Searching for The SEO Unicorn

How to find big wins instead of tiny incremental gains

Problem: It’s nearly impossible to outrank established websites within my niche. We make tiny gains with our efforts but it isn’t enough.

Solution: Try the VC approach to SEO, thus giving yourself a chance to own search in the next big market within your niche.

How can we find big wins in the world of organic search?

We need to take some advice from a culture that has a long history of rising from nothing to disrupt massive industries: Startups.

A few key attributes make startups successful:

  1. Innovation – they introduce a novel approach to solving an existing (and growing) problem
  2. Timing – great ideas die if they enter the market to early or too late
  3. Timing – yes, it’s that big of a factor

 

Here are the attributes that make Venture Capitalists successful:

  • They Understand Markets – they know generally where market trends are headed so they can recognize ideas that will grow with the economy. 
  • They Place a Lot of Bets – the majority of their investments fail, but they only need one to 100x in order to make a profit.
  • They’re Patient – they aren’t pressured to see returns on a quarterly basis like most corporate entities. They are willing to wait several years before seeing any return at all.

 

The key concepts from the startup world that are applicable to SEO are:

  1. Timing – we should seek to enter growth markets early so we have a good chance of becoming an authority.
  2. Place Smart Bets – we need to look outside traditional SEO methods like keyword research to identify what growth markets are worth investing in.
  3. Exercise Patience – we need to measure ROI after multiple years not months.

 



What’s wrong with doing SEO in established markets?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing SEO in established markets. In fact, this should be part of a healthy search marketing strategy.

Capitalize on the little wins within established markets where you can make incremental gains. Also place bets in potential growth markets, where you have the chance for 100x growth.

If you’re just focused on grinding away one keyword at a time against your top competitors and you aren’t placing bets on new market segments, you’re taking yourself out of the running to be a leader in the next big market.

How do we apply the VC model to SEO?

Forget what you know about regular SEO.

You won’t find the seeds of the next growth market through regular keyword research. By the time search queries start appearing in your keyword research it’s too late.

You also won’t have established competitors to learn from or copy. If bigger competitors are already producing content on the topic you’re behind the ball.

Instead, switch from reactive SEO to proactive SEO.

  • Research where the market is headed
  • Map out several directions the market may branch into based on likely scenarios
  • Explore these as emerging markets in your industry
  • Place bets on the ones you think are most likely to come into existence

 

Keep in mind that many of these potential growth markets will never develop, but you only need to become the authority of one for your investment to pay off.

How do you find new niches in established industries?

New niches are opening up on the internet all the time. Look to any futurist to see how tech is going to change the way we live and apply that to your business. You can take just about any industry and add these words to find a growth niche:

  • AI
  • Sustainability
  • Blockchain
  • AR

 

In your industry there’s certainly something more specific. Is there an opportunity for you to be the go-to resource for others in your industry trying to understand it?

How will we know if it’s working?

If you’re a VC it’s much easier to be disciplined if you understand the game you’re playing. They set aside a certain amount to invest, commit to a certain number of investments, then they support them the best they can and let time do its job. You have to be willing to get off the month-to-month growth train and look further ahead. And you have to accept that some future trends will simply fade away instead of turning into growth markets.

It works if you are thinking long-term growth…

While everyone else is stuck in the day-to-day keyword rank battles, you can be quietly carving out a niche that is small now but will be huge in the future.

Are you thinking about your keyword rankings for next month, or where you want your company to be next year or in 5-10 years?

  • They’re Patient – they aren’t pressured to see returns on a quarterly basis like most corporate entities. They are willing to wait several years before seeing any return at all.

 

The key concepts from the startup world that are applicable to SEO are:

  1. Timing – we should seek to enter growth markets early so we have a good chance of becoming an authority.
  2. Place Smart Bets – we need to look outside traditional SEO methods like keyword research to identify what growth markets are worth investing in.
  3. Exercise Patience – we need to measure ROI after multiple years not months.

 



What’s wrong with doing SEO in established markets?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing SEO in established markets. In fact, this should be part of a healthy search marketing strategy.

Capitalize on the little wins within established markets where you can make incremental gains. Also place bets in potential growth markets, where you have the chance for 100x growth.

If you’re just focused on grinding away one keyword at a time against your top competitors and you aren’t placing bets on new market segments, you’re taking yourself out of the running to be a leader in the next big market.

How do we apply the VC model to SEO?

Forget what you know about regular SEO.

You won’t find the seeds of the next growth market through regular keyword research. By the time search queries start appearing in your keyword research it’s too late.

You also won’t have established competitors to learn from or copy. If bigger competitors are already producing content on the topic you’re behind the ball.

Instead, switch from reactive SEO to proactive SEO.

  • Research where the market is headed
  • Map out several directions the market may branch into based on likely scenarios
  • Explore these as emerging markets in your industry
  • Place bets on the ones you think are most likely to come into existence

 

Keep in mind that many of these potential growth markets will never develop, but you only need to become the authority of one for your investment to pay off.

How do you find new niches in established industries?

New niches are opening up on the internet all the time. Look to any futurist to see how tech is going to change the way we live and apply that to your business. You can take just about any industry and add these words to find a growth niche:

  • AI
  • Sustainability
  • Blockchain
  • AR

 

In your industry there’s certainly something more specific. Is there an opportunity for you to be the go-to resource for others in your industry trying to understand it?

How will we know if it’s working?

If you’re a VC it’s much easier to be disciplined if you understand the game you’re playing. They set aside a certain amount to invest, commit to a certain number of investments, then they support them the best they can and let time do its job. You have to be willing to get off the month-to-month growth train and look further ahead. And you have to accept that some future trends will simply fade away instead of turning into growth markets.

It works if you are thinking long-term growth…

While everyone else is stuck in the day-to-day keyword rank battles, you can be quietly carving out a niche that is small now but will be huge in the future.

Are you thinking about your keyword rankings for next month, or where you want your company to be next year or in 5-10 years?

  1. They Understand Markets – they know generally where market trends are headed so they can recognize ideas that will grow with the economy.
  2. They Place a Lot of Bets – the majority of their investments fail, but they only need one to 100x in order to make a profit.
  3. They’re Patient – they aren’t pressured to see returns on a quarterly basis like most corporate entities. They are willing to wait several years before seeing any return at all.

 

The key concepts from the startup world that are applicable to SEO are:

  1. Timing – we should seek to enter growth markets early so we have a good chance of becoming an authority.
  2. Place Smart Bets – we need to look outside traditional SEO methods like keyword research to identify what growth markets are worth investing in.
  3. Exercise Patience – we need to measure ROI after multiple years not months.

 



What’s wrong with doing SEO in established markets?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing SEO in established markets. In fact, this should be part of a healthy search marketing strategy.

Capitalize on the little wins within established markets where you can make incremental gains. Also place bets in potential growth markets, where you have the chance for 100x growth.

If you’re just focused on grinding away one keyword at a time against your top competitors and you aren’t placing bets on new market segments, you’re taking yourself out of the running to be a leader in the next big market.

How do we apply the VC model to SEO?

Forget what you know about regular SEO.

You won’t find the seeds of the next growth market through regular keyword research. By the time search queries start appearing in your keyword research it’s too late.

You also won’t have established competitors to learn from or copy. If bigger competitors are already producing content on the topic you’re behind the ball.

Instead, switch from reactive SEO to proactive SEO.

  • Research where the market is headed
  • Map out several directions the market may branch into based on likely scenarios
  • Explore these as emerging markets in your industry
  • Place bets on the ones you think are most likely to come into existence

 

Keep in mind that many of these potential growth markets will never develop, but you only need to become the authority of one for your investment to pay off.

How do you find new niches in established industries?

New niches are opening up on the internet all the time. Look to any futurist to see how tech is going to change the way we live and apply that to your business. You can take just about any industry and add these words to find a growth niche:

  • AI
  • Sustainability
  • Blockchain
  • AR

 

In your industry there’s certainly something more specific. Is there an opportunity for you to be the go-to resource for others in your industry trying to understand it?

How will we know if it’s working?

If you’re a VC it’s much easier to be disciplined if you understand the game you’re playing. They set aside a certain amount to invest, commit to a certain number of investments, then they support them the best they can and let time do its job. You have to be willing to get off the month-to-month growth train and look further ahead. And you have to accept that some future trends will simply fade away instead of turning into growth markets.

It works if you are thinking long-term growth…

While everyone else is stuck in the day-to-day keyword rank battles, you can be quietly carving out a niche that is small now but will be huge in the future.

Are you thinking about your keyword rankings for next month, or where you want your company to be next year or in 5-10 years?

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David E
David E

Top Rated SEO Specialist

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