The Art of War for the SEO

October 26th, 2010 by Search Influence Alumni

Sun Tzu wrote the handbook for how to achieve success in war in the 6th century BCE, and nothing has taken its place since. He established rules of battle that are still used to this day. Why am I writing about the Art of War in a blog belonging to an SEO company? Well, because the strategies used for one can also be used for the other. Follow these rules and your business can be well on its way to winning the game of global domination.

Australia’s the key to the whole game.


“The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry, which can on no account be neglected.”


OK sure, SEO isn’t of vital importance to the state, nor is it a matter of life and death. It’s called a metaphor, alright? In this technology-based society, to ignore Internet marketing is to ensure failure. The most popular method of finding businesses- or any information, for that matter- is through Google. As stated by Sun Tzu, this cannot be neglected. If you’re buried underneath your competition, it’ll likely lead to your business’s ruin.


“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.”


What Sun Tzu is essentially saying is that it is pointless to fight a losing battle. It wastes your resources, which you’ll need in the long run. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to take on your competition. I’m saying to pick your battles wisely. This is where thorough keyword research comes in. Find out how many people are searching for targeted search phrases, and then find where your competition ranks for them.  If they rank number 1 for a really high-ranking keyword, it may be more beneficial to attack them using slightly lower ranking keywords; ones that you can take more easily. From there, you can start slowly overtaking them on the larger ones as your site gains more trust in the eyes of Google. It may be a slow process, but it’s better than losing before you begin.

“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”

Strategy is everything in SEO. Don’t just go into it blindly with your guns blazing. For every new client we receive, we have a detailed strategy that we employ to ensure a quick and fast climb in rankings. Keywords, optimization, metadata, internal/external linking, and directories are all necessary for a successful campaign. However, all of this means nothing if you are missing a well-organized plan of attack.


“Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization.”


It doesn’t matter how many strategies you have if you aren’t organized in your application. Same goes with your number of clients. If your strategy is well organized and followed, number isn’t an issue. It becomes a simple matter of execution. Don’t become too comfortable in this process, though. New strategies always arise and adaptation is just as necessary as organization.


“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”


The more you adapt to new opportunities, the longer you’ll last. SEO is an ever-evolving practice and Google is constantly changing their algorithms. The more you stay on top of these changes, the more new strategies you’ll end up learning.  When new opportunities arise, it is imperative not to neglect them.

“One cannot afford to neglect opportunity.”


We’re living in some tough times and businesses are struggling left and right. If you know your competition is one of these businesses, exploit this knowledge. If you can afford to, run some specials that will draw more customers away from them, and use SEO- specifically pay-per-click- to bring them to you. It sounds cruel, but your success hinges on the failures of others.


“Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.”


This tip is more for us more than it is for you. We enjoy educating our clients and readers to some of the ins and outs of SEO, but we don’t want to give away all of our secrets. That could be the difference between a thriving SEO company and a dead one.

Special thanks to blogger extraordinaire, Anthony Coleman, for the great concept of this blog.