You don’t need to be a formula 1 fan to understand that automotive racing is a sport that is constantly evolving, pushing new boundaries and achieving new levels at an alarming rate.  You also don’t need to be an automotive racing fanatic to understand that in order to beat out your competition you can’t just buy a race car, drive on to the track and expect to win.  Even if you do get lucky enough to a win a race we all know that you can’t keep winning without race data, competition analysis, constantly adjusting and evolving your race car and many other elements that are always in need to adjust to keep winning.  Surprisingly, some of these principles actually apply to websites and online marketing.  In this article, we take an example client analysis and draw comparisons to this very same illustration of automotive racing.

Overview

In this example, our client built a new website (race car) with a lot of content and info that explains who they are, and what they do as a business.  Following the build, their website was submitted to Google and that is essentially like telling everyone that you are now an official race team with a race car that is ready to compete with all the other cars in your racing classification. What Google and other search engines do is basically give you a number and say “welcome to the big leagues, good luck.” Essentially, they rank you for what you bring to the table. Your content, who you are, who you are linked to, who is on your team, so on and so forth, but you are placed at the bottom (or towards the bottom) of the list.  Just like a racing team would be ranked prior to winning any races, mostly speculation, based on some evidence. The chart below shows and example of this. Our sample client ranks for a handful of keywords that show up on their website, but only by default, not because they have done any effort to grow their ranking.

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Screen-Shot-2019-09-11-at-4.45.49-PM Understanding Online Marketing: A Race to The Top

They are in the middle and bottom of the pack, so the search engines know who they are but they aren’t gaining or losing, just floating. The danger in this is that when new competitors come into the game and start winning races, they are going to be pushed down in the ranks or even worse, slowly forgotten if they don’t make efforts to win or show why they are deserving of higher ranking and authority.

Keywords

Races are like keywords. If you keep winning the same race over and over again you will be known as the king of that one race. Due to your success, many news outlets will be talking about you and how you repeatedly dominate that race.  These news outlets are like the outside sources or backlinks that we talk about in relation to websites and keywords.  The more outside sources you have talking about you and a specific keyword, the more search engines will think of you as the authority and put you at the top. But this takes time and effort, just like winning races does. So when we revisit our example client, we see that they haven’t been winning any races and they haven’t climbed the ranks at all and their traffic numbers reflect that. To gain fans and authority you need to win races.

Competition

Winning requires constant evaluation of your own race car and making appropriate adjustments. In addition, you also have to do some homework on your competition in order to know how your adjustments are performing, as well as what other adjustments you need to make.  In the initial analysis of our example, we found a very interesting discovery. Our client has a few different business websites in the same industry that offer slightly different services.  They also have some linked websites that are business partners with their business but offer the same services. In the eyes of search engines, these websites offering similar services are basically competing against themselves.  At first glance, you would think that this is very bad but let us explain how this could be a benefit.  Let’s go back to our automotive example to explain how this can be used to their advantage. In some cases, racing teams have more than one race car as part of their program. Sometimes both cars race the same event.  In rare cases, they end up on the podium as 1st and 2nd positions.  In other cases, they race different events that are not at the same time or location. If they win two different races they gain authority in two different areas and have double the reach. If they come in as 1 and 2 in the same race, they take up the majority of the market share for not one, but two different positions and get double the authority for the same race. There are benefits to both solutions but it depends on the race tactics and overall goal of the team.

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A recent example of this the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix where the Mercedes Team ended up at the top with their cars in the First and Second pole position.

The same solutions could both work for our example client. If they want to just focus on one service or keyword that might bring them the most optimal client, then they should focus on fewer keywords and just make sure that all of the websites they control rank at the top for those keywords.  The alternative is, figuring out different focus areas for each website and building a larger net that captures a larger range of potential customers.

Summary

Automotive racing and online marketing are completely different worlds, but as you can see in our example, both require a similar approach to be successful. One main similarity is that you will never win just by default and the only way to make good decisions is by constantly evaluating data and adjusting what you do in comparison to your competition. This is a very general overview, but it does paint a good picture of what is going on with our example client and what they need to do to start growing. If you are interested in getting a free consultation for your website please contact us and we will give you some feedback on what is going on with your online standing and some real solutions that would help you grow your brand or business online. 

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