Since my last post on building an effective website through blogging, a number of concerned business owners have asked about ways to clean up their SEO. Specifically, they understand the benefits of topical articles, but don’t see value in going after those less popular keywords.
To address those concerns, you first have to acknowledge that the technical landscape of SEO has changed dramatically in the last few years. No longer are there surefire methods to rank on the first page for your desired search terms. Google’s ranking algorithm is a moving target that becomes more advanced on a daily basis. Elements that were once a priority for on-page search optimization have been replaced with new factors that Google wants to see.
As a basic example, a year or two ago, the meta description (a short block of text hidden to visitors) was weighed heavily by search engines in their ranking formula. Today, however, many experts agree that it has very little weight, if any at all.
This example is truly indicative of what Google has always tried to do: give its users the most relevant search results possible. At its foundation, the concept of a search engine is to provide wholly unbiased information, prioritized by relevance for its users. The meta description, while useful for a long time, is easily manipulated by marketers… and that’s the opposite of what Google wants.
So, we’re really not talking about Google’s algorithm here. We’re talking about what led them to change it.
It’s Time to Acknowledge Your Competition
Face it, without all that pesky competition you’d rank #1 for whatever you want, right? So, if you can’t join ’em, you really only have 2 options for those highly competitive keywords:
Try to beat ’em
Obviously, you’re going to try and beat ’em. But, before you suit up for battle, think about the long road ahead. Attempting to outrank your competition for the most desirable search terms will usually end up as a demoralizing, fruitless endeavor. Unless your company provides an abnormally unique product, there will always be a bigger competitor, with more brand awareness, more clout with Google and more money to spend on marketing. So what are you supposed to do?
It’s Time to Overlook the Obvious
I know, ever since 5th grade, you’ve always been told “don’t ignore the obvious”. I’m not here to argue against that age-old wisdom. My point is, if you truly want to clean up your SEO, you need to take note of your most obvious search phrases, recognize the stranglehold that your more powerful competition has on those premium keywords, and then look beyond that glaring first level to a place that’s a bit less explored.
In other words, by modifying those very apparent search terms with appropriate adjectives, locations and less common synonyms, you can find and tap into small niches within the market. While you’re attempting to attract a much smaller group of people, you’re also much more likely to be found by them at all.
At its foundation, these markets are much more accessible to smaller businesses. Plus, if you take this technique and apply it to a variety of niches, what you’ll have is a well diversified and testable marketing campaign. A marketing campaign that can be as focused or broad as you and your team can handle.
In the near future, I’ll expand on the idea of using a diversified keyword portfolio to attract different types of people, and learn which are your best customers.