PeterD’s recent article, The Unexpected Success, reminded me of how marketing plans often need to be changed because of an unforeseen success.
He writes about companies who strayed from their original goals because better opportunities came up. For example, Macy’s wanted to be known as a high-end clothing retailer. But then, they unexpectedly got a lot of sales from appliances. They realized there was an opportunity so they added more resources to promote their appliance brand and as a result, their business reached new heights.
Also, he brings up the famous example of old school business veterans: IBM. He writes:
The original IBM computers were scientific instruments meant for arcane academic research purposes. However, businesses started to buy computers for more mundane, everyday functions, like payroll. IBM reoriented their company around business machines, and the rest is history. Had IBM not tuned into what was working, rather than what their business plan said should be working, they probably wouldn’t be here today.
In my experience, this kind of unexpected success happens all the time in SEO. But you have to be flexible and ready enough to change your initial plans to take advantage of the success.
For example, on one of my blogs, I started off by doing keyword research using keyword tools. I came up with a list of target keywords and started writing posts based on those keywords. I implemented this plan for a couple of weeks. My rankings for the target keywords improved, but as I monitored my logs, I also saw traffic spikes for a certain set of related keywords that I hadn’t thought of initially. In fact, these keywords sent more traffic and their traffic growth was better than my original keywords.
Sensing the opportunity, I shifted my efforts to the unforeseen keywords and my traffic rose sharply.
This principle can also apply to link building. Sometimes I have to change my link building strategy for the SEO clients I work with.
For example, I started off using guest posts for a recent client. Guest posts usually work well but for my client’s niche, I wasn’t getting a lot of success. I did some research by examining my client’s existing links as well as their competitors’ links. The research pointed me to a new direction.
My client was a well known offline brand so they had a lot of great links already. However, they literally had no links from the top directories including Yahoo Directory, so I submitted their site to a couple trusted directories.
Also, I noticed that .edu sites had links pages which linked to their competitors. I sent the professors some emails and my client soon had many of those links.
These two strategies propelled my client to the front page of a couple competitive keywords.