Hedging is a risk management strategy that is utilized to compensate the probability of loss and is an approach usually reserved for high-frequency traders and investment bankers. In simple terms, it means not putting all your eggs in one basket.
Just like with an investment portfolio where spreading your money between bonds, stock and commodities can hedge against fluctuations in the economy, an expertly hedged Search Engine Optimization strategy can protect you from changes in the Google algorithm.
Here’s an example of a brand that put in place one of the most interesting Search Engine Optimization strategies around:
They had three separate Search Engine Optimization strategies that were all completely isolated from each other and the result of one didn’t affect the other. More importantly, all three strategies were hedged against each other so that the brand could benefit regardless of whatever change Google added to their algorithm.
In a nutshell, all three of their strategies were a combination of long term white hat Search Engine Optimization methods, medium term gray hat Search Engine Optimization tactics and short term black hat Search Engine Optimization techniques.
This approach can also be taken to another level by adding even more layers of diversification within these strategies like targeting different languages, markets and tactics.
While the example given above can be a bit extreme in some cases, every marketer should apply a degree of hedging to their Search Engine Optimization strategy. Given the amount of unknowns in the world of Search Engine Optimization and digital marketing in general, it can be very risky to put all your eggs in one basket.
For companies in very competitive niches like finance and pharmaceuticals, hedging several strategies is a must. The downside to this approach is that is can be expensive and sometimes wasteful too, in hindsight.
Out-think, out-brand and out-work the competition
When it comes to getting ahead in the field of competitive SEO, it’s imperative that you have a solid plan for how you are going to beat the competition. Like with anything competitive, there are three ways you can beat the competition and this is by:
1. Out-thinking the competitors
2. Out-working the competitors
3. Out-branding the competitors
Out-thinking the competition
No matter how large or small a business you are, you can always edge ahead of your competitor’s market share if you think smarter than them. One good example of this is to focus upstream and put your efforts on a different part of your market.
Out-working the competition
To go ahead of your competitors, it’s very important that you out-hustle them by working extra hard. To out-hustle your competition in a competitive niche, you’ll need a true passion for what you’re doing. And this approach is one of the best ways that will give you results.
Out-branding the competition
In Search Engine Optimization, numerous competitive niches like credit cards have been won by underdogs who have out-branded their larger counterparts. Take for example Wonga.com. They sponsored football teams, ran TV ad campaigns and invested in a lot of brand-building and educational content and they now rank #1 on Google for ‘Pay Day Loans’ – one of the most competitive financial search terms.
Focus on a different segment of your market
The majority of your competitors are probably focused on the same small collection of keywords. One good strategy for out-thinking your competitors is to move ahead and target a different segment of your market, like a more long tail or mid tail focused.
Another good way of refocusing is to target a completely different geographic language or market, if it makes sense from a business perspective. You could also try refocusing on a different section of the sales funnel. For example, if everyone on your niche market is focusing on the top of the sales funnel with the most searched keywords, you can refocus on keywords that are different and ones that can help capture and convert traffic.
In conclusion, when it comes to competitive Search Engine Optimization, you need to make sure that you beat your competitors in at least one area. Whether that’s out-thinking them, out-working them, out-spending them, or plainly persevering for longer than them, you need to have enough focus on an area that you can succeed at.