As any good search engine optimization company knows, in search, more so than any other medium, you have a very short window of opportunity for engaging your prospect.

The only way to get a solid competitive advantage in SEO is to use techniques that ensure you are giving a prospect exactly what he or she is looking for. Otherwise, your prospect will simply click the back button and visit one of your competitors—a process that takes mere seconds.

One way to gain a competitive advantage, of course, is to work on the Web site itself. Also, any search engine optimization company worth its salt will be involved in conversion testing on your Web site—in other words, making certain that the visitors who arrive on your site are likely to take action that eventually leads to a sale. Split tests, modifications in content, different color schemes, and variations of numerous other elements can all have a measurable impact.

There is also another way that a quality search engine optimization company will seek to maximize the value of the prospects that find your Web site through search engines: using your company differentiators in the keyphrases that prospects target, in order to make sure the traffic that comes to your site is of a very high quality.

Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Differentiators

As more and more companies turn to organic search to gain a competitive advantage while promoting their products and services, it can be increasingly difficult to achieve high rankings for the generic terms that everyone in your industry is pursuing.

Though any ranking is ultimately attainable, eventually a search engine optimization company has to decide whether the effort involved is worth it, especially when it recognizes that you can get overall better results from the campaign by making sure that a very high percentage of people who are typing keyphrases into search engines are looking for exactly what you offer.

This is why your search engine optimization company should be able to leverage differentiators in your keyphrases to give you the best competitive advantage available.

What Keyphrases will Work Best for Your Business?

Suppose that you are in an industry where companies can have a wide array of prices, approaches, customer service levels, and so on. Instead of targeting, from the outset, the general keyphrase that defines the industry (for example "email marketing"), a good search engine optimization company will take the time to help you gain a competitive advantage by realizing what is different about your company in order to...

  • Attract very highly targeted prospects who know what they are seeking
  • Reduce the competitiveness of the keyphrases they are choosing

Let's take a look at a high-end provider of email marketing that has advanced Web-based functionality and focuses on the B2B market. This fictional business is seeking a competitive advantage by working with a search engine optimization company.

We can safely assume that the percentage of people who type "email marketing" into a search engine who are looking for this exact type of company is anywhere from between 0 and 100%.

By looking into the popularity of other variations, however, we can see that it is nowhere near 100%. Phrases like "cheap email marketing" or "free email marketing" are very popular, demonstrating that many people seeking "email marketing" are not looking for exactly the service that our provider is offering.

Imagine that instead of targeting "email marketing"--a daunting task (which, even if achieved, assures that a high percentage of visitors who come to the site are not looking for the provider's particular type of solution)--the search engine optimization company takes advantage of the provider's differentiators.

In this case, the search engine optimization company would instead target phrases such as "business to business email marketing" and "web-based email marketing." Suddenly, the two objectives have been achieved: The provider knows that a much-higher percentage of visitors who are typing these terms are actually looking for the right kind of company, and the competitiveness of the phrases has also been reduced, leading to faster and higher rankings.

Using Modifiers to Give You the Edge

There are hundreds of modifiers that can give a competitive advantage by reflecting a company's differentiators, including words such as "free," "affordable," "high-end," "full service," "proven", "turnkey." The point is that by making use of your differentiators in the search terms you target, your search engine optimization company is already setting the table for your prospect before he or she even clicks over to your Web site

And when the message that is viewed on your site supports the keyphrase that was typed, you then have an engaged visitor--which can mean more leads, less site abandonment, and better overall Web site performance.


Remember, your company is better than the others out there. Ask yourself why, and then tell your search engine optimization company to take advantage of these differences in your keyphrases to give you a competitive advantage in your industry. The subtle addition of a few seemingly minor modifiers can have a huge impact on your bottom line. 

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image of Scott Buresh

Scott Buresh is founder and CEO of Medium Blue, an award-winning search engine optimization company.

LinkedIn: Scott Buresh