There is only slot available on Google that matters – the first.
Being top of the results pages increases your business’ visibility and is incredibly valuable for generating more leads and acquiring authority in the field.
If you are not at the top of the results pages, then your competitors are.
They must be there for multiple reasons, one of which will be because of their SEO campaigns.
There will be quite a lot that you can learn from your competitors’ SEO efforts. This information can become extremely valuable for your own campaigns, potentially propelling you to the top in their place.
Here are some ways that the competition can help improve and enhance your SEO.
Know who you’re really competing with
When finding your real competition, include any website or company that you compete with for web visibility and traffic, regardless of whether you are selling the same product or not.
A comprehensive competitive analysis is not a small task, but it will be worth it. Aim at making a list of around five to 10 competitors in your geographical location and your industry.
Use industry keywords to look for businesses like yours on the major search engines
Find more competitors in your niche via associations’ member directories
Once you have determined your competition, it’s now time to analyze the keywords, including the long-tail keywords that you are competing for. You can actually begin analyzing who ranks for the same terms.
One of the best free tools available for this is The Google Keyword Planner tool. Just enter their page’s URL and the tool will display all the major keywords they are ranking for.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something more in depth, Ahrefs is the perfect tool. You can narrow down and look at specific content pages and how they rank, how many backlinks etc, all from a specific keyword.
Because they are likely to be higher in the rankings as you, they are winning the keyword battle. Research and invest in other keywords that will benefit your business which, at the same time, aren’t ranking your competitors’ sites.
Quality of content marketing
High-quality content that provides value to the customer is going to increase rankings in search engines, enhance your brand awareness and create authority. Content marketing is essential in the current digital marketing space to SEO and the inbound marketing methodology.
Browse through your competitors’ content pages and see what they’re doing well and what they’re not. You should also be noting how often they are posting content on their website and how they are promoting it; are they using social media etc?
Have a look at which pages are proving most popular and start preparing pieces of your own that have similar themes. For example, if they are writing a lot of ‘how to’ guides, these are posts that you should be doing too.
Use of social media
We’ve just briefly touched on this in the last point but it’s important that you know what platforms your competitors are promoting their content on. Continuous promotion through a certain platform is evidence that there is a market for it.
Have a look at the type of content they are sharing, what they are linking to, the potential keywords they are using in their posts. All of these things matter because they generate traffic back to their original site, keeping them at the top of the search results pages.
Their interaction with their audience should also be noted. If they are receiving lots of comments, the audience must think the post is of sufficient quality to discuss. Work with the information you find to improve your product, so that it has everything the audience really want.
The boom in technology has seen people using their mobile devices to do work on the go. Digital marketing has had to adapt to this evolution.
Your website must now create a user-friendly experience on mobile sites, otherwise, your potential leads will hit that ‘back’ button quickly. Use your mobile device and see how your competitors are displaying their pages. It’s likely they have optimized for this purpose.
It’s vital that you are keeping with them and technology in general.
Some businesses utilize lead magnets or provide their audience with free offers to entice them to sign into their mailing lists. They will be promoting their customers throughout their pages with not so subtle prompts.
The kind of enticements and lead magnets they are using can provide you with an insight on exactly what you can do to increase the value of your offering, and therefore gain more leads.
Review their strategies and analyze their results these strategies achieve for your own business.
However, depending on where you want to rank, these strategies will be different. For example, an electrician looking to increase rankings on Google will use different methods than an eCommerce business looking to increase conversions on Amazon.
Link building techniques
Analyze what links they are utilizing; are they using many internal and external links? Are they using more of one than the other?
This information can prove vital – link building is essential to increase organic rankings. The best backlinks are built from high-authority pages so investigate where they are getting them from by using Ahrefs (this tool really does make the difference!)
Link building can sometimes be expensive do some research to find an affordable link building strategist.
Review local SEO strategies
Some businesses prefer to invest more heavily into local SEO campaigns than others. Companies with more traditional brick-and-mortar locations are going to receive greater rewards from using local SEO strategies
Find out if your competition has updated their local profiles in the popular online directories. Look for consistency in the contact information on their profiles and on their website, how well they have utilized their profile features, and if they bother to interact with local reviewers.
These strategies will boost your business’ SEO and hopefully get above the competition in the search results. It’s time to put these tools into practice and watch your online presence grow.
About Tom Buckland
Tom Buckland is the Founder of an organic marketing agency based in the UK. Specializing in increasing revenues on Amazon & Google, he’s the #1 ranked Amazon marketing consultant & the owner of HQ SEO.