This is part 3 of 34 in Poker and Making Money Online, a 34 Part Series.

If there are too many competitors (some irrational or inexperienced), even if you’re the best it’s a lot harder to win.

Being the best at something doesn’t mean you’re going to be #1.  Consider the 1980 Olympics when the USA Hockey team defeated USSR for the gold medal. The Russians were heavily favored, they were clearly the best, but in 1980 they weren’t #1.

1980 USA hockey Victory Picture

So what does it take to be #1? Hard work and picking the right horse. Some people think that determination will suffice with hard work, but you can be the most determined player in a niche market and still not be #1. There are people with more money, more time, a better team, an older domain, more backlinks, and an established foothold in your market.

Here are a few things I look at when determining if I can become #1 in a niche.

1. Number of SERP results. If Google lists 64 million results for your term, it might be time to narrow it down. Google “computer parts” vs “laptop computer parts”. Which do you think would be easier to become #1.

2. Is there a name brand involved? I always avoid a trademark because they’re obviously the market leader. Consider “laptop computer parts” vs “hp computer parts”.

3. Age and authority of #1 domain. For “hp computer parts”, is the #1 site. was registered in 1986, has over 1,000 Wikipedia mentions, is ranked in the top 200 for all websites by Alexa and is clearly the best choice for “hp computer parts”. What makes me think I can beat HP at their own game? What advantages do I have over them?

4. Knowledge of the industry. Do I know any other webmasters that own similar (but not competing) websites? Can I look to someone for a few links to kick start my link building? Am I familiar enough with the market to come up with creative link baiting and viral ideas? If not, what separates me from the other 1,000 niche sites in the industry?

When you find yourself stuck in a market where you’re the best, but not #1, consider this…you may never be #1. We like to believe that if we stick with a site long enough that we’ll eventually beat that big competitor, but you might never win. I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m just being a realist. That’s tough to handle news. You might never beat NewEgg, TigerDirect and for top rankings for “computer parts” no matter how determined you are.

So even if you’re the best SEO, link baiter and viral marketer, there is a great chance that you’ll still be ranked #12 at the end of the day. Switch to a niche or product with less competition, or weaker competition and become the top dog!