When you picture a competitive situation, the picture tends to take on an ‘us versus them‘ kind of feel. You know, two sprinters lining up at the starting line of a race, two boxers facing off against each other in a ring, two characters with superpowers taking to the air in order to do battle. When the situation demands a winner and a loser, the narrative tends to create heroes and villains.
The same is true of your website and its competitors. When your goal is for your site to beat down its competitors in the SERPs, it’s easy to see them as the villains of the piece. You and them, facing off against each other, like Wolverine and Sabretooth or Peter and Sylar. Much like Wolverine and Sabretooth, though, you’re often equally matched, meaning neither of you really gets anywhere.
The trouble is, cooperation is what is needed to make any site a real success. No site can get to the top of the search engine results pages alone. It needs links, high-quality links, and lots of them. This means support, which often has to come from competing sites. Treating competitors as enemies means you’re less likely to approach them for links, build relationships or do anything that will generate the support network your website needs.
If you really want your site to succeed, don’t think Wolverine and Sabretooth. It’s far more helpful to picture your industry as the whole X-Men team. You may not like each other, and you may not work together well all of the time, but none of you can survive without some form of cooperation – and (X-Men) united you’re fare more powerful than apart.