They say be innovative. They say be original. They say be yourself. That’s great and for some people it’s the only way to succeed. In fact, Jeff Bezos said in an interview that all attempts to copy competitors with products kind of failed for Amazon. He claimed that they only ever succeeded when they invented entirely new solutions.
However, what might be true for Jeff Bezos and Amazon, might not be the case for everyone.
Remember the saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Especially when it comes to beating your competitors at SEO, it’s best to know what they’re up to.
Here is what Marc Straessle, the owner of a Perth SEO Agency focused on digital marketing in Perth, would do to beat competitors for rankings on a particular keyword or set of closely related keywords.
You can go the old-fashioned way and simply google your target keyword(s) to make a list of who is ranking on page one for the same.
However if you want to be a bit more sophisticated and if you want to know who is ranking on page one for each of your target cities, countries or geographic regions, you might want to use rank tracking software tools, such as Link-assistant’s rank-tracker tool.
So once you know who your competitors are, what’s next you ask?
Here are three things that you can learn from your competitors in order to beat them at SEO.
#1 Analyse Competitors Content
The fact that Google is all about relevance and serving results that answer searchers’ specific keyword queries, it’s safe to say that your competitors who already rank on page one, have done a pretty good job with their content.
What you definitely don’t want to do is copying their content. Google is too smart and will penalise your website if you do. However, since your competitors on page one are considered relevant, you could definitely borrow ideas from them in order to help your own information architecture, or in other words you can collect ideas of what content Google considers relevant for the given keywords.
Now that you’ve borrowed some of the concepts from competitors, mixed in with your own ideas and topics, it’s relatively simple what to do next:
Write excellent content that has more breath, is more in-depth and that is more relevant.
#2 Find Link Opportunities
Some SEO experts say that back-links have become worthless and that Google doesn’t consider them anymore as a ranking factor. In my opinion they are dead wrong. Back-links remain one of the most important factors when it comes to keyword rankings. Yes Google became a lot smarter in detecting paid and spamy links, but natural quality links definitely carry a lot of value.
So how to go about building links? Your competitors on page one have already done the hard work for you. They’ve prospected and found many link opportunities. When you analyse your competitor’s back-links, you will find easy link opportunities very fast. They might have produced an Infographic and published it on 20-30 websites. Well, thank you very much, now you know exactly which websites would be willing to publish an infographic on a specific topic. How about creating an even better infographic and contacting those same websites?
Here is the strategy that has worked for many clients of the digital agency Museproject.
I analyse each competitors’ back-links in detail. That means I take a good look at each website from which they have a back-link. If the website looks like a good fit to get a back-link, I make sure to check all the quality metrics, such as MOZ’s domain authority (DA), Spam Score, Ahref’s domain rank (DR) and Majestic’s Trust and Citation Flow metrics. If the website ticks all my boxes, I add it to an excel sheet with a list of target sites where I want back-links from. Next, the hard work starts, link acquisition. While we don’t go in-depth on link acquisition in this article, the good old method of guest-blogging still remains one of the most effective ways of getting quality back-links.
#3 CTR & User Experience
It’s no secret that click-through-rate (CTR) on the search results page (SERP) has become an increasingly important SEO factor. If many people click on your Google listing, it signals relevance. Should many people click on your listing, however hit the back button immediately, it signals to Google that your listing title and description are relevant and enticing, but your landing page content doesn’t answer the searchers question. Thus you might fall back in your rankings. CTR and user experience is strongly co-related. In order to get to and stay on the 1st page of Google you need to have a strategy to master both.
First, find a way on how you attract your audience to your page by optimising your meta title and description. Beyond that you need to have a plan on how you can make users spend a lot of time on your website once they arrive on your landing page.
Every web page should have a goal. What do you want the user to accomplish? Is it simply to find information? In this case you might want to add links and buttons that lead to more useful content. User experience comes down to a simple question “Do you make it easy for the user to find what they are looking for?”
Again, the fact that your competitors are on page one means they must have done a decent job in optimising their CTR and user experience on the website. So rather than copying anything from your competitors, you should use the information for inspiration.
Pro Tip: Search results change quite often. In order to make sure you only take into consideration competitors with consistent page one Google rankings, observe the search results page over a 1-3 month period.