The photography business which holds the top position, in Google, for any major keyword is virtually guaranteed to command the market. Top position in Google is the result of long-term search engine marketing strategies, powerful business practices and social media campaigns. The top position in Google reaps many rewards from increased traffic to greater perceived authority, within an industry.

Your competitors are cut-throat and will do whatever they can to reach the coveted top position in Google. However, you can play the game too; this is how to outrank your competition.

Phase 1: Discover your Competitors

The first, essential, step to outranking your competition is to understand what you’ll be up against.

Use terms, which define the photography industry, to search the web as to whom ranks well, in Google, for the targeted terms. Browse the sidebar, in Google, to see which businesses advertise using Google Adwords. Spy on your competition in social media platforms to see who the major players are in your market are.

Collect and compile the information you’ve gathered into an easily referenced spreadsheet. Include additional information, in your spreadsheet, about your competitors such as their Google rank, Page Rank, inbound links, social media profiles, advertising budget and main keywords.

Tools such as SpyFu, Google Keyword Tool, Google Toolbar, Market Samurai and Twitter Search are fantastic for gather a massive amount of information on your competitors.

Phase 2: Create a solid USP, Mission, Culture and Website

The next action, to outrank your competitors, is to optimize your web presence and business practices.

A unique selling point is what defines your products or services; it explains what makes your offerings different from the competitors. The USP is your chance to declare what you don’t like about your competitors and why your product is the obvious choice for customers. Your USP should also reflect your company culture and share a human side to your business; this lets people create an emotional connection which they may not receive from your competitors.

Secondly, take a look at your mission statement and overall company culture to see if the two are aligned. Companies rarely act as how they have outlined themselves in their mission statement. Make sure that your company is remarkable from the inside out; develop a culture which trickles down from your employees to the customers. Reinforce your mission statement with examples of your company culture at work.

Finally, optimize your website for search engines and copywriting. Avoid industry terms which are rarely used by your end-user: the customer. Speak with human vocabulary. Test and improve your website navigation, design and copywriting to reflect everything that your customer desires; focus on the benefits, not just the features.

Creating a solid foundation for your business is absolutely crucial to ensure that you stand out from the competition and that any further actions will have the greatest return on investment.

Phase 3: Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is the use of multimedia to create a substantial web presence in various mediums and channels on the web. In basic terms, it’s using blogging, article marketing, social media interaction, video production, podcasting and any other form of media to improve your website ranking in search engines and give your community something to share on social media.

Content marketing is the future of the web. An advertising campaign, today, will only run as long as you can continue to pay for its budget. However, content creation is a long-term strategy because every piece of content you create, for the web, becomes indexed in search engines, gives your community something to share on social media and boosts your presence in search engines like Google.

Content creation, alone, is not enough to outrank your competitors; a robust strategy is required to tip past your competitors and snag their search engine rankings. A strategy is a publication schedule which gives you insight as to the type of content you will be creating, publishing and how it all interconnects to give users the ability to explore deep into your website.

A content marketing strategy will be the culmination of feedback and research, from your community, to deliver content which will be attractive to targeted leads. The content created, for your website, will be used to draw in interested leads, supply valuable information which displays expertise in your industry and stimulates them to take further action to either buy or subscribe to your business.

Strategic content creation and publication will create additional web pages indexed within Google; these will be additional entry paths for customers to find your business. Likewise, your content will be picked up and shared within social media circles which results in additional brand awareness and website traffic.

Phase 4: Become an Authority in Social Media

Social media is a channel for community interaction that few businesses utilize and even fewer fully pull out the potential. Social media is a revolution for business; it has given the power back to the customer but equally so to the small business owner.

Social media allow you to create one-to-one connections with your community and customers. Your competition may have a social media presence but it’s rare they fully understand the platform to improve their business. You can use social media to gain an edge against your competition and utilize the power of the channel to help your business increase its rank in Google.

Google has begun to use social media interaction as a factor for search engine rankings. Google’s initiative, since its beginning, has been to provide its users with the optimal web experience. In recent years, social media have been on the rise, with web users, which made Google aware of its overall effect on the same web experience it seeks to improve. Your own social media interaction, with your community, can result in a greater opportunity to build your authority and rank in the search engine giant.

Content you create and share on social media is rapidly indexed and viewed. Community interaction through blog commenting keeps search engines active on your website and alerts them to how authoritative your site is based on its high amount of activity.

Use social media to connect with your community; each connection creates a new opportunity to find brand ambassadors which may result in these active community members writing about your business on their websites and sharing your brand within their communities.

Phase 5: Capitalize with Online Advertising and Marketing

Lead the charge in brand awareness while online businesses pull back from advertising. In down economies, the first item cut from a business’ budget is advertising and marketing. Your competitor’s lack of marketing funds creates a wide open road for you to take charge and set yourself out in front of the industry.

Capitalize on business with online advertising channels like Google Adwords, banners, contextual ads, social media marketing and more. The decrease in spending, from competitors, will lower your costs; this bonus can be your advantage. Use every channel to reach your market; don’t eliminate advertising because it requires a budget.

Likewise, expand your reach by using new channels to sell your products and services. Sign up for Amazon and sell your products on their platform, start an affiliate program to turn your customers into salespeople, develop niche websites to offer your services, use EBay to reach huge market segments; there are hundreds of these types of platforms out there waiting for you.

Summary and Conclusion

To summarize what you have learned in this article: Learn from your competition and research to create a solid brand which can be transferred into various mediums through content marketing, social media interaction and online advertising.

Every action your business takes, as a whole, creates a cumulative effect. Content you publish can be shared on social media which, in turn, builds your traffic and authority, so your next piece is more widely accepted and shared. A continual display of expertise and value, to your community, will give you the edge to surpass your competition in Google; it’s a marathon so be ready to be in it for the long run.

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