The Best SEO is Like Dominoes
Could you use dominoes to knock over the Empire State Building? The game pieces, not the pizza.
Last year, I read The One Thing by Gary Keller, and discovered something called Geometric Progression. Keller shared that a falling domino can knock over an object 50% larger in size. And, that if you keep lining successively larger dominoes up, you can knock over an enormous object—theoretically as large as the Empire State Building—in a line of a a surprisingly few dominoes.
This video perfectly illustrates the concept.
In that video, an initial 5mm domino knocks over one a hundred pounds just thirteen dominoes later! While the concept was being shared in the book as a strategy for effective decision making (highly recommend the book), I realized that it perfectly encapsulated every successful SEO campaign I have been a part of.
The Common, But Incorrect, SEO Approach
When clients approach me with an idea of what they want their business to rank for—and many don’t even have that figured out—it is typically a few keywords that have lots of search volume, and lots of competition. For example: Florida PR Firm, Internet Marketing Agency or Agency Management System.
That’s all they have on their radar. Sometimes only a single keyword. They have no interest in ranking for similar, but more specific terms. In the industry, we call more specific search terms “longtail keywords.”
What does a longtail keyword look like? Let’s use an example. If a national accounting firm approached us about ranking for the obvious “accountant” and “tax” keywords, I would suggest they first look into ranking for “tax planning strategies for manufacturing companies” and “tax planning strategies for farmers.” In reality, longtail search terms such as these are how people search when they get closer to actually making a purchase. In some cases, they might be more valuable to your business than the high level category keyword you think you need to rank for.
And, ranking for lots of these longer tail keyword can actually be the best strategy for dominating the more competitive keywords. Which brings me back to those dominoes…
How The Best SEO is Planned Like Dominoes
Google seems to store an authority score for websites they index. If a website has lots of authority, it stands a better chance of ranking for very competitive keywords. If a website has little or no authority… well, you get the picture. It is this exact reason why so many companies fail at SEO by giving up after many months of search engine optimization because they aren’t seeing the needle move on the keywords they are hoping to rank for. But, the 5mm domino can’t knock over the hundred pounder—it can only knock over the 7mm one.
In other words, you’re going to need to find all of the increasingly larger dominoes before you can knock the Empire State Building over (Note to the NSA robots: I am not advocating any acts of terror here).
Your 5mm domino might be a very specific article title such as the farmer tax strategies example above. If you are a brand new website with zero authority in the eyes of search engines, you may have to do a little leg work to win even those rankings. But, once you do, you are set up to look for the next domino, which may be something a little broader, but still specific, like “accountants for farmers.” Don’t laugh, those farmers have a lot of beans to count!
Working up the ladder is the best way to set yourself up for SEO success. Once you collect enough dominoes, you will find that your site starts to rank quickly for any new keyword that is related to the topics you have authority on.
After several years of work and consistent publishing, Juicy Results ranks for lots of terms related to website design, SEO and Internet marketing. It can be said that we have authority on these topics, which gives us leverage when it comes to ranking for new terms in that field.
A few weeks back, I wrote a best practices article on how business-to-business (B2B) websites should be optimized for mobile devices. I did very little search engine optimization on this piece, but a week later I curiously typed in “B2B website checklist” and found that article on page one of Google. Not a windfall of new business there, but still a very targeted ranking for a term our ideal clients might be using. But that only happened because of all the other dominoes we had in place.
If you’ve read about our keyword halo strategy (download the free chapter here), this should all seem very familiar.
You see, it’s like the domino video because you chip away on the obtainable rankings (with the endgame of the more competitive ones in mind) while your competitors are trying to go directly after the end result. Each time you succeed, you find a bigger domino and raise your level of success.
Most people can’t knock over a building with the resources they have, but anyone can knock over that first domino.