Product Positioning and SEO Positioning

Positioning is something that many of us have heard of, and probably use on a regular basis. A concept made popular by Jack trout and Al Ries, it has been in use for quite some time, and when used correctly, it can yield excellent results. However, it is often forgotten that there are two types of positioning, each of which is used differently, but both have a great deal of value to companies. Product positioning and SEO positioning are two similar, yet different, concepts, yet many see the latter as nothing more than a marketing channel, when this could not be further from the truth. It is, in fact, massively beneficial in a digital sense. Used correctly, these forms of positioning can lead to success in any area.

The Definition of Product Positioning

Product positioning is also known as brand positioning, and it is a marketing technique that works to present your products in the best possible light to a number of different target audiences. It is a vital part of any marketing plan, and it helps marketers to learn and understand how best to communicate with their customers in relation to what the customers want and need as well as the relevant attributes that the product has.

The Definition of SEO Positioning

Search engine positioning, or SEO positioning, is a series of techniques and strategies that are used to increase the amount of traffic visiting a website. In order to do this, the techniques and strategies must result in a high ranking when words relating to your business or website are searched for using search engines such as Google or Yahoo. With the right techniques, it is possible to achieve these results relatively quickly.

How to Use Product Positioning

Positioning can be massively useful for your business, and it can often help your brand become one that is not only successful but also well known. A positioning strategy that is successful, is often one that is rooted in a company’s sustainable competitive advantage. These are the assets or attributes that a company holds, or abilities which are difficult to replicate or exceed, therefore providing a company with a superior position over competitors that is expected to last for a long period of time.

If you look at a standard process for positioning, it often involves the following stages in order to be successful:

–          The identification of competing products

In this stage, you must take a look at the competition to determine which products they have that directly compete with your own. Ries noted that this was an important first step towards good positioning.

–          The identification of the attributes that define the product

Once the competing product has been identified, you the need to figure out what makes it such a unique item – what defines it? You can then take this information and compare it with your own product to see what is different and the same. These are also called product dimensions by Trout and Ries.

–          The collection of information from customers regarding their views of each product

This is where you gather a sample number of customers together and ask for their perceptions of each product. Things like their views on the attributes that you previously determined, as well as the things they like and dislike about each of the products in question.

–          The determination of each product in the current product space

This is where Trout and Ries talk about getting into the mind of the consumer and starting to determine the position your product will take in the market. This is where positioning begins, but the below stages must also be implemented to ensure that you make the best choices.

–          The determination of the target market’s preferred combination of attributes (ideal vector)

During this stage, it is important to take all of the customer research you have conducted and put it together to determine the market’s preferred combination of attributes for the product. This allows you to make adjustments (if necessary), as well as begin to perfect your advertising campaign.

–          The examination of how all of these factors fit together, with regards to yours and the competitive product.

Now, you can start to put all of the information together from every stage. This includes the customer research, the market research, and the information you have on your competition and their product. Once everything is together, you can start getting into the mind of the customer – something that Trout and Ries often note as an essential aspect.

–          The selection of the best possible position for your product in the product space

Trout and Ries do talk about how once a customer has had an impression made on them, it can be hard to change their mind. It’s all about getting into the mind of the customer, and that is exactly what this last stage is about. Trout and Ries reckon that once you have carried out all of the research, you should be able to perfectly slot into the mindset of the consumer.

While there may appear to be quite a number of stages, each of them is quite simple to carry out, something which demonstrates that product positioning is not necessarily a complex process to carry out. It’s all about knowing what your customers want, how your product fits in the market compared to those of competitors, but also how you can best make your product fit in with that your customers actually want.

Here are a few examples of product positioning to help you better understand the concept and how it can work to improve businesses.

An excellent example of becoming a desirable alternative is one of 7up’s campaigns, where they called themselves the


in comparison to Coke and Pepsi, presenting themselves as an alternative people wanted. It worked, and their sales rose dramatically.

Similarly, Lowenbrau was the bestselling German beer in the USA, but Becks was able to carve a massive space in the market for themselves using this simple but clever wording:

“You’ve tasted the German beer that’s the most popular in America. Now taste the German beer that’s most popular in Germany”

The Volkswagen Beetle was released during a time where big cars were in fashion, and the concept of a small one seemed like a big risk to many companies. However, Volkswagen was clever with their product positioning and released the car alongside the slogan

“Think Small”

It was a short slogan, but it held a lot of power and drew consumers in.

Where Does SEO Positioning Fit in?

Search engine positioning is forgotten by many companies, and even more see it solely as a marketing channel. However, it is actually a massive digital asset to any company and should be treated as such. If you have good search engine positioning, then you will find that your traffic increases dramatically, and that alongside it a larger percentage of your target audience will be reached and engaged. Plus, it can work in perfect synchronisation with a good search engine marketing strategy.

It all starts with search engine optimisation (SEO), which will bring your target market to your website and products at a much faster rate. With correct positioning, optimisation, and experience, you will find yourself at the top of searches when people look for related words through engines like Google and Yahoo. A good SEO expert will spend hours going through a website to ensure that a business is able to reach its maximum potential during searches, ensuring that you are ranked highly during relevant searches.

Of course, every website also has unique challenges when it comes to obtaining the top positions in terms of search engine rankings, and these challenges can include anything – from the design of the website itself to the business that it holds. While a strong marketing plan is the key to better SEO, you also need to remember that it goes deeper than this. The textual content needs to be picked through and optimised, and even the source code and scripts have to be altered to fit in with your marketing and positioning plans.

However, once you have achieved a top ranking, the hard work is not over. SEO requires constant work, especially as your competition will always be trying new things to get you to drop in ranking. You have to be one step ahead of them, and constantly implementing new SEO and techniques so that you can remain at the top of the search engine rankings. You also have to remember that the search engines themselves are always changing their indices and dropping websites to keep their search results fresh and relevant. As a result, you need to make sure you stay on top of them too.

Having outlined the difference let’s examine some real-world marketing positioning statements examples.

Accuranker – The world’s fastest SEO rank tracker

Still new to the market with a bold statement. Extremely simple to use and focus only on one thing – tracking your keywords as fast as possible.

Accuranker tagline statement

MOZ – All In One SEO tracking and research toolset built by industry experts

In our mind, MOZ positioned themselves in our minds as well know keyword tracker and technical audit tool. which is now beyond that. When we say MOZ we also think of Rank Fishing and famous Friday whiteboards. Moz is also known and the place to go for search marketing related questions. Moz’s positioned themselves also as unquestionable forum alike community SEO leader.

Moz Taglines

Searchmetrics – Billions of searches. Billions of Stories. Your at the top

The truth is that Searchmetrics, in our mind, positioned themselves as enterprise SEO platform rather than a tool.

Searchmetrics tagline

SEMrush – All in one Marketing Toolkit for digital professionals.

SEMrush positioned themselves as an extensive toolkit for digital marketers )all sized) rather than another SEO tool only. SEMrush community and referral marketing program proved to be extremely successful. Probably the most in the SEO industry.

SEMrush statement

Hotjar – All in one Analytics & Feedback

Hotjar Front page

To Conclude

The primary thing to remember is that both forms of positioning are essential to the success of a business. They are both valuable assets and ones that can massively contribute to the success or failure of a product and brand. While SEO positioning is quite simple in terms of practice and explanation, product positioning is a very deep and detailed process, and both should be carefully studied before they are implemented within a business. With the right work and marketing campaign, your product is sure to soar above the rest.

Some additional views & comments:

By Ross Tavendale

Brand positioning in the SEO world dosen’t really exist. As we operate in a market of over demand and under supply with no standardised outputs, the industry has been experiencing a book over the last 10 years.

Now with more serious investment being driven tool side to tools such as Deepcrawl and SEMrush who have both recently raised tens of millions of pounds. We can see the industry is start to slowly clock on to the importance of their own positioning. IF we look at the work that all SEO agencies and consultants provide, it’s pretty much identical with little market differentiation. So why would someone buy from Distilled vs Seer vs Deloitte (not an SEO agency but their moves into digital are starting to make some waves) – in a word, Brand.

With creative agencies the house style and the creative director usually formed the brand. With Ogilvy, it’s the copywriting genius and standout ads of the 60s. With M&C Satchi it was the political billboards in the 80s. And in SEO………it’s a teaching and learning culture. Therefore, it’s no wonder that Moz and Rand Fishkin are the best known in the world. Their brand positioning, emphasis on people and transparency and the publishing of their “TAGFEE” ethos. However, outside of a few giants there is no standout SEO brand, instead a fragmented group of agencies and consultants.
Being discovered via generic terms is important. But in an industry where the top search term SEO agency only gets 6000 searches a month, surely great businesses can’t be build from search alone. Case and point – look at IKEA. Search for the generic “tables” and then search for IKEA tables. It gets double the volume. More people want IKEA tables than any generic tables. Why? Clear Brand and positioning.

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