(Part of the series on Sun Tzu's ; The Art of War – from the SEO perspective.)
Laying Plans; Part III
All warfare is based on deception.
Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
For the enlightened SEO you must be elusive. We must keep on-site tight but not over-optimized. Create seemingly organic link profiles. Work structurally where our presence may not be apparent. And you should avoid publicizing your involvement with clients and online properties. We are the wind. We were never there.
We have many that would seek to observe our ways. Competitors in a query space. Search engines that may be looking for a footprint. Other SEOs looking to observe our methods. Never let them see you coming.
Laying Plans; Part IV
If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
Should your opponent have a technically sound website and robust link profile, be prepared to spend the time. If your competitors have greater link profiles and accrued authority than you, find where which terms they focus on and work around them in the short term. Distract them in a given query space and move around from behind laterally (on secondary and longer tail terms). Piss him off.
Always fight on every possible front. From Universal/Verticals to social, be everywhere. If your competitor seems to be copying your tactics, feign them into unresponsive strategies. Stay aware and current. Beat them to new and developing query spaces in the market. Be seemingly everywhere and frustrate them at every turn.
Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.
The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
But again, before the battle begins, you must research, plan, consider and develop strategy. Set in place the required resources inclusive of eventualities. Nothing can take the place of proper research and planning prior to the beginning on any SEO campaign. It is one of the most common symptoms of a failed campaign. And truly, if one puts little effort into the training before the battle, how can they hope to win beyond a stroke of pure luck. The wise SEO enters the battle with strategy and weapons brought to bear.
(stay tuned for the next one... )