Nine Ways To Be A Competitive SEO

This post has been inspired and adapted from one of my favourite non-SEO bloggers, James Altucher. He recently wrote: 9 Ways to break all the rules.

As an SEO, regardless to the fact we proscribe or prescribe the definition, our jobs are to get our content high up enough in SERPs to attract searchers into our sites. Simply put, it’s the art of making something findable. However, in order to do that, we need to try and follow a set of rules; rules that have been set for us by search engines to get that content up there.  Of course, these rules are different for different people, but don’t let that stop you.

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. Some need to be tested and bent to withhold the test of time and their stability. I mean, if everyone followed the rules to letter “T”, would probably mean that not everyone will rank, after all, there is only one No. 1 spot and only 10 spots on the first page of the SERPs (I am ignoring all the other stuff like images, maps, etc excuse the exclusion).

Part of being a good SEO is to understand what these rules are, but part of being a GREAT SEO is to know how far you can stretch these rules, how to cleverly interpret them, and when you can break them.

A few of these are going to be shocking, a few outrageous. And maybe a few not even worth doing, but worth knowing about. Most of this happens, but the “clean” world of competitive SEO doesn’t talk about it.  Others are simple, well thought out risks that you should probably try.

I don’t endorse, nor condemn any.

Do the opposite

On any given day, there are hundreds of theories on what the right strategy is. Some from leading SEO sites, others from Google themselves.

Don’t follow blindly – sometimes try the opposite of what is being suggested, just to see what happens.  Google Suggest can’t be manipulated by anything else than search volume, right?

Try something that is totally out of sync with what the leading theories are saying. You may just find something new.


Surprise yourself, surprise your colleagues, surprise your clients. Are your normal reports about keywords that the site ranks for? Why not suddenly submit a set of keywords that you DON’T rank for? (but could).

Is the strategy to look at volume of links? Instead, why don’t you suggest something totally different?

Like mining the top 5000 long tail keywords in the niche, and then proposing to dedicate budget to developing content around each? That’s how Demand became one of the most powerful companies in the content space right?

Change One Thing

So you have gone hard and fast acquiring exact anchors. Ever thought of shifting tract for a little while to target long tails instead? What are the effects?  

Reputation Issue? Instead of trying to outrank a site with your own content, find other content that matches the query. Buy and build links to it.

You can’t get your site penalised for buying links to someone else’s site right?


Take the top 50 results for your target keyword. Grab all their content.  Give it to an editor / copy writer to rewrite it to work seamlessly.  What do you have there? Probably the longest, best researched, well written  piece of content on that subject. Thats Content Spinning on a majestic level.

Don’t start from scratch.

What are your competitors highest value backlinks? Buy that site. Remove those links and replace over time with yours. Learn destructive SEO.


SEO does not work in silo. It a marketing discipline that should be treated like one. Combine your strategy with another.

For example, does your business end out marketing emails? Why not try link opportunity mining there? Send out one email to the whole database to ask customers to submit their own sites for an “award”.  Mine these to select which are ideal for grabbing links. Build a True Value Link Network.

Or combine two clients’ link building strategies.  Is one a Car insurance client, while the other Lawyer? What about a series of articles that have a bent on legal issues around Car Insurance? Get that out to the press. Two clients, one subject, good links.

Question Everything

The worst SEO in my opinion is one that follows Google guidelines blindly.

They are nothing but a financial organisationdespite whatever they sayThey often dont follow their own rules. Nor do they have the best track record of honesty.  Question everything.

Why is Google Plus so important? Why do they want to give you free analytics? Why did they buy a bunch of verticals? Why are they suggesting you put more ads on your site? Why are paid links bad?

As James says in his article:

There’s always a “good reason” and the “real reason”


Self explanatory.  If I need to explain this any further, then you haven’t read the post right so far.


Contradiction or what? On one hand I am asking you to steal, the other asking you to be honest?

Honesty is the only one thing that sets you apart from any other SEO company.

Be Honest to your clients. If you are going to try something risky, tell them what and why.  Don’t screw them over – your own business will end quick enough if you do.

Don’t make up answers, if you DON’T know why the site tanked, then say so. Be 100% honest to your clients.  And dont suggest anything that could be potentially illegal.

They will respect you for it. If they don’t, maybe they aren’t the right client for you. You would be surprised what clients let you risk if only you explain it to them.


Keep testing. Keep bending the rules. Keep trying. Keep developing new theories. Don’t give up. Keep going.






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