How to come out on top in a competitive industry

A lot of the advice for small business owners who are hoping to market their businesses online focuses on identifying a list of keywords that are relevant to your business and developing content and marketing focused on those keywords. But what do you do when you work in an industry or an area where those keywords are highly competitive? When you have dozens or hundreds of businesses competing for the same keywords in the same city, it can be extremely difficult to rank well for those keywords in Google searches. It seems like there has to be another way to get your website noticed, and luckily, there are a few.


Google AdWords is an online advertising service that Google has integrated into their web searches, and they provide you with a variety of tools you can use to gain an edge in a competitive marketplace. AdWords is a pay-per-click (PPC) service, which means that instead of paying to show your advertisements to potential customers, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad to go to your website. This allows you to get creative with the types of keywords you are targeting for advertisements, because you don’t end up paying for keyword campaigns that are unsuccessful.

The biggest issue with online marketing for a business in a highly competitive industry is that there is also a huge amount of competition for the keywords. This means that the cost of buying ads is higher than in a less competitive industry, and you will have to deal with more similar ads from your competitors. There are several tools available to help you discover what kind of keywords your competitors are bidding on and to help you generate new ideas for keywords, including Google’s own Keyword Planner tool. Keyword Planner allows you to enter the URL of a website or a list of keywords and then generates new sets of related keywords that might be useful in your advertising campaign.

You can also get creative with keyword choices for your ads to try to find a new way to reach your target market. In his highly acclaimed book about creativity in advertising, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, Luke Sullivan relates an anecdote of a young university grad looking for a job in an advertising agency. This person had the bright idea to create Google ads for their CV and portfolio, using the names of big shots at advertising agencies as the keywords. That way, when these people googled themselves (as many people do on a regular basis), they were shown ads targeted at them personally, telling them to hire this young, creative thinker. That specific strategy won’t work for most businesses, but it is a great example of the clever use of keywords to reach your target market.

Long tail keywords

Many web experts think that “long tail keywords” are the future of search engine optimization. The idea of long tail keywords is that they are the much more specific phrases that customers are more likely to use when they are close to the point of purchase. For example, someone searching for “bathtubs” on Google might be looking for general information, but someone searching for “luxury bathroom remodeling in Chicago” is probably someone who is much closer to making a purchase.

In a highly competitive market, it can be very difficult to rank well with that more general term – there are so many companies competing to be at the top of the list for “bathtubs” that your chances of coming out on top are pretty small. But when you optimize your website content and focus your advertising keywords for more specific, long tail searches, you can quickly gain a competitive advantage. There will be far fewer people searching for these more specific keyword phrases, so they will likely generate less traffic than the more general keywords, but the people doing these long tail searches are much more likely to buy, so your investment in pay-per-click advertising will have a better payoff.

If you are able to identify exactly what kinds of long tail searches are being done by the people who are shopping for your services, you can make a huge difference in your website’s ability to attract business. Of course, not everyone has the time or energy to invest in perfecting their website’s marketing, which is why there are so many Internet marking companies who are willing to handle this service for you. But whether you want to hire a company like LinkNow Media to handle your online marketing, or you want to do it on your own, don’t let yourself waste this opportunity to create new business.

Lauchlin MacDonald

Author: Lauchlin MacDonald

About Lauchlin MacDonald

Lauchlin is part of the content and marketing team at LinkNow Media. He has nearly a decade of experience in copywriting and editing, and spends way too much time on the Internet. He can be reached at and @Lauchlin on Twitter.