First and foremost, you need to understand the difference between a strategy and a tactic.Don’t feel bad if you’re unsure of the difference, because I frequently hear smart people use both wordsinterchangeably despite the fact that they have completely different meanings.

Here’s an easy way to remember:a strategy is a plan to achieve a specific competitive advantage, while a tactic is a method used to achieve it.If that’s still a little confusing, let’s use Google as an example.Their strategy was to become synonymous with search in order to dominate the market, and today, it’s clearly evident that they’ve
been successful.Some of the tactics they used to achieve that included:

*Developing a more effective link-based algorithm that, at the time, was less susceptible tomanipulation
than simple algorithms based on content alone.

*Funding their growth via AdWords, which simultaneously put their brand in front of more eyeballs and got more people (especially website owners) involved with their products.

*Releasing Gmail as a free service to compete with Microsoft’s Hotmail, which put their brand in front of more eyeballs and got more people involved with their products.

Acquiring Urchin and renaming it Google Analytics, which gave them significantly more data points to refine their algorithm.It also put their brand in front of more eyeballs (website owners again) and got more people involved with their products.

1.Banish conventional thinking on keyword research and content development

It’s easy to think, “I sell widgets, so I want to rank for ‘widgets.’” But it’s also lazy to stop there. Sure, if you sell widgets, you absolutely should work to rank for the term “widgets,” as well as variations of the term, such as:

[color] + widgets
[brand] + widgets
[size] + widgets

But no matter how many variations you include, you’ll only scratch the surface of potential topics to drive organic search traffic.

Here are a few unconventional tactics to diversify your keyword research and content development.

Ancillary products and/or services

There are a few hidden benefits of producing content on ancillary products and services:
*These other companies aren’t in competition with you, so they will be more likely to share and link to your content—especially since it helps promote them.

*You will attract visitors at an earlier stage in the buying process.

*Providing more information across a broader range of topics within your niche will help you appear more knowledgeable and authoritative.

Let’s use the SEO industry as an example.In this case, ancillary products and services for which you could produce content will mostly be marketing-related.These products/services might include:

*Web hosting
*Premium WordPress themes and plugins
*Website backup services
*Email marketing services
*CRM software
*Productivity tools
*CDN services
*Social media tools
*Podcasting services and equipment
*Call tracking
*Reputation management
*Conversion optimization
*Web design

Interview industry leaders
Unless you’ve spent the last few decades working as a contract assassin for the CIA, you’re probably excited about having your name mentioned in the media.That’s true whether it’s Forbes, The Huffington Post, or even a tiny industry publication, and that feeling almost never goes away.You can use this to your advantage by interviewing industry leaders, which gives you a way to produce amazing content, and the best part is that your interviewees produce most of it for you!It also makes you appear more trustworthy and authoritative in the eyes of your audience, because they begin to associate you with the leaders in your industry.An added benefit is that you actually will rise to their level faster, but the benefits don’t stop there, because it can also help you reach a new,larger audience because the interviewee will share and/or link to their own interview.And this tactic gives you a way to add value from the beginning of the relationship, which separates you from the majority of people who contact them asking for something.

Review competing products/services
It may sound crazy, but writing content about your and their products and/or services can create tremendous opportunities for you, as long as yours are superior in some way.In fact, this tactic was the foundation for one of my most successful SEO campaigns early in my career.It’s important not to bash your competitors, because that will just make it look like you’re trying to overcompensate.Instead, clearly and objectively explain the differences,highlighting the pros and cons of each choice, allowing visitors to make an educated decision based on the facts.When using this tactic, you’ll need to produce two levels of content and build both internal and external links to that content.What I’ve found to work well is creating a parent page that provides a general comparison of your products/services to those of your competitors, followed by child pages comparing each feature individually.

Consider how customers will search
This offers tremendous value, both for searchers and for business owners.Put yourself in the shoes of the searcher for a minute — do you really want to go through several pages of blue links to find a handful of home builders who provide what you’re looking for?Now put yourself in the shoes of the home builder — do you want to answer inquiries from a bunch of people who are looking for a different style of house than you build?When you produce content, do so with the understanding that searchers are using longer, more complex queries and search engines are using artificial intelligence to analyze the content on your page, along with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of additional data points to provide the single answer most likely to satisfy the searcher.To accomplish this, you need to get out of your own head and into the heads of your customers.Find out what questions they have.What words do they use when talking about your industry, products or services?How well do they understand industry terminology? Go beyond the keywords themselves and get down to the thought process that would bring someone to your website.

2.Build your industry’s hub
This is going to take a lot of time and effort, because it requires you to build an entirely new website and fill it with loads of outstanding content in order to become a hub for your industry.When it’s executed successfully, you’ll have the opportunity to hold multiple positions in the search results, you’ll have a powerful and relevant website to link to your primary website from, and you’ll have an independent platform to further improve your own authority,expertise and trust.It’s important to mention that you must be extremely careful when linking from one website you own to another website you own, otherwise you risk being flagged for manipulative linking practices,potentially damaging both URLs.Basically, you want visitors to be able to find anything related to your industry here.In order to maximize this strategy, you need to give visitors a reason to return frequently and to send other people there.A members’ directory is a great way to do that, and a social network is an even better way.

3.Become an influencer
I know, you’re probably thinking it’s easier said than done, right? But you can do it if you’re willing to put in the hard work that most others won’t, and it’s well worth the effort, because once you’re a recognized leader in your industry — especially within your target market, you won’t have to work nearly as hard to earn exposure and links.In fact, when done well, you can actually get your target market to help promote you and your company.I didn’t ask them for anything.I didn’t say, “If you do this for me, I’ll do that for you.” I simply encouraged the reporter to include them because their opinions on the topic were relevant and valuable.It improved the story for the publication’s audience.But here’s whathappened as a result — I immediately became more valuable to those people, and they immediately shared the article with their contacts.Now, instead of me telling people in my target market how great I am,the people they already know and look up to are doing it for me.Here’s the counterintuitive part — I didn’t even talk much about my company or what we do in the article.

So,how do you become an influencer?
I’ve been at this for a long time, however, when I reach out to someone I don’t yet know, the process is still exactly the same as it is for someone who is starting from scratch.The key is to add value early and often.It’s all about building relationships and adding value long before ever asking for anything.I personally know a lot of the people you would consider “famous” in our industry.They know they can ask me for help any time they need it,and often, when I hear they’ve run into a problem, I offer to help. It’s not a “do this for me and I’ll do that for you”thing, it’s more a matter of liking the people in my industry who I work with often.And they would do (and have done) the same for me.I’ve known some of these people for over a decade before ever asking for a favor, and I’ve known some longer but have never asked for anything.

I think you get the idea
Once you’ve established a relationship with the influencers on your list, you can build a new list and start this process all over, but continue nurturing the old relationships, too. It’s important to remember not to look at the influencers on your list like a goal to be checked off.While you do want them to engage with you and share your content, if that is your only goal, don’t waste their time or your own.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.