Someone asked me a question which I thought others might also want the answer to, so here's a summary of the question and an answer:
Question: I have the best product in my niche but my competitors are muscling me out of my traffic and I need to step my game up and take back the niche. (that's paraphrased) What can I do?
Answer: (My answer and it will change over time so take it and build on it)
IMHO There are several things worth considering and if acted upon can make a huge difference. They are:
What the market is after - and why.
What else is on offer - and how.
I know that sounds boring and generic so I'll expand.
As you're probably aware, there are only a couple of things which make up getting organic search results: Content and links. So in theory the answer is simple - get more content and get more links.
1 - Find what people are searching for and all of the LSI keywords/phrases.
This means use Wordtracker, Googles keyword tool, Market Samurai - whatever you prefer, but make sure you don't just get the obvious keywords - get the LSI keywords.
The result of this is that you end up with a list of all of the keywords and phrases which are being searched for AND also the ones that any search engine would naturally associate with the terms being searched for.
2 - Now do some searches using those keywords and see what comes up.
Check out the pages/sites that come up for keywords and whether they're covering the LSI phrases too.
(you probably already know the term 'authority site' which is the term used to describe a site which the search engines would naturally consider to be informative for the niche in question, but that covers more than just a few major keywords. This is the purpose of getting the LSI phrases/words - You want your site to be the one that anyone (or any search engine) would consider the most useful resource for that subject).
So, at this point you know what people are searching for, you know all the related phrases and you know what coverage your competition has for all of these.
3 - Check their 'Footprint'.
I've coined the term 'marketing footprint' in my business to describe the internet footprint which all of your business activities have left.
This includes links, bookmarks, rss feeds, videos, software, audios, info products, ads - everything that results in a piece of indexed content, a link or a way for traffic to reach your main site.
If you use a browser plugin like Seoquake, you can get a quick idea of this stuff, but if your market is very competitive it's worth digging deeper to see how big the footprint of your competitors is.
Compare that footprint to your own.
This will give you an idea of the amount of work you have to do to take back your niche.
Most of your competition will be lazy and taking shortcuts - get your research right and maintain a focused approach to building your footprint and it will just be a matter of time before you get to the top.
4 - Put yourself in your target markets mindset.
This is REALLY important because it can make or break how effective your conversion processes are.
You've probably heard the copywriting mantra - sell the sizzle not the steak.
Or perhaps "people buy for benefits and justify the purchase with features".
This is where you decide how you should target your market and present your products/services.
You could also summarise this as 'finding their itch' - what's troubling them and why - why do they need a solution (yours or anyones)?
5 - Communicate on their level.
Now that you know WHY they need a solution - That should be the focus of your messaging and if you've brainstormed a few variations on what they will be looking for as benefits, addressing their worries and clearly identifying the problem they're looking to solve - you just need to show them where and how to get the answer (your product).
This needs to be done on several levels:
A - In your sales copy (obviously)
B - In your advertising (your ads should show benefits not features)
C - In your link building and other promotional activities (including press releases, bookmarking, videos etc....)
D - In your products and autoresponder messages
6 - If your market has become saturated with products so that even if you have the best product your target market is not able to tell the difference - Start review sites.
Yes, it's great to use testimonials on your site and make your sales page effective, but sometimes people will still look for 'external verification'. They may often be searching for reviews of the different options before making a purchasing decision, so use this to your advantage - even in your promotional activities - if you're not converting well, send the visitors to your review site first and then prequalify/presell them over to your sales page from there (and tell them what to expect and do when they get there)
This is a very powerful way of standing out from the competition - don't ignore the competition, simply put them in their place so that your visitors see that you've done the homework for them and now all they need to do is purchase the obvious choice.
7 - Don't skimp on your follow-up and back-end systems.
This is where a lot of people (including me in the past) have wasted a lot of money and lost of lot of momentum and repeat business.
Even if you don't have more products of your own to offer, consider the brainstorming and LSI research and find useful information and other products which will be of interest to your customers and build a system that means they're always getting useful information and resources. You can become a successful affiliate on the back of selling your own product and plugging in a great follow up.
8 - Never stop.
Becoming successful requires consistent, focused action but remaining successful means continuing that effort.
Don't stop promoting just because you've starting seeing results - your competition may start getting active once they see your results improving, but once you get ahead it's much easier to stay there if you keep doing what got you there.
9 - Use every angle
Don't just use article marketing because it gets you results, or just use PPC - create a comprehensive 'battle plan' for your niche and dominate it from every angle you can think of. This plan will mean that you're never stuck wondering what else you could be doing to help, there's always something you can do to build on what you've got. Use video marketing, use social bookmarking, use blogs, press releases squidoo, hubpages etc. etc. just try and do it economically so that each activity supports or re-enforces previous activities.
10 - Don't stop and look over your shoulder.
If you don't see results right away, don't stop and wait until they kick-in, because that waiting period will also come back around as a slow period. This stuff sometimes has a hysteresis - don't wait for the slack to catch up, just keep doing what works and never stop to wait for the results.
I hope that makes sense and you can put it into action in your own business.