SEO Question: Where would you begin with a client that markets exceptionally niche products? Or would you simply pass on the opportunity and just work with clients with more mainstream products/services?
SEO Answer: Certain markets, like insurance, are brutal to jump into, no matter how much you are willing to spend. Other markets are easy to dominate with little effort. Traditionally niche markets are less competitive than established competitive markets, and thus it is easier for a small amount of SEO to go a long way.
There are a few major considerations when deciding if it is worth it to do SEO on a niche site:
- Is there market demand? Is their trending demand? It is hard to get people to change the way they use language or create demand where none exists unless the marketing goes beyond SEO. If the customer ranks #1 for their core keywords, but there is no traffic then SEO is a moot point. Do keyword research before considering SEO. You may also want to search to see if people are talking about similar ideas. Don't forget to use something like Google Trends if the market is seasonal. If possible set up an AdWords campaign. If they are in a deep niche there probably is not going to be much competition for their core target keywords, and they may even do well by spending $100 a month on AdWords.
- Is there an overshadowing important market? Another thing to consider is how established and authoritative are the sites currently ranking for your target keywords. In some cases they may be prohibitively authoritative and not worth the expenses required to outrank.
- How relevant are the organic search results? If the organic search results are irrelevant and AdWords has no competition then it might be hard to justify an expensive SEO campaign if AdWords, Overture, and AdCenter are working well enough.
- Does the site have any trust? If the site has no trust at all it may be easier to rank pages on other sites. For example, you could put up a Squidoo lense (or similar), point a link or two at that, and try to rank it.
- Are people talking about the site? If the site has been mentioned in the past by people without much of a push marketing campaign then odds are it is remarkable enough to really citation worthy, especially if you are working with a Purple Cow. If the site is interesting or you can relate it to something of great interest then viral marketing as SEO is great stuff.
- Budget & Fun: The other things to consider are how fun would the client be to work with, how bad do you need work, and are they willing to give you enough budget to adequately value your time and provide long-term value. In some niches there might be huge upside potential. If they are starting from scratch (or nearly from scratch) it might make sense to gain an equity position in the website. You also have to evaluate how scalible your model is. Ongoing quality SEO services require a low client to service provider ratio since each client has exceptionally unique needs and SEO service business models are hard to scale.
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