Is SEO Sniping Strategy Right For Your Website?
Updated: Mar 22
If I had a limited budget, SEO sniping is probably the strategy I would invest in. A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed next week, but what ultimately wins campaigns are excellent plans executed today and over the course of the next few weeks.
SEO sniping is the good plan executed today. It’s a great place to start with SEO for new websites, but I would move on to a different strategy as soon as I had the means to so that my website could have sustained success.
What is SEO Sniping Strategy?
SEO sniping strategy is about honing in on fewer focus keywords rather than casting a wide net and covering all your bases. It’s a simpler strategy that’s easier to write content around, but SEO sniping as a strategy can lead to tunnel vision and missed opportunities in the long run if you’re not careful.
SEO Sniping as a strategy can work well for local businesses or someone in a very specific niche, but generally speaking SEO sniping works better as a move rather than a strategy. While it quickly builds momentum in the short-term, it can keep you locked in place for the long-term.
What is Keyword Sniping?
Keyword sniping is looking at keywords a competitor already ranks for and then trying to out-rank them for that keyword specifically. The alternative is looking at the “market” and trying to rank for frequently searched keywords that are relevant to your website.
Let’s pretend you’re a brand new organic grocery store with a brand new website. You have amazing locally-sourced products, a beautiful website, and everything to be proud of.
It’s going to take a lot of work to get your brand out of the shadow of Whole Foods.
No matter how much Whole Foods gets criticized for not offering truly organic foods, their established online presence is going to make them a tough competitor. The chances of a brand new website outranking them for common keywords like “organic foods” are so low that you might as well invest in lottery tickets.
That said, there are more niche keywords that you can compete for, and out-rank the entire market for overnight. It won’t bring in the kind of traffic that more common keywords bring Whole Foods, but it will bring you something.
And that’s very important for SEO.
How Keyword Sniping Brings You Quick Traffic
Even the biggest and baddest websites who rank for thousands of keywords can’t rank for everything. There are constantly new niche keywords emerging from the woodwork and nobody can predict the future so it’s hard to know which keywords are heating up before they ignite.
Therefore there will always be keywords with high search volume that everyone’s competing to rank for, and there will always be more niche keywords with lower search volumes that companies ignore because it wouldn’t give them a high enough return on investment in terms of traffic.
The latter are what we call low-competition keywords, and sniping out those keywords is a great way to get yourself in front of people who can’t find what they’re looking for in the mainstream market.
If you’re a new website, catering to niches can be a great opportunity for you in the short-term even if you want to branch out into a more general audience down the road.
Here’s why it’s worth your time to go after those SEO niches:
The biggest factor that influences your SEO is traffic. If people visit your website for whatever reason--whether thanks to backlinks, finding you discovered you on Google’s SERP, or divine intervention, search engines will notice.
But chances are, if it’s hard to find you on SERPs it’s hard to find you period, and that means you’re not getting any significant traffic. The 10-50 views per month you get for existing on the internet is not worth much. Who knows if those views are even coming from people and not scammers or robots?
But 10-50 views per month you get for ranking for super niche keywords? It’s much safer to assume those are real people, and that traffic could directly lead to sales.
That’s something we can build off. It’s the snowball that you will start rolling down the hill.
The more traffic you get consistently, the more likely you are to get more traffic. It’s like investing in the stock market with dollar-cost-average strategy--you consistently invest the same amount at regular time intervals and eventually despite some fluctuation in the market, your wealth grows over time.
So by consistently publishing content that integrates low-competition keywords, you’re building a legitimate audience, likely of loyal fans who will be able to say they knew you back when.
Should You Always Go After the “Low Hanging Fruits” in SEO?
Taking a shot at less competitive keywords first is a good way to get the ball rolling as opposed to shooting for more competitive keywords and missing over and over again, or casting a wide net and coming up empty over and over again. I’m not saying always go after low-hanging fruits for your SEO strategy, this is a short-term solution aimed to build momentum.
Eventually as your website grows you will want to go after Whole Foods and whoever else isn’t offering truly organic food, but you have to start somewhere, and you might as well start with a well-placed shot.
The downside to keyword sniping long-term is that if you focus on it too much you’ll get tunnel vision.
The best way to position yourself in SEO is to be an opinion leader. That means having your finger on the pulse of demand and finding original things to say rather than constantly chasing your competitors’ success.
Eventually you have to step out of the shadows of SEO sniping and into the light of your own brand… but that doesn’t mean you can’t scope out a new keyword opportunity every now and then.
SEO Sniping To Stay Ahead
It’s important to keep an eye out for “the next big thing” but you don’t want to find it from your competitors--you want to find it before them.
That’s something keyword research simply doesn’t provide on its own. Nobody can predict the future, but knowing your industry and your customer base gives you a sense of what you could be talking about in order to engage them. Use your intuition--if you see a keyword with low search volume on your SEO tool, but you’ve heard real people using that term in real life, or you’ve seen that word being used on forums, you might have stumbled across gold, and it might be worth a shot.
The worst that can happen is you publish relevant content that your audience enjoys but it doesn’t bring you oodles and oodles of new traffic. The best that can happen is you start a trend, get more traffic, and ride that wave to more success.
What SEO Sniping Services Does Jason Hewett Offer?
Jason Hewett offers fully customizable SEO Sniping services. The following are some commonly requested standard services:
SEO Sniping Targets
Providing insights as to what’s working for your competitors and what you should target.
How to use headings within your web content and blogs to rank better for long tail keywords and frequently searched queries.
How to name image files and alt text so that your images rank well in search results.
FAQ Pages for SEO
Writing web pages or blogs based on frequently searched queries so that every time someone has a relevant question, they can find you for a relevant answer.
Custom SEO Services
Feel free to request a quote to suit the needs of your website and I’ll get back to you with my best estimate.
TLDR: SEO Sniping is a Great Move To Spike Traffic, Good Short-Term Strategy
If I had a limited budget to invest in SEO, I would use it to invest in SEO Sniping Services because it helps you build momentum in the short term, but it’s better to cast a wider net and capitalize on that momentum as soon as you’re ready for it.