Boog's suggestion is to make you become a sandbagger eventually (upgrade offense only, leave defense low level to manipulate match making to get easier opponent). This approach works, but not how I would play. Also, once your medal count reaches a certain level, your adjusted base rating would increase and you would face harder opponent anyway.
To me, when the game gets harder is when you need to really focus on skill development. And I am not only talk about attack skill, but also with base design, about defending.
As Empire, rule number one is load SC with high level snipers and bikes. For that, you need to join a squad which can donate high level bikes and snipers. Then place the SC in the middle of the base, beside the HQ.
Joining a good squad will help you in things like turret choice, SC location, etc..
And set your expectation appropriately, that your base won't stand a chance against higher level opponent. That's okay. Defense is hard, but will improve over time.
Just go out and attack, and get loots and have fun.
My 2 cents.