5 SEO Strategies to Rank in a Highly Competitive Niche

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Rank in a Highly Competitive NIche

In the past, if you were looking to start an online business or blog, one of the most common pieces of advice was to look for an open niche. When the internet was still relatively young, and there were “only” a few million websites instead of the Billion-with-a-B today, it was a lot easier to find a topic that hadn’t been covered extensively already.

These days, it seems like every niche is already dominated by at least one big-name brand. It doesn’t matter if it’s something as top-level as Marketing or as niche as a small hobby; there’s bound to be numerous people competing for the attention present in that space.

So, whether you’re looking to start a site and find the competition is fierce no matter where you turn, or you want to do your best to take over a top spot for a known competitive niche, you need to know how to go about it.

How can you leverage SEO to compete?

Spending Money

From time to time, you’ll often see a newcomer to a space quickly become a challenger and settle into an established role as one of the giants. How do they do it? Very often, they’re backed by immense wealth. These companies saturate the market with paid ads and promotions until they reach a critical mass where they’re self-sustaining.

Spending Money on Ads

While the tips we present below aren’t necessarily entirely free, they don’t rely on Venture Capital or already being a big name to succeed. The more power, reputation, connections, and money you can throw at the process, the faster you’ll grow and the better you’ll be when you reach the top.

Wearing the Black Hat

Many SEO strategies sound promising because they exploit loopholes or otherwise promise shortcuts to success. Collectively, these are labeled “black hat” strategies and are generally penalized when a site is caught using them.

Here’s the dirty secret: they can work. Temporarily.

Many sites rise to prominence on the back of black hat techniques, and then when Google turns its scrutiny towards the site, it gets nuked from orbit. Suppose you’re willing to take the risk. In that case, you may be able to use black hat strategies for a temporary boost, then quickly replace them with legitimate methods and disavow previous efforts before those strategies can do the damage.

It’s tricky, risky, and against the Google Webmaster terms of service, so we don’t recommend it.

Wearing The Black Hat

We’ve come up with five strategies you can use to try to compete in a highly competitive niche. Just remember, your competition is fierce, so you can’t afford to rest on your laurels on each success. If you can’t handle keeping up with the competition, this ambition may not be for you.

Strategy 1: The Brand Bomb

The first strategy on the list is to explode on the scene as quickly as possible. You want to go from nothing to a household name as soon as possible; becoming a household name. Develop a great brand. Exact-match brand names, innocuous-sounding names, names that make people wonder what you even do; they’re all terrible. You want a compelling, catchy, memorable brand name. Something you could picture people using the same way they use Kleenex, Velcro, or Popsicle; as a name representative of the industry.

You won’t get there right away. In some niches, you can’t get there. But, it’s the goal you’re trying to reach.

The Brand Bomb

How do you do it?

  • Make your brand name, logo, and every aspect of your branding memorable. We’re talking down to the exact Hex color code for your website and branding colors here.
  • Claim and fill out every business profile you possibly can. From Google Business Profile to G2 to Capterra, absolutely any site you think could host your business profile should. Make sure all of your information matches across all of them, and any time you discover a new website, claim it and add it to a spreadsheet tracking it all.
  • Do the same with social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn; child’s play. Put yourself on every social network you can find. Even if you don’t use them, registering your profile helps ensure that you have it if you want to later.
  • Perform as much outreach as you possibly can. Reach out to bloggers and offer to write a guest post for them, and write excellent content when you do. Use services like HARO to gain citations from news agencies. Interview with media that ends up syndicated. Get your name out there in any way possible; you don’t even have to care about the links, but they’re great if you can get them, even nofollowed.

Your goal is to explode onto the scene, show up everywhere, and sustain that presence as much as possible. If possible, schedule as much of this to happen all at once. If you have the budget for it, paid advertising to promote your key pieces of content, interviews, and your website can all help. The more saturated your market is with your name and content, the better.

Strategy 2: Intense Keyword Optimization

Keyword utilization is essential for modern-day SEO, but the trick is that it’s not the same as keyword usage years ago. Modern keyword optimization requires knowledge of how Google understands keywords and language and careful avoidance of keyword stuffing and over-optimization.

It’s a fine line to walk, but you can see some incredible results once you get it down.

Here’s a guide from Brian Dean on Backlinko with a complete rundown of modern keyword strategies. He keeps this guide updated every year, so it’s a great reference to keep on hand.

Keyword Optimization

Another recommendation is to use one of the modern-day high-end optimization analysis tools. These tools analyze your content, pick out your target keywords, offer suggestions for including them at the proper density and frequency, and suggest alternatives and additional keywords you can add to boost your content to the next level.

The two current best tools for this are Clearscope and MarketMuse. They both use vast content and SEO knowledge libraries, along with AI and machine learning algorithms, to help optimize the content you run through them. They’re not cheap, but they’re well worth it.

Make sure every piece of content you write, from a minor guest post to the most high-profile part of flagship content, has been optimized with one of these tools.

Strategy 3: 10x Content

SEO is all about optimized content, which means you need to invest heavily in your content marketing.

Content will be the bread and butter of your SEO, but the core of your efforts should go into what is known as 10x content.

What is 10x content?

10x content is 10x better than the best content currently available for a topic. It can be a considerable investment to create and keep updated, but it can be an incredible link magnet, a source of endless traffic, and a brilliant way to take over part of a niche.

The keyword guide from Backlinko above is an example of what great 10x content looks like.

10x Content

10x content needs to be incredible, and to create it; you need a deep awareness of what other content exists for the keyword/topic you’re choosing to target. Identify the top-tier content for a subject, and look it over for opportunities.

  • Is it dry and bland? You can make more narratively exciting content and use more compelling imagery.
  • Is it short? Your content can be longer.
  • Is it surface-level? Your content can be much more profound, drawing from more information and coming to more extended conclusions.
  • Is the content narrow in scope? Your posts can be broader to encompass more of the industry or other industries that could be related.

Above all else, though, the content must be helpful, whether it’s an informational resource, a reference guide, a go-to tutorial, etc.

The hardest part with 10x content is that it’s not a new strategy, so the chances are that the competition is already creating 10x content for many of the more accessible topics to reach. You can make 10x content on top of theirs, but at some point, it becomes unwieldy or impossible. It would help if you found the right opportunities to use the strategy, which heavily depends on your niche.

Strategy 4: Find Another Angle

Another way to stand out in the content game is to tweak the formula to approach it from a different angle.

Find Another Angle

Every piece of content has a core topic, a general conclusion, a format, and a target reader persona. You can tweak each one of these to produce unique content.

  • Of course, the core topic is fixed, but how you approach the subject can have a considerable impact. Are you positive about it or negative? What emotions are you targeting with it? What action do you want your readers to take?
  • The conclusion is flexible. For example, a rundown of link-building strategies can have any number of different decisions as to what strategies are the best.
  • The format for the content is hugely impactful. Is it an educational resource? A tutorial? A FAQ? A heavily graphical piece of content? Interactive, with videos and media? Even taking something that has been done to death is possible if you reformat it innovatively.
  • Finally, your target audience is hugely impactful. Often, you might find that your industry has focused on a specific demographic; if you find a way to attract a different demographic, you can reap huge rewards. A simple example might be content aimed at single parents; most of it focuses on single mothers, so writing aimed at single fathers can be a massive opportunity with much lower competition.

The trick isn’t to change up just one aspect of your content.

Change up as many elements as you can to create something as entirely new as possible.

It takes a lot of investment, research, and talented writing to pull off, but it can be incredible when it works.

Strategy 5: Extreme Link Building

Content marketing is the modern-day go-to strategy for building a brand presence, but SEO is also about links at the end of the day. Content is there to generate links, social media grows awareness and backlinks, and outreach gets you links.

Quickly, organically, and effectively link building is the best way to make your site explode in popularity. The more links you can get, from varied and relevant sources, the better.

Extreme Link Building

Remember, a link needs to be:

  • In content whenever possible. The further from the content the link is, the less valuable it is; a link in an author bio is less useful, a link in a sidebar is even less helpful, and a link in a footer is near-worthless.
  • Relevant to the topics at hand. There needs to be a connection between the linking content and your content and between the linking site and your site. The closer they are to the subject and relevance, the better.
  • From as extensive and authoritative a site as possible. The larger and more prominent the website, the better.

There are tons of different link-building strategies you can use. The most common involve outreach, guest posting, and creating link-bait content. Others might include things like the moving man or broken link building methods. Here’s a rundown.

Above all else, the key is volume. All of these strategies benefit from doing more of them. The more content you generate, the more links you build, the bigger your brand presence, and the more you can dominate a niche. Ramp up all of these as much as you can sustain.

You can positively dominate a scene in record time with all five of these strategies. All you need to do is invest in them heavily enough and keep it up long enough that you build momentum and become unstoppable.

David Curtis
David Curtis
David Curtis is the founder and CEO of Blue Pig Media. With twenty years of successful execution in sales, marketing and operations, for both clients and vendors, he has a bottom line ROI driven mentality rooted in metrics driven performance across highly competitive global corporate initiatives.

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