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Experienced search engine marketing companies like us have a pretty well-defined formula for how to do what we do. On-page optimization, link building, local search optimization…whatever it is, we have a good idea of how to do it within the confines of how Google and other search engines like to work.


Sometimes playing by the strict rules just doesn’t get it done. If you find yourself in a situation where you just can’t seem to get the kind of visibility you are after for one or more particular keywords, then it might be time to take a hard look at what the top-ranked websites for those keywords are doing. You may be surprised.

We have a client in a very specific segment of the jewelry industry who wanted to get on the first page of Google for one specific keyword. Now, depending on the keyword, that can be a very tough situation. We like to spread things out and target a bucket of keywords. In a given week, some will go up and some will go down, but we always see a general rise in rankings overall. But when you are dealing with a single keyword, it’s either up or down, and that’s all there is to it.

We had optimized our client’s site in such a way as to not disturb the existing design (which is quite attractive) and went to work creating a ton of links. Our client’s site started bouncing around Google for the keyword, which is normal, but it just wouldn’t crack the first page. After a while, we decided to take a step back and take a hard look at what our client’s top-ranked competitors were doing. What we saw surprised us…sort-of. Many of them were quite ugly sites, filled with text. No surprises there. But what we noticed was a LOT of repetition of our target keyword. Much more than we like to use.

What this told us was that in this instance we were being too conservative. We needed to increase the frequency of our keyword in the text on our client’s website home page. Even though this was going to result in a keyword density that we are not really all that comfortable with, in this instance that is what Google wants to see.

The process of examining what your top-ranked competitors are doing is a very valuable exercise. You may be shocked at some of the things they are doing. Now, I should advise some caution here. If your clients are doing things that border on ban-worthy, then do not follow them over the cliff. But if it’s something like we are talking about in this case, where you just need more instances of your keyword, then do what they are doing…and then improve it!