Rebecca and I were developing a strategy for a new client. Rebecca is the SEO expert, and she knew what to do to improve local search results for the client’s website, but I could tell that she had missed something important about the client.
He didn’t just want to get more traffic or increase his company’s bottom line. He wanted to win.
He wanted to beat his collaborators as much as his competitors, and he took it personally that a much older, more established competitor was showing up #1 for keywords that probably didn’t even matter much for him. He didn’t just want to improve his online marketing. He wanted to stomp everybody else.
If you are really a competitive person, you need to win. It doesn’t have to be rational or connected with your KPIs, it just has to happen.
So here are some SEO suggestions for competitive people:
- Choose the right keywords. Not the ones you can’t win for, like the most generic term for your goods and services, and not the super-easy ones like the name of your company. Pick the new breakout terms that your top competitor isn’t even thinking about, get there first, and laugh. You can find those terms at Google Trends. Be smart about this, though: pick things your customers, clients, and patients are actually looking for.
- Pick someone to take down. Choose that competitor who shows up just ahead of you in the search results, not the PageRank 6 national company. Figure out just what strategies they’re using, identify the ones that you can also use, and take them down. Then move on to the next one. Chances are they won’t be expecting you, and they won’t know what hit them.
- Use your geography. It’s hard to accept that someone can show up ahead of you just because the person searching is physically closer to them. It’s hard to accept, but it’s true. Don’t waste your time trying to beat this. Just make sure that the search engines know exactly where you are, and gloat over how your competitor’s customers are going to come to you just because they’re physically closer to you. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly, too, so they don’t give up and go back to that competitor.
These moves can give you that feeling of satisfaction you get when you gain an epic victory and hand your rival his hat. And they won’t do your business any harm.
Because that’s the danger. We’ve seen companies change their social media strategy and get more Likes and Follows… but fewer visits to their website, less engagement, fewer shares and retweets, and ultimately fewer conversions. They’re crowing about how great they’re doing — but they’re not. They get to feel like they’re winning while the competition gets the customers.
So make sure that you don’t let your desire to school the competition keep you from using metrics that align with your business goals. Winning feels good, but not if it costs your business.