Is it too late to enter the SEO game as a new competitor? Not if you know.

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Even if you’re skeptical of the potential results, it’s hard to ignore the lure of search engine optimization (SEO). You know that most people in the developed world use search engines several times a day. You also know that getting to the top of search results can lead to an incredible increase in traffic to your website.

The problem is readily available if you do a search on the products and services you are currently selling. In a split second, you’ll be faced with thousands, if not millions, of different companies doing what you do. And all of them spent more time on SEO than you.

The competition is fierce. SEO is getting harder. There is a learning curve to overcome.

Is it too late to enter the SEO game as a new competitor?

The beginnings of SEO

Modern SEO is a totally different animal from early SEO. In the early days of Google, it was quite easy to exploit the search engine algorithm. There weren’t many other companies to compete with. The path to getting a higher ranking was quite simple; stuffing your site with keywords and spamming backlinks would have been enough to sustain you.

Today, SEO is much more difficult – and for several reasons.

Related: SEO Trends That Will Affect All Industries

Modern problems for new competitors

Here are some of the biggest modern problems for new competitors trying to get into the game:

  • Ingrained competition: Probably the biggest obstacle is your ingrained competition. It takes a long time to develop the authority and recognition needed to climb to the top of the SERPs. Some of your competitors will have spent money and effort in this business for years. This means that you will have to compete with these efforts if you want to have any chance of surpassing them.
  • An oversaturated landscape: The web is a busy and cluttered place. Most business owners these days are familiar with search engines and, by extension, search engine optimization. Even if you operate in a specialized niche, there are probably hundreds of people writing content about your domain, which means it’s hard to stand out.
  • New tools and technologies: Tools and technologies have emerged to make SEO easier and more accessible for businesses following this strategy. But in some ways, new tools and new technologies make things more difficult. There are more decisions to be made. There is more money to spend. And the margin for error is greater than ever.
  • General marketing issues: Marketing is getting harder, in general, for most companies. The field is becoming more and more complex and technical. Competition is increasing and it’s harder to perfect your strategies, even with an abundance of data helping you objectively analyze your results.

Related: 10 Fundamentals to Understand SEO

Why It’s Not Too Late: How to Compete in SEO

As you consider these potential challenges, you might feel discouraged. But it’s certainly not too late to get into the SEO game. Here are some of the most important things to do if you want to be competitive:

  • Start small: you don’t have to reach the top rank overnight. It would also be impossible, even if you were an SEO legend. It’s much better if you start small. Focus on developing good content and building an online presence, one step at a time. As you learn more, you can step up your efforts.
  • Target a narrow niche: If you can’t tackle the competition directly, try to avoid them by targeting a narrow niche. Don’t try to compete in a field where there are already thousands of companies; instead, find a way to set yourself apart.
  • Focus on long tail keywords: Long tail keywords are a perfect opportunity for newcomers to move up the ranks. They are much more detailed and much less competitive than their main counterparts.
  • Go local: Consistent with the specialization approach, consider going more local with your strategy. Instead of competing on the national stage, you can simply compete against businesses in your city.
  • Study your competition thoroughly: A simple entry-level competitive analysis probably won’t be enough for the type of competition you face. It is important that you understand all of your main competitors, including their distinguishing characteristics and their approach to search engine optimization.
  • Stay patient: As a newcomer to this field, you are going to make mistakes. It’s inevitable. Exercise caution and remain patient as you learn new things and experiment with new strategies. Over time, you will see the desired results.

SEO will remain a profitable and potentially valuable marketing strategy for years, if not decades, to come. As a result, it will officially never be too late to capitalize on this tactic. The best time to start an SEO strategy was perhaps several years ago, but the second best time to start one is today.

Related: 7 Reasons SEO Matters for Every Startup

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