SEO the Porter Way

Do you know Porter’s 5 forces analysis? It was developed by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School in 1979.

Everybody who has read or studying marketing ever since, knows about this analysis and has been reading about it. Most of the marketing people are also using it to determine the competitive intensity and the attractiveness of a market. I have been studying marketing too – so I love it too. But did you know you can use this model to describe the competition of a keyword?

With this model you can get insight into how competitive the current environment is for a keyword? And how strong the rivalry and intensity is for a keyword? And maybe the most important knowledge we will get from this is, that we can’t control everything when we do SEO. So if your boss asks you – When will the “coffee” keyword rank number 1 – you might tell him or her about the uncontrollable forces.

So let us check out Porters’ 5 forces model for the keyword “coffee”. So are you ready for some Porter?


New entrants in the coffee keyword market

A new coffee seller might show up on the internet. They also know about SEO, and they sure want a good ranking on keyword market for coffee. This is really a new entrant. You might also have had a competitor who never really has done anything regarding SEO for many years and suddenly they have hired an SEO guy (maybe me). So this competitor is also new to the keyword market for coffee.

Another company has been selling coffee for years and has done SEO for years but suddenly they have doublet their budget for the SEO. So they also want a ranking (or higher ranking) for the “coffee” keyword. This analysis is about the keyword market for coffee. To start a business on the internet is really simple – also for business selling coffee. So you will have to set up some barriers to make it more difficult for your competitors to outrank you.

So of course you will have to optimize your own content for the word coffee. Another great way is to try to optimize your site for more unique, uncommon and longer tail keywords. It could be “black coffee”, “Arabic coffee” or “hot coffee”. Another way is to own the keyword not only for your website but on the entire internet. If you have a twitter account, Facebook account you might have the rank 1, 2 and 3 for the keyword coffee. And you might have an Pinterest account for your pictures that rank number 4. This way you can make it very difficult for a new competitor to sell its coffee on the internet.

Coffee suppliers

The suppliers for the keyword market for “coffee” are the search engines. So Google, Bing, Yahoo are the big suppliers for the keyword market for  “coffee”. Don’t forget YouTube – this is the second largest search engines today. But also the social media is a supplier. Who brings in most referrals for your keyword on the internet?

Of course is properly is your biggest source for traffic. But don’t forget to check out the other suppliers too. And remember that Google is changing its algorithm maybe 500 times a year. Most of the algorithm changes are really small, but sometimes – like the Panda or Penguin updates – it can really change the ranking of the coffee market.

So if you normally rank as number 1, 2 or 3 and suddenly drops down to number 8 (or worse 11) you have a problem.

The threat from coffee buyers

When Porter talks about the forces, he is talking about the threat of buyers. And the threat these days are growing. Maybe the coffee you are selling has been harvested by some underpaid children. They are almost living like slaves. And suddenly the news is out in the social networks. “Did you hear that this coffee company is using children slaves to harvest its coffee?” So the people will tell their friends on Facebook and Google+ and Twitter. You will see within days that your sale is going down.

The social signals are also factors for the search engines like Google and Bing. Yes. If people start to write bad reviews, making bad press releases the search engines will lower your ranking for the coffee keyword. Positive and negative social signals affect the organic ranking. Buyers can also click on like to local coffee business. This way they will help the local shop. And local searches are getting more and more important these days. So be sure people like your shop too.

Coffee substitutes

This is the threat of substitutions for the coffee keyword. Are there new ways you can use the keyword for coffee? The total market for the keyword “coffee” is not on Google. You might have to do some alternative marketing tactics. Do some Google Adwords? Or other PPC ads. Maybe you should try YouTube or Facebook PPCs? Maybe search retargeting. Build up a large audience in your social networks or start an email club with special offers? Well you should always do this anyway right?

Imagine what happens if Google suddenly changes its algorithm and you were getting 80 percent of your traffic from Google. You have spent years building up backlinks to your site, and suddenly Google thinks the social network is much more important than backlinks. Then you will have a problem right? Like in the real world, it is a thing to have an ongoing check of your competitors. What are they doing regarding backlinks, in the social network? Have they hired some new SEO guys?

Don’t let the competitors take the lead.

Coffee competition rivalry and intensity within the coffee industry

The rivalry and intensity for the coffee keyword is depending on all the above forces and your marketing strategy and your SEO strategy. For most industries the intensity of competitive rivalry is the major determinant for the competitiveness of the industry.

How to check competition in Market Samurai

How much money are the other companies spending on SEO? On Google Adwords? PPC budget? Are they working with video? Social networks? How big are the marketing budgets? The online budget? You can also do a keyword analysis for the keyword, like this from Market Samurai (But you can get analysis like this from many other companies too).

Coffee conclusion

You know the conclusion already. You can’t really say if you are going to rank number 1 for your keyword. You are depending on the entrants, buyers, suppliers, substitute and the rivalry and intensity within the coffee keyword market. The external forces are strong – so if you meet an SEO company telling you they can get you a number one ranking for a keyword you will know now that it really is impossible to promise.

And now it’s time for my coffee.

All the best, Henrik

PS – did you read about how to use AIDA to boost your traffic?