Not all Key­words are cre­at­ed equal; some are hard­er to rank for than oth­ers.

Here’s one method we use that we’ve found very ef­fec­tive: start with the eas­i­est key­words of your op­po­nen­t’s to rank for, then work your way up.

A bazil­lion peo­ple are try­ing to rank first for “vi­a­gra.” So don’t even go there on day #1.

What are the key­words that both have enough traf­fic and that you can get to the top for? Start there, and work your way down.

But even if those key­words do NOT get much traf­fic — you might want to start there any­way!

Think a bit Machi­avel­lian. What will his cus­tomers be search­ing for? His po­ten­tial cus­tomers?

Maybe re­views. Maybe tes­ti­mo­ni­als. Maybe more in­for­ma­tion.

Or maybe par­tic­u­lar clients in par­tic­u­lar, like well-known clients.

Or maybe a par­tic­u­lar use of their prod­uct or ser­vice. In which case (or type of client) is their prod­uct the very weak­est?

Re­mem­ber the old say­ing: a chain is on­ly as strong as its weak­est link. What is its weak­est link?

Have you ever heard an­oth­er old busi­ness say­ing that, every sin­gle com­pa­ny is a dis­as­ter on the in­side? Well, it’s true. Every com­pa­ny is. What is the source of your op­po­nen­t’s dis­as­ters? His em­ploy­ees? His clients? Does he treat peo­ple bad­ly? Maybe he treats peo­ple too good, so they get lazy and don’t to the hard work need­ed?

The way to ap­proach this is, pre­tend you’re an in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist. What would the Wash­ing­ton Post ex­posé be about? Every com­pa­ny has some­thing dirty un­der the car­pet. Who is their deep throat?

Ex­tra bonus, dou­ble-pro tip: don’t for­get to hide your IP ad­dress and all oth­er ev­i­dence of what you do and where you go :) It’s much, much eas­i­er to find than you think.

Let the de­struc­tion of An­tho­ny Wiener’s cam­paign — and pos­si­bly even DSK’s cam­paign for Pres­i­dent of France — be a les­son to all: you just need one per­son who knows one bad thing you’ve done, and one per­son to in­cite them to go to the right peo­ple in the me­dia.… and they’re toast.