If your business is relatively small and operates in a ‘difficult’ niche, organic SEO for your main, obvious keywords is going to be extremely tough, and pay-per-click is going to expensive and probably ineffective. Here’s how you can compete.
By ‘difficult’ niche in this post, I mean one in which you’re selling a product that has is also sold by lots of very big players. So for example, if you’re a small company selling wardrobes in the UK, you’ll be up against not only the large established national specialist retailers, but major generalist ones too (Ikea, B&Q, John Lewis, Argos etc),vall of whom spend a fortune on SEO and PPC.
Faced with that lot, getting anywhere near the first page for a keyword like ‘wardrobes’ is not so much like climbing a mountain as like climbing ten Everests piled on top of each other while wearing a suit of armour.
Four steps to competing on search
This is where you can turn to long tail search phrases. These are the longer, more specific and far less competitive phrases that, when added together, usually make about 80% of a site’s search traffic. True, a phrase like ‘retro cream wardrobe for a child’s bedroom’ is going to have much less traffic than ‘wardrobe’, but on the other hand, somebody who has found your web page by googling it has virtually got their wallet out.
As a rule of thumb, the more specific the phrase your page is top of Google for, the higher the chance of converting people who’ve searched it into customers for your brand.
So the trick for small brands in a difficult market is to:
- Forget going head-to-head with the huge companies on obvious keywords and accept that they need to think laterally about search.
- Identify a target list of useful long tail phrases – there are scientific data-based ways of doing this, and unscientific ‘gut instinct’-based ways, both of which can work.
- Write content that ensures you get to the top of the Google for those phrases.
- Have a quick and clear call-to-action to allow people who land via search to buy from you.
As ever with Google, there are no guarantees about getting to the top, but the starting point is to write original, high quality content that is genuinely useful to the person searching.
‘The best sofa for a bay window space’
To give an example, for sofa.com, competing on the term ‘sofa’ is very tough and expensive when you’re up against the likes of DFS and Ikea, even though they’re a well-established and quality brand who started online marketing early.
But, if you can think laterally, there are always long tail phrases that the big boys have overlooked. We got a post straight to the top of Google for ‘the best sofa for a bay window space’, without any keyword stuffing or even any backlinks.
Obviously, that phrase has a lot less traffic than ‘sofa’. But once you’ve built up a lot of these phrases, then over time as a body they can become extremely valuable to your brand. And if you get in first, you can ‘fortify’ your position, dominating a whole raft of specific phrases, and it will be very difficult for your competitors to get above you.
It’s a question of thinking laterally, being smart and writing high quality content. That’s another important benefit of Brand Editorial Marketing.
Contact us for a chat about how we can help you.