If Sigmund Freud were alive, he may have looked at us SEO’s and said that we’re all introverts. Specifically, when we’re working on promoting a website through SEO, we’re working alone. (Even if you don’t work alone, when it’s you and that web page you’re optimizing, you’re basically by yourself!) There’s a big challenge and reward in making it on your own. However, when we are SEO’ing a site, we can work a lot more effectively if we find creative ways of doing it together.
How? Let’s take our important link-building campaigns for example. Let’s start with your own website. Say, you’re targeting “search engine optimization solutions” as your main term. Also, let’s say you’ve got a pretty good start and your site is showing on Google’s 5th result-page for that term. Now, what would happen if you found creative ways of exchanging links with all your competitors on that page? You wouldn’t think of promoting your competitors by providing a link to them, right? Wrong! If you do that with all other 9 “competitors” on that page, you may beat all of them in the near future. Moreover, even if all 10 players (you and the other 9 “competitors”) exchanged links with each other, there will be a much better chance for some of the players to move up to 4th-page results. It’s almost like you’ve teamed up with the “Page 5 team” in order to run against the “Page 4 team”. This link-building strategy is much more effective in relation to the current search engine algorithms (which adore ‘themes’) than exchanging links with a hotel from Istanbul, a travel agency from Australia or an online Viagra shopping site.
Start to get the drift? Good, now let’s get more creative. If you’re targeting the search term of “search engine optimization solutions”, what about looking to exchange links with sites that target “search engine optimization solution” (the singular form after dropping the ‘s’ at the end of ‘solution’). Although search engines and especially Google, are getting better at stemming, which means that search results for singular and plural terms are gradually being united into one set of results, this is not fully happening yet, and there are plenty of potential link partners that you can still find.
So if you find a site that is ranking at the bottom of Google’s 1st page for “search engine optimization solution” while ranked on the 2nd page for “search engine optimization solutions”, a term that you are targeting, then you can team up with that site by linking to them and they can link to you. As a result, you continue strengthening their stronger position (1st-page rankings for “search engine optimization solution”) and they strengthen your rankings for your main term of “search engine optimization solutions”. If you seek a strategy of “keeping all options open”, thinking that you can quickly obtain and effectively maintain top rankings for a large set of highly competitive terms, I think that you’re mistaken. You will run your race more effectively when focusing on your niche and teaming-up and running with an appropriate “theme partner”. It’s not only more effective, it’s also easier.
Getting the drift of the “team up and run” link campaign strategy? Good. So, while you’re targeting your major term of “search engine optimization solutions”, what about finding link partners in “search engine optimization services”, “search engine optimization in China”, “search engine optimization articles”, “search engine optimization” where you search for Google results only from a certain country, etc.
Let’s continue taking the “team up and run” strategy further. Imagine that while you’re providing SEO services for one of your clients who is operating in a given market, you find a SEO who is promoting a site of one of your client’s competitors. Say that both SEO’s are just starting out and thus both sites are not ranked among the first 10 results pages. Could you find ways of teaming up and running together with the other SEO all the way to the top rankings?
I bet you can! How? Start thinking of creative ways to do that… I’m sure you can find more than one way. Maybe not all of these ways will be acceptable by your client or by your potential SEO colleague, but there are quite a few ways of working together rather than maintaining a state of mind that you are working against each other.
One way to cooperate is through the keyword targeting: there are a lot of attractive keywords that can be targeted, and that means that there are plenty of pies out there for both SEO’s to share. In other words, both SEO’s can cooperate to get one site to target one set of popular terms while the the second site targets a second set of popular terms. As a result, both clients of the two SEO’s will be happy with their increased traffic and lower acquisition costs.
If you want to capture an overall better market position, this example of a “team up and run” SEO strategy is much better than working solo. If this strategy doesn’t work for you, you’re either an exception OR you simply did not choose the right partner to team up and run with.
What happens if you’ve pursued the “team up and run strategy” and managed to obtain a #3 ranking for your targeted term while the other SEO has managed to beat you by achieving a #2 ranking? First of all, you should be grateful for obtaining such a high ranking after not showing up in the first 10 pages.
Most likely, if you were following some form of “team up and run” strategy in addition to performing your usual SEO tasks, you were able to achieve better results for your site in a way that is faster, cheaper and less labor-intensive. Second, the cooperation with the other SEO is not a Catholic marriage and it goes without saying that both sides can decide to stop cooperating for this specific project at this specific time. They can simply decide to stop for now and stay in touch in order to cooperate during a future project.
Anyway you cut it, the laws of survival, nature and evolution are still relevant and they apply to the world of SEO’s as well. Ask yourself how you’re going to improve your SEO and link-building campaigns through the “team up and run” approach. The guy that you thought was your competitor is now your colleague! World peace won’t come next but better improved rankings for both sites will. If you run the race by yourself while someone else selects the right SEO’s to team up and run with, chances are that you’ll lose while they’ll win.
There are always exceptions, but that is how life goes. So put your ego aside and contact your competitor. Focus on YOUR niche and get your selected competitors to understand that if they strengthen your niche position, you will strengthen theirs. It’s simply a smarter strategy to pursue in relation to what you’re trying to achieve at the end of the day.