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The SEO Food Chain, Are You a Ranking Predator or Prey?

Mar 15, 2008
Just like a predator, the parallels between SEO, hunting keywords and hapless animals falling prey to the food chain while grazing wild in the safari are too common to be ignored. Despite the concept being a disturbing thought, the parallels, I must say are alarming.

Imagine briefly if you will, a sleek cheetah "with prey locked in their sights", the tail-bone drops, a poof of smoke erupts as the ground is flung aside with extreme force as a full sprint envelopes a fierce pace with only one thought in mind, "it's mine". Sound familiar?, Just like a primal eye on the prize, "nothing else matters" instinct. SEO, the Top 10 and the safari share more in common than one might think.

If you are involved in competitive bouts for keywords in SEO, you may be familiar with the feeling. Many in fact live for it, instead of the hunt for the kill, it is the competition for the thrill. There is nothing like brushing off a few million competing pages (and competitors) to occupy the #1 position of Google, Yahoo and MSN. The hunt and emotion of bagging a series of competitive terms is nothing short of "being King or Queen of the Wild Wide Web" in it's ever changing glory.

Taking the concept even further, just like a cunning feline stalks their prey (competitive keyword research), knowing it's behaviors and habitat such as "the prey is known to frequent the water hole and travel in large herds". SEO translation, stalking (latent semantic) keyword roots, you can pick them off like fruit - "once you optimize the root phrase, you can bag them all". Now maybe it's just me, but maybe search engine engineers are on to the whole juxtaposed animal totem analogy. Let us explore this a little bit further.

Just like a wild animal there are multiple keywords grazing about the jungle we call the web that are as ripe as low hanging fruit to a keyword carnivore. We are talking about "deer in the headlights" material here. Then every once in a great while you come across one wild keyword that holds the key to a spike in traffic you have never seen the likes of.

These "wild-cards" are known for their migratory patterns and have a way of working their way unnoticed into a myriad of searches and have tags such as (company, services, professional, best, leading, most, how to, the list goes on and on). Finding the right combination of modifiers (for your niche) and optimizing your site for keywords such as these are the fabric of untold fortunes. Many may momentarily ponder, why would we waste our time on acquiring such an obscure series of terms, Why, because you never know who will search for them or where your content will surface.

Now, certainly you have an idea of which decision makers you would prefer to have company with, but with so many roving eyes and visitors foraging and clicking about the world wild web, playing the law of averages is not such a bad idea.

For example, if I know (based on meticulous research) that certain adjectives or modifiers have the capability to double or triple every keyword and respective traffic that is already established in your keyword empire. What would preclude one from exercising another round of link building to anchor yet another flurry of rankings. Just think of the possibilities to go back and add another layer to your SEO defense as well as mount a new offense for sniping some new traffic-bearing terms.

If you have seen it once as an SEO you have seen it a million times, a company targets a narrow series of keywords, something changes in the market, the fickleness of how consumers search or how they find the site, an algorithm change or just the competition kicks it up a notch and all is lost from putting your eggs in one basket. There is something to learn from the safari, the food chain and the cheetah in this scenario.

You really don't want to be holding the short side of the stick when the search engines have sorted who gets the throne for the #1 spot. So before you engage the hunt, take the time to conduct a bit of research, think outside of your market (to draw in stragglers) and use commonly used modifiers (common phrases) to add new life and new flavor to your traffic. Since you never know who is coming to dine on your content.
About the Author
Jeffrey L. Smith is a seasoned Professional SEO Consultant and founder of SEO Design Solutions in Chicago. Jeffrey has been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings fresh optimization methods and Search Engine Optimization Services to businesses seeking organic search engine placement.
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