conversion rate? How else are you going to know that this version is the best possible version of the web page? I test everything, down to the damn font type.

Analyze Stats
Analyze and understand your stats. Do you know how to improve the bounce rate? Do you know what a bounce rate is? Bounce rate is the amount of people going to your website and immediately leaving without visiting another page. How high is yours? How do you reduce a bounce rate? Easy, test for it. Remove garbage that is not working, and focus on bettering user experience. Honestly if have a website with an overall bounce rate over 40%, your website sucks! View your stats and find out which individual web pages have the highest bounce rates, and improve them. Add better content, here’s a great tip, ADD PHOTOS. Simply adding an interesting photo to a page will increase the time on page for that page, and help reduce your bounce rate. Add a freaking video if necessary. Hell if you simple don’t know why people think your website sucks, ASK THEM! There are customer surveys and feedback solutions that will allow you to directly communicate with your website visitors and get ideas on why your website sucks!

W3 Validation
Here is another tips, W3 validate your website. W3 validating your site makes sure that no matter what browser or operating system a visitor is using, your website will appear exactly right on it! Look at the numbers, you gain more ground with being w3 compliant than if your website was made for a weak browser such as Internet Explorer. And seriously why are you still using Internet Explorer? Do you like viruses? And please, testing your website in other browsers when designing and adding new code, you will be surprised at the glitches that can occur and can be easily fixed by simply testing them. Jeez!

Expand Your Presence
I know I shouldn’t let this one out of the bag, but you have to also be everywhere. I mean jump on Facebook and link back to your site, get a Myspace, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Youtube channel, Merchant Circle, be freaking everywhere. If you are not, when one of your competitors hires me, trust me, I will be everywhere you are and especially where you are NOT! Join forums, networking websites, and industry portals, not only is this going to increase your presences, but will allow you to increase traffic to your website, AND increase leads and sales since more customers will be able to find you!!! Drop links everywhere you can. Getting exposure is easy, I once created a robot to login to random chat rooms where people where talking about my niche, and had the robot say my url every 30 seconds or minute or so. I got traffic, I got leads, I got sales, and sometimes I got booted or banned. But I got mine! Also, by expanding your presence, you rely less on one source of traffic, let’s say a particular big search engine, and can afford to take a hit now and then as the major search engine adjust their algorithms, or you test out a particular layout that might temporarily drop you.

Spy On The Competition
I mean seriously, Google makes it almost child’s play to spy on your competition. Do Google Alerts on all your competition’s websites, brand names, and your industry topics. Every time something happens, be there, if it is a blog, response on that blog in the comments and backlink your website! Drop links wherever your competition drops links. Look up all their backlinks using yahoo site explorer, download the CSV file that yahoo makes it so easy to download your competition’s backlinks, and run through that list for a certain time. Since the limit is the first 1000 backlinks that you can download, divide that up into 33 backlinks a day over the course of a month, and bam, when you move onto the next competitor, you will start rising faster and faster in the search engine rankings and will soon become an authority level!

Spying on your competition works, for example I got former employers and competitors all over my websites trying to figure out my tips and tricks and how I get the results I get. I know, cause I have all their IPs, I know exactly what areas of the website they visit, how long they stayed on, and what topics they read. To try and hide, they even use proxy.org to view my site. Losers. Since I’m a mad scientist I have created some advanced tricky programming scripts to allow me to take what Google Analytics does and multiply it by 1000%. I’ve seen examples of where the weak competition comes to my website, reads an article about Viral marketing, and bam in one day they have an article about viral marketing saying the exact same thing I said using my buzz words. I laugh, cause they got no originality. I mean, come on, coming to my site, to get ideas for your blogs and article topics, that’s weak, I talking to you o7. WEAK. But hey what can I do, except continue leading the pack.

Seriously, for anyone that wants to get top rankings and dominate their niche, hit me up, I’ll show you how to do this. For everyone else, I’ll see you on the playing field where you will be simply a pawn, like o7 IS. Jeez and stop keyword stuffing people!!!