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How to Rank on Page 1 in a Hyper-Competitive SEO Market

In this post, I'm going to outline four ways you can enter a hyper-competitive e-commerce market.
How to Rank on Page 1 in a Hyper-Competitive SEO Market
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash
In: Foundation

In this post, I'm going to outline four ways you can enter a hyper-competitive e-commerce market and get some early traction with your rankings instead of waiting until you rank for the big, competitive keywords in your market.

Many young brands have unrealistic expectations about how quickly and easy it's gonna be to rank on page one for headline terms. The reality is these phrases are dominated by established online brands, big, large, multi-thousand SKU retailers with large domain authority and years of experience.

Many of these big brands that already dominate page one have had years and years of link-building activity done to them.

Lots of PR, lots of content, and they own that page one for the biggest phrase in their market.

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So to use a war analogy as a young brand, you need to find a weak point to enter a market, establish a beachhead, and then expand from there.

Strategy #1 - Niche Down and pick a less competitive keyword niche

The first strategy you can use to enter a hyper-competitive space is to niche down.

Let's use skincare as an example.

If you search for skincare in Australia, page one is filled with global cosmetics brands, large online retailers and news sites. Too tough to beat.

There's not a single small skincare brand on page one.

Skincare Rankings in Australia

So the strategy is to look for a less competitive phrase to target.

If you take the keyword phrase skincare and pop it into Semrush, you'll get a list of all of the different ways that people search for skincare in Australia.

The beauty of Semrush is that it groups like keywords, so you can quickly look down that list and see all of the different keyword themes relating to skin care.

Now, if you look at this list here, you'll see that there are things like natural skincare as well as organic.

Now, if you dig into the organic skincare keyword and look at page one, you'll see that page one is a mix of big brands, but there are also a number of smaller skincare brands on page one, and if you look at the link profiles, they're on page one with relatively weak backlink profiles.

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This is how you get in front of good organic traffic and start making sales. Pick a less competitive keyword niche, one that you can win in the short term. Start optimizing your pages for that niche and start writing content and going all in on that space.

So in this example, we are talking about organic skincare.

Start optimizing your pages all around organic skincare and start writing content about organic skincare and getting links from sites that write about what else? Organic skincare.

So for your own market, do this, find an entry point and target that phrase instead of the headline term.

Strategy #2 - Find a new distribution channel and sell through online retailers who own page 1

The next way you can compete in a hyper-competitive e-commerce space is to sell through large online retailers.

If you take the skincare example in Australia and search for skincare, you'll see that page one is filled with large online retailers such as Priceline, Chemist Warehouse, and Adore Beauty.

Online Retailers ranking for "skincare"

This is old-school business.  Just to pick up the phone, give them a call, and see if you can sell your product through their distribution channels.

It's the fastest way to get onto page one.

Simply sell through online retailers who already rank on page one.

The next strategy to compete in a hyper-competitive e-commerce space I saw discussed by Ryan Stewart from Webris, and the idea here is to leverage organic social, in this case, TikTok for discovery.

Don't use Tik Tok to Make Sales

What he found was many young people today, in fact, a lot of people use TikTok as a platform for discovery. So rather than going to Google and searching for a new product or information about a product, most people today are leveraging TikTok to discover new products, new brands, and new services.

So his idea is to go to TikTok and build an audience there while you can, while the organic traffic is relatively free and the algorithm is pushing innovative new viral content.

Go there, create that content, and build the audience. And what you'll find is you are going to drive an increase in branded search.

Now, branded search is simply people searching for you by name and who's gonna rank number one for branded search?

You are.

Strategy #4 - Leverage local search if you have physical retail outlets

And the fourth and final strategy for competing in a hyper-competitive e-commerce space is very relevant if you sell through physical outlets.

If you've got multi-unit retail outlets where you list and sell your product, in addition to your direct-to-consumer e-commerce shop, then the idea here is to leverage local search.

Local search is people searching for a product or a service in a region, easy peasy. Local search is a well-established, understood way of getting in front of local customers.

Local e-commerce search results

There's a ton of local search. It's relatively low competition. So the approach here is to set up dedicated local landing pages for each of your physical stores and go through that local SEO link-building strategy.

Submit each of these stores to all of the relevant business directories and set up a Google My Business listing for each of your physical stores.

And pretty soon you'll start ranking for those local searches, which will drive traffic in-store and get people buying. Forget about trying to rank on page one for the big skincare term.

Target the opportunities that you can get quick wins for and start selling.

Written by
Edmund Pelgen
Edmund Pelgen has been helping young Shopify brands grow with SEO. He's a passionate SEO expert and builder of e-commerce brands.
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