You may feel that you are one step ahead in the organic traffic game by having a website that is well-designed and considers both users and search engines. But if you live in a competitive niche (like inbound marketing), it may seem as if your competitors are always winning the race. You know that #1 spot in Google is the equivalent of a gold medal, so how do you outpace your competitors to take the lead in traffic?
Conventional wisdom would tell you to train harder, by creating even more content with the keywords you are trying to rank for. But what if your competitors have the edge in bigger content creation teams and budgets? The key to crossing the finish line first is working smarter, not harder.
Here are 5 ways to edge out your competition in the organic search race.
1. Know your Competition and Do Your Research
Competitive analysis is often overlooked in a marketing strategy. If you aren’t paying attention to what your competition is doing, you are missing out on opportunities. Identify your competitors so that you can find their SEO strategies and keywords they use to drive traffic from search engines. Yes, that information is readily available online, even with free tools! Once you have a list of competitors, visit SEMRush and type in their names to get a list of the top 10 keywords they rank for.
SEMRush provides the keywords, estimated number of searches for keywords and the page that gets the traffic. Pay special attention to the “Top Organic Keywords” and view the full report. Those are the words your competitors are ranking for, along with other bits of helpful information. If you want to steal some of that traffic, this is the information that will help you do it.
Choose the most relevant keywords that have a reasonable amount of traffic but not a ton of difficulty and create content that targets those keywords. However, keep in mind this content must be of the highest quality. It must be better than your competitor’s and of great value to your audience. Once you’ve published the content, promote it aggressively with these five tips.
2. Increase your Domain Authority
Moz collects information about websites and uses machine learning against Google’s algorithm to give them a score. This Domain Authority ranges from zero to 100 and predicts how well a website will rank on search engine results pages (SERP). The higher the authority, the easier it is to get targeted traffic. Learn what your score is and what your competitors are with the free Moz Toolbar.
3. Focus on Getting High-Quality Links
One of the best ways of increasing Domain Authority is to get high-quality links from other websites. Use an SEO tool such as ahrefs to find companies that are linking to your competitors’ sites. Once you develop the higher quality content mentioned above, reach out to those sites and request they link to you instead. Remember, your content must be better, different and add value. You can do this by making it longer, more up to date, better designed and more thorough than your competitor’s content. Be sure your content is worthy of a link before approaching publishers. Brian Dean of Backlinko calls this procedure the Skyscraper Technique.
4. Be More Influential
Industry influencers are more likely to get their content noticed. The first step in becoming a key influencer is to produce content that demonstrates you as a thought leader (there’s that quality content again!). The next step is building relationships with key influencers and sharing that content with them in hopes they share it with their own audience and eventually collaborate with you as a peer.
But this doesn’t happen overnight! Establishing an effective influencer marketing program requires strategy in order to see results.
5. Pay to Play
It’s more important now than ever to incorporate some paid promotion into your content marketing strategy. Considering how much organic traffic has dropped on social media sites like Facebook (did you know it could be as low as 2%?), it’s wise to use some of your budget to promote those quality pieces of content you’ve created to drive traffic from your competitors to your company. If your competitors are large enough, they could even be listed as an “interest” on Facebook, which allows you to target people with that interest through advertising.
Now that you have these tips for moving your content higher in SERPs, don’t be a benchwarmer. Strive to create content that goes above and beyond what’s already out there. At SPROUT Content, we call this “Performance Content.” We’ve develop criteria for ourselves and our clients that defines this content as:
Content that meets these criteria has the very best chance to accomplish strategic goals for your business and help you stand out as elite in the industry.