Have you ever found yourself struggling to break the first page of Google? Every time you make an adjustment, improve your link profile, and jump one of your competitors you only remain in that position for a few days. Your competitors are quickly making adjustments and overtaking your site in the same manner.
You in turn, look at what they are doing, get some of the same links and try to improve your own performance. You end up in this never ending cycle.
If you find yourself in this “cycle of frustration”, it might be time to take a more covert approach. After all, if your competition can see everything you are doing, they can prepare and respond tactically. However, if they have no idea that you are setting an ambush, by the time they see you, its to late.
Put on the camo
The key to guerilla tactics is stealth. So, you need to camouflage your page by “de-optimizing”. It is as simple as changing the page’s focus for a while.
SEO is complex, but I tend to break it down to it’s simplest form. Here are the three main ways I judge the SEO of a page:
- Inbound links
- Domain authority
The way you camouflage your page is to intentionally get a low score on one of these areas. You don’t want to lose links or domain authority, so the best way to camouflage is to get a low score on relevancy for your intended key word term.
You want to change the keyword focus to something related to your main target. For example, if you are competing for the term “web design”, you may want to change the page focus to “php development”.
“PHP development” is closely related to “web design”, so you are still in the same vein. Simply change all occurences of “Web Design” to “PHP Development” throughout the page, including the title tag, the main header, and the main content.
I wouldn’t change the URL structure of the page from http://www.example.com/web-design to http://www.example.com/php-development. That could cause some link authority to be lost.
Once you make the change, your page is going to drop like a rock. But don’t worry…thats what you want.
Copy their inbound links
Now that your competitors aren’t breathing down your neck and mimicing everything you do, you can began the best part of this operation, link building.
Study the sites that rank in the top 10, and those making a move for the top page. Get links from the same sources as your competitors. Study what links make the most impact and try to determine which methods work and which don’t for your particular vertical.
Get other inbound links
Its not that they are more creative or skilled than you, its just that when someone copies your link building they get the same results. But if no one knows that you are competing with them, they will not try to mimic your link building.
Build domain authority with link bait and magnets. Try to get links during this phase that would take your competitors a long time to replicate.
Take your time during this process, if you pull the trigger to fast without enough link building, you will not be able to hold your top page position or fall short.
Remember to use varied anchor text all related to “web design”. You want “Web design” to make up 5% – 10% of the total inbound links. The other links should be long tail variations of that keyword phrase.
Spring the ambush
When you first chang the relevancy of your page, it will probably dropp out of the top 50. During the link building phase of your ambush, you will notice your site slowly climbing the SERPS. I usually wait until it makes it to the fourth page before taking the next action.
Prepare a list of inbound links you want to acquire. Once you spring the ambush, you want to come on very strong to solidify your position.
- Optimize the page for your keyword target (change “PHP Development” to “Web Design” in our example)
- Make a strong push link building
Your site should shoot up to the front page, usually making it into the top five. Once you are there, keep doing your link building. Your competitors will have a steep hill to climb in order to catch up with everything you have done over the past several months.