Agencies accustomed to serving smaller businesses are often at a loss when they have an opportunity to work for a larger enterprise. Although you have more resources to work with since these clients typically have deeper pockets, you also face the task of trying to rank a client for a highly competitive niche. Competitive niches are more difficult to rank for, as other companies or websites are vying for the same top spot on SERPs. In general, there are two things that indicate whether a particular niche is indeed competitive:
- High Keyword Search Volume – popular search terms tend to be very competitive
- High Commercial Intent and/or Value – search terms that typically convert well into actual customers will attract competitors
Many agencies faced with such a competitive space balk when they realize that the solutions they’ve offered past clients won’t even make a dent. But instead of being intimidated, they should approach this rationally, identifying the key challenges of the campaign, formulating a strategy to address each one, and crafting a solution that would reap rewards.
As an agency, you need to understand what makes these niches competitive in the first place, so you can manage your client’s expectations and educate them accordingly. SEO campaigns for these niches will take time and more resources than usual, and explaining why that is before the campaign will save you a lot of headache later on.
In general, these are the things that make a niche particularly difficult:
Oftentimes, the keyword competitiveness is simply reflective of the industry itself. Industries like Financial Services (insurance and loans, in particular), Legal Services (depending on the type of practice), and Real Estate are usually competitive.
Even industries that one wouldn’t think of as competitive can be very difficult to rank for if there’s a lot of companies offering the same services in the same area.
Some keywords, products, or industries are more competitive at certain times of the year, like holidays.
Because they have a large amount of pages and, therefore, a large amount of keywords to rank for, complex websites are typically competitive, and require investing large amounts of work and resources to get the desired results. Some examples of complex websites include:
- E-commerce websites
- E-learning websites
- Listing and Directory Sites
Formulating Your Strategy
Once you’ve determined which of these challenges apply to that particular campaign, it’s time to formulate a strategy to take them head on.
1. Keyword Strategy
Find out which keywords are lucrative for that particular industry, and which ones in particular your client wants to rank for. While some keywords will be valuable because they translate directly into business, others will be valuable for building brand awareness. For instance, real estate SEO can focus on location-specific keywords to target areas or cities that a realtor does business in. Consult with your client on their particular marketing objectives to determine the right keywords to target.
2. Competitor Analysis
Identify your client’s competitors for those keywords. Find out who’s ranking, and determine what work they’ve done to get there by uncovering their link profile and on-page optimization efforts. Are there any weaknesses and areas where your client can do better?
3. Identify Opportunities
Determine how to build your client’s backlink profile (whether it’s through blog outreach, publishing on online news websites, or submitting press releases) and what kind of work needs to be done on their pages (publishing regularly on a blog, optimizing web page copy and metadata, etc.). Again, this will largely depend on the particular logic of the industry your client works in, their marketing strategy, and the structure of their website. In e-commerce, for example, most of the work will be devoted to optimizing product pages.
Hedging Against Risk
The difficulty of a particular campaign is only relative to the amount of resources the client is willing to invest. And as long as you’ve set expectations early on, there’s no need to be afraid to take on a larger client than you previously have.
Big opportunities come with a commensurate amount of risk. And you should guard against too much time and resources on one big client that they neglect their smaller clients. By diversifying your revenue stream with a clientele of large and small businesses, you can put your agency in a position to reap big rewards.