Sizing Up The Competition by SERP Positions – BuzzStarter Best Practices Guide
Personally, when I get that question I try not to cringe or run for the hills because it gives me already an idea on how the project would be. It displays how the client is misinformed on how or what search engine optimization really is and the process it takes to make it work. The expectation is already high before we even do any discovery and it is not only is my job to make the clients’ organic campaign work, I also have to educate them along the way of the work SEO entails. In a perfect world, it is always great to have both consultant and client aligned on day one, both being aware what kind of work would be needed and knowledgeable enough of the process. However the reality is, this doesn’t happen quite often and you will be asked the same question above, “How fast can you get us to position number 1 on Google?”
To set expectations and make sure that the client understand the reality of such request, I always start first in trying to understand the their main taxonomy. From that point on I take the most competitive words, which is mostly the keywords the clients would really want to rank for most of the time, and I help educate them on certain gotcha’s and avoid pitfalls before the project even starts. The last thing anybody wants is optimize and spend a lot of time, effort and work on keywords that are extremely competitive from day one. To figure this, one doesn’t need a lot of complicated tools or algorithms, I do a very simple spot check. Let me share with you what this process is.
- Avoid keywords that attribute double listings to a competitor.
When doing keyword research and looking at how these keywords apply to the competition, it is always great to just see what shows up on search engines before making a decision. Take a look at the example below:
The above is a good example of double/stacked listings. Now we are about competition and as much as we are confident in the results we provide, we are also about efficiency and being realistic on results. It would be impossible to compete for keywords in the same scenario .
- Avoid short term keywords that Wikipedia will always rank #1 for.
Let’s say you are about to start an online retail store and one of the items you are about to sell are things related to chicken. Using our simple process, let’s see what shows up on Google when you type in that keyword:
I know the above example maybe unlikely, given the difficulty of simply ranking for the word “chicken” even if Wikipedia isn’t around. However, I just want to stress out the fact that Wikipedia is such a strong site when it comes to SEO. Doing this simple exercise will help you avoid wasting time and energy optimizing for keywords that your site will never rank for.
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