You Only Have to Climb Over Ten People

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There are over 200 factors that determine a web page’s ranking on Google, and there are over 130 trillion web pages competing for the number-one position on Google. Many people without search engine experience think the market is saturated and there is little opportunity to reach that highly coveted top spot. The path to that key destination, however, may be easier to reach than it appears.

Let’s assume that you have a search engine expert on staff who can create a website that’s perfectly optimized for search engines. Could you afford to pay someone to analyze, research, and optimize 200 aspects of every page on your website? Even if you could gain 100% of your market share as a result, it’s unlikely to be a financially feasible option.

No website, no matter how large and expensive, is 100% optimized for search engine results.  Those 200 ranking factors that contribute to a web page’s position on Google are actually opportunities to exploit your competitors’ weaknesses rather than 200 boxes that need to be checked. Where are the biggest holes in their search engine strategy? There’s only one way to find out.

A thorough analysis of the top 10 results on Google will provide a road map to getting a web page to the top of the results. We’re not interested in being on the tenth page of Google, so we don’t really care about any websites there. We even have limited interest for the results on page two or page three of Google, except for the most competitive keywords. So the top 10 results are where we will focus our effort.

Let’s look at an example for a randomly chosen keyword. I have no idea what the results will be, so this could be interesting. A quick search for the word mustang gives results for major websites such as Ford, Wikipedia, Autoblog, and Car and Driver. We’re going to ignore the paid-ad results, since paid ads are a completely different topic. Mustang is a pretty broad topic, and most people don’t search like this. If I were, say, interested in buying a Mustang, my search term would be vastly different.

Google search results for the word 'mustang'

Using that logic, when searching used cars greenville nc, a completely different set of results is returned. Except for Autotrader, every result is a local business in Greenville. Each website in the top 10 results had to compete with 850,000 other websites for its position. It is able to win the top position by closely analyzing the top competitors for that keyword.

Google search results for the phrase "used cars greenville nc"

That seems pretty unsurmountable. It looks as though the top is pretty well established. Unless you want to pour tons of time and money into your SEO strategy, if you want to rank for used cars greenville nc, you’re out of the game, right? Not so fast. There MIGHT be an opportunity to rank if we can get even more specific. So if I search for used mustangs for sale in greenville nc, every local business disappears. Let me state the obvious that we just proved:

  1. It is 100% possible for local businesses to rank for keywords like this.
  2. None of the local businesses in our area have bothered to do it.

The results show us that the competition for a keyword like this is very low, and won’t take a lot of search engine optimization to rank well. All of a sudden a light shines atop Mount Google, and with just a little bit of research we can see that the top spot is attainable. Also, since we can replace the word mustang with other words like camry, prius, or f150, we have a virtually unlimited list of keywords that has very little competition. Individually, each keyword attracts fewer people, but as a group they will attract more people who are actually better qualified leads.

You don’t have to be in car sales to seize the keyword opportunities that your competition has left unattended. You simply have to be where they aren’t. Take a look at what your organization does in contrast to your competition and look for the opportunities beyond the obvious. Regardless of the budget or size of the website, none of them can be 100% optimized for every keyword in an industry. The opportunity lies in finding the weaknesses of the top 10 websites and taking advantage of it.