While SEO never involves an instantaneous payoff, it can be a much less intensive process if you’re marketing in a relatively noncompetitive field. However, if you find yourself in a highly competitive niche, SEO will prove to be a much more intensive process.
SEO in a highly competitive niche is a delicate balancing process. You don’t want to hang back and attract no attention, but you don’t want to throw yourself out there and become indistinguishable from the rest of the pack either. You need an effective strategy.
Brand Yourself Effectively
In order to set yourself apart from the competition, you must craft a brand image which is unique and attention-grabbing, but still tasteful and not tacky or hokey.
You never want to go into battle without a plan, and marketing is no different. A well thought-out and sleek marketing plan should be your first step. If this entails a total redesign of your site, then so be it.
No one will be impressed by a sloppy, poorly-crafted site which projects a weak, haphazard brand image, so take the time to make your site impeccable and attractive from the ground up. You wouldn’t attend a local marketing event in a rumpled, cheap suit – that is a bad way to represent your business. A shoddy website does the same thing.
You can also use humor and wit to inject your own personality into the site – more than anything people want to feel the human touch behind the site.
The Importance of Great Content
So now you have an attractive website which makes a positive first impression – the next step is generating the kind of content that will keep people on the page.
Your content needs to be just as engaging and interesting as the site, with well-written and thought-provoking content that will make people want to recommend your site to others.
The key to SEO in competitive niches is to build links naturally, and the way to do this is with consistently high-quality content. Keep these points in mind:
- Market equally to consumers as well as to other people in the industry. This way you can build links from both sides of your business.
- Generate quality content, and do it constantly. Don’t rehash topics just to fill space on your blog.
- Explore a wide range of topics including industry news, product info, personal experiences – but always try to keep it relevant.
- Remember the maxim “Act local” – while you may have greater ambitions of one day being a major player on the global market, start by tackling the local market. Localized SEO is less competitive and has a higher conversion rate for smaller marketers.
Perhaps one of the best tips regarding content is to infuse SEO wisely. Yes, your business site exists to draw in potential customers and help make the sale. But that doesn’t mean you should bang readers over the head with a keyword mallet. Use keywords to sell – but also use them to educate.
Maintaining a well-written blog with helpful, actionable articles is the best way to include keywords in your site. You’ll appear in the search engines for those chosen phrases that readers are searching for – and wanting answers. If you answer their question and provide helpful information, visitors are more likely to swallow the sales pill you offer too.
For example, a nutrition company wrote about the benefits of vitamin B12 on their site. They didn’t fill their blog with articles about why their product is better than anyone else’s; they simply answered the question many health-conscious people are wondering about – the benefits of vitamin B12.
Look to Your Competitors
Take a look at the sites of some of the most successful marketers in your niche – what are they doing right and what might they be able to improve on?
Business is always competitive, and you can give yourself an advantage by taking cues from people who have already found success.
- What keywords are your competitors targeting?
- From which sites are they building links?
- Do some research on any marketing techniques they employ outside of the internet.
- Which social media posts and blog articles and topics got the best response?
You might find that your competitors had some considerable success with different promotions via social media, such as offering discounts or free products to consumers who like or share their Facebook posts – this is the kind of intel which you should be mining, adapting and learning to employ.
Protect Your Good Name
While this may seem like a no-brainer to any business-minded individual, many people overlook the most obvious points.
Maintaining good relations with your customers is the best way to build your brand and spread your name to other potential clients. With the abundance of review sites available, having poor communication or not following-up with your customers will drag you down quicker than any other mistake you can make.
When marketing yourself in a highly competitive niche, you have to aim high – but success doesn’t just fall into your lap. Succeeding in a competitive field is a process with many pitfalls, but it can be done so long as you follow the right steps.
About The Author: Lance Koebrick works for a local marketing firm. He helps clients of all sizes navigate the muddy waters of SEO.