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There is a lot of interest in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) today on the Internet for major companies.

Part of the interest in SEO is that companies now believe the Internet is highly competitive, and just as competitive as the Yellow Pages and other promotional platforms in the more traditional marketing environment prior to the arrival of the Internet.

They believe that they must match their competitors’ strategies, unique selling proposition and  basic keyword attractiveness to be competitive and gain clients online.

The other reason that SEO is important is that many firms believe that their competitors are slow and tardy, and do not react to the Internet in a positive and long-term investment way. The SEO provides them with a competitive edge in terms of gaining online unique visitors and traffic, and driving greater sales to the bottom line.

One major strategic area that is overlooked in terms of the Internet, and which has always obtained a competitive edge and traditional marketing growth and market share over time, is the concept of positioning.

POSITIONING was the traditional marketing strategy and means of gaining search engine optimisation in the pre-Internet period.

By positioning your company and differentiating its products or services, you were able to separate yourself from the mass competitor “bunch “. It enabled you to get ahead of them and position yourself into a cocooned area in the consumer’s mind where you could attract volume and paying customers, and be seen as special or unique – thus attracting ongoing and preferential business.

While SEO  uses unique keywords and key phrases that consumers use to search and identify companies that match their needs online, positioning used market mapping to identify the psychological and demographic “drivers” for customers that enabled companies to take up unique positioning to capture these market niches  by being seen to respond “best” to these groups’ expressed needs.

For Victorians, the best beer was Carlton Draught, while for those who live in Sydney XXXX (Fourex) was seen as the real (better positioned ) beer. In terms of SEO, both beers had keywords and phrases that appealed to their customer base, and both were better positioned in their own geographical area to meet targeted consumer needs. Of course, most of the positioning was psychological.

The Holden car was positioned as the Australian family car. In SEO terms, two key phrases would be “Australian car ” or “Australian family car” and two keywords “family” and  “Australian” would be essential, alongside the words “ute” or “sedan”.

Not much is new it? It has just changed. Although the way this is applied online and on the Internet is different, the concepts, the appeal and the market strategies are basically the same. The Internet is just like IT. It is an enabling tool and it works wonderfully when it appeals to the needs, desires, and other drivers in the consumer’s mind, whether it be business to business or consumer purchasing.

My view is therefore this: When looking at SEO, you should look at keywords and phrases, and you should survey the competition and the market leaders, and look at what they do to compete on their terms, but obtain better results.

You should, however, always be aware that what you are trying to do is to make yourself differentiated and appeal to consumers on your own terms. You always wish to position yourself away from the competition and position your organisation where consumers prefer your benefits, as expressed through the key phrases and words, that create satisfaction, choice and appeal for them.

Understanding your positioning is important so that you do not become competitive on key phrases and keywords alone, and get too close to your competition, and you do not mirror your competition, and as a result, lose your own important identity in the market.

If your competition decreases price and takes a small margin will you? I do not think so. The same applies to SEO. Will you go with your competitors’ SEO strategies to the detriment of your individual market positioning and long-term market share and return?

Common sense says that you will not, and that really what you want with your SEO strategy online is a balance between pre-determined market positioning , competitive keyword analysis, and better strategies for your organisation over the competition for a superior or optimum return.

A fusion of traditional marketing positioning and new online SEO optimisation strategies.

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