Learn the secrets of Trojan Horse SEO for category creation and how to disrupt markets, create engagement, and dominate your niche.
We all love Uber rides now, but do you remember how you first learned about Uber? I’m guessing it wasn’t by typing “ride-sharing service” into Google on a whim.
And that represents a similar challenge for any business with a new or disruptive idea like Uber: how do you build engagement for something nobody knows exists?
Luckily, there is an audience for your product or service, regardless if they already know it. And you do have a category, regardless of its keyword volume.
Much like paid search practitioners occasionally like to borrow competitor clout and poach traffic by bidding on brand terms, SEO professionals who are growing brands in new markets need to look at poaching the demand that already exists for related markets – and then explain why their brand is a great alternative.
In this article, I will break down my approach to what I call “Trojan Horse SEO” for category creation.
Research the Existing Market You’ll Disrupt
Creating an SEO and content strategy around the old terms. Introducing your new category/keywords in the process. SEO research for new markets
Your mission at this step is to discover how people search for that thing you’ll disrupt – even if it doesn’t overlap with your new product or service.
To do this, you really have to understand the old way of thinking and why people are motivated to search.
Find the search volume for keywords associated with the old way. Create an SEO strategy using those old terms as a foundation. Acquire them for your new category.
Start by interviewing the early customers of your new product, your customer service team, and the product managers who helped define the product-market fit.
This research should teach you about the problems or gaps within the old industry, specifically what was broken or missing and what people absolutely love about your new solution. That’s your qualitative research, which should inform your keyword and content strategy.
If you were on the Uber SEO team in the early days, maybe “ride-sharing service” could have been a keyword to focus on, with the knowledge that folks in areas with limited transportation options might not have had access to traditional taxis.
Another great resource is customer reviews of the products or services you’re disrupting. These will help you isolate even more pain points.
And try to dig up industry reports that talk about how things are shifting. For instance, Gartner, Forrester, and Adobe can give you great insights from SaaS (software as a service).
As for quantitative research, go to the usual set of keyword research and planning tools – and remember that for new products or services, it’s a volume game.
Keyword planners help you prioritize the old terms by impact, often expressed by search volume (the bigger the search volume, the bigger the potential to introduce your concept to a group of customers who might need it).
As a sanity check, do a quick Google search for the old terms you’re focusing on. If they’re returning SERPs that include the brand or brands you’re trying to disrupt, that indicates that user intent aligns with your strategy.
Create a New-Market SEO Strategy
Content is great for a new-market SEO strategy, and you should have many byline ideas from your quantitative research.
Talk about the existing market, optimize it for the known/heavily searched terms, and use content to introduce a better alternative. For example, “Ride-Sharing When Taxis Are Scarce” or “The New Way to Get Around: Uber Rides at Your Doorstep.”
You must remember one thing at this step: it isn't enough to bring people to your Trojan Horse content – you have to give them a reason and a clearly defined path to learn more.
Introduce Your New Category
So you’ve brought your users in through the old-category Trojan Horse. Now teach them your new language.
Your goal should be to own a term, rank for the term, and then try to turn up the volume on that term (I think of this almost as I do a brand campaign).
Start seeding the market with your new term and optimizing your properties, including:
Your homepage. A statement blog post. Your company’s boilerplate and social media profile. Make sure that everything you create that mentions the old term carries internal links to your fundamental pieces.
Is this tough to pull off? Absolutely.
Can it work?
Consider Uber (ride-sharing), HubSpot (inbound marketing), Asana (task management), Fitbit (wearable fitness trackers), and Salesforce (cloud software), among others.
Those brands all developed a new term now widely used in the market and earned a huge advantage. They’ll always be one of the brands you’ll associate first with that term, no matter how competitive the market gets.
For me, few challenges are more rewarding than using your full array of research, technical, and content skills to bring a new product or brand to the mainstream.
And if you do it right, you’ll be more than the team that brought “the new competitor” to market. You’ll be “the marketing team behind an amazing brand success story.”
10 Best Practices for Trojan Horse SEO in Digital Marketing
1. Understand SEO Manipulation Risks
Prior to embarking on your Trojan Horse SEO journey, it's crucial to comprehend the potential dangers associated with SEO manipulation, such as utilizing SEO ranking tricks or search engine cheats that may hurt user experience. Stay within ethical boundaries to maintain a positive online reputation.
2. Focus on Organic Search Ranking
Rather than relying on deceptive methods like SEO deception methods, prioritize building your website's credibility for organic search ranking. Avoid shortcuts that may harm your long-term visibility.
3. Conduct SEO Ranking Experiments
Be willing to experiment with various SEO strategies and tactics to determine what works best for your business. Continuous SEO ranking experiments can help you fine-tune your approach and improve your search engine rankings.
4. Stay Updated on Algorithm Changes
Keep a vigilant eye on search engine algorithms, especially Google algorithm tricks and changes. Understanding how these algorithms work is essential for devising effective SEO strategies.
5. Leverage Content Marketing Trends
Incorporate the latest content marketing trends into your SEO strategy. Producing high-quality, SEO-optimized content can drive organic traffic and enhance your website's visibility.
6. Utilize Social Media Marketing Tips
Seamlessly integrate social media marketing tips into your overall digital marketing strategy. Social media platforms provide opportunities to promote your content and engage with your target audience.
7. Optimize Email Marketing Campaigns
Maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. Crafting compelling email content and segmenting your audience can significantly impact your email marketing success.
8. Measure Digital Marketing ROI
Employ tools and analytics to measure the digital marketing ROI of your campaigns. Analyze the performance of various strategies to determine which ones yield the best results.
9. Implement Customer Acquisition Strategies
Develop and implement effective customer acquisition strategies to expand your customer base. Leverage data-driven insights to target the right audience and drive conversions with helpful content.
10. Focus on Mobile Marketing
Given the prevalence of mobile devices, prioritize mobile marketing insights. Ensure your website and marketing campaigns are optimized for mobile users, increasing your reach.
People Also Ask
What is a Trojan horse in marketing?
In marketing, a Trojan horse is a strategic approach that involves concealing your true intentions or offerings to gain access to a target audience or market. Similar to the legendary Trojan horse used in ancient warfare, this marketing tactic aims to capture the attention and trust of potential customers by presenting itself in a manner that may not immediately reveal its underlying purpose.
What was the strategy of the Trojan horse?
The strategy of the Trojan horse, as depicted in the ancient Greek tale during the Trojan War, involved the Greeks creating a massive wooden horse, concealing elite soldiers inside it. They presented the horse as a peace offering to the city of Troy. The Trojans, trusting the gesture of peace, brought the horse inside their city walls. Once inside, the hidden Greek soldiers emerged and opened the gates, enabling the Greek army to infiltrate and conquer Troy. This strategy relied on deception, subterfuge, and exploiting the element of surprise.
Why was the Trojan horse an effective strategy?
The Trojan horse was an effective strategy due to its element of surprise and the trust it invoked. The Trojans were taken off guard, assuming the wooden horse was a symbol of peace, not realizing it concealed Greek soldiers. This element of surprise allowed the Greeks to breach Troy's defenses successfully. In marketing, Trojan horse tactics can be effective because they engage audiences in unexpected ways, making it easier to convey messages or introduce products or services.
How do you use Trojan horse in a sentence?
You can use "Trojan horse" in a sentence like this: "The company's marketing team employed a Trojan horse strategy by offering a seemingly unrelated free tool that discreetly introduced users to their premium services."
How do I Use Trojan Horse SEO To Break Into Super-Competitive Niches?
To use Trojan Horse SEO effectively in super-competitive niches, start by conducting extensive research on your target market. Identify gaps or pain points within existing solutions. Create content that addresses these issues and provides genuine value to users. Optimize this content for keywords with lower competition, allowing your content to gain traction. As your content establishes authority and trust, gradually introduce your brand or product as a superior alternative, ensuring it aligns with your target audience's interests.
The key to Trojan Horse SEO is a patient and strategic approach, gradually infiltrating a competitive market by initially addressing related topics and then introducing your core offerings subtly and calculatedly.